Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has begun industry consultation on proposed new standards for the installation of ground-proximity-warning systems (GPWS) on Australian commercial aircraft.

The move to adopt the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) approved standards follows a coroner's re- commendation after the crash of a third-level airline's Piper Chieftain in 1993.

Although the coroner found that a GPWS would not have prevented the accident, he recommended that CASA, in consultation with the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI), investigate whether all aircraft involved in regular public-transport operations should be fitted with either a GPWS or a radar altimeter.

Only turbine-engined aircraft above 15,000kg maximum take-off weight (MTOW), or carrying more than 30 passengers, are required to be GPWS-equipped in Australia. Adoption of the proposed ICAO standard would either affect about 300 turbine aircraft of 36 different types of over 5,700kg MTOW, or all aircraft authorised to carry more than nine passengers. Fitting the system would be compulsory before 1 January, 1999.

Australia has recorded three fatal controlled-flight-into-terrain accidents over the past ten years in low-passenger capacity scheduled aircraft, with a loss of 15 lives. BASI investigations have found that use of a GPWS may have prevented these accidents.

Source: Flight International