In the 1980’s, President Reagan remarked that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

A similar thought must occur to the thousands of people involved in the Australian aviation industry every time they receive an email from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) or hear about some new regulations that are being contemplated.

Yesterday, well known aviation aficionado Dick Smith, held a mock wake for his personal Cessna at Bankstown Airport, complaining that increasing red tape from CASA is leading to personal pilots walking away from their passion, resulting in adverse business impacts on engineers, air traffic controllers and others. That’s without considering the disproportionate impact that these regulations have on small (usually regional) airlines and our country communities who rely on these services, which have previously been written about by my colleague Darcy Allen.

While it is important that all steps are taken to protect the safety of the community, it appears that so many of the new rules and regulations CASA introduces are not well thought through and the impact they will have on the aviation industry is not properly considered.

One recent example is the new pilot licencing requirements introduced by CASA. To the best of the knowledge of most people in the industry, the previous system seemed to be working fine.

The evidence of how poorly these changes were thought through is proven by the fact that CASA themselves have now needed to form a Taskforce to address the very problems their changes created! Surely, the impact of any changes should have been considered before they were implemented.

A standard defence from CASA is that these new rules are necessary to bring us into line with international regulations, however, Australia is constantly at the front of the pack in introducing these changes, having a detrimental effect on our own industry and treating our pilots like guinea pigs for global aviation industry homogenisation.

Mr Smith, who no doubt supports the use of cutting edge international equipment and standards, given he made his fortune importing technologies from overseas, believes that by Australian leading the world on aviation regulation and standards that the industry has been destroyed. No doubt many other pilots agree.

CASA is a behemoth of a regulator, whose influence and involvement in every aspect of our aviation industry seems to be ever expanding. Surely it is time for well credentialed, industry specialists to be consulted about how CASA and its myriad of red tape can be constrained.

In the end it all comes back to another quote from the Great Communicator; “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”