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Reform Scenic Flights regulation!

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Reform Scenic Flights regulation!

Old 24th Feb 2014, 07:58
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Reform Scenic Flights regulation!

Regular Public Transport
"Flight operations performed for remuneration and conducted to fixed schedules over specific routes, and on which seats and/or cargo space is available to the general public." - ref. CASA Glossary of Terms



The push is on, and supposedly has been since the GFC, for increased productivity and boosted opportunities for economic growth and employment, Australia wide.

Why then, in this country, is it simply not permitted for a scenic flight operator to publish and maintain a fixed schedule of departure times for any chosen air tour/ scenic flight without the ridiculous requirement to operate as RPT?

Imagine running a cinema and being denied the right to promote your viewing times? You must wait until enough people show up for you to switch on the projector, open the cinema doors etc. etc.

How long would you last? Not long!

Now consider this: say in the next town the cinema laws are different and those operators can publish their showtimes. Who's got the competitive edge? Who's clearly more productive and more efficient?

And here's the difference: in the US right now I can go online and book a single seat on a scenic helicopter flight over New York or a scenic air tour over the Grand Canyon, at a fixed price departing at a fixed time. I'm very confident these are not RPT operators.

No risk to safety, no reason not to reform for the 21st century.

Its definitely not just Qantas who feels it must compete with one arm behind its back!
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 08:07
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Civil Aviation Safety Authority - CASR Part 135 - Passenger Transport Services and International Cargo Operations - Smaller Aeroplanes

CASR Part 135. In 1999, CASA was directed to "minimise the distinction between charter and Regular Public Transport (RPT) operators". To address this, Part 135 will set in place a common level of safety for operators who are authorised to provide 'Air transport operations' - an amalgamation of current charter and RPT operations and standards - in order to carry Passengers in small aeroplanes. The safety level applies irrespective of whether an operation is scheduled or non-scheduled as described by the International Civil Aviation Organization in Part I of Annex 6.

Tick. Thread close.
 
Old 24th Feb 2014, 08:10
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Is the fear that a dodgy operator might begin unregulated RPT ops under the guise of "scenic flights"?

The solution is easy - throw in an exception for flights beginning and ending at the same place. It might be Regular and Public, but no one is going to buy a ticket for "transport" purposes.

Although a truly dodgy operator might have a lot of unscheduled diversions to other aerodromes where they were "forced" to offload pax.
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 08:39
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Yeah, don't think so. To really make a scam like that work you'd need to have a quiet network get the word around that a certain flight, departing at a certain time will be landing at a certain port every day/ week. Wouldn't take long before CASA are waiting at the other end.

The US actually nominates a category known as Commercial Air Tours and for mine, it appears to be very effective as a way to further business opportunities.

This is not about common safety standards (Part 135) btw, its about smarter regulation to unlock business opportunity for GA operators.
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 10:15
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Well, the party that everyone is so fond of is in power and wants to get rid of red tape - perhaps have a word to your local member that this could be something to help promote tourism business.

Then give it 10 or 15 years to makes it way through the system
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 11:14
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Air tours under the FARs have a specific set of exemptions from 135 or 121 rules, including the requirements for an Air Carrier Certificate. There are still conditions though: An authority to operate is required, a drug & alcohol program is necessary and a landing back at the departure point. Probably a few more things but that's off the top of my head.

Still, it makes joy flights a relatively easy thing to establish.
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 20:15
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All very good ideas. Time is right to see a reform in this area. Thx Sgt Bundy - do plan to take it further ala relevant ministers/ MP's.

Tinstaafl - thx also. Was not aware of the references you listed - will check them out first. Can you actually publish a schedule?

Bottom line, yes we all want safety in our operations but also we need to encourage business activity, particularly if o/s businesses can, we should be able to also.
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 05:32
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CASA Definition - Lie

What you have quoted is not the correct meaning of CAR 206 but is a CASA lie that has been peddled to the industry as the meaning of RPT for at least the last 20 years. You should not be quoting this rubbish on this forum, but instead quote the exact wording of CAR 206(1)(c) or for your scenic flight purposes, CAR 206(b)(ii), and discuss that.

You would find that the words "general" and "public" do not appear in the regulations, but the words "persons" and "generally" do. Have a read of these regs carefully with a Primary School English Grammar book nearby, which will clearly tell you that the word "generally" is an adverb and the word "persons" is a noun and as such, have nothing to do with one another.

An adverb modifies a verb or in this case the verb group "is not available for use". It means that you can have persons in your aircraft to a timetable but not for any general purpose, but a specific purpose e.g. the enjoyment of your scenic flight product.

I negotiated the wording of my brochure with my local FOI, and he agreed to listing my three branded scenic flights with descriptions that I was offering but listing my departure times - a choice of two as a suggestion - in a different part of the brochure well away from where my scenic flights were listed to keep Canberra happy. The FOI did not want the flights and departure times listed next to one another and it was a simple change to make.
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 09:10
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Quote what ever I like, pal!
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 13:11
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The title of your thread is "Reform Scenic Flights Regulation" and the first thing you do is not quote the regulation! I'm not your "pal" by the way!
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 20:32
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yes we all want safety in our operations
How long has CASA / CAA / DOT / DCA been collecting incident safety data? We should be able to make well informed decisions on safety rather than the theoretical air-conditioned Canberra meeting room ones we are getting.
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 21:01
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I negotiated the wording of my brochure with my local FOI, and he agreed to listing my three branded scenic flights with descriptions that I was offering but listing my departure times - a choice of two as a suggestion - in a different part of the brochure well away from where my scenic flights were listed to keep Canberra happy. The FOI did not want the flights and departure times listed next to one another and it was a simple change to make.
This, in a nutshell is everything wrong with CASA, the regs and operating scenic flights. You got one FOI's opinion on something of zero consequence to aviation safety and all that happened was you changed the wording of a brochure? You think this is good? Do you seriously think you should need a CASA opinion for a tourist brochure? Negotiate even. Faaaak, heaven help this industry. I guess you think this is the safest outcome for your punters?

Edit: Possum I mean no offense to you, I am sure you are bound to do the best you can for your company under the available circumstances and if this is a good outcome

Last edited by Aussie Bob; 26th Feb 2014 at 01:26.
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Old 26th Feb 2014, 08:24
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You hit the nail on the head Aussie Bob.

With the greatest of respect to Possum1, this is about reforming the day to day work practices of scenic flight operators to activate greater productivity, greater efficiencies & boost the opportunity to maximise their return on capital. There are of course enormous ongoing benefits.

This is not at all about how one individual may come to an arrangement with an FOI.

In the simplest of terms, what is sought in this instance is regulation, and by default legislation, which will encourage & welcome air charter companies to not only operate fixed schedule scenic flights, available to any group or individual, but most vitally be able to advertise their scheduled times of departure.

These services are offered in other nations and yet we wonder why our economy is faultering. Fred Hollows would often say don't tell me why it can't be done, tell me how it can be done! If other places around the world can do it, we here in Australia must also do it.
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Old 27th Feb 2014, 05:37
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Yes the regulations are very restrictive but with a little creative thinking, look what you can come up with.

You just have to be a little discreet with your departure times(for the people in Canberra who erroneously think scheduled departure times for the general public means RPT) see here: Day Tour ex Gold Coast | Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort Great Barrier Reef . Seair has expressed their departure time as a hotel pick-up time but still charges a per person price and operates in the charter category. Everybody on the aircraft is there for the specific purpose of a scenic return flight plus a day on Lady Elliott Island, yet they are the general public.

I offerred scenic return flights with a champagne breakfast on an island airstrip for six years, a shameless but improved copy of one of Seair's earlier trips way back when. I did not remove my departure time from my brochure. I simply put it in a different and as it turned out, better place on the brochure.

And you're right Aussie Bob. This was nothing to do with safety but everything to do with CASA not understanding their own regulations.

The Hot Air balloon operators offer a similar product with a single passenger fare and a departure time.

Nulli Secundus, if you sit down with pen and paper and think how you can package a product suitable for your location, I think there is good chance of success.

No - it shouldn't be this hard but then if it was easy, everybody would be doing it.

Last edited by Possum1; 27th Feb 2014 at 05:41. Reason: spelling
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Old 27th Feb 2014, 07:38
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What you guys fail to realise is that CAsA does not give a toss whether your making money or not, nor are they required to. They don't care if the tourist industry is collapsing, or half the population thrown out of work. Their brief is "Safety" and the reason for this is we, the industry, let them do a snow job on the pollies to ensure thats all they have to consider. On another thread there is Mc Comics submission to the Truss review., read it and weep if you can avoid throwing up, but it illustrates there is faint hope of reforming anything connected to CAsA. The Aviation Industry surges ahead in Kiwiland, Airline making record profits, maintenance organisations expanding, flying training booming. Compare them with us, then read their Regulations that McComic ridicules, No wonder so many in the world are adopting them, they are effective, clear, concise and business friendly, and they are achieving better safety outcomes than ours.

Possum, you are going to invest your capital, time and energy to set up a business based on a bureaucrat's opinion of what the regs mean?
All fine until a new FOI turns up with a different opinion. These are "Criminal" offences we are talking about.
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 04:46
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Dp 1210 os - aoc requirements for local scenic flights

Good Folks, CASA released a DP the subject back in 0h Twelve. Time for comment is now closed, but can still be found on the CASa website.


Seagull, who has done his share of scenic and joy flights, is of the opinion that Scenic flights that travel from A to B are properly classed as Air Transport (Part 135). However flights that start and finish at A, without intermediate landing, are little different to Aerial Work and should be regulated similarly i.e. outside of Part 135.


There may be a case for differentiating between Air Experience Flights conducted in smaller (say up to 4 place aircraft), where the pax are there just for the experience of flight, as at an air show or airport open day or even aerobatic (but not Warbird) flights, and pure Scenic Flights conducted in larger aircraft e.g. Ayres Rock flights.


The smaller aircraft should attract less CASa oversight, while the larger aircraft might be operated on an equivalent Aerial Work OC or on the back of another OC e.g. Part 141 flying training.
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 06:07
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I negotiated the wording of my brochure with my local FOI
Where in the Regs does it say that one can negotiate with a CAsA employee as to the interpretation of a particular Reg?

As for the above mentioned company operating to an offshore island, which company is supplying you with the seat, the aircraft operator or the island operator?
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 07:58
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Thorn bird makes a very good point. CASA certainly aren't motivated by success or failure of specific segments of the aviation industry. In fact logic says they may quietly be happy to see a contraction in flying activity as it reduces their workload. I can see from all the worthwhile comments here that this type of reform will be a huge achievement.
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 12:22
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Possum1, you have taken the ideas of the good Mr Fice as your own, without acknowledging them.

Direct Air AAT

Unfortunately for you, your grammar book, your (fictional?) FOI, the estimable Mr Fice and the whole industry, that interpretation of CAR 206 was rejected by the Federal Court, and CASA's view prevailed.

Send the details of your operation to CASA head office with your reasoning and see what happens...
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 13:11
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Where in the Regs does it say that one can negotiate with a CAsA employee as to the interpretation of a particular Reg?
Where in the regs does it say I can't? You don't do something just because there is no rule to cover it. It is always best to talk to people you are dealing with in the course of your business in a civil manner rather than ignore them and hope you don't get caught. How the FOI deals with his superiors and the degree of micro-managing he receives from them is his business.

If a new FOI wanted something different, I could have simply made the departure time "approximate" or "recommended."

This was a very minor matter at the time and I don't know why some people are sweating on this. Of far more importance and worry was the day to day safe operation of the aircraft within the weather and VFR minimas without being over cautious and cancelling a flight unnecessarily and, of course, the profitability of the business.

Last edited by Possum1; 28th Feb 2014 at 14:34.
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