AUSTRALIA'S FLYING training industry has condemned an Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) plan for its restructure, calling the regulatory proposals "...over-regulation and an attempt to create more jobs in CASA".

The review recommends sweeping increases in minimum experience and training for instructor ratings at all levels, with extended ground-training courses, stiffer examinations, extra flight training and less authority for schools to issue ratings to employees. Under one proposal, even the most junior instructor would be required to undergo an 18-20-week ground course including aviation history, aviation law, psychology, aero-medicine, management skills and advanced aviation technical subjects, despite in most cases having recently completed theory training for a commercial pilot's licence.

The industry insists that the proposed new rules would price Australian schools out of the growing market for training Asian airline pilots. Australia's consistently expanded share of that market is estimated to be worth $30 million annually.

Qantas captain Geoff Westwood, who owns one of Australia's major schools, says: "This thing is so disgusting and so potentially damaging to the industry, I think its war. There are so many recommendations that are not substantiated in any way whatever, that you can only regard them as personal opinions. Some of the recommendations cut drastically across the proper conduct of overseas cadet-pilot courses in particular."

Westwood adds, "The review is based on the false assumption, that something is drastically wrong with the industry, and it isn't. It's also based on the assumption that Australian licences should be better recognised, whereas, they're already among the most widely recognised licences in the world."

Five major schools in Australia train cadet pilots on contract to foreign airlines, while numerous smaller schools train self-funded students.

Source: Flight International