Home' Asian Aviation : AAV October 2011 Contents 28 AsianAviation | OCTOBER 2011
irline safety has been high on
the agenda of politicians and the
media in Australia with the recent
grounding and subsequent return to
ser vice of Tiger Airways Australia .
But the wider issue of Australia’s
standards of pilot training and airline safety has been
in the spotlight since September 2010, when the
Australian Senate directed its Standing Committee
on Rural Affairs and Transport to investigate the field,
amid concerns that standards in the countr y were
falling. The investigation was sparked in particular
by two safety incidents involving Tiger Airways and
Jetstar, in which both carriers failed to comply with
A nine-month investigation followed, which
included public hearings, 55 submissions from the
industry and individuals, and many questions asked
of the country’s airlines, pilots, training providers
and safety reg ulator. The investigation resulted in
the publication of 22 recommendations relating to
training , pilot experience, safety regulations, the Civil
Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), use of simulators,
pilot supply and safety-incident reporting.
The committee was tasked with investigating pilot-
experience requirements and the consequence of any
reduction in flight-hour requirements on safety. It was
to examine the US Federal Aviation Administration’s
Extension Act of 2010, which calls for a minimum of
1,500 flight hours before a pilot is able to operate on
reg ular public transport (RPT) ser vices and whether
a similar mandatory requirement should be applied
in Australia .
It also investigated current industry practices for
recruiting pilots, including pay-for-training schemes
and whether these have any impact on safety, as well
as the retention of experienced pilots and type-rating
and recurrent-training standards for pilots.
CASA, the country’s aviation reg ulator, was also a
focus of the inquiry, which investigated, in particular,
whether the agency has the capacity to appropriately
oversee and update safety reg ulations in light of the
ongoing and rapid development of new technologies
and skills shortag es in the industry.
The issue of providing legislative immunity to pilots
and other flight crew who report on safety matters was
also investigated, addressing the question of whether
European and US approaches in that area would be
appropriate for Australia . The whole issue of reporting
incidents to aviation authorities and the handling of
reports by those authorities was addressed.
In particular, the committee was asked to look at
two safety incidents : the first was an aborted landing
by Jetstar at Melbourne Airport in June 2007 and
the second was a Tiger Airways incident in May
2009, where the aircraft was forced to divert due to
problems with the aileron control system. In both
cases, the airlines failed to comply with incident-
rep orting requirements. The committee was also
asked to look at how reporting processes can be
strengthened to improve safety and training.
The inquiry raised a whole raft of issues related to
airline safety, but the report focuses on the issues of
pilot training and accident- and incident-reporting,
and their potential impact on safety.
The issue of pilot experience requirements was one
of the main issues addressed in the submissions,
particularly the current experience le vels of
commercial airlines and proficiency levels achieved
through current pilot-training methods. With the
exception of captains of low-capacity RPT flights,
CASA does not prescribe minimum experience
requirements for co-pilots or pilots of RPT flights in
Australia. However, the requirem ents for obtaining
pilot’s licences operate as a de facto minimum
experience requirement, the report says.
To qualify for a commercial pilot’s licence (CPL)
via a commercial training course, a person must have
flown a minimum of 150 hours as a pilot. To qualify
for a CPL via the general aviation route, a person must
have a minimum of 200 hours of flight time. To qualify
for an air-transport pilot’s licence (ATPL), a person
must have a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time,
including 750 hours as pilot of a registered aircraft.
The reg ulatory standards g overning experience
on pilot training
Concerns about falling pilot training and airline safety standards have
prompted an Australian Senate investigation. Emma Kelly examines
what the inquiry found.
The investigation was sparked in particular by two safety
incidents involving Tiger Airways and Jetstar, in which both
carriers failed to comply with incident-reporting requirements.
Cadet schemes, like the one established by Regional
Express, allow regional operators to retain pilots.
30/09/11 9:33 PM
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