Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Statutory Rules 1994 No. 294

(Issued by the authority of the Minister for Transport)

Civil Aviation Act 1988

Civil Aviation Regulations (Amendment)

Subsection 98 (1) of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Act) provides that the Governor-General may make regulations for the purposes of the Act and in the interests of the safety of air navigation.

The regulations amend the Civil Aviation Regulations by inserting a new regulation 252A, requiring most Australian aircraft to be fitted with emergency locator transmitters (ELTs). When activated, an ELT transmits a radio signal that can be traced to its source. If an ELT is activated after an aircraft accident in a remote area, the speed and efficiency of search and rescue operations is greatly increased.

New regulation 252A requires that an Australian aircraft must be fitted with an approved ELT that transmits on the frequency 121.5 MHz. An ELT is approved if it has been authorised by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States of America under one of two specified technical standards, or if the Civil Aviation Authority is satisfied that it meets one of those standards. ELTs built to those standards are designed to automatically activate on impact in the event of an accident, removing the need for manual activation, which is not always possible.

New regulation 252A provides exemptions for high capacity aircraft engaged in regular public transport operations, balloons, airships and gliders and for aircraft that are flying within 25 miles of the aerodrome from which the flight commenced, or in a training area associated with that aerodrome. For a variety of reasons, these aircraft are likely to be found relatively easily in the event of an accident. Accordingly, it is not necessary to require them to be fitted with an ELT. Aircraft that are flying to a place where an ELT can be fitted, repaired or overhauled are also exempted from the operation of the regulation.

Because many ELTs meeting the requirements of the regulation are manufactured overseas and there are presently limited stocks available in Australia, it may be some time before all affected aircraft can comply with the requirement. New regulation 252A will not have any effect until 1 July 1995 in order to ensure that aircraft owners and operators have sufficient time to buy and install a suitable ELT.

The amending regulations commenced on gazettal.

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