Safety on smaller passenger carrying commercial aircraft will soon receive a significant boost from rules requiring wider use of technology that alerts pilots to hazardous terrain.
Rules coming into effect from 2 December 2023 require a broader range of passenger-carrying commercial and medical transport aircraft to be fitted with a Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS).
TAWS was initially introduced to large commercial passenger aircraft in the 1970s and has played a significant role in reducing accidents involving collisions with terrain such as mountains.
It alerts pilots to avoid potentially dangerous terrain or obstructions ahead of the aircraft and allows them to take action to avoid an accident.
CASA CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Pip Spence said ensuring the safety of passengers in commercial aircraft was a priority for the safety authority.
‘TAWS is a valuable safety tool that has been shown to prevent accidents involving collisions with terrain,’ Ms Spence said. ‘Widening the number of aircraft required to be fitted with the technology is in keeping with CASA’s mandate to protect Australia’s strong safety reputation.
‘It complements existing safeguards that include ramp checks, audits and other surveillance measures.’
Australian rules currently require TAWS to be fitted to commercial passenger or cargo turbine aeroplanes with maximum take-off weight of more than 15,000kg or carrying 10 or more passengers.
From December 2, this requirement will be extended to commercial passenger-carrying and medical transport turbine or piston-engine aeroplanes with a maximum take-off weight of more than 5700kg or fitted with 10 or more passenger seats. It will also apply to commercial cargo turbine or piston-engine aeroplanes with a maximum take-off weight of more than 8618kg.
The changes mean TAWS will now be required on more turbine-engine aeroplanes than previously and the technology will need to be fitted for the first time on piston-engine aeroplanes.
There will also be changes for helicopters. Helicopters conducting commercial passenger transport operations with 10 or more passenger seats or commercial medical transport operations will also now require the technology.
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30 November 2023 MR6323