Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Statutory Rules 1992 No. 254

(Issued by the authority of the Minister for Shipping and Aviation Support)

Civil Aviation Act 1988

Civil Aviation Regulations (Amendment)

Subsection 98 (1) of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Act) provides that the GovernorGeneral may make regulations for the purposes of the Act and in relation to the safety of air navigation.

These regulations amend the Civil Aviation Regulations by repealing regulation 178 and substituting a new regulation 178.

Old regulation 178 empowered the Civil Aviation Authority (the Authority) to determine the lowest height at which an aircraft may fly along a particular route segment under the instrument flight rules (called the lowest safe altitude) and set a minimum height of 1,000 feet for route segments for which the Authority has not determined the lowest safe altitude. The regulation provided an exception for aircraft taking off or landing.

The purpose of the amendment is to make the lowest height at which aircraft may fly under the instrument flight rules (I.F.R.) more flexible. Like old regulation 178, new regulation 178 empowers the Authority to determine the lowest safe altitude for a route segment. However, rather than specifying a minimum height for other route segments, the new regulation allows the Authority to determine a formula from which the lowest safe altitude is calculated for each route segment. This ensures that the lowest safe altitude varies in accordance with the characteristics of each route segment.

New regulation 178 also gives added flexibility by means of exceptions from the lowest safe altitude for aircraft flown by day in visual meteorological conditions and aircraft flown in accordance with instructions from air traffic control. In these situations there is no reduction in safety standards if an aircraft is flown below the lowest safe altitude. Exceptions for aircraft engaged in take-off or landing, or in an instrument departure or approach procedure, are also contained in the new regulation. Instrument departure and approach procedures are necessary for take-off and landing, but cannot be said to be part of take-off and landing.

New regulation 178 has effect subject to regulation 157, which is a general prohibition on dangerously low flight. The effect of this is to ensure that, unless an exception set out in regulation 157 applies, an aircraft flying under the I.F.R. will not fly over a populous area at a height lower than 1,000 feet or over any other area at a height lower than 500 feet.

The regulations commenced on Gazettal.

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