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Avalon & ramp checks

Old 1st Mar 2017, 23:28
  #1 (permalink)  
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Avalon & ramp checks

Last time I flew into Avalon East we were subject to a very aggressive bullying ramp check from CASA that held us up 20 minutes or more and had the CASA guy spreading out all our documents on the wing and photographing many pages. Needless to say, he found no fault - which didn't improve his mood.

The experience was so bad, I swore not to fly in again. But time has mellowed me and I'm about to do it again. But I'm not going to take any crap from CASA.

I want to be prepared to limit any ramp check to only what they are entitled to check. Some years ago there were posts on this topic. Can someone remind me about the limits of things CASA can request during a ramp check?
Old Akro is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2017, 23:33
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Posts: 1,038 for CASA's checklist
djpil is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2017, 00:54
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CASA's checklist is the items they would like to check, not necessarily what they are entitled to check.

Whether you want to pursue the difference is an individual decision.

An interesting discussion about the USA rules here:
Legal Issues for Pilots - AVweb Features Article

Whether Australia has the same distinction between a check and an investigation, and protections against self-incrimination I don't know.
andrewr is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2017, 01:12
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I think you should check whether CASA have the authority to take, copy or photograph your documents without your consent??
tail wheel is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2017, 01:51
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Bit of 'luck of the draw' with these. If its busy and they're already tied up with others when you arrive, then all good . They tend to pick on the commercial guys 1st. If possible, when you arrive, secure the aircraft and hurry your passengers along over to the gate asap! Avoid eye contact with the guys in the flouro vests at all times!

If you're unlucky enough to get 'selected', then be polite but keep conversation to a minimum. What they (normally) want to see is the usual documents like MR, AFM, license & medical, W&B done, and maybe that your EFB is up to date (or paper map if you have one). Luck of the draw again as to the person you get, but if they're half reasonable and everything's in order, then that should be it. If they're an a*hole, well, good luck.

NB:- Someone mentioned on the Avalon 2017 thread that they may be targeting iPad & Gopro mounts this time..(?)

That episode described by Old Akro with the photography sounds highly irregular. Not the 1st time I've heard of someone having an unpleasant experience like that. Copped a real pr*ck by the sounds of it.

Best of luck to all flying in. Has anyone flown in on the trade days and been ramp checked..?
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 02:32
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It is very much a shame that CASA don't follow the FAA policy in their approach to ramp checks.

extract from

A. Surveillance Policy. Air shows, fly‑ins, and other gatherings of general aviation aircraft and airmen are opportunities for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to present a positive image to the aviation community with whom we work and the general public. Many of the aircraft operators attending these aviation events are regular users of our air traffic and flight service facilities, but their contact with Flight Standards personnel may have been rare. Most of the people who fly their airplanes to fly‑in events and air shows are aviation enthusiasts and hobbyists and are not employed in the aviation industry as pilots.

1) The FAA would like this important segment of airspace users to have a very positive image of inspectors and the safety activities inspectors perform. Therefore, the FAA encourages inspectors to establish early contact with sponsors and organizers of aviation events so that informational and FAA Safety Team activities can be planned to serve attendees.

2) Under no circumstances should these gatherings be targeted for a blanket sweep inspection of spectator airmen and aircraft.

3) The scope of surveillance conducted on aviation event performers and their aircraft will be determined by the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) manager.

4) Inspectors assigned work functions at aviation events should strive to earn the confidence of the attending and participating airmen. This can be accomplished by displaying expert technical knowledge as an aviation safety professional.

5) The guidance in this section does not preclude inspectors from taking appropriate action to resolve situations they observe that require immediate corrective action.

Last edited by no_one; 2nd Mar 2017 at 02:43.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 03:11
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Regarding W+B being "done"...something I've always wondered (and this is very obviously only applicable to private operations, not commercial) is to what degree this "doneness" is.

My impression was that you simply had to be able to prove that the aircraft is within W+B limits. Does this mean that when ramped you must already have completed documents showing this?


Not have documents but be able to demonstrate it when asked.

The reason I ask is that during training I filled out about a billion W+B calculations for single pilot in a C172 with full fuel. Obviously always the same result. If I was taking the same aircraft now (with no changes to the weighing procedures etc), I wouldn't fill out a W+B, but I would KNOW and would BE ABLE to prove that requirements are satisfied.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 03:38
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Maybe this will help.
CAR 139 Documents to be carried in Australian aircraft
(1) Subject to subregulation (2), the pilot in command of an aircraft, when flying, must carry on the aircraft:
(a) its certificate of registration;
(b) its certificate of airworthiness;
(c) if Part 42 of CASR does not apply to the aircraft—unless CASA otherwise approves, its maintenance release and any other document approved for use as an alternative to the maintenance release for the purposes of a provision of these Regulations;
(d) unless CASA otherwise approves, the licences and medical certificates of the operating crew;
(e) the flight manual (if any) for the aircraft;
(f) any licence in force with respect to the radio equipment in the aircraft;
(g) if the aircraft is carrying passengers—a list of the names, places of embarkation and places of destination of the passengers;
(h) if the aircraft is carrying cargo—the bills of lading and manifests with respect to the cargo.
Penalty: 10 penalty units.
(2) An aircraft operating wholly within Australian territory is not required, when flying, to carry a document specified in paragraph (1)(a), (b), (f) or (g).
(3) An aircraft that is operated under an AOC need not carry its flight manual when flying if it carries on board an operations manual that:
(a) contains the information and instructions that are required, under the relevant airworthiness standards for the aircraft, to be included in the flight manual; and
(b) does not contain anything that conflicts with the information or instructions.
(4) An offence against subregulation (1) is an offence of strict liability.
Note: For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.
(5) Subregulation (1) does not apply to the pilot in command if the flight was authorised by a special flight permit issued under regulation 21.197 of CASR.
Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in subregulation (5) (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 08:29
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At the last Avalon when I arrived at East, they only targeted the commercial guys and gave promotional materials to the private guys.

I kept the guy in his flouro jacket waiting for about 10 mins on arrival only to finding he wanted to give me some stickers.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 09:36
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If you have all the advertised propaganda you will be ok. W&B, you just need to prove that your operating within the limits for GA.

EFBs are a debatable issue, if you are using one make sure you have the paper docs. Hide the yoke and suction mounts, they will say that they require an engineering order or STC, if you haven't got one you will get a ticket, knee pads are ok.

My twin brother is an FOI..........
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 09:57
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Regarding W+B being "done".... Does this mean that when ramped you must already have completed documents showing this?

This really is something that folks should have off pat. I guess it's a bit like most things which we don't do all the time .. we tend to forget the details ...

The answer is, "it depends".

In summary .. do have a read of the following ...

(a) CAO 20.16.1.

para 3 - aircraft must be loaded iaw the approved loading system if one is specified. This will be approved either by a CASA delegate or a WCO. If a loading system is not required there should be a statement in the weigh data to that effect.

If your aircraft is a simple machine and has a complicated loading system, you might like to get that changed to simple load rules which are of the form .. load this row then that row with similar prescriptive rules for the cargo and fuel. The advantage for PVT lighties is that you don't need to have done any specific paperwork .. but do make sure you are loaded iaw the load rules.

para 5 - most heavies and RPT have to have a completed load sheet. For most aircraft this probably will be a trimsheet style of loading system. Again this will be approved either by a CASA delegate or WCO.

(b) CAO 20.16.2.

This CAO covers cargo etc. Details of how cargo should be carried should be as approved either by a CASA delegate or an appropriate Industry engineering AP.

(c) CAO 20.16.3,

You should be familiar with this CAO and, probably for the airshow where folks might be taking the kids, para 13 for the ankle biters.

There are some further bits and pieces in CAO 100.7 but that is directed more at the engineering folks and the details should have been migrated to the 20.16 bits.

Overall, you should find that the ramp checks are pretty straight forward for the majority of cases.

However, do keep in mind that CASA is checking for regulatory compliance .. so do the "hello, officer" thing with a smile .. same as when the flashing blue lights request you to stop while driving ... simple people interaction 101.

W&B, you just need to prove that your operating within the limits for GA

Not quite .. see above ...
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 10:07
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Out in force today at YAVE - I missed out but the next guy was gone over pretty thoroughly.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 11:06
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Totally depends on the FOI JT!

CASA aren't that great for their internal training and consistency within the field offices. ASR clearly indicates this.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 12:47
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Regarding W+B being "done"...something I've always wondered (and this is very obviously only applicable to private operations, not commercial) is to what degree this "doneness" is.
Opso92, I've just had a good look through the regs (including those CAO references provided by JT, above), and can tell you this:

If your operation is not RPT, and your aircraft is less than 5,700 Kg, then the only thing you have to do is:

Ensure that:

1. Your aircraft is loaded in accordance with the approved loading system;
2. The takeoff and landing weight is less than the maximum;
3. The CG is within limits for all stages of flight;

There is no requirement for any paperwork. The only requirement is for you to ensure the above things. Of course, you may get a smartarse FOI that wants to know how you managed to "ensure" those things without paperwork, but such a question has no legal support.

From the legal point of view, they would have to prove that you did not load in accordance with the loading system, or that the takeoff or landing weights were exceeded, or that the CG was out of limits.

They can't take you to court on the grounds that they didn't like your explanation about how you ensured everything.

For example, you could say that you consulted the local clairvoyant before undertaking the flight. The FOI wouldn't like this, but couldn't take you to court on this because it does not prove that you didn't ensure!
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 13:10
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Caveat - I'm an engineer/pilot, not a lawyer ... so the following needs to be read in that light ..

Ensure that: ...

From a practical point of view, the inference in CAO 100.7 at para 5 is that the approved loading system, when observed, will cover the nominated requirements -

2. The takeoff and landing weight is less (more correctly, "not more than") than the maximum; (and the MZFW limit, if specified)

3. The CG is within limits for all stages of flight;

How that is to be done needs to be specified in the loading system.

Depending on the requirements of the loading system, there may, or may not be, a requirement to produce paperwork prior to the flight. Note that para 3 of CAO 20.16.1 directs the pilot to observe the requirements of the loading system.

Hence my suggestion, in respect of smaller, simpler, aircraft .. that the loading system include loads rules which avoid the need for paper shuffling. So, for instance, a trimsheet would need to be completed to demonstrate compliance with the loading system. (That that is a good idea in the event of an incident is a separate issue to the question at hand).

.. and, of course, I second the desirability of seeking counsel from the local clairvoyant as a necessary element of one's pre-flight activities
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 20:47
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What Duck Pilot says. Best advice I can give is tell CASA as little as possible. Do not EVER volunteer information to an official, they will only use it to convict you. - there is a website that goes into great detail on this subject (why you shouldn't talk to police).

As for W & B, I always have a scrawled bit of paper with the most usual W & B situations with me on board, full fuel, etc. When touring, I did an exercise book page with accurate weights of me, Mrs.S, luggage etc. and full fuel and the resulting CG.

It is interesting that the proposed regulations (can't think which 91?) created an offence of landing with less than statutory reserve fuel. If that ever goes ahead, then CASA can add to the ramp check your fuel plan and make you dip your tanks as well.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 21:20
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I will be compliant, as we were last time. I fly a 6 seat twin. So I think they presume that a twin is a commercial flight. My flight to Avalon East is about 15 minutes. I'll have about 3 hours fuel on board and a number of 100 kg below MTOW. You would think that anyone with an IQ above room temperature might accept that these conditions don't require full documentation. But not last time. Last time was an offensive bullying procedure from a CASA guy who was threatening to take legal action over a documentation issue where we were correct and he was wrong. And this was after 20 - 30 minutes of what could not be described in any other way than disrespectful interrogation while our friends stood around and waited.

I'll have the full range of documents ready, but I'm just not going to take the any of the crap we got last time.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 21:26
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You blokes get different ramp checks than me. The ones I have experienced have always been brief, courteous and to the point. The last one picked up on an unsigned maintenance release (my bad). This resulted in a "you better sign it", nothing more.
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Old 2nd Mar 2017, 21:36
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We live in the age of computers, allegedly paper is out, computers are in.
CAsA are environmental vandals. How many trees are used to produce the vast volumes of "shelf ware" required to be involved in aviation? Still even if everything was "computerised" you'd probably need a "Cray" computer to store it all in, but thats another story.
I've encountered several XL based computer programs that quickly check your CG
even flagging when an limit is breached. There are also facilities on some of the flight planning programs available that allow you to set up a quick and easy W&B check for your aircraft. I know there are a few FOI's with a 1950 mentality who will tell you these must be "Approved" i.e. pay us a bunch of money, then get a weight and balance delegate to put their signature on it so we are absolved of all responsibility and liability before you can use it, but I doubt they would have much success trying to make you into a criminal (felon. There goes any chance of an overseas holiday). CAsA may have no common sense when it comes to these things, but I imagine they would have a hard time convincing a court that the intent of the act has not been met.
FGD 135 is correct that a load sheet is not required, but a fairly simple way to get them off your back is Photocopy the trim sheet in A5, laminate it, and stick it in the roof lining or somewhere accessible. If in doubt about your CG its handy because you don't need to rifle through the FM to find a trim sheet, if you want real accuracy a china graph pencil is all you need. If an FOI asked for a trim sheet show them the card, as long as its got china graph smudges all over it to indicate its been used that should be sufficient to prove "Compliance".
I heard a story regarding one of those power mad FOI's at an event. The person he was harassing finally had enough and head butted him. By the time the coppers arrived all the witnesses had lost their memories.
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 00:33
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Flew into and of Oshkosh at the last airshow a couple of times, no ramp check. The only place I saw FAA inspectors was at their stand where I said g'day and discussed a few things. I was not looked down upon or treated like a criminal.

They did however, look at me like I was a weird person when I asked them if they had anything like an ASIC. He asked why I would want that, I explained to him that it has halted all aviation related terrorist attacks, stopped any unauthorised access at aerodromes particularly in places like Warrnambool and is the most respected ID in all of Australia. He wasn't convinced of this. He said he'd much prefer the freedoms he enjoyed than a useless ID card. I couldn't believe that he held the ASIC in complete contempt, I feel so safe and secure that I sleep with it around my neck
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