Pilots urged to correctly stow baggage and other items

Civil Aviation Safety Authority

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is reminding pilots and operators of the importance of properly restraining cargo and baggage following a recent surveillance sweep across Australia’s Top End.

Two unannounced sweeps in Australia’s Top End by Civil Aviation Safety Authority inspectors found operators are largely adhering to safety regulations.

The surveillance sweeps included fixed wing and helicopter operations, including those involved in scenic flights.

The first sweep in Northern Queensland and the Torres Strait included an examination of aircraft, maintenance releases and how operators recorded hours.

CASA officers visited Bamaga, Punsand Bay, Loyalty Beach and Seisa before heading to Thursday and Horn islands and then to Coen, Weipa, Musgrave Roadhouse, Archer River Roadhouse, Hopevale, Elm Beach, Cow Bay and Cooktown.

The second operation covered Western Australia’s North-West and included ramp checks in Kununurra, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Derby.

CASA’s National Manager Surveillance, Russell Dyer said the visits provided a valuable insight about what was happening with operators in remote communities and how they worked.

‘It also provided a greater CASA presence and visibility in the remote areas of Australia,’ he said.

While there were minor deficiencies with some aircraft, a wider issue to emerge from the West Australian visits involved the restraining of baggage and items such as first aid and survival kits.

The inspectors found items that were either not restrained, or the restraining system was insufficient, in all but two of the aircraft they checked.

‘Loose items can pose a safety hazard and pilots need to ensure items in the cabin are appropriately restrained,’ Mr Dyer said.

‘As a result of the finding, CASA is issuing additional advice to make sure pilots and operators are aware of their responsibilities.’

Information on CASA’s Flight safety Australia website outlines what cargo can be carried in a cabin as well as where and how it should be stowed.

It cannot, for example, be stowed in toilets or against bulkheads, in a way that prevents an overhead locker from being latched or where it impedes access to emergency equipment.

CASA’s inspectors also met representatives of four indigenous communities: Binarri Binyja Yarrawoo in Kununurra, Jungarni Jutiya – Indigenous Corporation , Marra Worra Worra in Fitzroy Crossing and Nyamba Buru Yawuru in Broome.

‘People in remote communities do a lot of air travel in small aircraft but they’re not that confident about reporting if they see something they’re not happy about or that appears wrong,’ said Manager Surveillance Ron Salter, who was at the meetings.

‘We spend a bit of time explaining our reporting process, where to find the forms and how to complete them, and encouraging them to contact us if they have any issues.’

/Public Release.