BRM Aero, the Czech Republic manufacturer of the Bristell LSA aircraft, has this week hit back at CASA citing concerns with inaction by the regulator. The full statement from BRM Aero is below;
BRM Aero Follow-Up to CASA Safety Notice Dated 19 February 2020
We thought it was necessary and appropriate to update you all on the current situation regarding the CASA Safety Notice.
As you may recall, back on 19 February 2020 CASA published and distributed a Safety Notice, that states: “Pilots and operators of Bristell light sport aircraft (LSA) are strongly advised to avoid conducting any manoeuvre that may lead to an aerodynamic stall of the aircraft – either intentionally or unintentionally. This includes any flight training for stalls.”
BRM immediately issued a response to the safety notice strongly refuting the implication that the aircraft had not been spin tested and could not be recovered from a spin. The aircraft has been thoroughly spin tested and the test pilot, Mr. Yury Vashchuk has made a written declaration that the aircraft complies with the required certification standard ASTM F2245, section 4.5.9.
Although spin testing data had been previously supplied to CASA, during our 2 hour teleconference with CASA on 18 February 2020, it was agreed that the data would be compiled into a more readable format, together with videos taken by on-board cameras, and would include digital data recorded by on-board data recorders. This up-dated report dated 22 February 2020 was supplied to CASA by the agreed deadline of 26 February 2020.
CASA were still not satisfied. Despite giving absolutely no reason, they again rejected the spin test report. A video teleconference via ‘Zoom‘ was arranged for 3 April 2020 to try and finalise this matter.
On the 3 April 2020 BRM Aero, along with our legal representative and our Australian importer Anderson Aviation, Australian Technical consultant and a number of other parties we participated in a 3 hour video-teleconference with CASA representatives, that included employees of the Sport Aviation section of CASA and also a representative of CASA Legal. This was with the view, as mutually agreed with CASA, to finally resolve the issues as CASA sees them.
During this teleconference it was agreed that there were several action items, among these were:
1. Our Technical Consultant was to respond to a PowerPoint Presentation presented by CASA during this meeting which made several allegations against BRM Aero.
• The BRM Aero Technical Consultant responded with a comprehensive and detailed written response by the date, 29 April 2020, that was nominated by CASA, and to date no feedback has been received from CASA.
2. CASA undertook to produce minutes of the meeting ‘within days of the meeting, not weeks.’ CASA failed to produce these minutes in the timeframe they nominated despite being asked for those minutes on multiple occasions.
• Finally, a representative of BRM Aero produced minutes after 6 weeks in the absence of the CASA minutes. CASA rejected our minutes without explanation.
• CASA finally produced their version of the minutes (apparently not by the person who took the minutes but by their ‘Business Unit’) a week later – 7 weeks after the teleconference. Unfortunately, our view was that the CASA minutes were biased in CASA’s favour, inaccurate and incomplete. We rejected those minutes.
3. CASA undertook to draft an addendum to the original Safety Notice to allay any fears the owners and operators of Bristell aircraft may have as a result of the Safety Notice and to reassure them that a resolution was being worked through. This addendum was to be vetted by our legal representative prior to distribution to ensure accuracy.
• Despite several reminders from our legal representative to CASA, to date CASA has still not done this.
4. A time and date for a further teleconference to resolve any final issues was to be nominated by CASA.
• Despite repeated requests to date CASA have failed to provide a date. It is now two months since the 3 April 2020 teleconference, and no date for a further meeting has been set. When asked, CASA do not respond at all with a proposed date.
5. CASA (Mick Poole) was to provide a response to a letter written by Anderson Aviation to him dated 23 June 2018 (nearly 2 years ago) regarding allegations of illegal and unauthorised spin testing of a Bristell aircraft at Latrobe Valley in December 2017. CASA had never responded to the issues raised in this letter.
• CASA Mick Poole finally responded by way of a short e-mail dated 14 April 2020 in which he stated ‘If you should maintain that the test was in breach of the regulations kindly advise the basis for that view and I can consider the matter further’.
• A comprehensive and detailed critique of the flight tests was subsequently made and submitted to CASA by our legal representative on 15 May 2020. To date CASA has not commented on this critique, or on the original spin test report.
Despite our attempts to resolve this with CASA in a timely manner, CASA have not placed any urgency at all in working toward a resolution. As with any aircraft, BRM Aero maintains that provided Bristell aircraft are operated within the published limitations and as placarded, the aircraft are safe and fully compliant with the required standards. No other international authority, including the FAA, has raised concerns about the safety or compliance of the aircraft. We remain committed to working toward a resolution and have a dedicated and committed team of people working on all issues so you can enjoy your aircraft now and into the future and realise the full benefit and value of owning a Bristell.
Since our technical representative was appointed in Australia BRM Aero has responded to all CASA requests in a comprehensive and timely manner. CASA has not. To that end we feel compelled to point out CASA have not complied with their own written policy – “Our Regulatory Philosophy” – as published on their web site. We have attached a copy of that CASA policy for your information.
We will provide further updates as they come to hand and apologise to you all for not being able to get CASA to act in a timely manner regarding the Bristell aircraft.