– Steve Hitchen
And so Part 149 is launched. The concept of this regulation is not easy to comprehend, but here's the extremely bare bones of it. For nearly 60 years CASA has been allowing third-party organisations to administer specific sectors of aviation under exemptions to the rules. The rules state that CASA is the ultimate authority and has responsibility for all civil aviation activity in Australia, but under exemptions they were able to palm off some of that to organisations with the expertise to do it. We're talking about RAAus, the gliders, the parachutists, the balloonatics and several others. What Part 149 does is upgrade those organisations to approved self-administering organisations (ASAO); it removes the exemptions for those that go through the approval process. That's a huge step up. It means not only understanding the regs and the sector, but showing they can run their own bureaucracy complete with safety management systems, communication systems and everything else CASA demands. The award for the most outraged over Part 149 goes to AOPA. AOPA sees the whole thing as CASA forcing aviators to deal with a private company (the ASAO), which they say is unfair. AOPA believes that by issuing Part 149 approvals CASA is creating "powerful monopolies" backed by self-interest that are extended privileges that pilots and owners who stay under CASA administration are not. The most often quoted example is the disparity in medical regimes.
Part 149 has been beset by the same problem that besets all other regulation to come out of Aviation House: CASA wrote it. Here's the paradox: CASA wants organisations to take on Part 149 for specialist sectors because they can't do it themselves. CASA has neither the expertise nor the resources to deal adequately with warbirds, gliders or balloons. Yet, knowing that, they have considered themselves expert enough to write the rules to govern something they don't understand. It is CASA's modus operandi to demand more bureaucracy not less, and this looks extended to Part 149. RAAus probably has the ability to take it on; indeed, there's a school of thought that CASA has modeled a lot of 149 on RAAus. The fear is that it might be too much for the smaller organisations to bear. According to the project documents, CASA plans to give organisations 18 months to transition, which takes us to the start of 2021. If no ASAO steps up, aviators wanting to continue their activity will be required to comply with the general aviation regulations. That effectively returns the industry to the starting point of one set of rules for all and having only CASA deliver administration, which CASA doesn't want. In that light, it might have been expedient for CASA to put as few obstacles in the way of ASAOs as possible. Honestly, 18 months is not a lot of time to put in place a private bureaucracy good enough to satisfy a regulator that has made bureaucracy a core competency. This is a space worth watching.
There's a huge 50th anniversary happening in the coming week. The papers are all full of Apollo 11, of course, but the other big 50th is that of Oshkosh. The EAA's Airventure moved from Rockford, Il, to Oshkosh in 1969 and has grown into the largest and most iconic fly-in and air show in the world. It's a Mecca for aviators and enthusiasts from everywhere and there's not a serious aviation company that would dare to not have a presence there. And this year it co-incides nicely with the Apollo 11 half-century as well; space flight has very close ties to aviation and so the two will sit very nicely with the crowd. Right now we are in the calm before the storm; the time when everything goes quiet until Oshkosh kicks off and the news delivery channel run wild. Expect some very interesting stories to come out of the USA next week.
He needs two and he has one of those. Matt Hall is making a last-gasp effort win the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. With the season cut to four races and no future beyond, Hall rightly surmised that he would need to win at least two of the four and finish on the podium in the other. He got his podium in Russia and last week took the first of the two wins needed in Hungary. Now to Japan in September, where Hall gets to make his great last stand. The mathematics are looking good. He's only five points behind the leader Martin Sonka, so that's what he has to make up. However, he's only 10 points ahead of the home-town boy Yoshi Muroya. Any of the three can win the championship provided they can get all the building blocks in place. It's a grand finale for the ages. It's just a pity we have to wait so long to find out how RBAR will end.
May your gauges always be in the green,