CASA has pointed to several aspects of the new Part 61 licensing regulations as factors they believe will improve aviation safety.
In guidance material issued last week, CASA claimed that Part 61 would "lift safety standards ... address important lessons learned from past accidents."
According to a CASA spokesperson, several of the new rules due to come in on 1 September are a reaction to Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommendations.
"The following points are related to improving safety standards," CASA told Australian Flying.
"In respect to lessons learnt, the points below are also relevant and where necessary competency standards, specified in the MOS [Manual of Standards], have been added or modified to address safety issues identified in ATSB recommendations.
- Introduces new ratings for activities that may be conducted as private operations - not under an AOC. For example the low-level rating. NVIS rating recognises the potential safety benefits possible from use of this equipment in helicopter operations.
- Proficiency checks or flight review requirement for all aircraft and operational ratings that provide periodic review of a pilots ability to exercise the privileges of the rating. Ensure a pilot remains competent to exercise the privileges of a rating and associated endorsements which currently are not required for some higher risk activities such as low-level and night VFR operations
- Prescribed recency requirements based on complexity of skills and knowledge required to maintain proficiency to perform the activity/task safely.
- Abolition of co-pilot qualifications. Where a flight is required to be conducted with at least two pilots, both pilots must be competent to conduct the flight to achieve the safety benefits provided by multi-crew operations.
- Introduction of multi-crew co-operation training for all pilots engaged in multi-crew operations recognising clear evidence that good crew coordination improves the safety of operations where two pilots are required. Also similar to recent changes introduced by the FAA.
- Aeronautical experience requirements for the grant of a ATPL was amended to limit recognition of experience in aircraft other than registered or recognised aeroplanes.
- Flight test for the grant of a ATPL provides an assessment of a pilot’s capability to conduct a flight in a multi-crew environment reflecting the privileges of the licence. Harmonises with ICAO.
- Recognises the safety benefits of training conducted by competent and qualified personnel. Instructor ratings and training endorsements have been created for the conduct of training for all licences, ratings and endorsements specified in Part 61. Replaces the current system of approvals granted by CASA for specialised training activities. Ensures pilots complete appropriate training to consistent standards and provides for recognition of personnel who hold tertiary qualifications in training and assessment.
- Introduction of a simulator instructor rating for personnel who no longer conduct training in aircraft. Recognises the different skills required to deliver training in a simulator environment.
- Additions to the helicopter standards not only harmonise with ICAO Annex standards but maintain Australia’s reputation within the international helicopter industry. This reflects developments in aircraft technology and the shift to IFR operations in the helicopter sector."
Part 61 has come under fire from industry groups recently, who have called for the 1 September date to be pushed out further.
Perhaps most vocal has been the Australian Helicopter Industry Association, which has voiced concerns over the availablility of the new Flight Examiners (formerly Authorised Testing Officers) to cope with demand, and has called for the new regulations to be written in plain English.
Further support to postpone CASR Parts 61, 141 and 142 have come from the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia, the Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association and from The Australian Aviation Associations Forum.
CASA has recently deferred mandatory transition to the new Flight Examiner rating by two years, and will keep the current regulations surrounding helicopter licensing until 2017.
It is believed that Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss has asked CASA for more information regarding the new regulations.