– Steve Hitchen
The Australian International Airshow 2019 will be remembered as the year we all ate Baked Avalon for lunch. The heat started the day before the show did and persisted for the entire event. There have been days like this in Avalons past, but my memory is struggling to recall a show where every day was over 35 degrees. Despite all that, the show pressed on and was a great success from just about all perspectives. The big heroes of the week were the volunteers who didn't get the chance to do the show from the luxury of the aircon in the expo halls and chalets. They did their jobs beneath a cruel and relentless sun, and as ever are the ones who made the show possible. I dip my hat to all those that remained at their stations as the sun beat down for six days. Your blood's worth bottling. Have a look at our image gallery on the Australian Flying website and see some of what went on. For all those that stopped by the Australian Flying and Flightpath stand, thanks for the aviation chat and feedback; we value every visit we had.
In 2014, a woman died on the Gold Coast after a Tinder date went horribly wrong. It was a highly-publicised case right across the country. I think you know the one. The defendent in the case was found not guilty. Question for all to ponder: did Tinder have any culpability in the matter? If your answer is "yes" then you probably agree with CASA's moves to place standards on PPLs flying for Angel Flight; the analogy between the two is very strong. Angel Flight is basically an introductory service, and so is Tinder. And this point is one that is generating a lot of passionate comment from all angles. CASA CEO Shane Carmody believes that Angel Flight has some responsibility, and thus has championed the changes that CASA believes will improve safety. Interestingly, as was raised in Senate Estimates on 22 February, there was a weight of feedback that supported CASA's position. Several people with whom I have raised the issue with in the last week are on the CASA bandwagon on this one. However, almost universally, no-one believes the measures CASA is promoting will fix any existing problem. Even Carmody himself in Estimates said he believed there would be little impact on Angel Flight's operations. Sorry to ask this, but if regulation is not going to have significant impact, then why are we making it? It seems to me that CASA is actually letting down the industry by not addressing a known issue with new rules that will clearly produce an increase in safety. Two senators in Estimates raised that very problem: it's nearly impossible to see a connection between CASA's measures and any increase in safety. The CSF rules are not orphans in that; the industry often struggles to see any increase in safety resulting from CASA's work (Part 61, anybody?). CASA has openly stated that they have evidence that Angel Flights are "four-to-five times" more likely to produce an incident/accident than normal private operations. The senate has called for the hard stats on this, and the entire industry is waiting eagerly to see what they present and how the new measures will bring the Angel Flight into line with other private ops.
There is a quantum shift coming in general aviation in the next couple of years and it starts in the middle of 2019. CASA will release the consultation papers for the RAAus weight increase. If the proposal is as expected, owners of aircraft weighing up to 760 kg initially will be able to register their aircraft with RAAus rather than CASA. The main aim of this proposal is to entice home-builders to build more robust aeroplanes without being forced to register with CASA. There is likely to be a flow of some smaller aircraft from the CASA register to RAAus, but the flood predicted by some industry commentators will depend on what is contained in the consultation papers and how the industry receives it. There are two locks likely to restrict the flow: maintenance and medicals. Reduced regulation for these two is the strategic advantage that RAAus enjoys over CASA-registered GA, so to subject aircraft with MTOWs of over 600 kg to the normal CASA standards will act as a disincentive to make the move to RAAus. So, therein lies the major points of interest in the consultation papers, and the feedback to the proposals will make very intriguing reading matter.
May your gauges always be in the green,