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Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Page: 1110

(Question No. 627)


Mr Sharp asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 22 November 1993:

  (1) Was the regional office of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) required by the manual of air operator certification to undertake a planned surveillance audit of Monarch Airlines before the crash of a Monarch Airlines aircraft near Young, NSW; if so, was the audit conducted and if not, why not.

  (2) Was the aircraft operating after essential equipment had been removed without authorisation; if so, (a) did the CAA know this and (b) was the Minister informed that the CAA knew.

  (3) How many hours had the co-pilot flown (a) on the type of aircraft involved in the crash and (b) in total.

  (4) Did the number of hours the co-pilot had flown on the aircraft type meet the requirement for operating with two pilots.

  (5) When was the pilot of the aircraft endorsed for Piper Navajo aircraft.

  (6) Was the co-pilot being paid for the flight during which the aircraft crashed.

  (7) What were the employment arrangements for the co-pilot with respect to the flight.

  (8) What are the written guidelines for according permissible unserviceability.

  (9) What measures were taken to enforce the guidelines with respect to the aircraft which crashed.

  (10) What is the usual period during which an aircraft is permitted to operate under permissible unserviceability.

  (11) Is it a fact that the aircraft which crashed was engaged in regular public transport under permissible unserviceability applying indefinitely; if so, did this conform with the guidelines.

  (12) Did the aircraft which crashed operate with an unserviceable autopilot; if so, would a privately operated Piper Navajo be allowed to operate with an unserviceable autopilot for the same length of time as did the Monarch Airlines aircraft.

  (13) Did Monarch Airlines insure its passengers; if so, what level of insurance applied.

  (14) Is passenger insurance compulsory for airlines engaged in regular public transport.

  (15) Was the CAA aware of Monarch Airlines' insurance status.

  (16) Is the CAA insured against (a) liability for failure to discharge its responsibility to regulate aviation and (b) personal liability on the part of its directors; if so, in each case, to what level.

  (17) How many non-conformance notices have been issued to Monarch Airlines since November 1992.


Mr Brereton —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows, based in part on information provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI):

  (1) No. The manual merely sets out recommended level of scheduled surveillance for flying operations. Scheduled surveillance is often replaced by supplementary surveillance which is in response to particular situations. Both types of surveillance were carried out by the Flying Operations section of the Bankstown District office on several occasions prior to 11 June 1993.

  (2) The CAA's understanding is that at the time of the crash VH-NDU was operating with the autopilot amplifier and controller removed.

  (a) From the CAA's investigations no officer of the CAA knew at the time that VH-NDU was being operated at the time of the crash with those components removed.

  (b) The CAA have not advised the Minister that the CAA knew at the time that VH-NDU was being operated at the time of the crash with those components removed.

  (3) The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI) advised that the co-pilot had flown:

  (a) 41 hours on type

  (b) 951 hours total.

  (4) The CAA advised that the only requirement contained in the Permissible Unserviceability for the second pilot was that the pilot had to hold an instrument rating, which the second pilot did in this case.

  (5) BASI have advised that the pilot was endorsed for the Piper Navajo aircraft in November 1990.

  (6) BASI have advised that available evidence indicates that the co-pilot was employed on the basis that he would receive remuneration for the duties he performed during the flight.

  (7) BASI have advised that the co-pilot was on a list, held by the airline, of pilots available for casual employment as co-pilots.

  (8) The CAA advised that its Airworthiness Instruction Number 5-26 provides guidelines for granting approval of Permissible Unserviceabilities under Civil Aviation Regulation 37.

  (9) The Authority advises that measures taken with respect to the aircraft VH-NDU were in accordance with the Civil Aviation Regulations. Guidelines for the issue of Permissible Unserviceabilities were available for the information of Authority staff.

  (10) The CAA advises there is no "usual" period. Depending upon the item which is inoperative and the nature of the conditions imposed the period can be quite long. There was nothing unusual about the length of operation of the Permissible Unserviceabilities applying to VH-NDU.

  (11) The CAA have provided the following answer. No. The Permissible Unserviceability applying to VH-NDU at the time of the crash was for a month expiring on 16 June 1993 or until the required components were available whichever occurred first.

  (12) The CAA have advised that at the time of the crash the autopilot of VH-NDU was unable to operate. It is not a requirement for a privately operated Piper Navajo to have an operational autopilot.

  (13) As the Monarch Airlines accident occurred while the aircraft involved was on an intrastate flight between Sydney and Young, NSW, such matters as the airline's liability for the carriage of passengers and insurance fall within the jurisidiction of the NSW Government. In conformity with Commonwealth legislation covering aircraft operators engaged in interstate Regular Public Transport (RPT), NSW law establishes a carriers' liability limit of $180,000 per passenger for intrastate RPT operations.

  (14) The Commonwealth does not require compulsory passenger insurance for airlines engaged in RPT operations. However, as noted in my response to part (13) above, the NSW Government requires compulsory passenger insurance for intrastate RPT operations.

  (15) The Authority was not aware, nor was it required to be aware of the insurance status of Monarch Airlines.

  (16)(a) Yes, to a limit of US$1,500,000,000.00. (b) Yes, to a limit of A$20,000,000.00.

  (17) The Authority advises that three Non-Conformance Notice items were issued on 18 March 1993.