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Recommendation issued to: Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Recommendation details
Output No: AO-2007-066-SR-081
Date issued: 25 June 2009
Safety action status: Closed - Action Taken
Background: Why this Recommendation was developed

Output text

CASA did not seek information to establish whether conditions '...necessary for the safety of other airspace users and persons on the ground or water' were required prior to issuing the Special Certificate of Airworthiness.

Action taken by CASA

In its response to this safety issue, CASA provided the following response to the ATSB on 1 June 2009:

I refer to your email dated 15 May 2009 regarding a further draft of Transport Safety Report AO-2007-066. I understand CASA has already provided comments on the safety management issue for the pilot. However, the current draft of the report appears to have broadened this issue to include other persons ie "CASA did not seek information to establish whether conditions '...necessary for the safety of other airspace users and persons on the ground or water'" were required prior to issuing the Special Certificate of Airworthiness.

In CASA's view the new safety issue is irrelevant to the accident because no other airspace users and persons on the ground and water were affected. The person who was fatally injured was the pilot, a participant and fully aware of the risk. CASA did not seek information '...necessary for the safety of other airspace users and persons on the ground or water' were required prior to issuing the Special Certificate of Airworthiness, because it based the safety determination on the information submitted by the applicant initially as part of the application and subsequent flight test plan. This information and the conditions set out on the Special Certificate of Airworthiness and other required operational approvals (low level flight over water) are intended to ensure the safety of other airspace users and persons on the ground or water.

In those cases where such inquiries are or might be relevant, CASA will not hesitate to make them and formulate and impose such additional conditions (if any) as may be necessary in the interest of safety, on that basis.

ATSB assessment of response

The potential for risk to other parties in relation to the experimental flight test was identified by CASA in its advice to the engineer of 29 November. If there had been due consideration of that potential risk in the operator's application for a Special Certificate of Airworthiness and 'subsequent flight test plan', then the additional advice to the engineer, which was provided after the issue of the certificate, would not have been warranted. When considering the issue of future Special Certificates of Airworthiness in the experimental category, CASA needs to be able to assure itself that adequate information is gathered to enable an informed decision on the conditions '...necessary for the safety of other airspace users and persons on the ground or water'.

Safety Recommendation

The ATSB recommends that CASA address this safety issue.

Initial response
Date issued:
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response text:

Thank you for the copy of your Final Report on the above occurrence, and the formal safety recommendation included in that Report.

You have recommended that CASA address the safety issue that, when considering the issue of future Special Certificates of Airworthiness in the experimental category, CASA needs to be able to assure itself that adequate information is gathered to enable an informed decision on the conditions '... necessary for the safety of other airspace users and persons on the ground or water'.

In its response to the ATSB on 1 June 2009, CASA stated that it did not seek information to establish whether conditions .. .. .'necessary for the safety of other airspace users and persons on the ground or water were required prior to issuing the Special Certificate of Airworthiness, because it based the safety determination on the information submitted by the applicant initially, as a part of the application and subsequent flight test plan. Beyond this, and despite further advice from CASA to the engineer involved regarding the potential risk to other parties, CASA contended that this information and the conditions set out on the Special Certificate of Airworthiness, in addition to other legislative provisions and required operational approvals, were sufficient to ensure the safety of other airspace users and persons on the ground or water.

CASA has now reconsidered its initial response with due regard to the ATSB's safety recommendation (SR-081) as it applies to the issue of future Special Certificates of Airworthiness in the experimental category. In future, CASA will provide further advisory material designed to ensure that adequate information is made available to enable an informed decision on the conditions'...necessary for the safety of other airspace users and persons on the ground or water'.

CASA has initiated development of a Senior Management Instruction (SMI), an internal staff guidance document, which will include relevant text and checklists to provide updated guidance and advice on this subject. This information will be published by the end of November and will be included in the Certificate of Airworthiness and Special Flight Permits Manual at an appropriate time.

 
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Last update 07 March 2016