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Thursday, August 7, 2014

AHIA Calls for Further Delay in New Flight Crew Licensing Regulations

By Emma Kelly, Australia and Pacific Correspondent 

The Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA) has written to the Australian Government requesting the planned implementation of the new Civil Aviation Regulation Part 61 (flight crew licensing) on September 1 is delayed. According to the AHIA, the regulations will add further costs and provide no perceived safety benefits, are too complex and could adversely impact the local helicopter industry.

The new Part 61 regulations, which are part of Australia’s prolonged safety regulation review program, became law in February 2014 with a start date of December and a four-year transition period. Due to the fact the associated manual of standards was only released for comment in June last year and Civil Aviation Safety Authority concerns that more time was needed for industry education on the new regulations, the start was postponed until September.

The implementation should be further deferred as the legislation needs to be in the “three-tier format,” with the third tier being a guide in plain English, which has yet to happen, says the AHIA. It says the proposed legislation is badly written and too complex to be easily understood. The new licensing system with new training syllabuses offer “no perceived safety benefits, but additional costs,” it adds. Furthermore, the flight testing regime under the new regulations would require a large increase in flight examiners, at a time when the industry is already short of qualified testing officers, it adds.

The new regulations have “the potential to seriously impact the capacity of the industry to function, particularly in the emergency support, fire and aerial agriculture operations,” says the AHIA.

Related: Regulation News

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