CASA updates approach and departure path advice
In late July CASA updated their guidance material about how to avoid the approach and departure paths around aerodromes. This advice has been provided through a change to Advisory Circulars AC 101-01 and AC 101-10 (Excluded RPA/sub-2kg operators). The main changes are the:
- addition of a clearly defined approach and departure path around controlled airports
- removal of approach and departure path diagrams for operations near non-controlled aerodromes and helicopter landing sites
- removal of 3nm exclusion zones around some high-traffic hospital helicopter landing sites
- addition of maximum operating heights when flying near high terrain that surrounds some controlled airports
Our article will discuss the changes in more detail. The content is aimed at operators who have completed a RePL course or are familiar with the existing aviation legislation and advisory material.
Overall, while it is good to see approach/departure path diagrams added to controlled aerodromes, the removal of diagrams that previously provided a clear indication of the approach and departure paths around the thousands of Australia’s non-controlled aerodromes may cause confusion. Advice from CASA is it is now up to the individual to determine what these approach and departure paths are (using adequate risk management techniques) to meet the obligations of CASR 101.075. While we support providing operators with more flexibility to undertake their RPAS tasks, the removal of this guidance material may open up the possibility for airspace conflict between manned aircraft and RPAS operators that don’t adequately understand the area they are flying in. It also creates more ambiguity in a rule set many people already find confusing.