The Jabiru J230-D soars over crop paddocks in the Bundaberg region.
The Jabiru J230-D soars over crop paddocks in the Bundaberg region. Contributed by Leigh Cooper

Jabiru owner says CASA rules have damaged reputation

JABIRU Aircraft owner and managing director Rodney Stiff says restrictions placed on the company by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have damaged its reputation and could spell the end for its Australian manufacturing operations.

Last month, CASA placed limitations including a restriction of flights to daytime under the visual flight rules, for aircraft to be flown so they can at all times glide clear of a populous area, a requirement for passengers and trainee pilots flying solo to sign a statement saying they are aware of and accept the risk of an engine failure and trainee pilots to have recently and successfully completed engine failure exercises before solo flights.

Although CASA softened its original proposal after more than 600 responses from pilots and aircraft owners, Mr Stiff said the damage could be irreversible.

"Well they have damaged our market worldwide in reputation and order intake," he said. "Manufacturing in Australia may have a sunset on it depending on exchange rates and labour competitiveness."

Mr Stiff said CASA had prohibited operations of Jabiru-powered aircraft at three secondary airports including Moorabbin in Melbourne, Bankstown in Sydney and Archerfield in Brisbane.

"That has seriously affected flying schools operating in those airfields and caused economic damage," he said.

"This was done on the basis that they had to protect people on the ground, which is the greatest load of nonsense."

"Daily we hear of vehicles going off the road and hitting houses and you wouldn't think of restricting vehicles from the roads."

CASA issued the Precautionary Operational Limitations on all aircraft with Jabiru engines after more than 40 engine failures in 12 months.

Mr Stiff said he agreed with Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt, who labelled the process as "absolutely appalling".

"We were given 24 hours to comment on those 45 incidents,' he said.

"In a quick look over them we identified quite a few that were cases where the aircraft ran out of fuel. There were 12 inflight failures - well within the range of system failures and there was no justification for this action."