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AHIA and CASA form partnership to streamline regulatory changes

By a co-operative partnership with CASA, the AHIA and other industry members, CASA is moving forward with legislative changes to streamline regulatory provisions as a result of the post-implementation review of part 61.

AHIA President Peter Crook see this as a positive step closer to the industry contributing at a high level to legislative content for the betterment of the Aviation industry.

Communication between CASA and the AHIA representatives has improved considerably following a landmark meeting held in Sydney  on Wednesday 6 May 2015 attended by the DAS Mark Skidmore and his senior Flight Standards and Flight Crew Licensing Management Team, AHIA President Peter Crook and AHIA Lead Part 61 Review Team member, Ray Cronin.

With other significant amendments in the pipe line these actions demonstrate industry input is now being taken seriously and it adds faith to those who want to contribute but may feel held back by the frustrations of the previous environment.

Positive gains have been made in the following areas:

  • Low level  recency and flight review requirements extended to 24 months.
  • Sling, Winch and Rappel endorsement certifications and flight review requirements.
  • Expansion of the 61.040 approvals for flight testing and flight reviews to include a broader spectrum of approved persons and instructor qualifications to place specialist operational assessments within the upper level experience for each activity.
  • Student pilot recency requirements have been relaxed from 15 days to 30.

Other issues receiving high priority are:

  •  A pathway to allow an Australian ATPL(H) to be obtained.
  • Amendments to the Part 61 MoS.
  • The transition requirements for the issue of a firefighting endorsement for those who have previously been active in those operations.
  • The development of a multi-engine class rating for helicopters.
  • The input to the development of CASR Part 138 – Draft document now available for scrutiny via the joint CASA/Industry Part 138 working group

Of importance is the appointment of Ray Cronin, AHIA Leader of Part 61 Review Team, to the Joint CASA/Industry SCC Flight Crew Licensing Sub-committee and Peter Crook, AHIA President, to the Aviation Industry Consultative Council.

Peter Crook


Recently CASA agreed to request from the AHIA to have a meeting to discuss industry concerns since the implementation of CASR Part 61 – Flight Crew Licensing. This is a critical piece of legislation being the foundation of all the other licensing regulations. We acknowledge the framework of the legislation is sound but some areas require change or modification to better suit the Australian operating environment.

Representatives from CASA at the meeting were: Mark Skidmore, Director Aviation Safety; Peter Boyd, Executive Manager Standards Division; Roger Crosthwaite, Manager Flight Crew Licensing Standards; Dale South, Section Head Rotorcraft Standards and John Grima, Manager Flight Standards Branch.

The AHIA representatives were: Peter Crook, AHIA President; Ray Cronin, AHIA Senior Member Part 61 Review Committee and Richard Davis, AHIA Member, Partner and Aviation Law Specialist HWL Ebsworth.

The meeting concentrated on the post implementation industry concerns on two basic issues:

Perceived COST, and

There was agreement on both sides these issues require addressing. CASA advised a Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the regulation is underway and the important issues raised by AHIA will form part of the review. There were a number of issues identified in the feedback we requested from industry. There was not time to discuss all specific issues but a number of critical issues were identified requiring immediate attention to alleviate the anxiety currently existing.

The AHIA had prepared a list of issues with suggested actions and left this with CASA.

CASA has agreed to work on the critical issues first and should have suggested actions and/or changes to industry as soon as possible. The AHIA offered assistance to CASA by way of industry sector specific processionals to jointly look at areas requiring change and how those changes can be implemented in a manner that is both safe and financially acceptable to industry.

In order to move forward in a positive manner we identified the following specific technical points as the matters of utmost priority, to create pathways for voids created by the implementation of Part 61:

* Expand the 61.040 testing approvals to include grade two instructors and those approved persons who held the relevant qualifications prior to the implementation date.

* Fast track the pending exemptions in relation to low level operations and flight testing for winch, sling and rappel operations and others in the system.

* Create a pathway to allow pilots to obtain an ATPL in Australia, potentially by way of an exemption for the MCC course for the transition period.

The AHIA will increase representation at the CASA Flight Crew Licensing Sub-Committee meetings, the next of which is to occur on the 19 May 2015, we will also be in regular contact with our assigned CASA liaison officer.

This we believe was a "milestone event" as it was a most encouraging and productive meeting.

We will be communicating with CASA on a regular basis and advising the industry of outcomes as they occur.

Peter Crook

Helicopter industry Quarterly Report
January to March 2015.

Readers will note in this very detailed report a substantial change to the helicopter industry in Australia; in fact, the helicopter fleet’s rate of growth has slipped back to almost a zero rate of growth. Why?

After more than two decades of steady growth of the helicopter fleet; usually about twice the GDP, has averaged around 7-8% pa., we have noted an unexpected lack of growth since 30 June 2014 or the last three Quarters of 2014/2015.

There are many factors causing this setback, some are:

·       Federal government’s financial problems following the ongoing budget crisis; where the attempt to the cut spending patterns of the last government are striking fierce resistance. This has led to nervous investors on the fringe of the aviation industry.

·       The collapse of the Australian dollar has made acquisition of aviation assets more expensive to buy and operate. The slight increase in aviation tourism activities has only provided token compensation.

·       The Deputy Prime Minister (our defacto Aviation Minister) has been unsuccessful in avoiding the paralysis of the CASA Board and senior management due to key people leaving at end of their contract, after the last election. This situation has run almost 12 months. Sadly, it started at the same time as the roll out of the new CASR legislation began to gather momentum leaving only caretakers at the helm!

·       The end of the mineral export boom, lower oil prices, long running droughts in northern Australia and general global financial difficulties have added to the latent problems effecting our industry.

The unexpected election of a Labor Government in Queensland, and the current political crisis which may force another snap election, has meant policies on management of state resources have not yet been drafted. Queensland has the largest fleet of helicopters at 761 with NSW at 443 coming second. Australia has 2,114 on their Register.


Media Release

14 April 2015

AHIA strengthens regulatory review capability.

President, Peter Crook, has replaced the long running AHIA  Part 61 Review Committee with a more robust AHIA Regulatory Review Team to assist CASA integrating CASR Part 61 – Flight Crew Licensing into other draft legislation. At Avalon Airshow 2015, CASA advised the helicopter industry, “there are 12 helicopter relevant Flight Operational Rule - standards development  projects underway at the moment?”

The Part 61 Review Committee advised the AHIA Board new legislation now being offered for comment by the regulator often relied on CASR Part 61 as a foundation. It was further stated if Part 61 was allowed to run with unworkable and disputed elements; then the pending more advanced (and expensive) legislation associated with the heavy helicopter fleet would suffer excessive costs for compliance even when no safety benefit can be determined by a cost benefit analysis. The latter is a federal government requirement.  

Crook told the AHIA Board industry must be encouraged to be aware of the ‘domino effect’ of overlapping faulty rules. For example, the recent release by CASA of their draft fees was welcome and is still open for comment; however, the industry needs to check other draft legislation to see what efficiencies are being lost or gained. The recent AHIA Quarterly Report – January to March 2015, indicated concerns for the future of the regulatory processes; which if not reviewed and corrected at this early stage of the CASR rollout, will cause a retraction in the aviation industry in 2016/2107.  It has been claimed the last ATPL was issued in September 2014. This fact and the associated hiccup with Multi Crew Coordination Training are two examples forcing desperate candidates to seek overseas training facilities.

It is anticipated AHIA Regulatory Review Team will take over from the Part 61 committee on Monday 4 May 2015. The AHIA members of this new team will be announced shortly.