The head of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA) Office of Aviation Medicine (AvMed) says he will step down in 2015.
Pooshan Navathe, who has been CASA’s principal medical officer since March 2008, says the appointment of Mark Skidmore as the new director of aviation safety represented an opportunity for change.
“I have decided that it is time that AvMed is led by a different leader,” Dr Navathe said in CASA’s Designated Aviation Medical Examiner November newsletter.
“As we get a new director, it seems appropriate that we renew this area of CASA as well.
“Accordingly I will be moving on from CASA in the new year.
“More details about the arrangements of CASA AvMed are being finalised and I will provide more details in the next newsletter.”
As CASA’s principal medical officer, Dr Navathe and his team were responsible for, among other things, the standards and policies regarding medical certification for pilots.
This included the recent move to change standards for colour vision deficiency (CVD), which has angered many pilots who have been flying with some form of CVD for many years but now faced the prospect of being grounded under new regulations.
In June, the Virgin Independent Pilots Association (VIPA) condemned the new rules relating to colour vision deficiency (CVD), saying they discriminated against pilots working in Australia’s major airlines and failed to deliver any better safety outcomes.
“Whilst VIPA always recognises that aviation safety remains paramount, we condemn CASA’s new procedures relating to CVD pilots,” VIPA executive director Simon O’Hara said on June 19.
“The fact is, there are hundreds of commercial pilots with CVD who have passed check and line training requirements and subsequently have thousands of hours flying without incident, who will be impacted by these restrictive practices.”
And on the broader question of CASA’s medical testing regulations, former CASA director of aviation medicine Robert Liddell said he regularly met pilots who were “totally confused and despondent at their medical certification by CASA aviation medicine”.
“The dangerous result of CASA’s draconian regulatory measures is that now many pilots tell CASA as little as possible about any medical problems in order to protect themselves from expensive and repetitive investigations or possible loss of certification,” Dr Liddell wrote in a submission to the Aviation Regulatory Safety Review.
In addition to his role at CASA, Dr Navathe was also an adjunct associate professor at the ANU’s college of medicine, biology and environment.
The issue of CASA’s treatment of colour deficiency was featured in the August edition of Australian Aviation magazine.