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Recommendation issued to: Department of Transport and Regional Services, with the assistance of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Recommendation details
Output No: R20060006
Date issued: 10 February 2006
Safety action status: Closed - Action Taken
Background: Why this Recommendation was developed

Output text

Safety Recommendation

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Department of Transport and Regional Services, with the assistance of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, pursues further the development of proposals to amend the provisions of Part IIIB of the Civil Aviation Act 1988. While recognising the need to have protections to prevent inappropriate disclosure and use of Cockpit Voice Recorder information, the proposals to amend the CA Act should take into account the need to enable approved maintenance organisations to replay in-flight Cockpit Voice Recorder data for legitimate maintenance and testing purposes.

Initial response
Date issued: 24 February 2006
Response from: Department of Transport and Regional Services
Action status: Monitor
Response text:

In relation to R20060006, I understand that the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is already working on this issue. The Aviation Operations Branch within the Department of Transport and Regional Services is prepared to assist the ATSB as necessary.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 16 August 2006
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response status: Monitor
Response text:

CASA notes that this recommendation is primarily directed to DOTARS, which is responsible for administration of Part 111B of the Civil Aviation Act 1988. In accordance with the recommendation, CASA will cooperate with the Department in the development of any proposals to amend the provisions of Part 111B.

However, CASA notes that there may be no need for a maintenance check of the CVR to be conducted by actually listening to the tape.  It is likely that a functional system check can confirm the fidelity of the equipment rather than actually needing to listen to the tapes.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 07 December 2009
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response status: Closed - Accepted
Response text:

Part IIIB of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 was amended from I July 2009 to allow for the copying and disclosure of aircraft Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVRs) for the purpose of testing their functioning and reliability.  

The previous confidentiality requirements could be interpreted as making it unlawful to copy or disclose a cockpit voice recording for legitimate maintenance purposes. The amendment clarifies the situation while requiring that certain conditions must be met in order to track and control any copying or disclosure to preserve confidentiality.
The Act amendment required permission to be given in regulations for those people needing to copy and disclose CVR information. To give effect to this regulation Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) 50G was inserted in the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988, and came into effect from 1 July 2009 to coincide with the Act amendment.

For the purpose of subsections 32AP (3) and (3A) of the Act,  the following persons are authorised to copy and disclose CVR information when checking the equipment to determine it is functioning and reliable by CAR 50G:

1.  'staff members' as defined by the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (i.e. Australian Transport Safety Bureau employees) who have been trained with respect to the replay and analysis of CVR recordings, and have been briefed on the requirements of Part IIIB of the Act; and

2.  persons who are already authorised under the CARs to carry out maintenance on CVRs who are acting under the authority of the Certificate of Approval (COA) holder covering the maintenance, have been trained by the COA holder with respect to the replay and analysis of CVR recordings, and have been briefed by the COA holder on the requirement of Part IIIB of the Act.

 
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Last update 05 April 2012