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Old 18th Dec 2014, 01:56
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Age: 54
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Australian Industry & CASA Meeting, 17 December

On the 17th December, Peter Crook the AHIA President and myself attended a meeting at Aviation House in Canberra.
The meeting was called by CASA and a number of industry associations were invited to give Part 61, 141, 142 post implementation feedback. The meeting was opened by Mark Skidmore who expressed that he was there in a listening mode only as he has not yet taken up the position formally. There were also heads and major players from many CASA departments present and it was clear from the outset that they were there to take note of what we had to say, like it or not! Having said that, it was a very polite and helpful meeting.

The format of the meeting was that each of the industry invitees were given five (5) minutes to list the major points of concern that they held. (There was a request prior to the meeting to provide a detailed email list). We then broke for a coffee and then discussed the list in more detail with CASA the opportunity to come up with solutions.

The major points that I made were;
- The whole premise of the new legislation is reliant upon FE's, and CASA should have created the FE course first and provided a final copy of the Part 61 to industry with a caveat. You have two years before this comes in, make note of what your FE needs are and get them qualified now. Then run loads of courses and later roll out Part 61. Obviously that didn't happen, so now they need to roll it back. It will not go back to CAR 5, but an instrument is being examined that will allow Grade 1 instructors and C&T pilots who previously issued aircraft endorsements to be allowed to conduct the endorsement training and the issue of a type or class rating. I also suggested that some operational ratings, such as low level also be included.

- Aligned with the lack of ATO's / FE's, I requested that a list of every aircraft type be created with a corresponding list of ATO's qualified to conduct tests on that aircraft type. It can be done and a previously list did exist. As Mr Skidmore commented, we can produce a list of DAME's, why not ATO's. Then a pilot needing a flight test can look up the list and know who to book in. I also commented that they will need a plan when they find a type without an ATO qualified.

- Information flow and the use of Grapevine was very poor. Mr Skidmore was not aware that 3 Safety Advisors had been made redundant this year, just when we need need more education, they take away the teachers! I also made a point that within CASA the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing and their education needs to be internal before they take it on the road. There is no consistency of advice.

- The MOS needs more work and the process of changing and reviewing the MOS needs to be more stream lined. The expected changes to the MOS will not be out until January or February.

There was plenty of agreement with all parties and it was interesting to hear from the Qantas and Virgin guys how they are just as hamstrung by the system as GA is. We all made similar lists in different ways and all of them effected costs.

There is still more work to be done and when we walked away there was no change to legislation or new instruments issued on the spot. That was never going to happen. But we have some structure and have identified some things to move us forward and they will be emailed out for us to review before changes are made.

On another note, the instrument varying the aircraft types should be out before Christmas. Read the aircraft type instruments carefully. For example an A109 A or C training can be done by a Part 141 operator, but an AW109S, etc must be done by a Part 142 operator as the aircraft is considered more complex. If a school or organisation was already conducting that training before Sept and had an approved course, then they continue to teach it under Part 202, continuing authorisations. They are in effect a Part 142 school.

Finally, the question has been asked what is the point of being a member of the AHIA. Here is my answer. Because it funds a number of things, not least of all for me to go to this meeting and raise issues with CASA and get a meeting with the incoming Director. The AHIA has the respect of the regulator and they are listening. They also answer my questions quickly, which is very important to business. The wheels turn slowly, but they are turning.

The other associations out there are also pushing their barrows, but Qantas and Virgin have different needs to us. Phil at the Aerial Ag has some overlap with what we do. but is not going to represent a Helicopter Flight School or EMS, that's not his job. That's the interest of the AHIA. The volunteers that have stepped in to their roles have accepted the responsibility to represent our industry. We don't travel business class and we don't stay in the best accommodation, but it does cost money for us to get around. We couldn't afford to do it without your help. For those who are not members, you will still reap the benefits of our work, but imagine what else we could do if there was more in the kitty.

Enjoy Christmas and there is some hope on the horizon.
Colin Clarke
Legislative Change Officer,
CASR @ Austhia.com
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