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Operations

Sport and recreational aviation activities

Parachuting operations

AIP ENR 5.5

General

The pilot in command of an aircraft engaged in parachuting operations must take all reasonable measures to ensure that parachutists exit the aircraft only if:

  • there is no risk of any part of the aircraft being fouled by parachutists or their equipment when they exit
  • the operation does not impose adverse stress on any part of the aircraft structure
  • the descent is able to be made in meteorological conditions where the target is clearly visible and the parachutist does not enter cloud, unless CASA specifies otherwise in writing and
  • loose objects that, if dropped, could create a hazard to people or property on the ground or the water, are not carried by parachutists when exiting the aircraft.

The pilot in command must take all reasonable measures to ensure that parachutists exit the aircraft so as to reach the intended target.

A broadcast advising the intention to drop parachutists must be made from the drop aircraft not less than two minutes prior to parachutists exiting the aircraft.

This requirement applies to all relevant frequencies for airspace through which the parachutists may descend, including:

  • the appropriate ATC frequency or frequencies, depending upon the airspace type(s) descended through
  • if the parachutists descend from controlled airspace into Class G airspace, a broadcast must be made on each specified frequency and
  • where the landing area is located in the vicinity of a non-controlled aerodrome, the CTAF.

A broadcast made in accordance with the above paragraph must give notice that parachutists intend to exit the aircraft at the location specified in the broadcast, the position of the drop zone, exit altitude and the number of parachute canopies to be dropped.

The pilot in command must not allow parachutists to exit the aircraft unless they have made a broadcast in accordance with the two previous paragraphs.

Conflicting traffic

ATC will provide separation between parachutists and non-parachuting aircraft in Class A, C and D airspace, and provide traffic information to pilots of aircraft engaged in parachuting operations on known or observed traffic in Class E airspace.

The pilot in command must not allow parachutists to exit the aircraft if they are notified, or become aware, that there is conflicting traffic in the airspace in which the descents will be conducted.

The pilot in command must not allow parachutists to exit the aircraft in Class E airspace until in receipt of traffic information from ATC.

Additional requirements in controlled airspace

The pilot in command must not allow parachutists to exit the aircraft when the parachutists will transit restricted area(s) or Class A, C, or D airspace until in receipt of an ATC clearance.

An aircraft engaged in parachuting operations must not engage in an operation in which parachutists exit the aircraft in controlled airspace and leave, transit or enter controlled airspace during their descent, unless the aircraft is equipped with two VHF radio transceivers to communicate with ATC and to monitor and advise air traffic outside the controlled airspace.

ATC base separation on the assumption that the parachutists will be dropped within one nm of the target. If an extension of this area is necessary, the pilot must advise ATC of the direction and distance required.

For parachutists who have been cleared to transit restricted area(s) or Class A, C and D airspace, pilots must advise ATC when all parachutists are on the ground. Primary communication should be by radio; however, if this is not possible, detail alternative arrangements in letters of agreement between local operators and the ATC unit(s) concerned.

Additional requirements at non-controlled aerodromes  where radio carriage is required

An aircraft engaged in parachute operations must not engage in an operation involving parachute descents in the vicinity of an aerodrome where radio carriage is required, unless it is equipped with two VHF transceivers to monitor and advise air traffic in the vicinity of the aerodrome, and in the surrounding area.

In addition to the required broadcasts (mentioned in the above paragraphs), the pilot in command must make a broadcast not less than four minutes before the descents occur to give notice that parachutists intend to exit the aircraft at the location specified in the broadcast. This broadcast must be on the CTAF and appropriate ATC frequencies.

The pilot in command must not allow parachutists to exit the aircraft in the vicinity of an aerodrome where radio carriage is required within the 15 minutes before the estimated time of arrival of an RPT aircraft at an aerodrome unless:

  • the two aircraft are in direct radio communication with each other and
  • all parachutists can exit the aircraft and land before the RPT aircraft arrives within the circling area of the aerodrome.

After an RPT aircraft arrives at an aerodrome where carriage of radio is required, the pilot in command of an aircraft engaged in parachuting operations at that aerodrome must not allow parachutists to exit the aircraft until the RPT aircraft has landed and taxied clear of the runway.

After an RPT aircraft has broadcast that it is taxiing for departure from an aerodrome where carriage of radio is required, the pilot in command of an aircraft engaged in parachuting operations must not allow parachutists to exit the aircraft until the RPT aircraft is clear of the circling area of the aerodrome.

Additional requirements at certified and registered aerodromes

The pilot in command of an aircraft engaging in parachuting operations must not engage in an operation involving parachute descents at a certified or registered aerodrome unless:

  • the aerodrome operator has approved parachute descents at the aerodrome
  • regular and local users of the aerodrome have been notified of the intended descents
  • the target for parachutists is separated from the movement area by a distance equal to the applicable minimum drop zone radius for the parachutists using it and
  • the descents do not conflict with any aircraft that are
    • on the live side of any circuit known to be in use, or that could reasonably expect to be used by known traffic in prevailing conditions or
    • using any runway, taxiway or apron.

The above does not apply to an operation involving parachute descents at a certified or registered aerodrome to the extent that written specifications issued under CAR 152 require or allow the descents to be conducted differently.

The pilot in command must not allow parachutists to conduct descents at a certified or registered aerodrome if the pilot in command of another aircraft:

  • is carrying out an instrument approach procedure at the aerodrome or
  • is expected to commence an instrument approach procedure within five minutes.

Additional requirements for operations above 10,000 ft AMSL

A flight crew member who is on flight deck duty in an unpressurised aircraft engaged in parachuting operations must be provided with, and continuously use, supplemental oxygen:

  • if the aircraft operates above FL120 or
  • if the aircraft operates above 10,000 ft AMSL
    • for more than 15 minutes during a sortie
    • at night or
    • in IMC.

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