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Safety Action


Previous recommendation

On 23 October 2002 the ATSB issued the following recommendation as a result of a fatal accident at night near Newman, WA, (ATSB Investigation BO/200100348):

Recommendation R20020193
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) review the general operational requirements, training requirements, flight planning requirements and guidance material provided to pilots conducting VFR operations in dark night conditions.

On 13 December 2002, CASA responded to the recommendation as follows:

CASA acknowledges the intent of this Recommendation. As part of the proposed CASR [Civil Aviation Safety Regulations] Part 61, CASA is developing the requirements for night VFR ratings which will be based on the existing Civil Aviation Order CAO 40.2.2. In addition, a draft competency standard for night visual flight operations has been developed for inclusion in the proposed CASR Part 61 Manual of Standards. CASA plans to publish a Notice of Proposed Rule Making [NPRM] in relation to this matter in March 2003.

During July 2003, CASA published NPRM 0309FS Flight Crew Licensing and Draft Part 61 Manual of Standards [MOS]. The draft MOS included a requirement for a periodic flight review of night flying competencies. On 24 November 2004, the Chief Executive Officer of CASA issued two directives related to the regulatory reform process. As of March 2005, CASA was working on the processes necessary to apply the directives to the development of new CASR parts, including Part 61. In a letter to the ATSB dated 6 January 2006, CASA advised that the proposed CASR Part 61 would require night VFR rating holders to undergo flight reviews covering night and instrument flying, in addition to structural changes to the night VFR rating. CASA advised that Part 61 could be completed in the second half of 2006.

During March 2005, the ATSB issued Aviation Safety Investigation report BO/200304282 on the fatal night accident involving a Bell 407 helicopter, registered VH-HTD, which occurred off Cape Hillsborough, Queensland, on 17 October 2003. The report stated that CASA had advised that they intended to issue a CAAP (Civil Aviation Advisory Publication) to clarify safety guidelines for night VFR operations. In a letter to the ATSB dated 6 January 2006, CASA advised that the Night VFR CAAP was in the final stages of preparation, and it was intended that it would be published in the first quarter of 2006. The CAAP would include competency standards for night and instrument flying.

CASA has also advised that copies of a night VFR-related 'Briefing in a Box' were distributed to flying schools in March 2006. The briefings included safety material on night flying and were intended to assist flying instructors and flying schools in providing appropriate training to night VFR pilots.

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