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Senate RRAT hearing with CASA

Old 23rd Feb 2022, 09:06
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Senate RRAT hearing with CASA

If the whole video is as good as the first 1o minutes, might be well worth a watch
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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 10:27
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I watched the whole thing (okay, so I was bored).

Notably -
  • The initial matter raised by Senator McDonald sounds like somebody operating charter without an AOC, although no detail was given. CASA could have done a much better job of answering that;
  • Rex's "just culture" does not seem to align with industry norms, but does not seem to be ringing any bells with CASA;
  • Senator Patrick was under the mistaken belief that a Bell 412 is a single-engine helicopter. Perhaps more concerning is that the CASA Executive Manager, National Operations and Standards (Chris Monahan) also did not seem to have any idea;
  • The only credible CASA officer was the bloke who answered Senator Roberts question regarding exclusion from safety-sensitive activities after receiving a Covid vaccination;
  • The alleged incident (raised by Senator Roberts) where a domestic crew shut down both engines in flight after receiving Covid vaccinations sounds apocryphal to me.
The whole performance generally reflected poorly on both legislators and regulators.

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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 11:35
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Full points to the ex-military guy who questioned why a military Blackhawk could carry pax, but a painted one couldn’t carry firefighters. I’m sure CASA have their reasons, but it can’t be simply explained. Also a few times it was mentioned “but they do it like this in America…” but only when they couldn’t explain things.
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Old 24th Feb 2022, 01:13
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The initial matter raised by Senator McDonald sounds like somebody operating charter without an AOC, although no detail was given. CASA could have done a much better job of answering that;
And it sounded like without a current medical.

When CAsA finds a person capable of shooting this rubbish down in the senate, it will make the senators and anybody else trying to prosecute the 'real' problems at CAsA look like fools and possibly set the whole process back years. Is it that difficult for politicians to find an aviation advisor that can sort through the rubbish complaints and get to the real problems?
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Old 24th Feb 2022, 01:48
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Sounds like a job for GT. He can oversee these issues from business class and report back to the senate.
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Old 24th Feb 2022, 04:50
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I’m a big fan of Senator MacDonald, but…

Unless Senator MacDonald is about to announce the introduction of legislation to change something substantial about CASA or its powers or functions, rhetorical flourishes about ‘disbanding’ CASA do her no service at all. CASA couldn’t give a toss about any of the huffing and puffing of Senators at Estimates or Inquiry hearings. It doesn’t change thing one for CASA.

Senator MacDonald is a member of a thing called ‘the government’ in a thing called ‘the Federal Parliament’, which changes our society by making or amending or repealing things called ‘laws’. CASA is a creation of one of those laws, which also sets out CASA’s powers and functions. I’m not aware of any proposal by the government of which Senator MacDonald is a part to legislate for any substantial change to that law. (I don’t rule out the possibility of another pre-election stunt that will be the usual smoke and mirrors.)

And the carriage of passengers for hire or reward, other than under the authority of an AOC, has been a ‘no no’ for some time, even if the pilot is the holder of a CPL. There are always at least three sides to each story, and I’ll bet London to a brick that the person who wrote to Senator MacDonald didn’t tell all sides of the story. (One issue of substance seemed to me to be the inordinate amount of time it takes for the investigators to intimidate their way to a prosecutable case. A related long-term issue is that Qantas has apparently never committed even a strict liability offence. Remarkable. Truly remarkable.)

CASA’s always going to be happy for Senators to ‘stand up’ for these kinds of complainants, because if the CDPP decides to proceed with a prosecution and the prosecution gets up, the Senators are going to look silly. The prosecutions are for offences against a law made or not disallowed by … you guessed it.
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Old 25th Feb 2022, 06:01
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The following quote from Australian Flying - the last mInute Hitch 25 Feb 2022 - well said!

Senators have the right to throw up any question to a government body in inquiry or Estimates hearings. It is the place where the bureaucrats that have such a significant impact on the lives of ordinary people have to answer to the representatives of those ordinary people. Answers given to questions are considered evidence, so if a senator throws a hand grenade that an organisation is not prepared to catch and throw back, that organisation has the option to take the question on notice, which means they'll answer it later. But in the case of CASA, the senators are starting to think that process is being abused. In both Estimates and the GA inquiry, CASA seems to have come unprepared to answer questions on current issues. The inability of Jonathon Aleck to answer the question about Angel Flight costs in a GA inquiry hearing was the straw that broke the camel's back. As the head legal eagle at CASA, the senators thought he would have to know what the costs were as part of his role. That left two possibilities: CASA was sandbagging or they genuinely didn't know. Either way they probably deserved the admonishing they got. Things got worse in Estimates last week when it seemed CASA wasn't able to answer any questions at all. Senator McCarthy accused CASA CEO Pip Spence of just that. There was a certain level of unfairness in this. The CEO cannot know the answers to every question without micro-managing the organisation; they have to rely on middle-management experts to supply the answer in hearings. That so many critical issues are being taken on notice indicates, to me, that the fault lies with that management strata who aren't briefing their CEO properly. They need to get their ducks in line for the next time they front the senators or I wouldn't rule out a complete RRAT committee meltdown.

The need for a complete change of culture within the regulator was first formalised during the short-lived reign of Mark Skidmore as Director of Aviation Safety. He started the transition towards just culture, and after his departure the torch was theoretically taken up by Shane Carmody. But it seems to the GA industry that CASA's culture has not undergone any change at all, thwarted, perhaps, by a labyrinth of bureaucracy that has no end. That culturewhich perhaps could be described as an unjust culturecame under the heaviest fire it has for a long time in senate Estimates. Senator Susan McDonald waved a pile of papers and forcefully expressed her concerns over the treatment of a GA operator in Orange. Supporting fire came from Senator Rex Patrick who accused CASA of destroying the GA industry and CEO Pip Spence of delivering platitudes instead of firm answers to questions. Clearly, he had reached some form of limit, and Senator McDonald is standing with him shoulder-to-shoulder on that matter. Interestingly, McDonald mixed her ire at CASA with praise for Spence, revealing that the senator believes the problems in CASA don't come from the corner office in Aviation House, but from walled cubicles somewhere else on the floor. If I may speculate a bit, I suspect McDonald is casting the evil eye lower down the hierarchy chart. Can a genuine just culture be put in place at CASA with managers who agree in principle but disagree in action? I, for one, will be disappointed if the report into the GA inquiry doesn't recommend some changes in CASA along these lines, especially after McDonald virtually said in Estimates that she was ready to recommend CASA be disbanded in view of the poor culture that exists.

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Old 25th Feb 2022, 07:43
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Why would the "head legal eagle" need to know the costs of any regulatory proposal? Lawyers don't decide whether the costs of a regulatory proposal should or should not be paid. In any event, any estimate of the real costs of the Community Service Flight instrument imposing conditions on pilots licences would be an arse-pluck.

This is Amateur Hour stuff.

Correction and apology: I now realise AF was referring to the costs in the Federal Court matter dealing with the Angel Flight application. That is a number that the "head legal eagle" should have at the tip of his or her tongue. My apologies to AF.

Last edited by Lead Balloon; 26th Feb 2022 at 05:00. Reason: Added correction and apology
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Old 26th Feb 2022, 04:36
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Shocking responses from CASA's behalf. Is Casa fit for purpose ?, Are there rules fit for purpose ?. Either go FAA or NZ , stop making it complicated for everyone involved.
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Old 1st Mar 2022, 09:38
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Started watching this...

the first case raised was a Queensland pilot who appears to have had his privileges withdrawn because it sounds like he was doing “cost share” flights, without a current medical.
the second case raised was a LAME who taxis an aircraft into a bin, then has the audacity to complain the line markings were in the wrong place.

FFS - why are we wasting time and breath defending these people?

Why are either of these incidents the fault of CASA?
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 08:00
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Another year, more senate estimates, more tough talking Senators, more…….nothing.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 09:34
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Another year, more senate estimates, more tough talking Senators, more…….nothing.
So what you are saying P377 is its just de je vu all over again? Long gone are the days of smoke signals and pony pooh.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 23:31
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Originally Posted by Lookleft View Post
So what you are saying P377 is its just de je vu all over again? Long gone are the days of smoke signals and pony pooh.
Not sure about the pony pooh and smoke signals commentary LL, but the de ha vu reference seems to be the correct term. Don’t get me wrong, when these Senators get stuck into CASA it is a good thing to see. Rex Patrick does a good job. But the reality is this - nothing changes. It’s a very long waltz that’s been going on for decades old friend. “Same shit, different day”.

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Old 7th Mar 2022, 22:26
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Interesting that submission 73 to the GA inquiry was initially available for download (I downloaded a copy early this morning) but it is now named 'Confidential' with no download available. Some strange things have been going on with a couple of submissions to this inquiry.
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 23:50
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Originally Posted by Runaway Gun View Post
Full points to the ex-military guy who questioned why a military Blackhawk could carry pax, but a painted one couldn’t carry firefighters. I’m sure CASA have their reasons, but it can’t be simply explained. Also a few times it was mentioned “but they do it like this in America…” but only when they couldn’t explain things.
I think the issue is that CASA lacks the technical ability to certify helicopters. For instance, I know they do not employ a helicopter test pilot, so what do they do?
The answer is that they just accept what other certifying authorities have done.
In the case of the Blackhawk that would be the FAA, so I offer the following news clipfrom 8 Dec 2021 <https://www.defenseworld.net/news/30955/Sikorsky___s_S_70M_Black_Hawk_Helicopter_Gets_FAA_Civil_Cert ification>:

“With type certification, new production S-70M Black Hawk helicopters in the latest configuration are available to the U.S. commercial/civil market for the first time,” said Jason Lambert, vice president of Sikorsky Global Commercial & Military Systems. “Internationally, where the FAA restricted category is not widely accepted, we can now discuss with other civil aviation authorities the potential of validating the aircraft for challenging civil operations in their countries’ airspace.”

So just one "Blackhawk" type, the S-70M, is certified and only ex-factory new ones and in a category that CASA may not recognise.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 00:34
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In fairness to CASA, the Blackhawks they were talking about have reached their 'life of type' so far as the ADF is concerned, were designed to standards of which CASA was not and perhaps is not aware and maintained by reference to ICA of which CASA was not and perhaps is not aware. Plonking a qualified test pilot in the seat doesn't address those issues.

Having wrested the rotary wing capability and expertise away from the RAAF back in the early 90s, the Army flew the Blackhawk like they operate tanks. Here is some relevant reading. If CASA wrote to Sikorsky and the FAA about early model Blackhawks that have been flogged by the Australian Army and reached their 'on paper' life of type, and asked: "Whaddaya reckon about their airworthiness?", I reckon the response would not be very informative.

All of that said, not being able lawfully to use a functioning helicopter to carry properly-informed emergency services personnel in a state of emergency due to a firestorm is silly.

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Old 8th Mar 2022, 01:43
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Originally Posted by Mr Approach View Post
I think the issue is that CASA lacks the technical ability to certify helicopters. For instance, I know they do not employ a helicopter test pilot, so what do they do?
The answer is that they just accept what other certifying authorities have done.
In the case of the Blackhawk that would be the FAA, so I offer the following news clipfrom 8 Dec 2021 <https://www.defenseworld.net/news/30955/Sikorsky___s_S_70M_Black_Hawk_Helicopter_Gets_FAA_Civil_Cert ification>:

“With type certification, new production S-70M Black Hawk helicopters in the latest configuration are available to the U.S. commercial/civil market for the first time,” said Jason Lambert, vice president of Sikorsky Global Commercial & Military Systems. “Internationally, where the FAA restricted category is not widely accepted, we can now discuss with other civil aviation authorities the potential of validating the aircraft for challenging civil operations in their countries’ airspace.”

So just one "Blackhawk" type, the S-70M, is certified and only ex-factory new ones and in a category that CASA may not recognise.
I find it difficult to believe that no one has approached the manufacturer to see what can be done. Wouldn't that be at the top of the list? The CASA reps make it sound like the Blackhawk is completely alien and no one knows where they came from.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 02:36
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There was a solution incorporated and working but CASA staff have lost it. The solution is described elsewhere on PPRuNe or Aunty Prue.

The solution used was to make firefighters "informed participants' not passengers.

This is somewhat akin to what is done with warbird flights, skydiving - etc. Informed participants are taken to understand the differences and accept the risks.
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 15:11
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I think the first step to this problem (CASA) is transparency.

The Freedom of information department needs to answer directly to the CEO, and be separate from the legal department - this will help minimise any interference... once there is transparency, evidence can then be gathered... and heads can roll.... at the moment CASA are not transparent - and will only release information it WANTS to release... which is bugger all...
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