Ahead of the introduction of new regulations in December, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is mounting a final communications campaign that the authority’s chief, John McCormick, said is to “dispel any concerns that may have developed within the aviation community”.
In a letter to pilots to describe the new licencing regulations that come into effect on December 4, John McCormick outlined the impact the new regulations would have on Australian pilots.
“Unfortunately, there have been claims the new Part 61 rules may prevent people from continuing to hold a pilot licence,” McCormick continued. “This is most definitely not the case. Most pilots will not notice any change as a result of the introduction of Part 61 licences. For other pilots there will be some changes, a number of which simplify requirements and others, which introduce new or alternative requirements. For the majority of Australian pilots, the introduction of Part 61 simply means you will at some stage over the next four years be issued with a new licence with a different format and slightly different terminology.”
CASA said the reforms will put in place a range of safety measures that “streamline the rules for aviation and benefit the aviation community by providing safety standards and regulations”, while emphasising the new regulations were aligned with international best practice and are “responsive to advances in global aviation”.
The authority also said the changes have been developed in close consultation with industry and provide long transition times to ensure industry is best placed to meet the new standards.
“Your current flying rights will continue under your Part 61 licence and you will be able to operate the same aircraft in the same way after your new licence is issued,” McCormick continued. “There are some changes to flight review requirements, although proficiency checks are broadly in line with current requirements. Your current licence continues to be a valid licence for the next four years or until you get your new Part 61 licence.”
Under the planned changes, CASA has said the new rules reduce red tape and devolve more licensing functions to the aviation industry. It added that many makes and models of aircraft will be covered by a more flexible class rating system that reduces paperwork and costs.
“There is a new recreational pilot licence which has less onerous requirements, including the option of a different medical standard. Subject to the application of specific risk mitigations, this has the effect of permitting people meeting these new medical standards to continue flying whereas in the past this would not be the case.”
The changes to pilot licencing are part of a broader raft of new regulations that will also include engineering, flight training and operations, maintenance, fatigue risk management and standards for navigation, sport aviation and aerial work.
CASA said the reforms “enhance the Australian aviation industry’s interoperability with other countries around the world”. The majority of the new regulations have already been implemented.
“However the remainder of the new regulations include those which have a relatively high impact on industry – the operational and flight crew licensing regulations and maintenance regulations for general aviation,” CASA admitted.