On 2 December 2021, the regulatory landscape RAAus members have operated under for the preceding 40 years is changing with the implementation of Parts 91 and 103.

The Civil Aviation Orders (CAO) and the exemptions provided to RAAus and sister sport organisations are slowly being integrated into the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR).

At a high level, Part 91 contains General Operating and Flight Rules whilst Part 103 contains specific rules for those of us operating Sport and Recreational aircraft. Importantly, a number of Part 91 requirements do not apply to Part 103 aircraft and these are listed in CASR Part 91.030. As CASA have been unable to complete the Manual of Standards (MOS) for Part 103 in time for the December 2 commencement date, RAAus will also be required to continue to reference our CAOs, 95.55, 95.32 and 95.10 until such time the MOS is completed in late-2022.

This is all unquestionably complex, even for a seasoned reader of regulation, therefore CASA has produced the CASA Plain English Guide Part 91 (Part 91 PEG), which describes the regulations in plain English. We expect an updated Visual Flight Rules Guide (VFRG) to also be published imminently whilst a Part 103 Plain English Guide would be published by late-2022.

Whilst not introducing a significant number of changes to how we operate, there are some operational changes in Part 91 we need to be aware of such as, ‘where operationally possible, pilots should operate at hemispherical altitudes when cruising under 3000’ AMSL or above 1500’ AGL.’ Whilst some of these are subtle, from a safety perspective, it’s important we all comply to ensure consistency across the industry.

Excitingly, these new regulations provide the pathway for applicable RAAus aircraft to operate up to MTOW of 760 kgs. We have also been informed that a consultation will be shortly commencing which will seek industry feedback on the removal of the 45 KT stall speed limitation on aircraft operating between 601kg and 760kg, along with Controlled Airspace Access. Should CASA progress with these we would expect implementation in early-mid 2022 as another amendment to CAO 95.55, in advance of the Part 103 MOS being completed.

It is RAAus expectation that all flying members familiarise themselves with new requirements using CASA and RAAus resources online and reading updates provided via e-news and other means. RAAus will also continue to provide educational resources such as live streams as we embed the new CASRs in the coming months.