Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Rules for Licensing and Operations

Well, if the White Paper is correct the new rules for licensing and operations will appear by the end of 2010. Here's a discussion of some of the proposed changes.

CASR Part 61 – Flight crew licensing
Recreational Pilot Licence to be introduced to replace passenger-carrying privileges for student pilots
This was also in the draft rules of 2002 (refer to Discussion Paper 0202FS). Back then the features of the RPL were:
day VFR only, max of 180 hp, 4 seats max
authorisation for cross-country flight in Class G airspace available as well as specific controlled airfields
Class 2 medical required although solo flying permitted not over populous areas for those without a Class 2 medical

It will be interesting to see how this turns out when the details are fleshed out. One guess is that the new RPL will be very similar to the current RAA Certificate.

In 2002 there were some changes to the list of design feature authorisations:
(i) tailwheel;
(ii) retractable undercarriage;
(iii) constant speed propeller;
(iv) piston engine;
(v) turbocharged or supercharged piston engine;
(vi) gas turbine engine;
(vii) pressurisation system;
(viii) FMS (Flight Management Systems);
(ix) Powered sailplanes (also for glider category);
(x) 3 axis control ultralight aeroplane;
(xi) weight shift control ultralight aeroplane.
Note: piston engine has been included for those pilots who may have done all their flying on turbine-powered aircraft.
Back in 2002 there were also some changes to operational authorisations including aerobatics. I've already commented on how the Australian Aerobatic Club blocked some of those beneficial changes at the time but the more recent CAAP on aerobatics partly recovered the situation. My guess is that we have lost any opportunity to tidy up aerobatics any further.
All flying training conducted for issue of a flight crew licence, rating or other authorisation to be conducted by persons holding an instructor rating who are authorised to instruct in that particular activity
Current grades of flight instructor rating to be replaced by a single instructor rating with endorsements to provide flight training in specific activities
Back in 2002 the proposal was as above but we had a lot more detail:
a) Flying training for the issue or periodic review of a pilot licence, rating or other authorisation, may only be conducted by the holder of a Flight Instructor rating.
b) Check pilots and other approved persons who currently conduct training under approvals from CASA will be required to hold instructor ratings.
c) An instructor will not have to be trained to give ab-initio instruction and the current 50 hour course will no longer be required.
d) The current grades of instructor rating will be replaced by authorisations attached to the rating to give instruction in specific activities.
h) Private pilots will be able to hold instructor ratings but may only instruct to the level of their own qualifications.
l) A ground instructor rating will be introduced for persons who wish to give ground instruction and do not a hold flight instructor rating.
o) For continued use of the rating, a biennial flight review or other method of maintaining competence will be required instead of a rating renewal test.
The 2002 proposal was a major shake-up of the instructor rating.
Compare a private pilot as an instructor with the existing RAA flight instructor rating - so perhaps that will be in the new rules too. (Take a look at the new Part 91 to see whether they can charge for it though) The whole package would enable an experienced pilot to come back as an instructor to impart his/her knowledge – whether it be in ab initio training or a specialised role such as tail-wheel, warbirds or aerobatics.
Now consider this in conjunction with the new rules for flying schools.

CASR Part 141 – Flight training operators
Key proposals include
Replaces the AOC requirement issued under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 for flight training schools with a flight training operating certificate (OC);
OC to be required for training for all pilot licences and ratings, including aircraft ratings; training for other authorisations can be provided without an OC

To an instructor who focusses on the design feature authorisations listed above and operational endorsements such as spinning and aerobatics will no longer need to operate through a flying school. Of course a sole trader has other issues to deal with such as legal liability, availability of aircraft and chasing up money from customers. Let's hope that vested interests don't kill this proposal too. This has the potential to reduce the cost of learning aerobatics on tailwheel aeroplanes.

CASR Part 91 – General operating and flight rules
The remainder of CASR Part 91, when implemented, will replace the various 1988 Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs) and Civil Aviation Orders (CAOs) that relate to general operating and flight rules and will be supported by a number of Advisory Circulars (ACs). It will form a complete set of operating rules for current ‘private’ operations, and will supplement the operating rules applicable to corporate/business, air experience, aerial work, and air transport operations.
The Part will primarily consolidate and retain most of the existing rules with little change. However, a small number of new rules have been included to further ICAO compliance and enhance aviation safety.
Key proposals include:
Strict control of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs);
Requirement for the pilot to plan to arrive with a specified minimum amount of fuel;
Altered requirement for the carriage of Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs);
Changes to minimum operating heights to allow flight below 500ft.
The changes currently proposed fall far short of those proposed ten years ago which is good as I recall some silly onerous things back then. Let's hope they don't creep back in again. It seems that the new Part 91 will simply reflect the current situation but be much clearer.

In the past, vested interests apparently argued against many beneficial changes and stalled the process. Let's hope that the new draft rules provide benefit to the majority of individual pilots and therefore aviation as a whole. 2010 should be an interesting year but I wonder if CASA can really finish them within this timsescale.

Happy New Year.

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