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MTOW Increase – 601kg to 760kg
It’s the weight increase we’ve all been waiting for! Read on for the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Documentation and processes to finalise the 760kg MTOW (Group G) application are progressing. Recently, CASA gave in principle approval of the RAAus Flight Operations and Technical Manual updates that will be necessary to align our manuals to CASA regulation.
Internally, RAAus staff are now busy readying internal business systems and processes, creating new forms, education and training, and member communication packages.
RAAus is looking forward to providing members with a confirmed implementation date very soon!
We have built the following library of questions to provide answers to common questions on various topics using information current at the time of publishing. Once we receive the final approval from CASA, the answers to these FAQs will be updated as necessary. Members are encouraged to keep reviewing this page and reading e-news for the latest information.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) RAAus
(Last updated 18 January 2024)
General MTOW Questions
Q1. What is proposed?
RAAus has asked CASA for approval to operate type certified and amateur built fixed wing, 3 axis, single engine aircraft with a MTOW between 601 and 760kg, regardless of stall speed. The 760kg MTOW is based on the MTOW specified by the aircraft manufacturer. This new category of aircraft will be known as Group G and is based on the Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 95.55 and Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) Part 103 Lightweight Aeroplane (LWA).
Q2. Timing – When will the MTOW increase happen?
CAO 95.55 was updated to include Lightweight Aeroplane (the proposed 760kg weight increase) on 2nd December 2021. This provided the legislative pathway for RAAus to receive CASA approval for updated Flight Operations and Technical manuals which includes the new Group G procedures and processes.
RAAus anticipates accepting applications for Group G aircraft registration, the issuing of a replacement Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA), if required, and the issuing of RAAus Group G Pilot Certificates, Ratings, and Approvals in Q1 of 2024.
Members will be advised of the implementation date for Group G once CASA approval is received, RAAus business processes are ready, and staff have been trained.
Q3. What progress has been made to date?
Many aspects of the operation, maintenance, and registration of Group G aircraft have had to be reviewed, and processes created for approval by CASA. While an additional 160kg in MTOW might not seem like a big change, the range, and types of aircraft available for RAAus members to operate in Group G meant many details had to be considered and solutions found.
Additionally, legislation had to be created, not only by changing the existing Civil Aviation Orders (CAO) that RAAus operate under, but also via organisational approvals under CASR Part 149 (Approved Self-administering Organisations), and operations under CASR Part 103 (Sport & Recreational Aircraft) and Part 91 (General Operating and Flight Rules).
Q4. Will the weight increase affect me or my current operation?
No – The introduction of Group G aircraft will in no way affect the current operations of RAAus members, flying schools and maintainers. However, anyone wishing to operate a Group G aircraft registered by RAAus will have to comply with the Group G Pilot Certificate, Endorsement, Rating and Approval requirements as relevant.
Q5. What benefit will members get from an increase in MTOW?
The MTOW weight increase for RAAus will have positive impacts on the aviation industry such as an increase in the range of aircraft make and model (types) that can be operated, improved aircraft utilisation and overall growth in aviation participation throughout Australia. Furthermore, some current RAAus registered aircraft will no longer have their MTOW artificially restricted therefore enabling more fuel to be carried on cross country flights resulting in significantly safer operations.
F1. What will be the costs associated with owning, registering, operating, and piloting a Group G aircraft?
The costs of owning, registering, operating, and piloting a Group G aircraft are the same as the fees for Group A aircraft. Refer to the RAAus website “Schedule of Fees and Charges”. https://www.raa.asn.au/storage/schedule-of-fees-and-charges-5.pdf
F2. How much will it cost to transfer my Group G from VH registration to RAAus?
The cost to transfer your Group G aircraft (LWA) from VH registration to RAAus registration is made up of:
- the cost of reserving an RAAus registration number; plus
- the cost of registration; plus
- the cost of issuing an aircraft specific CoA either by RAAus for the simple process of transferring a VH registered LWA from CASA to RAAus (change of rego number), or by a CASA delegate for all other aircraft (e.g. unregistered certified aircraft, experimental amateur built aircraft).
WHAT AIRCRAFT ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR GROUP G REGISTRATION OR AN INCREASE IN MTOW?
A1. Will I be able to operate my Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) above 600kg when the weight increase is implemented?
No – LSA is a global standard with a MTOW limitation of 600kg.
A2. How can I determine if an aircraft kit is eligible for Group G registration?
The key to a kit being eligible for Group G (operations up to a MTOW of 760KG) lies with the Kit Manufacturer and/or the plans designer/builder. MTOW limitations are based on the aircraft’s (kit or plans) designed and approved MTOW.
Engine type and capacity has no impact on Group G eligibility other than affecting MTOW.
Reservation of a Registration Number and Aircraft Registration
A1. Will I need to deregister my aircraft with CASA before I can apply for the reservation of a RAAus registration number?
No – this is because when applying for the allocation/reservation of a RAAus aircraft registration number, it does not yet register your aircraft. The process of aircraft registration is a separate process that requires you to complete the appropriate application form and pay the prescribed fee, depending on the type of aircraft that is being registered and it is during this registration process that de-registration would occur. Refer to question A5 for more about registration of a Group G (LWA) aircraft.
A2. Will 760kg be the maximum possible operating weight?
Yes – If an aircraft can operate above 760kg according to the manufacturer published information, it cannot be registered with RAAus and it cannot be operated by a pilot issued with a RAAus Group G RPC.
A3. Will there be a cost to reserve an RAAus Group G registration Number?
Yes – refer to the FAQ section on RAAus Fees.
A4. Will there be a cost to register a Group G aircraft with RAAus?
Yes – This remains unchanged. RAAus charges an initial registration fee for a first-time registration, and then there is an annual renewal fee. The Aircraft registration fee is based on the number of seats in the aircraft (e.g. single seat or two seat). Refer to the FAQ section on RAAus Fees.
A5. Will I still have to comply with CAO100.5 requirements etc. when shifting my aircraft from VH to RAAus registration?
Yes – compliance with the requirements of CAO 100.5 is applicable to all RAAus registered aircraft.
Certificate of Airworthiness (CoA)
CoA 1. Will I have to apply for a CoA?
Simple answer is yes, depending on the type of aircraft and the aircraft’s airworthiness disposition at the time.
CoA 2. Will I have to pay for the issue of a CoA?
Yes – refer to FAQ F2 in the Section on RAAus Fees.
CoA 3. Can the MTOW placard on my aircraft be amended once Group G is approved?
No – A change to the MTOW placard may only occur after an application for a Group G CoA and aircraft registration has been issued.
AM 1. Who can maintain a Type Certified Group G (LWA) aircraft?
A CASA Part 66 licence holder (LAME) with the relevant licence categories. A RAAus L1, L2 or L4 maintainer is not approved to conduct maintenance on a type certified Group G aircraft.
AM2. Who will be able to maintain an amateur built or Experimental Group G aircraft?
A CASA Part 66 licence holder (LAME) or the builder of the amateur built or experimental aircraft, who meets the requirements of instrument 18/22 (further details will be provided when finalised).
AM3. I have an RAAus registered Group G aircraft (LWA) currently registered in Group A that I maintain as a RAAus L1 maintainer. If I transfer it to Group G will I still be able to maintain it?
- You are the primary builder; and
- You meet the requirements of CASA Instrument 18/22; and
- The aircraft has been issued with a Special CoA in the form of an experimental certificate
AM4. If I purchase a Group G eligible aircraft or a VH registered aircraft that I wish to transfer to RAAus as a Group G (LWA) can I maintain it?
- You meet the requirements of CASA CAAP 42.ZC-02 v1.2; and
- The aircraft has been issued with a Special CoA in the form of an experimental certificate
FO1. When will Group G be implemented?
Refer to ‘Q2 Timing’ for the answer.
FO2. Will I have to undertake extra training to have Group G added to my existing RPC?
- If you have an RPC for Group A (3 axis), Group B (Weightshift Microlight) or Group D (Powered Parachute) aircraft, you will need to complete additional training to add Group G (3 axis 601 – 760kg MTOW) aircraft. This training will be competency based, will not require a stipulated minimum number of hours, and is intended to ensure pilots understand the additional challenges presented with the operation of a heavier aircraft.
- If you own the Group G aircraft and have logged flight time in it (in the VH- environment), it should be as simple as a flight test with a RAAus Group G DCFI or CFI or PE. If you already hold a RAAus Group A RPC you will also need to complete written multiple-choice Recreational Pilot Certificate and Passenger Carrying exams (if you want to carry passenger) depending on how long ago your Group A RPC was issued (as an example if it was before CASR Part 91 was produced).
- Alternatively, if you hold a CASA RPL or PPL and have a current flight review that has been conducted in a VH registered aircraft, (MTOW <1,500 kg) instead of completing the flight test with the RAAus CFI, you can provide them with a copy of your CASA Flight Crew Licence (FCL) and your latest flight review (as applicable). The CFI will assess your competency to the syllabus requirements and you may not have to complete any additional flight training for the issue of a Group G RAAus RPC. As noted above you will be required to complete written multiple-choice Recreational Pilot Certificate and Passenger Carrying exams to ensure you understand the specific RAAus requirements and limitations.
- The CFI will send a recommendation to RAAus using the required form along with a copy of your FCL and latest flight review.
F03. What additional syllabus items will I be required to complete to add Group G to my existing Recreational Pilot Certificate?
Group G requirements have been added to the RAAus Syllabus of Flight Training which include specific competencies that must be demonstrated for the addition of Group G to an existing RAAus Group A Pilot Certificate. These include:
- Engine management and operating differences – mixture controls, spark plug management (fouling); and
- Engine and Aircraft performance characteristics – take-off and landing differences on high density altitude days, fuel management, wind, runway surface etc.; and
- Aircraft specific W&B considerations for heavier, up to 760kg MTOW, aircraft
FO4. Will I be able to use my CASA RPL or higher Licence (FCL(A)) as a recognised qualification, flight time and attainment of competency for the issue of a Group G RAAus Pilot Certificate?
Yes – see question F02 above.
FO5. If my CASA FCL(A) is used as recognition of competency for the issue of a RAAus Pilot Certificate with a Group G will I also be granted Group A?
If you meet the practical and theoretical competencies of Unit 1.01 of the RAAus Syllabus of Flight Training, including the required exams and pass a flight test in a Group A aircraft with a RAAus Group G DCFI, CFI or PE (as requested by the CFI) you can be recommended for the issue of a Group A RAAus Pilot Certificate.
FO6. What about the endorsements on my CASA Licence?
Endorsements on your CASA RPL or higher Flight Crew Licence FCL(A) may be recognised and added to your RAAus Pilot Certificate, as appropriate, for the operation of Group A, B, D and G aircraft. Version 8 of the RAAus Flight Operations Manual will provide a table of possible endorsements for each aircraft Group.
FO7. I hold a current RAAus instructor or higher rating for Group A aircraft. What will I need to do add Group G to my instructor privileges?
In broad terms, an applicant will need to hold 100 hours PIC time in an aircraft of the same Group (3 axis aircraft up to 1500kg MTOW and a current RPL, or higher CASA licence), or a touring motor glider and current GFA certificate. If you hold a CASA or Defence Force instructor rating, see question FO8 below.
Specific minimum aeronautical experience requirements for higher approval holders are provided in Flight Operations Manual v8 which must relate to the aircraft group being sought.
Group G instructor rating holders will also be required to provide evidence of proficiency in a CASA spin recognition and recovery or similar or complete a spin recognition and recovery course prior to delivering instruction in Group G aircraft. All RAAus Group A instructors will be required to provide evidence of or complete a spin recognition and recovery course within 3 years of Group G implementation.
Due to the effects of power on spin manoeuvres and recovery procedures the completion of GFA spin proficiency will not meet this requirement. RAAus expects to provide more information about the specifics of this proficiency once an implementation date has been confirmed.
The instructional experience you hold as a Group A Instructor rating or approval holder will be accepted towards the minimum requirements for the addition of Group G. You will need to complete the requirements for issue of Group G Pilot Certificate as provided in question F02.
FO8. I hold a CASA or Defence force Instructor rating and would like to obtain a RAAus instructor rating – what will I need to do?
If you hold a current CASA Grade 3 or higher instructor rating, or a Defence Force issued Instructor rating, complete the RAAus Group G Form No. XXXXX (available once an implementation date is confirmed). Provide a copy of your CASA Flight Crew Licence FCL(A) or Defence qualifications for review by RAAus and confirm you meet the required medical standard. You will need to be issued with a RAAus Group G Pilot Certificate, complete the RAAus Instructor multiple choice exam and finally, complete a flight test with a RAAus PE, IT, AHFO or HFO.
FO9. Will my RPL or PPL need to be current to be issued with a Group G RPC?
Yes, a current CASA flight review will be required to have your licence recognised for RAAus Group G Pilot Certificate.
FO10. Will I be able to start instructing immediately at my FTS for Group G?
Once the processes noted above for issue of Group G rating or approval are completed and the Group G qualification has been issued by RAAus, the CFI and the FTS must be approved by RAAus for Group G operations. If the CFI is an existing Group A CFI who is adding Group G, RAAus will waive the initial FTS fee and work with the candidate to ensure the Group G FTS is compliant to the Flight Operations Manual requirements.
An appropriate factory built Group G aircraft must be registered (factory built, type certified and LAME maintained) with RAAus for use at the FTS once approved. Only when these requirements are met can the CFI complete Standardisation and Proficiency (S&P) checks with any Group G Instructor on the aircraft type and commence training for Group G RPC for RAAus members.
FO11. What aircraft will I be able to use for instructing in Group G at my FTS?
Once the aircraft meets the requirements of Section 15 of the Tech Manual, is registered with RAAus and issued with the applicable CoA for a Group G aircraft it can be used to provide flight training for the issue of a Group RPC, Group G BFRs and endorsements.
For maintenance requirements when a Group G aircraft is used for flight training refer to question AM1.
FO12. Can I conduct aerobatics in my RAAus registered Group G aircraft?
RAAus notes that the CASR Part 103 legislation will permit the conduct of aerobatics in appropriately certificated and capable aircraft by appropriately qualified pilots, however at this early stage, RAAus has not completed all the work required to ensure this is managed safely and compliantly.
So the short answer right now is, not yet, but eventually, RAAus looks forward to this capability being possible under RAAus registration in due course.
FO13. Can I fly in controlled airspace in my Group G aircraft?
Not automatically. At this time, RAAus is focussing on Group G implementation, with the intention to apply for controlled airspace and controlled aerodrome access for all RAAus members next.
The only circumstance where a RAAus aircraft can be flown in Controlled Airspace at this time is explained in RAAP 14- Can I fly in Controlled Airspace. If you and the aircraft meet the requirements outlined in this RAAP, you can currently operate in Controlled Airspace and at Controlled Aerodromes in your Group A RAAus registered aircraft.
FO14. Is spin proficiency required for Group G pilots?
RAAus has aligned with CASA requirements for Group G instructors, who will be required to confirm spin proficiency and recovery competence prior to being issued with a Group G rating or approval.
For Pilot Certificate holders, as CASA is not requiring licenced pilots to meet this requirement, neither is RAAus. Of course, RAAus encourages pilots to gain personal proficiency in spin recognition and recovery in an appropriately certificate and capable aircraft and has redesigned our Syllabus of Flight Training to include Upset Prevention and Recovery Training elements.