Aviation safety issues and actions

Air Operator Certificate holder fuel policy requirements

Issue number: AO-2016-078-SI-01
Who it affects: Air Operator Certificate holders
Issue owner: Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)
Operation affected: Aviation: Air transport
Background: Investigation Report AO-2016-078
Date: 02 August 2018

Safety issue description

The current legislation does not require commercial operators of aircraft not greater than 5,700 kg maximum take-off weight to provide instructions and procedures for crosschecking the quantity of fuel on board before and/or during flight. This increases the risk that operators in this category will not implement effective fuel policies and training to prevent fuel exhaustion events.

Proactive Action

Action organisation: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action number: NSA-008
Date: 02 August 2018
Action status: Released

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has started project CD 1508OS, which was published on their website 20 January 2016. The project contains the proposed changes to Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) 234, the issuance of a CAR 234 Legislative Instrument, and revised Civil Aviation Advisory Publication (CAAP) 234-1(2): Guidelines for aircraft fuel requirements, CAAP 215-1(2): Guide to the preparation of Operations Manuals, Volume 2, appendix B9: Fuel management, and the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) handbook Volume 2 – Flying Operations – Section 6: Fuel policy and related requirements. Once made into law, the amendments to the existing CAR 234 will commence on 8 November 2018.

A key outcome of the amendment is providing clarity about the regulatory requirements that apply to fuel by having those requirements set out in a legislative instrument. This overcomes difficulties with the previous arrangement, where requirements were set out in guidance material ‘called up’ by regulation, in that the requirements were often not readily recognised as having the force of law. CASA 29/18 – Civil Aviation (Fuel Requirements) Instrument 2018 sets out the legislative requirements that:

  • specify the matters that must be referenced by the operator and the pilot in command in determining the quantity of usable fuel required for a flight
  • specify the quantities required to commence a flight and also to continue a flight
  • require that inflight fuel management be conducted, and
  • specify the contingencies to which additional fuel calculation must be applied.

To assist industry and CASA understanding of the changes to the fuel requirements in legislation, the amendment to guidance material CAAP 234-1(2) will be published. It will contain enhanced guidance on the generally applicable fuel related areas of the legislative instrument. CAAP 234-1(2) will differentiate between requirements and guidance.

 

ATSB response:

The ATSB has reviewed the draft project documents for CD 1508OS and considers that the implementation of the CAR 234 Legislative Instrument and CAAP 234-1(2), in conjunction with their requirements reflected in the AOC Handbook, should address the safety issue. The ATSB will continue to monitor the action by CASA. Until that time, the ATSB issues the following Safety Advisory Notice to AOC holders operating aircraft not greater than 5,700 kg.

Safety Advisory Notice

Action organisation: Air Operator Certificate holders operating aircraft not greater than 5,700 kg
Action number: AO-2016-078-SAN-009
Date: 02 August 2018
Action status: Released

From 2003 to 2017, the ATSB has received 26 reports of fuel exhaustion events from Air Operator Certificate holders operating aircraft not greater than 5,700 kg MTOW. Two key contributing factors from these reports are pilots not crosschecking the fuel on board before and/or during flight. Aircraft greater than 5,700 kg MTOW are not represented in the ATSB fuel exhaustion reports. In accordance with CAO 20.2, operators of these aircraft are required to publish instructions and procedures in their operations manuals for the pilot in command to verify the fuel on board before flight. Additionally, CAAP 215-1(2) Appendix B includes guidelines for publishing operations manual procedures for inflight fuel management.

CASA 29/18 – Civil Aviation (Fuel Requirements) Instrument 2018, which contains proposed changes to the current fuel regulations and guidance material, is scheduled to commence 8 November 2018. The ATSB considers that the implementation of these changes should address this safety issue.

Until the proposed changes to the current fuel regulations and guidance material are implemented, the ATSB advises AOC holders for aircraft not greater than 5,700 kg MTOW, to consider this safety issue and take action where appropriate.

Safety Advisory Notice: AO-2016-078-SAN-009

Current issue status: Safety action pending
Status justification:

Is the Status justification text available or not required?

Last update 02 August 2018