Home' Australian Aviation Magazine : May 2011 Contents 20
MAY 2011 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
Coming of age
CASA's Ageing Aircraft Management Plan progresses
by Michael Serenc
With Australia's fleet of ageing
aircraft large and growing, CASA,
in conjunction with a number of
industry groups, has embarked
on a three stage plan designed
to address the issue, promote air
safety and educate flyers on the
difference between maintenance
e need for a greater awareness of age-
ing aircraft issues is illustrated by a 2007
Australian Transport Safety Bureau report,
which cited an average age of 35 years
for single and multi-engined xed wing
aircraft under 5700kg.
An initiative of the federal government's
2009 Aviation White Paper, the Ageing
Aircraft Management Plan (AAMP) aims
to identify the "current status" of Australia's
ageing aircraft eet and, through an exten-
sive three-stage process, develop a range of
proposals to address any concerns CASA
may have on the issue.
" ere is an issue, the scope of the is-
sue we're still trying to get a handle on,"
CASA's manager -- continuing air worthi-
ness Mike Higgins explained when relating
to the AAMP.
" ere's a bit of a dearth of information
about individual aircraft out there in the
Australian eet, and we are designing some
tools that may help capture that data to
give us a more accurate view of the state of
the 14,000 aircraft in the Australian eet."
ose tools will be developed within
the various stages of CASA's AAMP, the
rst of which was completed in December
last year. According to CASA, Stage 1 has
sought to outline the scope of the issue of
ageing aircraft through the use of detailed
independent analysis gathered during
visits to a number of Australian airports by
CASA in 2010.
"We have already spoken to engineers
from around the country, and we have seen
and taken some evidence of de nite ageing
aircraft issues," Higgins said of Stage 1.
"Stage 2 will conclude with an agreed
way ahead with CASA and the industry."
Stage 3 will be a post-implementation
review of any new regulations that arise
from the program.
To date the AAMP has drawn up a
total of 28 recommendations from Stage 1
research, with CASA yet to decide on
which ones to implement until the AAMP
"CASA are going to look at those 28
recommendations. Some might be taken
on board, some might not, some might
be combined, some might be rolled out in
various stages over the next two, three, four
years. So we're still really gathering data,"
"CASA hasn't made any decision about
which recommendations we'll adopt yet.
And when I say adopt, they'll be adopted
and put into the formal consultation proc-
ess with industry. ere won't be any carte
blanche directives coming out without the
proper formal consultation with industry."
at will be reassuring to operators who
experienced the turmoil caused by CASA's
sudden arbitrary grounding of older Cessna
Conquests in 2007. Cessna had issued an
unconditional life limit of 22,500 ying
hours on the Conquest in August 2007,
causing CASA to issue an immediate
directive grounding all Conquests that
had surpassed those hours. e grounding,
which was initially supposed to last one
year, was subsequently lifted on August 24
2010 with the implementation of a supple-
mental type certi cate (STC). In develop-
ment since 2008, the STC gave Conquest
operators an aircraft life extension of up to
40,000 ying hours.
" at's actually a fantastic example that
we use in our presentation, as an example of
where the manufacturer said the aeroplane
will last for 22,000 hours and it's grounded,
and the company says that's it. An Austral-
ian organisation [Aeronautical Engineers
Australia] developed a program [o ered by
TAE] to pull it apart and do some testing
and analysis and come up with an STC,
which doubles the life the of the aircraft...
So there's a great example of just because
the aircraft has reached the end of its
design life, doesn't mean it needs to stay
permanently grounded," Higgins said.
Once Stage 1 is complete, Stage 2 will
see the formal consultation process over
the implementation of Stage 1's ndings/
proposals regarding the operation of ageing
aircraft with pilots, owners and operators
and industry. at will be developed in the
second half of this year.
In the meantime, an intermediate stage,
known as 1+ is currently under way, with
STILL GOING STRONG The average age of Australian registered light aircraft under a 5700kg MTOW is
35 years. (Paul Sadler)
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