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CASR Part 135 – Australian Air Transport Operations - Small Aeroplanes

Parts 135, 121 and 133 of the new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs) all deal with a range of passenger and/or cargo operations - Part 135 is for small aeroplanes, 121 for large aeroplanes, and 133 for rotorcraft.

The proposed regulations in Part 135 will set the minimum acceptable standards applicable to small aeroplanes that are:

  • conducting Australian air transport operations

An Air Transport Operation means an operation in an aircraft:

  • That is conducted for hire or reward or is otherwise publically available and
  • That is a passenger transport operation or a cargo transport operation.
  • A passenger transport operation is a transport operation in an aircraft involving the carriage of passengers, whether or not cargo is carried on the aircraft. A passenger transport operation does not include, cost sharing operations, aerial work operations or an operation for the carriage of passengers in an aircraft with a certificate of airworthiness other than a standard certificate of airworthiness.

"Small aeroplanes" in Part 135 means an aeroplane:

  • with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) not exceeding 8618 kg, and
  • fitted with a passenger seat configuration of not more than 9.

Part 135 will consolidate into one Part of the new CASRs the regulatory requirements that will apply in addition to, or in substitution for, the general operating and flight rules prescribed in Part 91, when using small aeroplanes for air transport operations.

In 1999, CASA was directed to "minimise the distinction between charter and Regular Public Transport (RPT) operators". To address this, Part 135 will set in place a common level of safety for operators who are authorised to provide 'Air transport operations' - an amalgamation of current charter and RPT operations and standards - in order to carry Passengers in small aeroplanes. The safety level applies irrespective of whether an operation is scheduled or non-scheduled as described by the International Civil Aviation Organization in Part I of Annex 6.

This common level of safety will particularly affect existing charter operators who intend to become a Part 135 operator, in areas such as:

  • flight crew training and;
  • proficiency checks and supervision;

The new Air Transport Operations will combine the flexibility of charter operations with the safety benefits of RPT's structured training and checking.

Who Part 135 affects

  • Air Operators involved in current charter and RPT operations (passenger and cargo) in aeroplanes.
  • Personnel including flight crew members, ground and support personnel involved in the operation of aeroplanes that are currently engaged in passenger-carrying Charter or Low Capacity Regular Public Transport (LCRPT) aviation operations and the travelling public.

Key proposals

  • More comprehensive provisions for fuel to be carried, similar to those proposed for large aeroplanes in CASR Part 121; however, with relief for VFR aeroplanes which will be similar to the requirements of today.
  • Adopting the current air charter operations practice of single-engine aircraft operating over water beyond gliding distance (i.e. up to 25 nm from a safe forced landing area). However, in addition to life jackets, the carriage of a life raft to be required in certain circumstances.
  • For operations beyond 25 nm from a safe forced landing area when over water, the ability for an operator of an Approved Single-Engine Aeroplane (ASEA - formerly ASEPTA) to present to CASA a risk management strategy for consideration and approval in accordance with ICAO Annex 6 standards;
  • Aerodrome requirements under Part 135 will be similar to the requirements under the current CAR 92 where it is the operators responsibility to be satisfied that the aerodrome is suitable as a place to take off and land.
  • Weight and balance regulations providing options for operators to determine passenger weights under the AMC concept.
  • For single pilot operations, the autopilot to be serviceable prior to commencement of the flight, unless crewed by a second pilot or the aeroplane can be operated in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) by day;
  • Introduction of take - off alternate within 60 minutes at the aeroplanes asymmetric cruising speed from the departure aerodrome if the weather at the departure aerodrome is below the landing minima. ICAO Annex 6 Part 1
  • Introduction of a regulation concerning the commencement and continuation of an instrument approach - often referred to as an 'approach ban' - which will, in summary, prevent the pilot in command continuing an approach beyond the final approach point if the reported visibility or controlling Runway Visual Range (RVR) is continuously less than the minimum specified for the approach;
  • the requirement for all aircraft that operate under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) when carrying 6 or more passengers to be equipped with a Terrain Awareness Warning System class B (TAWS B);
  • obligation for the operator to train their pilots for unique operation and certify them as competent before undertaking unsupervised flights - this will apply to inexperienced pilots as well as those new to an operator (essentially moving away from flight hours as the qualifier and applying a competency based process);
  • all flight crew members to be subject to recurrent training and checking requirements, scaled to the nature and complexity of the operation;
  • reintroduction of the requirement for first aid kits in Part 135 aircraft although the kit need not be an approved type.

Part 135 operator's will require certification under CASR Part 119, with its requirements for: continuing airworthiness under an approved aircraft maintenance program, operational risk management under a safety management system, fatigue risk management systems for crew and procedural training and checking of flight crews under the operator's training and checking system either in-house or provided by an arrangement with a Part 142 certified training and checking provider.

 

Project Leader: Stuart Jones, Senior Standards Officer - Small Aeroplanes

Standards Officer: Stuart Jones, Senior Standards Officer - Small Aeroplanes

Project Sponsor: Peter Boyd, Executive Manager Standards Development and Future Technology Division

CASR Part 135