Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) director Mick Toller has been challenged over failing to report a major defect on an aircraft he was flying. Senior industry figures are calling on Aviation Minister John Anderson to sack Toller, dubbed by the country's aviation industry as 'Mr Zero Tollerance'.

Toller, an experienced airline pilot and former deputy director of flight operations at Cathay Pacific Airways, is in trouble over an air safety breach by failing to report a major defect - an unserviceable flap system - in the maintenance release of an aircraft he had hired.

Instead he left a hand-written note to the Canberra-based operator of the Piper Seneca, saying the system was defective but that he had not recorded that in the official document because he did not want to ground the aircraft. CASA auditors discovered this breach on a routine audit.

Australia's aviation industry has complained loudly that, under Toller's leadership, CASA officers' campaign of collecting evidence of non-compliance with CASA regulations has resulted in the shut-down of a large number of general aviation operators.

The industry also accuses CASA of taking action against pilots for lesser offences without investigation and of using administrative decision processes on the basis of 'reason to believe', citing their safety responsibilities, without bringing allegations to court.

Despite pressure to remove Toller, the CASA Board is supporting the director.

Source: Flight International