COVID-19 Updates


Recreational Aviation Australia is working tirelessly to support members as COVID-19 continues to impact the community

Please click on any of the topics below for updated information on COVID-19

(This information is current as at 3 August 2020 and will be updated as necessary when new information is received)

RAAus is communicating regularly through our E-News correspondence - Subscribe below to stay current with RAAus updates.

  • RAAus Headquarters Re-opening Tuesday 7 July, 2020

    RAAus has acted on advice from the experts and implemented measures (social distancing, hygiene regimes, video and teleconferencing) in the workplace that have ensured we maintain a safe workplace for our staff, while minimising the potential for interruptions to our member services. We are now preparing to return to the office in stages and will re-open the RAAus headquarters in Fyshwick to visitors on Tuesday, 7 July.

    Our new phone system that was implemented to enable staff to work remotely will remain in place for the foreseeable future. This system effectively minimises wait times and call durations, while at the same time allowing staff to respond to all enquiries from members in a timely fashion.

    When you call RAAus, you will be asked to leave a message for member services (payments, general enquiries) or for technical services (registrations, aircraft enquiries). The messages will be directed to the appropriate department and a staff member will return your call as soon as possible. The process for reporting occurrences will remain the same, and as always members can email members@raaus.com.au

    Due to the shut-down, we temporarily suspended the printing of membership cards (for new members) and aircraft cards, however this service will re-commence from 7 July. Members should note that due to the backlog, there may be a delay as to when you receive your card. Not having your membership card or aircraft card does NOT stop you from taking to the skies. Don't forget you can access your membership information through the RAAus app, available on iOS and Android.

    ASIC collection is still not available at the moment and we will update you if the situation changes. If you need to collect an ASIC please speak to your issuer about alternate collection points.

  • Update to COVID-19 restrictions

    Australia is continuing to manage the spread of COVID-19 with states and territories at different stages of restrictions. Due to recent outbreaks in Victoria and New South Wales, these states have introduced more stringent restrictions, including the closure of borders. The Australian Interstate Quarantine website provides current information on these border closures.

    The federal government’s HealthDirect website now has a COVID-19 Restriction Checker which allows you to find out what you can and can’t do in your state or territory.

    Before returning to normal flying operations, it important that all members continue to review the updated guidelines for their respective State or Territory prior to undertaking private, recreational, or flying training activities, and to carefully review and follow the advice or regulations which have been published in relation to social distancing, travel restrictions, or any prohibited or restricted activity.

    The links below provide General Information regarding COVID-19 advice and are taken directly from the government HealthDirect website


    Safe Work Australia also has information about physical distancing in the workplace.

  • What to consider before your next flight

    Aircraft

     

    Our team is working on additional resources for members to manage the risks associated with COVID-19 within the aviation environment, and reminds members to remain vigilant in order to ensure personal safety, and the safety of those around you. RAAus encourages members to download and use the Australian Government COVIDSafe App and to keep up to date with relevant restrictions in place within your state or territory.

    Some general precautions to consider before your next flight include:

    Physical distancing: Continue to abide by physical distancing requirements including the 1.5m (or 1 person per 4sqm) distancing requirements. Exceptions to the distancing requirements may include members of your household (your partner, immediate family members or people you have been isolating with, i.e. your social bubble).

    IMSAFE Checklist: Pilots should ensure they are fit to fly prior to operating an aircraft. If you are unwell or have any coronavirus symptoms, avoid flying until you have fully recovered.

    Pilot currency and skill management: Prior to flight, ensure you are current to safely operate your aircraft. If you have not been able to fly for an extended period of time, are due for a flight review or have low total experience, you should strongly consider conducting a flight review or currency check with an instructor prior to returning to solo flight. Rather than carrying out long distance cross country flights, consider local A-A flights or refreshing your personal skills by conducting circuits, practicing forced landings or stalling in the training area. These operations can also be carried out without a passenger, ensuring pilots continue to follow social distancing recommendations.

    Stick to your personal minimums: At a time where medical resources are already stretched it is important to avoid the potential for the need for emergency services in the unlikely event that something does not go to plan. We therefore recommend that thorough pre-flight planning be completed prior to flight to assess current conditions. If these conditions are challenging or fall outside your personal minimums, then it is recommended that the flight be delayed until conditions improve. Let’s look out for each other during these difficult times.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Consider the use of disposable gloves, masks and other methods to reduce potential cross contamination. In addition to decreasing the risk of possible contraction of COVID-19, masks minimise the possible spread of fluid from the mouth and nose and assist in preventing pilots from touching their face, particularly when adjusting your microphone. Despite some concerns, pilots have reported that the use of masks have minimal disruption on the ability to make clear radio calls.

    Hygiene: Maintain hand hygiene protocols and ensure aircraft are appropriately disinfected, considering the large number of touch points for potential exposure.

    Remember, it is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground!

    Pilot Currency Barometer

    Download the Pilot Currency Barometer here

  • Is it OK to Fly?

    RAAus strongly encourages pilots and flight training operators considering undertaking private, recreational, or flying training activities, to carefully review and to follow, the advice or regulations which have been published in relation to social distancing, travel restrictions, or any prohibited or restricted activity.

    You should also consider your personal risk factors related to age, health status and other considerations, just as you would by using the IMSAFE check prior to flying. Flying is no different to any other activity and while it has not been explicitly mentioned as being exempt from any restrictions currently in place please keep these restrictions in mind when considering what to do.

    COVID-19 advice and any associated regulatory requirements are made and published by Commonwealth, and/or state and territory departments.  Importantly, the advice and regulatory requirements may change very quickly and hence should be regularly monitored.

    Perhaps the safest thing to do is simply not go flying if you’re not sure. Our planes will still be here after this pandemic passes so let’s make sure we’re healthy and haven’t wasted valuable fuel money on pointless fines!

  • Flight Review, Renewal and Medical Certificate Extensions

    RAAus is pleased to announce some relief for RAAus BFRs and medical requirements.

     If your BFR is due between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020, an automatic 90 day extension has been applied, which should enable sufficient time for a renewal to be completed, assuming COVID-19 restrictions are eased or clarified. As the dates for BFRs progress throughout the year, additional extensions of reducing lengths will automatically be applied, there is no action required by you.

    RAAus Pilot Certificate holders with a Biennial Flight Review (BFR) expiry date between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 will be automatically be issued an extension of BFR requirements for 90 days. If your BFR is due between 31 July 2020 and 30 September 2020 an extension of 2 months will be issued. If your BFR is due between 30 September and 30 November 2020 an extension of 1 month will be issued. You do not need to do anything.


    BFR Extension Graph


    A 6-month extension of RAAus medical requirements which expire after 1 March 2020 has also been implemented. This includes those RAAus members who are over 75 years of age requiring annual medical statements or members who utilise the RAAus Medical Questionnaire and Examination Commercial Driver Licence health standard or CASA Medical Certificate relevant to their requirements. Members must comply with any conditions imposed on their current medical certificate, but may continue to exercise the privileges of their Certificates. You do not need to do anything.

    Members must assess and confirm their personal compliance to CASA Approval 20-2037 and Operations Bulletin 0120 in order to continue to operate within the conditions of their current BFR and medical requirements.

    If your BFR lapsed prior to 1 March 2020, you cannot operate as a pilot as you are now non-compliant to requirements and need to complete a BFR. You are not eligible for an extension.

    If your BFR lapses after these extensions you cannot be issued with an additional extension, even under this CASA Approval. Pilots must take responsibility for ensuring their BFR is completed. If your BFR is not yet lapsed RAAus has provided CFIs with the opportunity to conduct an Observed BFR, contact your CFI directly to arrange this. All members are expected to make arrangements to complete BFRs when possible.

    RAAus is also interacting with the Minister for Transport, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack to gain clarity around pilots, rating and approval holders completing solo flights to keep skills current, provided physical distancing requirements are managed correctly. Likewise, we are requesting clarity around the need to conduct required maintenance and storage procedures for aircraft by RAAus members.

    RAAus will remain in contact with CASA on behalf of all members and monitor changes in COVID-19 restrictions on an ongoing basis. We can all take a breath while these extensions apply and re-assess the landscape as the COVID-19 situation changes.

  • COVID 19 Health Guidelines

    COVID-19 Health Guidelines

    Within the current environment it is important that we continue to prioritise the safety of ourselves and those around us. This includes safety precautions to ensure we do not put ourselves or others at risk while flying. To assist in managing these risks RAAus recommends members continue to follow recommended guidelines from the Department of Health

    Stop the Spread

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing

    The outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted people in varying ways on an international scale. It is understandable that during times like this, people may be feeling afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus.

    Lifeline Australia have some tips and advice on how you can look after the mental health and wellbeing of yourself and others, and they are a phone call away of you need to talk.

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Aircraft Maintenance Information

  • Preparing Your Aircraft for Flight - What Members Should be Doing if their Aircraft Hasn't been Used for a While

    Don’t rush it

    Ensure all scheduled maintenance requirements that are due, are completed.

    Carry out a thorough pre-flight inspection:

    Possibly the first thing to check before anything else, and certainly before the aircraft is moved, is the fuel system for contamination. Water can get into a fuel tank through poor fuel cap seals or even cap locking mechanisms. Any substantial movement of the aircraft may disperse water and other contaminants away from the fuel drain points.

    One of the attributes of Avgas is its ability to remain ‘within spec’ for a fair length of time. With the advent of Mogas being used in many aircraft, extra care should be taken to ensure that the fuel is still usable.

    With long storage periods, especially if stored in warmer weather the petrol can oxidize to form peroxides. These compounds can attack rubber and metal, stripping away the liner on fuel lines or copper from fuel pumps and attacking rubber hoses. Generally, the summer volatility of petrol is 30% lower than the winter volatility which means that the loss of lighter components in summer can be quicker, however this is not usually an issue due to higher temperatures but can create problems in Autumn and Winter if the Summer fuel is held over. To avoid this, fresh fuel should always be used in the Winter period.

     Engine   

    There isn’t a lot you can do with the engine apart from give it a good look over for birds’ nests and corrosion and to remove any bungs etc. The engine should not be run without the intention of flying as it’s rarely possible to get it to normal operating temperature on the ground in a bid to boil off any moisture. Ground running tends to promote formation of condensation as the engine cools again.

    It is important to note the engine should not be rotated by hand unless you are going flying as this can wipe off any residual oil coating on the various surfaces and leave them prone to corrosion.

    It may be wise to change the engine oil as this can absorb moisture. In an ideal world, everyone would change the oil prior to a lay-off as this will remove any of the harmful combustion process by-products and contaminants from the oil.

    Check the external surfaces of the cylinders and other components for corrosion. Keeping the cowlings nice and clean will show up any oil leaks that have appeared and give an indication as to where a leak has occurred.

    Airframe

    Pitot-static systems are particularly prone to blockage either by water or insects, which find the ports extremely attractive places to occupy. If the ports have been securely blanked off, make sure all of the blanks are removed prior to flight.

    A careful inspection should be carried out anywhere that birds may decide to nest. Don’t forget inside tail fairings and up inside the undercarriage bays of aircraft with retractable wheels. Rodent attack is possibly the worst enemy. It doesn’t matter if the aircraft is parked indoors or outside – they can break in.

    Tyres will develop flat spots when not turned for a while. Normally this isn’t an issue and once back in use they will resume their normal shape. As aircraft tyres have a relatively small total volume compared with car tyres, a small leakage can make a big difference on the pressure. This in turn adversely affects the ground handling and in particular the effective drag – not helpful on the take-off run. The possibility of a bit of air leakage over the shutdown period combined means it’s a sensible idea to check tyre pressures.

    The battery should be removed and charged accordingly. If not, due to the battery being down on power, it will then be charged at a much higher rate by the aircraft electrical system than that of a battery charger. Wet cell batteries will then start to vent out some acid during this higher power charging which will, in theory, find its way overboard through the battery vent lines. Unfortunately, the acid can sit in the battery box or, even worse, contact the aircraft structure causing massive corrosion problems.

    Give the aircraft a wash so it’s nice and clean to inspect for defects and corrosion. Corrosion is the gradual deterioration of metal due to a chemical reaction with its environment. The reaction can be triggered by the atmosphere, moisture, or other agents. When inspecting the structure of an aircraft, it is important to watch for evidence of corrosion on both the outside and inside. Corrosion on the inside is most likely to occur in pockets and corners where moisture may accumulate; therefore, drain holes must always be kept clean. Also inspect the surrounding members for evidence of corrosion.

    In summary

    It’s a fact of life that none of us can fly as much as we want to – or indeed intend to. After any protracted time out of the air it’s sensible to spend extra time checking over your aircraft before taking to the skies again.

    *information sourced from the Light Aircraft Association UK and BP Australia.

  • Cleaning Your Aircraft

    The following information has been prepared to assist members in selecting suitable products for cleaning aircraft during the COVID-19 pandemic. RAAus is unable to confirm effectiveness of specific products in protecting against COVID-19.

    Aircraft owners and operators must confirm the appropriateness of the cleaning materials used with the manufacturer prior to use. Suitability for products must be assessed as the use of some products may result in damage to aircraft surfaces or componentry. When using unfamiliar products, spot-testing on an inconspicuous area should be conducted first.

    Soapy Water: This has been the traditional cleaning and disinfecting medium. Mild, pH neutral soap should be used. If used regularly in the cockpit, using distilled or demineralised water will decrease the risk of corrosion of exposed metal over time.

    Soapy water can be used in almost all parts of the cockpit but should not be used on aircraft instruments where water ingress can cause damage to electrical switches and mechanical dials.

    Iso-Propyl Alcohol (Caution: Flammable liquid)

    Most commonly found as a pump spray pack or as an ‘alcohol wipe’ this will either be pure or a 70% to 80% solution with distilled water. Similar to soapy water, iso-propyl alcohol can be used in the majority of the cockpit with the exception of the canopy. Whilst there is less water involved in the alcohol solutions, it should be used sparingly around electrical switches and never sprayed directly onto instruments.

    Diluted Methylated Spirits (Caution: Flammable liquid

    A solution of 75% methylated spirits and 25% distilled / demineralised water is preferred for general aircraft cleaning. Similar to soapy water, ethanol solution can be used in the majority of the cockpit with the exception of the canopy. Whilst there is less water involved in the ethanol solutions, it should be used sparingly around electrical switches and never sprayed directly onto instruments.

     

  • Maintenance Advice for Aircraft Owners - Preparing Your Aircraft for Storage

    Due to the current unprecedented social distancing and movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many members have sought direction on what they should do prior to the storage of the aircraft and associated components. RAAus has listed 5 points that are recognised industry wide for the short- and long-term preservation of aviation components.

       Click here to read our fact sheet