by Lindsay Wise & Phil Vabre
Ground Engineer's Licences were issued under the Air Navigation Regulations in the following categories:
Inspectors were appointed to the Civil
Aviation Branch and were the fore-runners of the Aircraft Surveyors
and Airworthiness Surveyors of later years. Today these people are known
as Airworthiness Inspectors and Airworthiness Officers, depending on
their role. They are drawn from the aircraft industry and are required
to hold licences in a least two categories or similar military standards
and demonstrate extensive experience in maintenance of aircraft. Airworthiness
Inspectors are responsible for:
Surveyors also used to be provided with training on new aircraft or equipment introduced by an operator to ensure that their knowledge was continually updated.
Later, Aeronautical Engineers were added to the airworthiness staff. Their responsibility was, and is, approving the manufacture of, and modifications to, aircraft and assessing aircraft performance requirements.
|From the 28th of June 1921 every aircraft was required to be entered in the Aircraft Register maintained by the Civil Aviation Branch and its sucessors (today the Civil Aviation Safety Authority). Once entered on the Register, an aircraft is issued with an identifying Registration Mark. Originally these were composed of the prefix letter G followed by four individual letters, the first two of which were AU (e.g. G-AUCA). From 1928, all Australian aircraft were required to change their markings to the prefix VH followed by three individual letters (e.g. VH-UAB).|
Following the initial certification of an aircraft type in Australia or overseas, it is issued with a Type Certificate (TC) indicating it conforms to an appropriate design standard. This is usually an international standard, e.g. United States FAA or United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority.
The process required to operate an aircraft in Australia also includes steps to ensure that the aircraft has been designed and manufactured to appropriate standards Once this is established, by ensuring the aircraft complies with its TC, the aircraft is issued a Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A). Special Certificates of Airworthiness or Experimental Certificates of Airworthiness (and formerly Permits to Fly) may be issued to some aircraft that would not otherwise qualify for a normal C of A. These Certificates or Permits may specify conditions under which the aircraft may be operated. In this context it is also worth noting that there are many aircraft, such as ultralights, that are not registered on the Australian (VH) Register and thus are not covered by the need for a C o f A. They are instead controlled by other bodies such as self-administering sport aviation organisations.
To ensure that it retains an acceptable standard of airworthiness throughout its life, an aircraft is required to be maintained in accordance with an approved Maintenance Schedule or System of Maintenance. The Schedule may be that provided by the manufacturer, one designed by the operator and approved by the civil aviation regulatory authority, or one specified by the authority in regulatory publications. Included in the system are periods at which maintenance, e.g. inspections, tests, component changes, is to be carried out.
|To perform major disassembly, periodic or annual inspection on an aircraft a person must hold a Certificate of Approval issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to cover the maintenance in question. All maintenance on aircraft must be performed and certified by appropriately authorised persons. This is usually done by either a Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME). Pilots are permitted to perform and certify limited maintenance on aircraft for which they are licenced to fly and have the applicable data, tools and training. It is also worth noting that today there are categories of aircraft, for example ultralights and some amateur-built aircraft, which are not required to be maintained by a LAME.|
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