Syllabus to change after CASA listens to helicopter industry voices

CASA is investigating changing helicopter training

CASA has opened the door to trainee helicopter pilots in Australia being able to gain their licences after a 105 hour course, instead of 150 hours, and without having to learn basic instrument flying after CASA responded to industry concerns.

CASA is seeking feedback on proposed changes to helicopter licensing standards. The regulator proposes to amend the Part 61 regulations, covering flight training to include a 105 hour training option for the CPL(H) that reflects the old 105 hour option in the Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) 1988, and make training in basic instrument flying optional.

The proposal is to add a 105 hour CPL(H) option based on the former special training course under Part 5 of CAR. The following are proposed parameters for the course:

  • the period of training for final phase of the course would be no longer than three consecutive months and involve at least 30 hours of training
  • the aeronautical experience used to achieve the 105 hour requirement would be limited to flight training time in no more than two types of helicopter
  • the student would complete at least 20 hours of training in each type of helicopter used during the 105 hour course
  • the first 15 hours of training would be completed in the same type of helicopter.

A CASA sample 105 hour course is being drafted and will be provided for industry feedback.

CASA introduced the Part 61 licensing system in 2014 in order to align with Annex 1 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO Annex 1), which covers personnel licensing. The Part 61 changes included the addition of a requirement that helicopter pilots undertake basic instrument flight training.

Pilots qualifying under the proposed 105 hour course would be granted a licence which states it is non-compliant with ICAO Annex 1 standards. Pilots with non-compliant licences would need the approval of a foreign state to operate an Australian aircraft in that state. A foreign state could impose additional training and testing requirements for conversion and might not validate the licence.

To have your say on the proposal to change helicopter licensing standards, go to the CASA website. Consultation closes 3 December 2017.