Friday, June 2, 2017

Over-regulation killing aviation

OVER-regulation of Australia’s aviation industry has created a situation whereby pilots spend more time ticking boxes and filling out paperwork than flying planes, operators say.

Chief Executive of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Benjamin Morgan, spoke out about an “industry in decline” following another fatal crash in Australia.

Rossair chief pilot Martin Scott and pilot inductee Paul Daw were killed, along with Civil Aviation Safety Authority officer Stephen Guerin, when a Cessna Conquest crashed shortly after takeoff from Renmark Airport in South Australia on Tuesday.

The crash was the worst in the state this century, and came just a few months after the Essendon crash in Victoria in which five lives were lost.

Both incidents are now under investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.


BUREAUCRATIC BURDEN

Mr. Morgan said it was difficult to draw a connection between the tragic crashes and the regulatory burdens on general aviation.

But he said there was growing concern about the demands on aviation business owners, many of whom were also pilots.

What we’re seeing take place is that business owners and operators of flying schools and charter operations are spending more and more time out of the cockpit ticking boxes and filling out forms,” Mr Morgan said.

If you shift the focus from hands-on proficiency then that will have a toll long-term on aviation safety.”

He said that was not to suggest recent crashes were due to a lack of training or competency.

More and more flight operations are complaining they’re spending more time on paperwork, and it’s not just AOPA saying that — the entire industry is saying it,” said Mr Morgan.

It’s highly logical that pilots and business owners, the more time they spend around aircraft the better they’re going to be.

“It’s fair to argue the current system is not working, it’s failing.”

EYES ON THE SKY

AvLaw International chairman Ron Bartsch echoed Mr Morgan’s concerns about the regulatory burden on aviation businesses.

It’s the old cost benefit analysis of what’s a reasonably acceptable level of safety,” said Mr Bartsch.

CASA has recognised world standards in terms of safety and oversight but a lot of the increased measures have adversely affected the general aviation community.”

CASA spokeswoman Amanda Palmer said the authority worked across industry to identify and address areas of concern, actively promote safety and educate the aviation community.

“The vast majority of pilots and operators comply with aviation regulations,” said Ms Palmer.

It is this attitude, combined with a just culture approach and independent accident investigation, that ensures we have some of the safest skies in the world.”

She described this week’s accident at Renmark as a “tragedy”.

We are working with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to provide information of relevance to their investigation.”


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