Australia Eyes Jabiru Restrictions

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Australia's aviation regulator is proposing significant operating limitations on all aircraft powered by Jabiru engines because of a "high and increasing rate of engine failures." If adopted, the consultation draft issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on Thursday would restrict Jabiru-powered aircraft to day VFR flights over unpopulated areas. No passengers will be allowed and student pilots will not be allowed to fly solo. "CASA has formed the view that its functions under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 require it to mitigate certain risks to passengers, trainee pilots and persons on the ground," the consultation draft says. So far, there are no indications that similar restrictions will be imposed in the U.S. Jabiru spokesman Jamie Cook said the company disagrees with the proposed action, which is open to comments until Nov. 20. "Last week Jabiru was advised of this proposed instrument which it wanted Jabiru to self-impose and we disagreed and refused," Cook told the Bundaberg News Mail.

The newspaper says there have been 40 engine failures in Jabiru-powered aircraft in the last year. Recreational Aviation Australia, the group that represents ultralight and light sport aircraft operators, sent a letter to members calling the proposed restrictions an overreaction. "It would appear the proposed actions by CASA are disproportionate to the risks faced by owners and operators," the letter said. "Of more than 90,000 Jabiru movements recorded by RA-Aus in the year to date approximately .03% [have] resulted in some form of engine malfunction with no fatalities being attributable to these events." CASA says it will work with Jabiru to solve the technical issues. The proposed rule is scheduled to expire at the end of June 2015. Jabiru produces four- and six-cylinder engines designed mainly for recreational and light sport aircraft. It also builds ready-to-fly and kit aircraft powered by its engines.