We Need a Royal Commission: Dick Smith

Aviation activist, former CASA chairman and entrepreneur Dick Smith has supported growing industry calls for a Royal Commission into aviation in Australia.

In a video posted to social media site Vimeo last week, Smith cites several fatal crashes in Australia as evidence of the need for an inquiry.

“I agree with those pilots that are calling for a Royal Commission,” Smith says in the video. “We had a Royal Commission into home insulation after four people lost their lives. Now we’ve got 15 who have died, I believe, completely unnecessarily.”

Smith’s 15 are the six who died onboard Cheyanne VH-TNP near Benalla, Vic, in 2004; the three people killed when Navajo VH-OAO crashed trying to get into Mount Hotham in July 2005, the crash of Mooney VH-DJU near Coffs Harbour in September last year and the mid-air collision south of Mangalore earlier this year in which four professional pilots died.

According to Smith, the common denominator is that all aircraft were operating in Class G uncontrolled airspace, when they would have been in Class E airspace had reforms been implemented in the 1990s.

“As per the original AMATS [Airways Management Air Traffic Services] agreement 29 years ago, I believe that at airports served by airline traffic, the Class E should come down to either 1200 feet AGL or 700 feet AGL,” Smith told Australian Flying.

“It should also be the same at busy airports with good ADS-B/radar coverage. This would follow the North American system, which works very well and safely.”

AMATS was first proposed in December 1991, two years after Dick Smith was appointed Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). He resigned in 1992 before being reinstated as Chairman of the new Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in December 1997.

In February 1998, Class E airspace replaced Class G for a six-month trial, which mandated transponder use in the Class E.

Smith resigned again in March 1999.

Smith has also urged Airservices Australia Chairman John Weber to resign, saying he has “blood on his hands” because Airservices did not provide a separation service for the aircraft involved in the Mangalore crash.


 

This article has been reproduced in its entirety from Australia Flying Magazine, the article can be viewed here.

A&R Aviation Australia supports industry wide and general aviation reform in Australia. The red tape and stifling practices placed on smaller operators continually quash GA operators and small charter companies every year!

Textron Aviation opens new parts facility in Australia

Textron Aviation opens new parts facility in Australia to support regional fleet growth

TruTrak autopilot STC’d for Cessna 180, 182, 185, and Piper PA 32

TruTrak autopilot STC’d for Cessna 180, 182, 185, and Piper PA 32

TruTrak Flight Systems has received FAA approval for the Vizion autopilot to be installed in the Cessna 180, 182, 185, and Piper PA32 aircraft.

 TruTrak is also now the holder of the STC for the Vizion autopilot, which was previous held by the company’s development partner, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). 

The STC transfer means that TruTrak “can now more easily support the existing customer base and removes complications for both customers and EAA,” company officials said in a prepared release.

TruTrak officials report they have received more than 100 pre-orders for these aircraft.

Complete Vizion autopilot system pricing remains unchanged at $5,100 for the autopilot, servos, install kit, wiring harness, and STC. 

While the STC is now sold by TruTrak, it is purchased separately from the autopilot system on the TruTrak website.

“We are so excited to be able to offer this great autopilot for even more aircraft,” said CEO Andrew Barker. “While it took longer than we had wished to get these new models approved, it was worth the wait. We appreciate the continued support of this process by both our customers and EAA. Since we now hold the STC, EAA will be less involved going forward, but we are still very grateful for their advocacy and hard work. We are more committed than ever to making sure that this process continues to get easier and faster, allowing us to add even more aircraft in the near future.”

Founded in 1999, TruTrak is a leader and innovator in the experimental, light sport, and certified autopilot markets.  TruTrak has now been serving the certified market since 2017. TruTrak has also designed and manufactured many cutting-edge autopilots including the autopilots in the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer and most recently Solar Impulse.

Industry Feedback shows Preference for US Maintenance Rules

Feedback to CASA’s proposal to adopt international maintenance regulations for small general aviation aircraft has shown overwhelming support for the USA’s Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR).

The new regulation proposal was announced at the Australian General Aviation Alliance (AGAA) summit in Wagga Wagga last July by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, and is intended to simplify maintenance rules for small aircraft involved in private, airwork and non-passenger charter operations.

According to CASA data released yesterday, 78% of respondents to the proposal preferred the FARs over New Zealand, Canadian or European regulations.

“All respondents identified issues with the existing regulations and indicated support for change to a simpler, more understandable, set of rules,” CASA has said.

“Of the 63 industry respondents who indicated a preference for an international rule set, 49 respondents (78%) preferred the United States’ regulations and seven respondents (11%) stated a preference for the New Zealand regulations (which are broadly based on the American approach).

“Twenty-one respondents (28%) also outlined concerns with aircraft engineer licenses and rating.”

Feedback came from a large cross-section of the GA community, including private operators, AOC holders, engineers, associations and type groups.

“Industry is stuck in between three different regulatory system[s], none of which are harmonised globally,” said Ken Cannane, Executive Director of Aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association (AMROBA).

“The costs of over regulation and red tape is doing major damage to industry. Many businesses have already succumbed to the current system that lacks definition between CASA functions and requirements and the responsibilities of industry participants.

“The move to adopt the FAR system for GA that industry has demanded since mid-1990s is still the aim of AMROBA and its members. AMROBA has provided many comparison documents to CASA that demonstrates the FAR system will lower costs to GA but improve safety by adopting enhanced safety standards.”

Howard Hobbs, President of the Australian Mooney Pilots Association (AMPA), said that following the US system would clarify the responsibiliy of aircraft owners when it came to maintenance requirements.

“Adopting FAA regulations for private GA aircraft in Australia would eliminate much of the confusion that currently exists around what maintenance is, and is not, mandatory under Australian regulations,” Hobbs said.

“Under FAA regulations, it is clear that owners are required to maintain their aircraft in accordance with the type certificate and the flight manual (the version that applied when the aircraft came into service) and to carry out any ADs applicable to that aircraft. Private owners in the USA are not required to other manufacturer recommendations unless they become subject to an AD.”

Whilst generally supporting the FAR system, Mike Higgins from the Regional Aviation Association noted that simply adopting the FARs could spell the end of the Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO) in Australia.

“The FAR rules in Part 43 are all the scattered regulations, instruments, CAOs and other means used by CASA to state who and what is to be done. The Operations FAR parts detail when an approved AMO is required. The FAR fixed-based maintenance organisations are our approved CAR 30 GA maintenance organisation.

“Unless you want GA maintenance to collapse by deleting AMOs, we should adopt the FARs maintenance and maintain a CAR 30 GA aspects-only AMOs.

“Adoption of the FAR based regulations, including introducing the Inspection Authorisation is highly beneficial to GA. The FAR terminology is compatible with flight and technical documents promulgated by US manufacturers.”

CASA will now hand the feedback over to a Technical Working Group appointed by the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) to firm up a new policy.

More information including some published feedback is on the CASA consultation hub.


 

This article originally appeared on australianflying.com.au on 24th October 2018 and has been reproduced in its entirety.

Aspen’s Evolution E5 STC’d

Aspen’s Evolution E5 STC’d

Aspen Avionics has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the Evolution E5 Dual Electronic Flight Instrument (EFI).

Introduced in April 2018, the STC’d, non-TSO Evolution E5 consolidates attitude indicator plus DG/CDI into a single display with a rechargeable backup battery.

It also includes Global Positioning System Steering (GPSS), air data computer, and attitude heading reference system (ADAHRS) starting at USD$4,995.

“The interest in the E5 has been overwhelming and we have a significant order backlog. We expect to be shipping the E5 as soon as we receive the Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA), which is expected very soon,” said Mark Ferrari, Aspen vice president of sales and customer support.

Designed as a drop-in non-TSO replacement for traditional mechanical vacuum instruments, the Evolution E5 also interfaces with most legacy autopilots and will also interface to the new TruTrak Vizion autopilot, according to company officials.

Features of the E5

  • Backup attitude indicator not required
  • Rechargeable backup battery
  • IFR certified with glide slope and localizer display
  • Single unit installation – consolidates traditional attitude indicator and directional gyro/course deviation indicator into a single display
  • Provides a path for removal of vacuum systems
  • Interfaces with most industry autopilots and provides GPSS roll steering
  • Non-TSO STC approval
  • 6” diagonal, 400 x 760 pixel TFT Active Matrix LCD screen
  • Works with existing avionics
  • Patented, form-fit design slides easily into existing panel cutouts.

A&R Aviation Australia can help with your Aspen install anywhere in the country.
Contact us today to see how we can help with any panel or avionics upgrades you may require.