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Tuesday Touchpoint: CASA Changes to flight operations regulations

In two days’, on the 2nd of December, CASA are introducing new and amended regulations in regards to operations and flight rules, as well as certification and management for a variety of aircraft and operations. These Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs) will apply to all pilots in Australia.

With this in mind, we though we would touch on a few of the changes that are set to affect owners and operators of Ultralight and weightshift microlight aircraft, amateur built and experimental aircraft, sailplanes, gliders, and gyroplanes. After all, we are in the business of helping and supporting everyone in this category.

There are two CASA CASRs that we need to comply with; they are

Part 91 – General operating and flight rules (for all operations) and Part 103 – Sport and recreation aircraft – for your aircraft operating rules.

We are also required to be a part of a self-administering organisation (such as RAAus). They abide by the rules CASA set out under Part 149 – Approved self-administering aviation organisations.

We are not going to cover all the changes here, since there have been 57 key changes. To find the full list of changes, check out

But here is a couple we thought would be interesting to bring up:

1. Minimum altitude for cruising levels lowers from 5000ft to 3000ft (see exceptions)

When flying under the VFR you must fly at a specified VFR cruising level for the aircraft track.

Exceptions: - when in uncontrolled airspace, and - the aircraft is below 3000ft AMSL, or - the aircraft is at, or above 3000ft AMSL, but below 1500ft AGL, or - it is not practicable to do so, or - the aircraft is a glider in soaring flight. - when in controlled airspace and ATC has given you a clearance or instruction.

2. Fuel reserves – name changes

Fixed Reserve becomes Final Reserve Fuel for time specified in Table 19.02 Part 91 MOS (page 66) Variable Fuel Reserve is now called Contingency Fuel and refers to Table 19.02 Part 91 MOS (page 66)

Final Reserve Fuel for small piston engine aircraft operating under the VFR is 30mins. There is no requirement for contingency fuel.

3. Carriage of firearms – less restrictive

For privately operated light aircraft under 5700kgs MTOW, a person may only carry or possess a firearm if the pilot or the operator has given their consent.

These are just 3 of the changes we thought would be good to mention for private owners and operators. The full list of main changes include:

  • Give greater flexibility for carriage of animals and firearms. The pilot in command has more choice on how to apply the requirements based on their individual circumstances and how they manage the risk.

  • Restrict the simulation of certain in-flight emergencies and who can be on board at the time.

  • Introduce an approach ban in weather conditions consistently below landing minima at certain aerodromes for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flights.

  • Give greater discretion for the pilot in command to determine which portable electronic devices may be used by passengers without compromising safety.

  • Relax oxygen requirements for non-air transport operations.

  • Permit the carriage of documents electronically.

  • Amend the minimum altitude at which a cruising level must be used during flight under the visual flight rules (VFR).

To understand the list of changes completely, we recommend checking out the CASR Part 91 General Operating and Flight Rules Plain English Guide from CASA, clicking the link above, and talking to your flight instructor.

Happy flying!

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