– Steve Hitchen

There is a bit of anecdotal evidence around at the moment that CASA's Regulatory Philosophy has about as much power and relevance as an ombudsman's recommendation: it's very good in theory and a great fallback, but doesn't have to be complied with if it's inconvenient. When the ASRR sparked a series of reforms within CASA several years ago, I took the position that the impact of reform can't be measured until there is clear difference at the point where CASA staff interact directly with the aviation community. Sadly, it seems now that the reforms have had no impact; the obstructionism and payback that marked CASA's attitudes pre-ASRR still characterise regulation more than the philosophy does. Furthermore, CASA is showing more signs of circling their wagons than they are of enforcing the philosophy on the staff it was written to govern. It is obvious that personal philosophy is being allowed to override regulatory philosophy, a situation that should not be allowed to continue. With this in evidence, how can the aviation community conclude that reform has achieved anything at all? Attitudes at the "coalface" have not changed and regulation is getting more and more obstructive with no increase in safety. I am most disappointed for those in the GA community that gave the "new" CASA the benefit of the doubt.

If Melbourne International gets its third runway, it will most likely be at the expense of Essendon's busiest. If it goes ahead, the east-west runway will be built south of the current terminal, which makes it closer to EN and will force traffic onto runway 08/26. Effectively, runway 17 will become a departure-only option, with 26 taking up to 85% of arrivals and 29% of departures. The change will also bring runway 08 into play. At the moment, it takes a "negligible" number of landings, whereas under the new arrangements, could take up to 8% of all arrivals. The problem is going to be crosswinds. On days when the northerly is blowing at over 20 knots or the southerly busters are ripping up the bay, arriving aircraft won't have 26 as an option. In those cases, if a pilot was to "require" runway 17 or 35, how would the tower react? I suspect said aircraft might be told to take the crosswind or go away.

How intriguing is the Sonaca 200? Certified in June last year, this is a new two-seater based on the Sling 2 LSA. The difference is that the Sonaca has an MTOW of 750 kg and can go IFR. This looks like another emerging challenger to the established trainers, and joins a few others in wanting to chip away at the C172's market dominance. The main weapon used by aircraft such as this and the Piper 100 is low cost. Archers and Skyhawks are not cheap beasts, which has opened the door to a new breed of trainer that has price as its major characteristic. Piper clearly has responded, but the so far Textron Aviation has remained silent. The last time Cessna did nothing about an emerging trend was during the heyday of the very light jet (VLJ), when they preferred not to play the game, but instead created the twin Mustang jet, which took away a lot of the puff out of the VLJ concept. They got it absolutely right, with the Mustang sales growing and most VLJs dying a natural death whilst still in the prototype stage. It would be good to know what Textron is thinking at the moment, and how they plan to maintain their share whilst competitors are lining up to kick their cash cow.

Australian Flying May-June 2019 is out and about! This issue we've looked at a couple of new aircraft and explored some areas of aviation not much touched on: transitioning to glass cockpits, high-lift devices and remote towers. There's also some fantastic images from the Australian International Airshow to show you what it was all about. Jim Davis has some yarns about a few not-so-magnificent men and we've also looked at career options for CPLs not yet seduced by the lure of a major airline. If you haven't got it yet, grab it next time you're breezing past a decent newagent, or see if your flying school or pilot shop has it on the shelf.

Easter looks to be bringing great flying weather to many parts of the country, with only Brisbane and Perth forecast to have potentially spoiling weather. No matter what your aviation ambitions for the next couple of days, do it safely and wisely. Make good decisions and get yourselves out and back with minimal drama. Flying is supposed to be fun, and Easter always provides an opportunity for four days of it in a row.

May your gauges always be in the green,


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