REVIEW OF AUSTRALIA’S FATIGUE RULES UNDERWAY
Modernising the rules around issues of pilot fatigue, specifically a review of the Australian Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 48.1, has begun across the Tasman in an effort to align more closely with international practice.
In March this year, an independent review team delivered its report to the country’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to assess the
appropriateness and necessity of the proposed changes to CAO 48.1.
This review is of significance to the New Zealand Aviation Industry given the current local review of fatigue rules.
NZ CAA are in the process of finalising their policy for fatigue management, and are monitoring the CASA development of fatigue rules closely.
The Australian review team was asked to assess new rules regarding potential safety risk due to fatigue and whether the rules would impose unnecessary costs or hinder participation in aviation.
The review team looked at current regulations (both nationally and internationally) and considered human factors and safety management processes.
Twenty-four recommendations were made to the CASA to help them determine what changes were needed and the process for finalising the rules.
Key recommendations included:
- Revising flight duty period (FDP) limits to align more closely with international practices.
- Increasing the flexibility of the Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) by including a risk-based tiered system.
- Introducing a standardised approval process (other than FRMS) to increase flexibility for operators who operate beyond the prescribed limits.
- Removing Part 137 aerial application operations from CAO 48.1 or adopting limits from Civil Aviation Safety Rules subpart 137.Q due to lower exposure to risk to the public.
It was also recommended that a staggered rollout of these changes should occur, with the highest risk areas given priority. Subsequent to the independent review the aviation industry has had an opportunity to comment to CASA on the review recommendations.
The review of fatigue rules for air operators and pilots is part of the CASA’s regulation reform programme. This programme seeks to align Australian practices with international standards, improve aviation safety, address known risks and maintain their reputation for safety.
Whilst no date for finalising the new rules has been given, it is expected that this work might be completed by the end of this year.
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