Saturday, December 20, 2014

Precautions for Jabiru powered aircraft: Explanatory Statement - DRAFT

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority will place a set of precautionary operating limitations on aircraft powered by Jabiru engines.

These precautionary limitations follow a high number of Jabiru engine failures and power loss incidents, some of which resulted in aircraft forced landings.

More than 45 Jabiru engine failures or in-flight engine incidents have been reported in 2014, with CASA recently becoming aware of incidents in previous years.

Problems with Jabiru engines include failures of through bolts, flywheel bolts and valve train assemblies, as well as cylinder cracking.

The failures affect a range of Jabiru engine models and have occurred in aircraft used in different flying activities, although many have been reported in aircraft used for flying training.

CASA is currently working with Jabiru and other stakeholders to identify the causes of the engine problems and to implement appropriate solutions.

Causes being investigated include design and mechanical issues, how aircraft are flown, and maintenance-related issues.

While this investigative work is ongoing, the precautionary limitations are primarily intended to reduce risks for people on the ground and trainee pilots flying solo. The limitations also ensure that trainee pilots flying solo and passengers understand and accept the risk of a Jabiru engine failure.

The limitations:

  • Restrict flights to day time under the visual flight rules
  • Require aircraft to be flown so they can at all times glide clear of a populous area
  • Require passengers and trainee pilots flying solo to sign a statement saying they are aware of and accept the risk of an engine failure
  • Require trainee pilots to have recently and successfully completed engine failure exercises before solo flights.

CASA consulted with the aviation community on the Jabiru limitations, receiving more than 630 comments. Many pilots maintained they had the right to accept the risk of engine power loss and argued that this right should be extended to passengers and trainee pilots.

CASA revised the proposed limitations after taking account of the consultation comments and other relevant information, and considers that the limitations now to be made appropriately manage the safety risks.

A copy of the limitations. The limitations must be registered by the Australian Government Office of Parliamentary Counsel, at which time CASA will publish a further notice stating that the limitations are in force.

Media contact:

Peter Gibson
Mobile: 0419 296 446
Ref: MR13314

Original article can be found at

Explanatory Statement - DRAFT

Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998
Conditions and direction concerning certain aircraft fitted with engines manufactured by Jabiru Aircraft Pty Ltd

This instrument prescribes operating limitations on aircraft (Jabiru-powered aircraft) fitted with engines manufactured by, or under licence from or under a contract with, Jabiru Aircraft Pty. Ltd. (Jabiru), to manage risks arising from a high incidence of engine loss-of-power events and other reliability issues.

Section 98 of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Act) empowers the Governor-General to make regulations for the Act and the safety of air navigation. Under paragraph 98 (5A) (a) of the Act, such regulations may empower CASA to issue instruments in relation to matters affecting the safe navigation and operation of aircraft.

Regulation 11.068 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulation 1998 (CASR 1998) empowers CASA to impose conditions on specified classes of ‘authorisation’, which relevantly includes aircraft certificates of airworthiness.

Regulation 11.245 of CASR 1998 empowers CASA to issue directions, for the purpose of CASA’s functions and if necessary in the interests of the safety of air navigation, about any matter affecting:

the safe navigation and operation of aircraft; or
the maintenance of aircraft; or
the airworthiness of aircraft.
Civil Aviation Order 95.55 (CAO 95.55) applies to certain ultralight aeroplanes registered with Recreational Aviation Australia Incorporated. It grants an exemption from several provisions of the regulations under the Act, subject to conditions imposed in the interests of aviation safety.

CASA has recently become aware of a high, and increasingly high, rate of loss-of-power events and other engine reliability issues among Jabiru-powered aircraft. As of 8 December 2014, CASA is aware of 46 reported mechanical failures or inflight occurrences in Jabiru-powered aircraft during 2014, equating to approximately 1 event per week. These figures follow reported engine-related events in 2012 and 2013, although CASA has only recently become aware of the full scope of the issues that appear to have occurred during that period through provision of data from a number of additional sources.

The loss-of-power events and engine reliability problems appear to:

be the result of several failure modes, including engine through bolt failure, cylinder cracking, flywheel bolt failure and failure of the valve train assembly; and
affect a range of Jabiru engine models, although CASA has only a small sample size for some models; and
occur across the range of different operational activities in which Jabiru-powered aircraft are employed, although a disproportionate number of events appear to occur in flying training activities.
CASA is working with Jabiru to identify the causes of engine issues – which may be related to mechanical, operational or maintenance-related factors – and to implement appropriate corrective actions.

In the meantime, CASA has formed the view that its functions under the Act require it, in the interests of safety, to mitigate the potentially heightened risks associated with Jabiru-powered aircraft, having particular regard to:

people who fly, or fly in, a Jabiru-powered aircraft, without being in a position to make a properly informed choice about whether to expose themselves to the potentially heightened risks; and
people who fly a Jabiru-powered aircraft who may lack sufficient skill and experience to deal competently with a loss-of-power event; and
people who share airspace with Jabiru-powered aircraft, without having the opportunity to minimise or eliminate their exposure to the potentially heightened risks; and
people on the ground, who may be entirely unaware of the potentially heightened risks posed by Jabiru-powered aircraft, and are unable to take steps to minimise or eliminate their exposure to these potentially heightened risks.
In CASA’s view, it is necessary and appropriate to limit the exposure of these classes of persons to a heightened potential risk of injury or death, which is otherwise unmitigated.

Accordingly, the instrument imposes a set of operating limitations on Jabiru-powered aircraft as a precautionary measure until Jabiru and CASA are satisfied that the causes of the loss of power events and other reliability issues have been identified and such appropriate corrective measures as may be necessary have been implemented.

The limitations will apply to Jabiru-powered aircraft in respect of which a certificate of airworthiness has been issued under Part 21 of CASR 1998, as well as Jabiru-powered aircraft that operate under the regime in CAO 95.55.

The legislative instrument
The legislative instrument sets out operating limitations for Jabiru-powered aircraft that mitigates certain risks of loss-of-power events, particularly in relation to those classes of people who are unable to gauge or control those risks, being passengers, trainee pilots, and persons on the ground.

The limitations are expressed to apply to pilots in command of Jabiru-powered aircraft and the chief flying instructor of a school that sends a student on a solo flight in a Jabiru-powered aircraft.

Except as expressly stated in the instrument, the operational limitations are intended to displace any inconsistent operational authorisation in regulations and other instruments made for the purpose of the statutory scheme under the Act, for example an authorisation to operate over built-up areas under subregulation 262AP (5) of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988.

Notes on the provisions of the instrument are set out in Appendix 1.

Legislative Instruments Act
Under paragraph 98 (5A) (a) of the Act, regulations made for that provision may empower CASA to issue instruments in relation to matters affecting the safe navigation and operation of aircraft. Under subsection 98 (5AA) of the Act, an instrument issued under paragraph 98 (5A) (a) is a legislative instrument if expressed to apply in relation to a class of persons or aircraft.

The instrument applies to classes of persons and aircraft. The instrument is, therefore, a legislative instrument, subject to registration, and tabling and disallowance in the Parliament, under sections 24, and 38 and 42, of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

CASA published a draft of the instrument, including by publication on CASA’s website, for public consultation for the period from 13 November 2014 to 27 November 2014 inclusive, and invited comments on the draft instrument. CASA has analysed the 632 comments received during that period, many of which objected to the imposition of any operating limitations at all, as well as to the particular limitations initially proposed.

One theme of the comments was the identification of a ‘right’ of pilots of Jabiru-powered aircraft to accept the risk of loss-of-power events free of Government regulation. Some respondents argued that this ‘right’ should be extended to passengers and trainee pilots, who would have been prohibited from flights in Jabiru-powered aircraft under the terms of the consultation draft.

CASA’s role as the regulator is to balance the rights of individuals to determine their conduct against the Parliament’s statutory mandate that CASA preserve an appropriate level of safety of air navigation. CASA has taken into account the fact that a loss-of-power event does not necessarily result in loss of control of the aircraft, and that risk mitigators in the instrument ensure that pilots have reasonable and realistic opportunities to make an emergency landing. On that basis, the instrument preserves the right of passengers and trainee pilots to accept the risk of an engine failure on an informed basis, subject to them reading and accepting a statement that more fully explains the potential risks of flight in Jabiru-powered aircraft.

CASA notes that a considerable number of respondents positively supported the limitations, and provided additional data about Jabiru engine reliability issues. Further, even among the responses objecting to the limitations, there were numerous acknowledgements of problems with the Jabiru engine that support CASA’s action in making the instrument.

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

The Statement in Appendix 2 is prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011. The legislative instrument does not directly engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms, and is compatible with human rights, as it does not directly raise any human rights issues. To the extent that it may indirectly limit certain human rights, those limitations are necessary and proportionate in the interests of aviation safety (see Appendix 2).

Commencement and making
The legislative instrument commences on the day of registration. The legislative instrument has been made by the Acting Director of Aviation Safety, on behalf of CASA, in accordance with subsection 73 (2) of the Act.

Original article can be found at:

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