RAAus is built on the principle of informed participation, allowing a simple ruleset and privileges such as owner maintenance for aircraft used solely for private use, and a self declared medical. With this comes the acceptance from RAAus members that the aircraft and pilot are not required to adhere to the same standards, therefore requiring acceptance of the associated risks. Despite the simple ruleset, aircraft owners must ensure that their aircraft continues to be maintained in accordance with the mandatory maintenance standards, and requirements specified within the manufacturers schedule of maintenance. There are also a number of compulsory requirements that pilots must comply with prior to each and every flight.

This reminder comes shortly following an announcement from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) that they have discontinued the investigation into a fatal accident involving a VH-registered, amateurbuilt Jodel D11 at Ball Bay, Queensland. The aircraft collided with terrain shortly after take-off. The passenger was fatally injured and the pilot sustained serious injuries. The ATSB found that the pilot did not hold the necessary qualifications to operate the aircraft and that the aircraft did not hold a current maintenance release. The passenger’s seat belt was found to have completely failed in two locations and both aircraft seat belts had not been replaced in accordance with a CASA airworthiness directive.

As pilots, aircraft owners and maintainers, we have an obligation to operate in accordance with compliance requirements. Failure to comply with requirements may result in disciplinary action, invalidation of insurance, criminal prosecution, or even civil litigation if the occurrence involves a passenger or third party. These may lead to severe charges or even imprisonment for failing to comply with mandatory requirements.

RAAus actively advocates on behalf of members to ensure that our operations continue to be as simple and as cost effective as possible. In saying this, aircraft maintenance requirements can be complex and aircraft owners are responsible for ensuring their aircraft continues to comply with all requirements. RAAus regularly encounters commonalities with regards to non-compliance and, where possible, will work with members to address such issues. It is, however, a mandatory reporting requirement that RAAus notifies CASA of such breaches and in the event that an individual no longer holds valid membership and aircraft registration, this matter will be sent to CASA for management as this falls outside the scope of our control as an RAAus member.

RAAus recommends members regularly review the following areas to ensure they are compliant:


Members have a legal requirement to track the expiry of their RAAus membership and aircraft registration expiry dates. Operating without current membership or registration is a breach of the Civil Aviation Act 1988.


Pilots should always confirm they hold the appropriate ratings, endorsements and currency for any flight. We commonly find operations with an expired BFR, flights beyond 25nm without holding a cross country endorsement, accommodating passengers without the endorsement, or instructors operating with an expired rating.


Whilst members under the age of 75 are able to operate using a self-declared medical, there are a number of conditions which must be declared to RAAus or require a certificate from your GP. These declarations must be provided to RAAus prior to operating an aircraft. Simply holding the certificate without providing this to RAAus is considered a non-compliant operation.


Aircraft owners are responsible for ensuring that maintenance is conducted in accordance with the required standards. Even if an aircraft owner uses a qualified maintainer, you must understand the requirements and confirm that these are completed and recorded within the maintenance logbook.


Are you aware that pressure/static instruments (airspeed indicator and altimeters) fitted to RAAus aircraft must be checked every two years? If your aircraft is fitted with a transponder, this must also be checked by a qualified person every two years.


There are essential conditions that must be met prior to making any modification to your RAAus aircraft (e.g. letter of approval from the manufacture, engineering order, or an inspection and test flight).

If you think your aircraft may be non-compliant, RAAus urges you to come forward to see if we can assist with your return to a compliant state. Whilst this may still be reportable to CASA, in most cases we will be able to offer support without further complications. You can also confidentially report breaches via our reporting system at

Together, we can improve and maintain compliance for the continued safety of our members.

If you have any questions relating to compliance requirements, please refer to the RAAus Flight Operations and Technical Manuals, or do not hesitate to contact our team for further support. Find out more about the above-mentioned ATSB investigation via, investigation number AO-2021-054.