CASA's determination to align Australian regulations with EASA is proving too costly for the benefits according to the helicopter industry body.
The Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA) has compared the safety record of the rotary industry in the USA with that of Australia, and queried if the move to EASA conformance will bring a similar result for the cost.
"A recent NTSB report shows a US civilian accident rate of only 3.94 accidents per 100,000 hours," said AHIA's Rob Rich. "By comparison, the ATSB Transport Safety Report of October 2013 states our rate is 10.8 accidents per 100,000 hours. Put simply, the FAA operators have an accident rate that is 2.74 times less than our CASA rotorcraft industry.
"The AHIA is vigorously pursuing a study of extra expenses appearing as the CASR Part 61 Suite is being rolled out; our work is being slowed due to the number of exemptions, concessions and extra transition time needed to facilitate introduction of the new rules. The AHIA estimates on aircrew testing, ATO and FTE study (and looming shortages) will be a shock to many; especially when heavy multi-engine helicopters segment is looked at more closely.
"AHIA members are constantly asking their executive why the cost of regulation is increasing at such an uncomfortable rate due to our nation’s alignment with the EASA system; a past political decision now so unpopular with Australian aviation community.
"Maybe the solution has always been on our doorstep? Industry comments state a need for a less complicated, less verbose and plain English regulatory system; which has been jointly developed by a regulator sensitive to industry needs."
AHIA has been critical of the way CASR Part 61 was implemented, and in August called for it to be delayed further. According to Rob Rich, the issue has been one of failure to consult.
"Despite CASA’s media reports to the contrary, there has been little consultation with the helicopter industry," he said. "This unfortunate fact was confirmed when another version of both the CASR Part 61 Instrument and Manual of Standards was released only several days prior to the implementation date on 1 September 2014."