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VTOL news updates - Australia

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VTOL news updates - Australia

Old 16th Jul 2019, 05:33
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VTOL news updates - Australia

What will the new FISCAL Year bring?

The Australian FISCAL year starts on 1 July. This is when many rotorcraft and drone operators begin to plan carefully for the coming year’s activities. By comparison, the northern hemisphere vertical flight operators are now enjoying their summer holidays, which explains why it is harder to contact OEMs in the USA and Europe.

Looking back at the previous year, Australians had some significant challenges, to provide enough rotorcraft resources to overcome setbacks the Australian community suffered due to bushfires, floods, cyclones and drought relief, just to mention a few of the natural disasters Mother Nature tossed our way. It was during these responses by emergency services, drones began emerging as a highly effective supplement to other airborne agencies; when appropriate coordination was in place. The search and surveying capabilities has been totally underestimated; and now most emergency services are vigorously pursuing the new RPAS technology now coming onto the market.

Despite past community support operations now being distant memories; the last six months has been a time of insecurity for many Australian operators due to the regulatory reform processes being imposed upon the general aviation (GA) helicopter industry and to a lesser extent the emerging drone industry. The pre-election polling was predicting a federal election which would result in a change of government.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), with the best of intentions, has embarked on an enormous change to the generally accepted long-standing rules; which probably is of little bother to the airlines. However, the aeroplane general aviation industry had to make enormous adjustments in matters relating to the training of flight crew and technical maintenance staff.

Although helicopters only make up 15% of the Australian civil register, operators’ expressions of concern often received little attention. But with the passing of time, the aviation community clearly understood the helicopter industry has undergone more changes than their aeroplane cousins. Several regulatory matters are still to be sorted but are being delayed by the fact industry and the regulator are both suffering skill shortages, especially in areas where revision of the complex legislation is required.

It has been claimed the complex legislation was written by lawyers to brief judges on aviation issues during court proceedings. Fortunately, CASA has noted many operators are having trouble with the new hard to understand legislation. As a result, CEO of CASA has taken action to have some parts of the regulations rewritten in plain English, so those on the flight line and can implement the new rules.

The primary cause of the insecurity being felt as the election approached, was that working committees are often linked to the federal Minister responsible for aviation and CEO of CASA. But a change of government would cause an enormous amount of disruption to this process. Industry would have to wait while the new minister became familiar with the problems he was inheriting and the work in progress by committees. Many volunteers assisting on committees thought much work would be lost; or proposed solutions would be further delayed causing their businesses to suffer further.

No doubt the VTOL industry breathed a sigh of relief when the previous government was re-elected. As history shows, the then opposition was touted to take over the government as their social welfare offerings and promises of increased spending on social reforms would be considered more popular than the incumbent government’s more conservative business aligned approach to the economy.

The future of the VTOL industry is now much brighter now CEO of CASA has restructured his Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP). The recent restructuring of the panel is an important step forward to further improve communication between the industry and CASA. The ASAP provides the DAS/CEO with informed and objective advice on current and potential issues and the way CASA performs its functions.

In order to move closer to the coalface, three new and respected members were appointed, they are: Adrianne Fleming, Ray Cronin and Dr Reece Clothier. The highly regarded newcomers are from the light aircraft, helicopter and drone segments of the industry. Professor Pat Murray, of the University of Southern Queensland, is all the independent Chair of the Panel. Three current members of the ASAP continue to serve - John Gissing, Jim Davis and Michael Monck – as well as CASA’s two representatives, Graeme Crawford and Rob Walker.

In conclusion, the Australian VTOL community is being offered better access to CASA at the highest level; and the economy is undergoing significant changes which are now being approved by the Senate in Canberra.

The future, in fact, looks good!

At a guess, the general aviation industry itself will soon undergo significant changes due to the new air taxi UAM technology being trialled soon in Australia. International experts warn the new air taxi industry will attract many helicopter pilots who will be pioneers in this new industry, further increasing shortages in the helicopter industry segment.

Enjoy - Rickshaw
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Old 16th Jul 2019, 07:58
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News today of Victoria Police forming drone units. Initial reports state they will be used for monitoring footy crowds at Melbourne's large sporting venues.
https://www.midlandexpress.com.au/category/latest-news/

One likely to be based in Bendigo, a town I know well.
It is a pity that a town 100 miles away from Melbourne, does not have a dedicated airwing assigned to the area. No doubt drones will fill some of the gap some of the time. In the past I have called for the use of light utility helicopters, such as R44 police helicopter in regional Victoria. Particularly in summer to support communities in bushfire emergencies.
Bendigo is blessed with 320 sunny days per year, is largely flat, but high ambient temperatures take their toll on performance of a piston engine in summer.
Having said that, the R44 police has an exemplary accident record, all the more safer now it has a fuel cell.

Regionally based air ambulances are used in the winching and rescue role.

Long lens performance of a lightweight stabilised gimbal is still well below their larger uber expensive and heavier brothers. On the other hand a high flying drone can be truely covert in a rural setting.

My experience with government agencies is that they tend to defer to their core role, for police this is law enforcement.

I see the good work done by the US Civil Air patrol and in the past have wondered if there is scope for a similar organisation in Australia to support rural communities. Perhaps the best we can hope for is a civil drone patrol....

Interesting times ahead.
mjb
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Old 20th Jul 2019, 05:44
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VTOL news updates - Australia

Australian helicopter fleet. CASA website data at 30 Jun ’18, suggests Australia with 2,254 helicopters is ranked second in the Western World for the number helicopter registrations. Australia also has the largest fleet of light helicopters. The register consists of 1,392 piston engined helicopters (61% of helicopter registrations) and 862 turbine powered helicopters (38%). The turbine group has 592 single engined (69%) of turbine helicopters) and 279 multiengine helicopters (32%).

At February 2019, the Robinson Helicopter Company still dominated the Australian register with 1,166 machines, or 51% of all helicopter registrations. The Robinson lead helicopter is the R22 helicopter (617), closely followed by the R44 (528). The Robinson piston engine helicopters make up 83% of the piston fleet. It is anticipated the R44 will soon overtake the R22 numbers.

CASA data, current to 24 Aug ’18, shows helicopters are registered as follows: QLD - 734; NSW – 523; VIC – 297; WA – 286; NT – 179; SA – 75; TAS – 45 and ACT – 9. Today, there are more helicopters north of the Brisbane line than to the South.

Helicopter growth rates are back to the historical rate of twice the GDP.

The Robinson fleet is showing stronger growth, single-engine turbines are static and multiengine helicopters are growing at almost 8%, due increased HEMS activity as the aeromedical industry restructures.

Drone numbers. Australia now has 1,106 RPA operator’s certificates or ReOCs. This is 244 more than the manned 862 air operator’s certificates of which around 280 are helicopter. The 1,106 drone operator certificate holders employing more than 6,000 remote pilots around Australia. Nonregistered drones may exceed 12,000? The growth rate has been explosive in nature. A 120% Growth rate was reported for the year ending 2016.

And the winner is: Drone commercial operators (1106) outnumber helicopter operators (280) four to one! Drone commercial “pilots” (6,000) outnumber helicopter commercial pilots (3,500) or almost two to one. Although the helicopter industry is happy with a growth rate of twice the GDP (5%) they agree they will never match (or catch) the RPAS’s skyrocketing numbers.

The current annual growth rate for the 13,260 non-helicopter aircraft is 0.04% pa.

Effectively zero!
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Old 20th Jul 2019, 07:03
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RPAs driver must become comercial pilots.
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Old 20th Jul 2019, 07:50
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How many of the helicopter operators are also drone commercial operators?
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Old 20th Jul 2019, 15:28
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Originally Posted by SRFred View Post
How many of the helicopter operators are also drone commercial operators?
Excellent question.
What is the “employment” status of drone pilots? Full, part casual?



mjb
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Old 20th Jul 2019, 21:34
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Helisweet, mjb and SRFred,

Once again a good observations. I did a quick web search and could not see an industrial award for drone pilots or other associated skill sets. It appears there are many more drone pilots, maybe 6000, compared to helicopter commercial licences of around half that number- they have an award via AFAP.

Does any award exist in Australia?
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Old 22nd Jul 2019, 03:22
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Is it cheaper to register choppers in Qld than other states? I heard it's cheaper to buy cars in Qld due to some reason.
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Old 22nd Jul 2019, 06:10
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Interesting social (or socialist) experiment, with an entire industry's compensation level regulated by an "award". Any country other than Australia trying this? Does this apply to all industry in Australia or just aviation? I wonder if it is fuelling the explosive growth of RPA, as natural economic forces will force end-runs around artificially imposed business costs.
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Old 22nd Jul 2019, 06:32
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Originally Posted by malabo View Post
Interesting social (or socialist) experiment, with an entire industry's compensation level regulated by an "award". Any country other than Australia trying this? Does this apply to all industry in Australia or just aviation? I wonder if it is fuelling the explosive growth of RPA, as natural economic forces will force end-runs around artificially imposed business costs.
Dating back to 1904, the Conciliation and Arbitration Act set in concrete a Minimum Wage in 1907: then 7 shillings a day.

These days it has been basically replaced with EBA (Enterprise Bargaining Agreements) negotiated for companies and workplaces, but generally still referred to as the Award for those involved. Most large companies have EBAs so the Pilot's Award remains basically as a safety net; we also have a minimum Superannuation payment required of 9.5% of the salary/wage.
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Old 22nd Jul 2019, 13:17
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Originally Posted by Tickle View Post
Is it cheaper to register choppers in Qld than other states? I heard it's cheaper to buy cars in Qld due to some reason.
Registration is a commonwealth matter, hence the same in each state.

Note the registering an aircraft is cheaper than registering a car...
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Old 5th Oct 2019, 23:11
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Australian specs for MCC(H) simulators released

On 13 Sep '19, CASA sent out Edition 1 of Standards for FSTD - MCC Training - Helicopters.

In September 2014 the MCC was required by some licence holders; but by September 2015 the MCC rules were applicable to all pilots. Unfortunately the standards for a helicopter MCC simulator were not released. Although it appears exemptions were later given to some of training organisations to conduct this training. Now four years later, the regulator has issued standards for a helicopter simulator capable of conducting MCC training. It would appear at first glance, standards are based on the popular AW139 helicopter, although specifications are still known as generic only.

This is good news for the helicopter industry, because with an increasing number of heavier helicopters requiring two pilot crews; and an annual attrition rate nudging around 5%, only adds to the looming shortage of pilots in this category. Hopefully, this will clear the air so that future simulator instructors and testing offices can be trained and approved. As most of these folks are approaching retirement age, the attrition rate this group would be uncomfortably high.

More soon
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 01:53
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Originally Posted by robsrich View Post
Australian specs for MCC(H) simulators released

On 13 Sep '19, CASA sent out Edition 1 of Standards for FSTD - MCC Training - Helicopters.

In September 2014 the MCC was required by some licence holders; but by September 2015 the MCC rules were applicable to all pilots. Unfortunately the standards for a helicopter MCC simulator were not released. Although it appears exemptions were later given to some of training organisations to conduct this training. Now four years later, the regulator has issued standards for a helicopter simulator capable of conducting MCC training. It would appear at first glance, standards are based on the popular AW139 helicopter, although specifications are still known as generic only.

This is good news for the helicopter industry, because with an increasing number of heavier helicopters requiring two pilot crews; and an annual attrition rate nudging around 5%, only adds to the looming shortage of pilots in this category. Hopefully, this will clear the air so that future simulator instructors and testing offices can be trained and approved. As most of these folks are approaching retirement age, the attrition rate this group would be uncomfortably high.

More soon
how is this added cost a good thing?
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 11:20
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Originally Posted by havick View Post


how is this added cost a good thing?
Havick , you know CA$A loves adding cost , for no reason , an EASA MCC , can be done in a FNPT level 2 sim, with dual controls and checklist ...
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Old 23rd Oct 2019, 08:14
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VTOL e-news Asia-Pacific - AUSTRALAN HELICOPTER INDUSTRY

CASA Annual Report 2018-2019 - Data to 30 June 2019
Research based on the latest CASA Annual Report 2018- 2019 published on website 18 Oct ’19 and changes to CASA Aircraft Register current to 30 Sep ‘19.

On 30 Sep ’19, CASA website stated Australia had 15,647 aircraft registrations of which 13,335 (85%) were non-helicopters.

Helicopters numbered 2,312 and made up 15% of the registrations.

Register changes from 30 Jun ’17 to 30 Sep ‘19 Helicopter registrations increased from 2,101 to 2,312 = 211. Around 4.5% growth per year.

Helicopter industry growth is twice the traditional GDP. (Not current one at 1.4%)

Non-helicopter listings in decline.

Since 30 Jun ’18, the CASA Aircraft Register has grown by only 118. But RW listings increased by 211. Therefore, non-helicopter listing fell by 93!

Australia’s global position – It appears Australia is ranked second in the world for helicopter registrations. (It would be third after Russia which has mainly heavy machines and a small number of small privately-owned machines). Australia has the largest fleet of light helicopters in the world, outside the USA. (Australia only has 23 m population). The list consists of 1,413 piston engined helicopters (61% of helicopter registrations) and 899 turbine powered helicopters (39%). Of the 899 turbine, 598 are SE helicopters (66%) and 301 are ME (34%).

Since 20 Jun ’17, the ME fleet grew from 279 to 301, an annual rate of 3.5% pa.

The Robinson Helicopter Company dominates the Australian register with 1,189 machines, or 51% of all helicopter registrations. The Robinson lead helicopter is the R22 helicopter (616), closely followed by the R44 (545). The Robinson piston engine helicopters make up 85% of the Australian piston fleet. There are only 28 R66 turbine helicopters on the register.

The 301 multiengine helicopters are classified into two categories:
• Below 5,700 kg = 216, and
• Above 5,700 kg = 85.

Recent growth rate trends. From I Jul ‘17 to 30 Sep ’19 are:
• Piston. From 1,256 to 1,413 = 157. (5.5% pa).
• SE turbine. From 569 to 598 = 23. (1.8% pa).
• ME less than 5,700 kg 185 to 216. (7.4% pa).
• ME over 5,700 kg 91 to 85 = Loss 7. (-3.5% pa).

Fleet distribution: CASA data, at 30 Sep ’19, showed helicopters are registered, as follows:
· QLD - 826
· NSW – 470
· WA – 349
· VIC – 301
· NT – 196
· SA – 100
· TAS – 58
· ACT – 6
Overseas registered – 10. At various locations. All heavy lift – firefighting, etc.

Next updates - pilot licences - numbers and categories. See MCC(H) shortages becoming a problem.

Last edited by robsrich; 24th Oct 2019 at 11:57.
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Old 23rd Oct 2019, 13:34
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Australia has the largest fleet of light helicopters in the world.
That seems like an unlikely statistic. In the US there are over 2700 Robinson registrations alone.
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Old 24th Oct 2019, 11:55
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Good call. I omitted to say outside the USA. I will correct my post if I can,
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Old 26th Oct 2019, 07:03
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Good news for UAV fans. Drone remote pilot licences increased from 5664 to 12845 in two years! Does this tell you something? Are you still a disbeliever? Volocopter, the pioneer in Urban Air Mobility (UAM), successfully completed its first manned flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay on 22 Oct ’19. This was the last trial of a demanding test series to verify and validate the ability of Volocopter air taxis to fly over the area – we will tell you why.

The combo course is back. Airwork Helicopters are advertising the start of an aeroplane school in 2020. This makes it easier for rural pilots to obtain both a FW and RW licence before they head back home to start work. It makes commercial sense, because the overall cost is less than a straight through commercial license. This was a model used by Chopperline many decades ago.

Bristow. At the heavy end of town - great news! Bristow has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings as has PHI and CHC. This clears the way for a reorganisation of their offshore heavy helicopter operations. Hopefully, opportunities for our senior pilots to upgrade to a command position once they have obtained an MCC(H) Certificate.

More soon
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Old 3rd Nov 2019, 19:53
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ADS-B grant announced for NZ GA. 4 Oct ’19.

You may be eligible for financial support to help you equip with ADS-B as part of a new $12.5 million ADS-B Transponder Grant announced by the Government.

Owners of New Zealand-registered general aviation aircraft who install appropriate ADS-B OUT equipment will be eligible for a grant of up to NZ$2500 plus GST to help with the costs of installation. The grant will apply retrospectively, with compliant ADS-B installations since 14 June 2014 also eligible.

Deputy Director, Air Transport and Airworthiness, Mark Hughes said the grant money will help ensure general aviation aircraft are able to operate in controlled airspace when the proposed ADS-B mandate takes effect in December 2021. “Under the proposed mandate, aircraft without ADS-B equipment won’t be able to fly in controlled airspace from that date, so it’s vitally important that owners equip early so they can continue flying,” Mr Hughes said. “ADS-B brings significant safety benefits to New Zealand’s aviation system, so it’s great this funding will be available to help smaller operators to get over the line with their installations ahead of the proposed ADS-B mandate. “This grant programme is one of the most generous worldwide and will help with the costs of installing ADS-B equipment for approximately 4,000 general aviation aircraft on a first-come, first served basis.”

To support the uptake of ADS-B IN, up to NZ$500 plus GST will also be made available for those who install suitable equipment to give their aircraft ADS-B IN capability. “Pilots will only unleash the full benefits of ADS-B in the cockpit if they are able to get additional traffic awareness through ADS-B IN alongside their usual visual scanning, so it’s important to consider adding ADS-B IN to your installation,” Mr Hughes said. The ADS-B Transponder Grant scheme will be administered by the Civil Aviation Authority. Eligibility criteria and details about the application process are being developed and will be published on the Authority’s website and sent out to aircraft owners when they are finalised.

In the meantime, if you’re an aircraft owner, make sure you contact your avionics provider promptly to talk about what ADS-B equipment would be right for your aircraft. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions about the scheme – although we won’t be able to address issues of eligibility until the eligibility criteria are released.
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Old 10th Nov 2019, 11:35
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Move to save Australia’s rural aviation and help mustering industry. Push to save rural aviation. Courier Mail 30 Oct ’19.

The Morrison Government is taking aim at unaffordable regional airfares and will push to cut costs and regulations for the struggling bush aviation industry. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and the Government was operating consultation with the industry, regulators and authorities to develop a plan to ensure regional aviation remained viable and competitive. A key focus of the regional aviation policy statement would be to target expensive regional airfares and reduce regulatory burdens, so industry remained a thriving channel of economic growth in in the bush, he said.

Queensland LNP Sen Susan McDonald, who led a committee that recently investigated the operation, regulation and funding of bush aviation, said there must be a clear link between safety outcomes and the cost of regulation. She was particularly concerned about regulatory and cost burdens on Australia’s unique helicopter mustering industry as well as the way “unaffordable airfares” on some regional routes were stifling tourism. “I have seen firsthand the struggles of regional aviation; in particular, in Western Queensland and the committee’s report identified a number of challenges for regional communities in air services they have access to,” she said.

More soon - we are in touch with her Chief of Staff who said they were across many of the regulatory problems, such as the Air Transport legislation due out 2020 and implemented 2021. May restrict scenic tourist flights?
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