Recommendation R20060003

Recommendation issued to: Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Civl Aviation Safety Athority

Recommendation details
Output No: R20060003
Date issued: 24 January 2006
Safety action status:
Background: Why this Recommendation was developed

Output text

Safety Recommendation

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority review the adequacy of current legislation and regulations:

  • to assess the safety benefit that could be achieved from the fitment of a serviceable autopilot to all aircraft currently on the Australian civil aircraft register, engaged on scheduled air transport operations
  • with a view to ensuring that all aircraft placed on the Australian civil aircraft register after a specified date and intended to be engaged on scheduled air transport operations are equipped with a serviceable autopilot.

Initial response
Date issued: 03 April 2006
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action status: Monitor
Response text:

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority advised the ATSB on 3 April 2006 that it is currently reviewing Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 20.18 and examining the history of changes as they relate to the fitment of autopilot equipment. Additionally, a review of international legislation (JAR, FAA, Transport Canada and NZ) is being undertaken in order to determine whether or not Australia's requirements are out of step with best practice.

CASA is also working to identify the 'population' of RPT Operators and aircraft that are affected, by this recommendation, looking particularly at which of those aircraft are NOT fitted with an autopilot that satisfies CAO 20.18 Para 4.1A.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 16 August 2006
Response from: Civl Aviation Safety Athority
Response status: Closed - Accepted
Response text:

CASA has conducted a preliminary review of Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 20.18 and examined the history of changes as they relate to fitment of autopilot equipment.  The relevant current provisions in CAO 20.18 have existed since about 1960 and are consistent with current provisions of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA).

A review of CASA data to identify the 'population' of RPT Operators and aircraft that are affected revealed a total of 52 aircraft, 80% of which are the Metro SA227.  Some feedback indicates that the standard autopilot approved for this aircraft type is widely known within the aviation industry to be unreliable old technology and expensive.  This may account for the fact that few Metro SA227 aircraft are fitted with autopilots.  All Australian aircraft operating in high capacity regular public transport operations have approved autopilots fitted.
CASA will consult industry through the Standards Consultative Committee (SCC) before deriving a conclusion on the matter.

Furthermore, CASA has extracted relevant Crew Resource Management/training and Human Factors material out of draft Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 121A and is developing a Civil Aviation Advisory Publication.  This material is currently with CASA senior managers for comment.


Last update 05 April 2012