Aviation safety issues and actions

Air display approval and oversight

Issue number: AO-2017-013-SI-01
Who it affects: Air displays: Organisers and participants in air displays
Issue owner: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Operation affected: Aviation: Other
Background: Investigation Report AO-2017-013
Date: 19 November 2019

Safety issue description

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) did not have an effective framework to approve and oversight air displays, predominantly due to the following factors:

  • While the Air Display Manual provided guidance to organisers conducting an air display, it did not inherently provide the processes and tools needed for CASA to approve and oversee one and no other documented guidance existed.
  • Unlike the accreditation models adopted by some other countries, CASA did not have a systematic approach for assessing the suitability of those responsible for organising, coordinating and participating in air displays.
  • CASA did not have a structured process to ensure that risks were both identified and adequately treated.

The combination of these factors significantly increased the likelihood that safety risks associated with the conduct of the air display were not adequately managed.

Proactive Action

Action organisation: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action number: AO 2017-013-NSA-01
Date: 19 November 2019
Action status: Released

At the time of the occurrence, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had a revised air display guidance manual in draft. This was subsequently published in September 2017 as the Air Display Administration and Procedure Manual. Version 3.0 of this manual was published in April 2018. Pro-active safety actions arising from the new publication included:

  • the requirement to conduct a risk assessment as part of the air display planning
  • the requirement for the display organiser and display coordinator to document their relevant qualifications and associated display experience, to allow CASA to assess their suitability for the role
  • further clarification of roles and responsibilities, and display organisational expectations
  • enhanced forms for display pilots and additional crew, to assist the display coordinator in their assessment of the pilot and display, and to ensure all persons on board are identified and authorised.

ATSB response:

The ATSB acknowledges the improvements to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Air Display Administration and Procedure Manual, and associated forms. While these changes improve existing guidance and partially address the safety issue, The ATSB considers that further improvements can be made to provide additional assurance of the suitability of key personnel, and to provide enhanced guidance and tools around the approval and oversight of air displays. Accordingly, the ATSB issues the following recommendation.

Recommendation

Action organisation: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action number: AO-2017-013-SR-029
Date: 19 November 2019
Action status: Released

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority undertake further work to enhance their tools and guidance for air display approval and oversight, and procedures to ensure the suitability of those responsible for organising, coordinating and participating in air displays.

Current issue status: Safety action pending
Last update 03 December 2019