• The Sport Aircraft Association of Australia administers amateur-built experimental aircraft such as the RV series. (Steve Hitchen)
    The Sport Aircraft Association of Australia administers amateur-built experimental aircraft such as the RV series. (Steve Hitchen)

The Sport Aircraft Association of Australia (SAAA) will not become an Approved Self-administration Aviation Organisation (ASAO) under the new CASR Part 149 that took effect this week.

Part 149 is a new ruleset that covers the functions of organisations that seek to administer specific sectors of aviation such as Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus), the Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA) or the Australian Parachute Federation (APF).

Part 149 aims to eliminate all the exemptions granted to ASAOs over the past 60 years and instead replace them with approvals to operate that recognise the associations as administrators for the sector.

Up until this week, the SAAA was considering applying for an ASAO approval, but a note from CASA made it clear that the SAAA would gain no advantage from going through the process.

In an announcement made to members, the SAAA said they would not pursue Part 149 approval for "the foreseeable future."

"This follows a communication to SAAA from CASA on 2nd July 2019 '..as Part 149 does not contain any functions that SAAA would administer, it would subsequently not be possible for the SAAA to transition from its current role to becoming an Approved Self-administering Aviation Organisation (ASAO) under Part 149.' This is of course in the context of Part 149 and the related Manual of Standards as they presently exist."

SAAA was one of nine Australian sport aviation organisations working with CASA on Part 149, but has said it was concerned over the relevance of the new regulation to members.

"SAAA has ... been especially concerned over many issues, the most significant of which have been around:

  • transfer of regulatory responsibilities from CASA to SAOs with no attendant transfer of funding
  • the imposition of strict liability provisions
  • the understanding that SAAA members’ current exemptions would at best be frozen in time if SAAA did not migrate to Part 149, thus hindering opportunities for further development of safety outcome improvements
  • the fate of VH EAB [VH-registered Experimental Amateur-built] aircraft and their pilots was unknown.

"SAAA remains unconvinced of the merits of Part 149 being relevant to or able to offer improved safety outcomes for the Australian VH EAB fleet and its pilots."

CASA administers aircraft registration, airworthiness, licensing and medicals for EAB aircraft regardless of whether or not the owners and pilots are members of SAAA. The SAAA focuses on helping members comply with the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and providing education as a way of improving safety for home-built aircraft.

"SAAA, now continuing its operations outside of the Part 149 environment, looks forward to working with CASA as it has done in the past to deliver further safety outcome improvements to its Members and the VH EAB fleet and pilots generally," the announcement said.

More information on CASR Part 149 is on the CASA website.

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