Sunday, November 11, 2007

ADS-B, Presidents Memo to the Minister

10 November 2007

Dear Minister,

I attended the Safeskies conference in Canberra last week. It was a very beneficial conference with the Safety Systems theme well received. The organisers and sponsors should be congratulated for an excellent event. We were all disappointed that you were unable to open the conference but understood the time pressures you are currently under.

During one of the presentations I was very disturbed at the direction that Air Services Australia were taking on the introduction of ADS-B, as well as the implied suggestion that private operations in class G airspace were a safety risk. With the establishment of the Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) within CASA, I would have thought that Air Services comment was inappropriate and pre-emptive.

Attached is an article that will shortly be published in the RA-Aus magazine with a print run of some 13,000 copies for both members and newsstand distribution. I would appreciate it if you could read it and respond to the following specific issues raised:

1. Is the Minister happy with the current situation of Air Services ignoring a Ministerial Directive for over three years?

2. Is it appropriate for Air Services to be represented on the Aviation Policy Group, when their profit driven motives may not coalesce with the broader strategic needs of all aviation sectors?

3. Can you assure us that issues such as the implementation of ADS-B, reduction and regulation of G Airspace and increase in numbers of CTAF ( R ) will be subject to an aviation industry wide true consultation process?

4. Can you assure us that your Airspace Policy statements, and in particular, that class “G” airspace is be considered the default airspace and that the eventual aim is to adopt the unaltered US and ICAO NAS airspace model, are still the guidance for the OAR?

5. Can the Minister assure us that, if after full industry wide consultation, it is determined that fitment of ADS-B is to be mandated for class “E” and “G” airspace that:

(i) both ADS-B (in) and ADS-B (out) equipment will be provided free of charge and maintained by ASA for all private aircraft operators.

(ii) No charges will be ever be levied by ASA for private operations in “E” and “G” airspace as is currently the case.

We plan on releasing the article to all other aviation journals and magazines as well as the Australian newspaper in the near future. We would obviously like to convey factual material in those articles.

RA-Aus has prided itself on working with the regulator in a co-operative and consultative manner in forums such as CASA’s SCC process. As a result you have heard very little from us other than occasional courtesy visits. In this instance we believe that ASA is bypassing and rushing the normal consultative process. That they are doing this in an effort to achieve an outcome that would solve ASA’s financial predicament, by shifting cost burdens onto private aircraft owners. Therefore we feel that we had no other option but to approach you for clarification given the circumstances.

Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to respond.


John Gardon