• Australian Flying editor Steve Hitchen. (Kevin Hanrahan)
    Australian Flying editor Steve Hitchen. (Kevin Hanrahan)

– Steve Hitchen

I am starting to wonder if CASR Part 43 actually has legs. Announced a bit out of the blue in 2018, the regulation covers maintenance for GA aeroplanes operated only in the private and airwork categories. It is supposed to make things simpler, but the ALAEA believes it will just make matters worse and AMROBA has pointed out all the other regs that will have to change to get CASR Part 43 to work the way FAR Part 43 does. The great danger is that Part 43 may be come the new Part 61, i.e., implemented without a true understanding of the way the industry operates and in need of serious review the day after it was signed into law. If you turn to page 18 of the November-December issue of Australian Flying, you will find an article entitled The State of the Unity. It outlines the many rifts that exist within GA and the issues that divide, and Part 43 is listed as one of them. Although Part 43 was intially greeted with applause, it seems there are people within GA that are now going through buyer's remorse. But Part 43 is not the heart of the matter. The problem is much greater: CASA's maintenance regulation regime is confusing and a touch non-sensical. The ALAEA submission to the senate has some excellent examples that a comedy writer would not dare include in a script but for CASA make perfect sense. CASA's working groups need to have a look at maintenance regimes holistically and ask if this really is the world's best practice.

Ministers rarely make raw advice public. Generally, they will speak about decisions and justify them by saying they were based on advice, but we rarely get to see the advice before the spin doctors and political influencers mangle it. So, it is a rare and somewhat unexpected step for Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Barnaby Joyce to green-light the public release of the GAAN strategy. The GAAN exists to give the minister advice; it is not a public association nor a lobby group. So now we know what the minister has been told and can judge future actions accordingly. The strategy is a brilliant document that, if delivered wholesale, would salve a lot of GA's wounds. I can't see there being a lot of debate about that. The greater question is why did Joyce permit this to be published? Here are my two best guesses (feel free to make your own). 1. Barnaby Joyce is not afraid of being seen to contravene advice. 2. He actually plans to do something with this strategy. I am going to go the whole optimistic hog and say the second of the two is more likely. At the moment, the regulatory pendulum is swinging towards reforms as evidenced by the recent changes at CASA, and the release of this strategy is possibly something in the same vein. I am sure about this: if there was no taste for change in Canberra this strategy report would still be chained in a dungeon somewhere inside Capital Circle. That is not to say that I believe Joyce is about to deliver GA from bondage, but rather he is wondering if all the shackles are really needed. Let's hope I'm right about this.

The planned expansion of the Moorabbin Aviation Museum (formerly Australian National Aviation Museum) is a great news story and a very rare win for a tenant Moorabbin Airport. The museum has been constrained by space for years, hemmed in by a carpark and an NDB site, and Moorabbin Airport Corporation have long said that no more land would be available. Now, after some hard work on behalf of some dedicated people, the museum has secured a lease on the land over the road from the existing buildings and a much-needed expansion is underway. Regular criticism of the museum has centred around some classic old aeroplanes standing out in the rain, which was an effect of the lack of land and money to put everything under cover. That's all set to end, with the new building to be large enough to house all aircraft. And this is all going to happen tomorrow? No. We are just taking the first steps on the journey. The dedicated souls that got this far will need to dedicate even more of themselves, but in the end the destination will be well worth the effort. Get on board with this: it's a great news story for aviation.

Crunch time is here for your Wings Awards nominations. As predicted, the deadline of 5 November is unlikely to be extended this year as it has been in other years. Time to put down your pencils and get the submission in if you want your candidate to be in the running. It's all easy, everything can be submitted online, but be absolutely sure you've done your best to address the criteria.

May your gauges always be in the green,


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