– Steve Hitchen
CASA is moving on with the GA Workplan; the latest being the consultation on modular licences for engineers. This is an attempt to combat the lack of engineers by getting newcomers out into the industry sooner, rather than hold them back in training whilst they study engineering aspects they are less likely to use. It's not a miracle cure, but it is something. Several of the workplan promises are in place, with others still under construction. The big outlier at the moment is Part 67 on medicals, which has a promised date of sometime past Q2 2023. We're in that period now, so technically we should be expecting the proposal any day soon ... or not. Part 67 represents one of the largest and most difficult reforms CASA has ever contemplated, because despite evidence supporting the self-assessed medical, there is still a lot of resistance within CASA and the DAME cohort. I think we'll have to learn how to wait like Vincent Lingiari for this one–it is one of the oldest touted reforms on the books–and in the meantime be thankful the rest of the workplan is still coming through.
Both the AAA and the RAAA have given first-glance approval to the green paper, but crucially point out that although the government is hell-bent on net-zero by 2050, reforms and innovations are needed in other areas, and the meticulous methodology of the white paper process can't be permitted to stifle that. AAA points to the need to examine policy and regulatory settings, and the RAAA wants actions now, not sometime in the next five years or so. White papers, experience has shown, generally reflect more party policy than industry input despite all the consultations and round-tables. And when you want your policy to win the day you have all the time in the world. And you sure as hell don't want to examine regulatory settings; if you did, you might actually take into account the interim report on the impacts of regulation on the GA sector. The predominant industry fear is that important reforms crucial to the survival of GA will become victims of the government's stampede to net-zero. The point is that GA is not currently match-fit to take on net-zero, and if important reforms like training and protection for all airports are ignored, GA will be in no state to contribute to green targets.
RAAus held their 40th anniversary dinner at the Australian War Memorial on Saturday night, but unfortunately circumstances kept me away. It looked like a doozy of a night. They have plenty to celebrate: 40 years of developing and strengthening aviation in a recreational sense. Over the years they have been the subject of repeated attacks on their right to exist, which I must admit bewilders me. In the beginning, I understood the argument the CASA should take administrative responsibility for all sectors of aviation, and even expressed the opinion that the licence should be the same, but with a max MTOW endorsement. Now I recognise the folly in that. RAAus has managed to simplify administration for recreational owners and pilots; CASA could ever have done that. CASA makes rules and applies rules; that's their thing. They see the relationship between rules and aeroplanes and the relationship between aeroplanes and people. RAAus has proven very adept at that over the years, which is a major lynchpin in their success.
May your gauges always be in the green,