Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority has released a notice of proposed rule making for mandatory flight simulator training for "non-normal" exercises, such as a simulated system failure, in a move to improve the flight training safety environment.

The NPRM follows a number of incidents in the country that have highlighted the dangers of conducting high-risk training exercises in aircraft, including most recently a May 2010 accident involving an Airnorth Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia at Darwin airport, in which both pilots were killed during a training flight involving an engine failure after take-off exercise.

The change proposes that training for any non-normal exercise for aircraft and helicopters certificated to carry 20 or more passengers or with a maximum take-off weight of more than 8,620kg (19,000lb), and where an appropriate simulator or flight training device is available in the country, must not be performed in the actual aircraft. If a simulator or FTD is not available in Australia or overseas, such training can only be conducted on the aircraft with CASA approval. In a multi-engine aircraft or helicopter certificated to carry 10-19 passengers where a simulator is not available, the pilot must have undergone recurrent training in a simulator or FTD in the past 15 months. CASA will require a safety risk management plan in order to grant approval.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommended that CASA address the fact that there was no regulatory requirement for simulator training in Australia in July 2009 following an investigation into an incident involving a Brasilia at Jundee Airstrip in Western Australia. The crew encountered control difficulties after a total power loss due to fuel starvation. The ATSB found the crew's training did not cover such an incident and at the time there was no EMB-120 flight simulator in the country.

Industry has until 21 January to comment on the NPRM, with CASA hoping to implement the rule change next July.

Source: Flight International