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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1665

(Question No. 5103)

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 19 February 1987:

(1) What are the reasons for the suspension of all exemptions concerning the performing of aerobatics by vintage and ex-military aircraft.

(2) What is required of aircraft of this type to recommence performing aerobatics.

(3) Was liability of his Department or any of its officers a consideration in restricting the performance of aerobatics by these aircraft; if so, why.

(4) What caused his Department to announce this restriction when aircraft of this type has been performing aerobatics safely, both in practice and in displays, for several years.

Mr Peter Morris —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) No exemptions concerning the performing of aerobatics by vintage and ex-military aircraft have been suspended. However future applications for these exemptions, which must be renewed annually, will require evidence that the aircraft will still be operated within safe structural limits. This policy recognises that aerobatic manoeuvres have a marked effect on the fatigue life of certain vital structural components. Consideration of this fatigue problem in older aircraft has led my Department to ask operators to provide some substantiation that engagement in aerobatics will not affect the structural integrity of their individual aircraft.

(2) Renewal of an expired approval can be achieved in a number of ways, for example, by provision of proof that another aircraft of that type has been involved in a legitimate fatigue program and has safely accumulated more flight hours than the aircraft in question.

(3) No. The primary consideration was the safety of the pilot and any crew involved, as well as that of the public audience which could be situated close to the demonstration area.

(4) Many historic and ex-military aircraft are now of an age when the possibility of fatigue failure is becoming an important consideration. This possibility increases, rather than decreases, when aerobatics have been performed regularly.