The GFA is responsible to CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) for the conduct of safe gliding operations in Australia. This includes the setting and maintenance of flying standards and in particular training standards.
Glider pilots are exempt from holding pilot licence's. GFA is responsible for the establishment of pilot certificates which are regarded highly enough by CASA and the aviation industry to be considered as a satisfactory substitute for licences.
As the basic building block of learning to fly gliders, the GFA has established 3 levels of pilot certificates, known simply as A, B and C certificates. The purpose of the 3 levels is to progressively build up pilot ability and confidence, offering the developing pilot more privileges as experience increases. They may be considered as the basic certificates of competence and therefore as a loose equivalent of the various stages of licence's that power pilots hold.
The ultimate training objective of the GFA is to produce safe and efficient cross-country pilots. On the basis that walking comes from running, it is necessary to put in place a certain level of knowledge and some unbreakable habits of safety before raising the sights of the goals toward international badges of achievement or to becoming an effective competition pilot.
Decentralisation and self discipline are the guiding principles on which the GFA structure is based. This implies that individual gliding clubs should be allowed to do whatever they can do properly and well, with minimum interference. This principle also applies to State Associations/Regional committees.
The self administration taken on by the GFA for the safe and proper conduct of gliding operations by its members requires that advice, supervision and at times some degree of control be exercised to ensure that clubs operate to GFA requirements.
In the operational area, GFA holds a number of exemptions from CAR's (Civil Aviation Regulations) in order to fulfil its sporting obligations while keeping safety standards at the highest possible level. These exemptions only apply when operations are carried out in accordance with GFA requirements as laid down in the MoSP and GFA Operational Regulations.
Gliders are Australian registered civil aircraft and are required to comply with the CAR's. However there are some CAR's which are clearly not applicable to motor less sporting vehicles, others where negotiation has taken place to waive the CAR requirements for a variety of reasons. This results in a number of exemptions being granted by CASA from compliance with certain of the CARs. These exemptions are contained in the CASA document CAO's (Civil Aviation Orders). The GFA has a specific CAO allocated to it for clear enunciation of all its exemptions and the conditions under which the exemptions are granted. The order is CAO 95.4.
In conjunction with CAO 95.4 the GFA also has a set of ORs (Operational Regulations) which set out basic standards for matters such as registration markings of gliders, personnel standards, general conduct of operations and flight rules and procedures.
Neither CAO 94.5 or the ORs can be altered without CASA approval.
GFA standards are set and maintained by people who are first and foremost experienced glider pilots and instructors. The GFA consultative process is followed whenever changes to operational procedures or standards are contemplated. The supervisor of standards in each region is a GFA person not a CASA person. The details of this are contained in the MoSP.
The GFA MoSP is regarded as the prime working document for Australian gliding since the inception of the GFA in 1950. The MoSP still retains this stature, containing information which is of little interest to those outside gliding but which is vital to those directly involved in the sport.
The GFA MoSP part 2 is updated when there have been substantial enough changes to warrant a re-write. Between re-writes, minor but progressive changes are made by Operations regulations. This document should be read at all times in conjunction with the MoSP.