The CAA and the General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo) have jointly developed a unique training package targeting pilots who have infringed controlled or notified airspace. The CAA will recommend, where appropriate, that these individuals undertake the course as part of any licensing action. GASCo will be responsible for delivering the courses at various locations around the UK.
The course enhances the options available to the CAA when deciding if any action is required following an airspace infringement. Each case is assessed individually based on the incident, the pilot’s actions and whether the pilot has previously been involved in airspace infringements.
“We have always tried to prioritise pilot education as the way to deal with airspace infringements,” says Rob Gratton, Principal Airspace Regulator at the CAA. In the past, infringers were invited to take on online test that, as Pilot’s ‘Airmail’ pages have revealed, some felt was arcane or even irrelevant to GA. Developed by GASCo, the new course “provides an excellent, in-depth option to help pilots learn from an infringement to both avoid future infringements and also to improve their general airmanship and planning skills.”
Mike O’Donoghue, GASCo Chief Executive, said: “We are told that the national speed awareness course used for drivers has proved very successful and so we looked at the key elements of a typical course and developed an engaging and educational version for pilots employing threat and error management techniques. The GA community has said that educating a pilot post an infringement is the way forward. With this course the CAA and GASCo will deliver a significant part of that work.”
The courses will be run regularly throughout the country. Pilots who are asked to attend a course will be given a date by which they will be expected to have completed it. Each attendee will pay £200 to cover GASCo’s expenses in providing the course and facilities.
Airspace infringements continue to occur at a high rate in the UK with over 1,000 reported in 2016. The CAA offers the following advice to help to avoid infringements:
Carry out effective pre-flight planning and taking advantage of free online flight planning tools
Turn on transponder and operate Mode Charlie (ALT)
Use listening squawks when flying near controlled airspace (see airspacesafety.com/listen)
Use an airspace alerting device to assist in maintaining situational awareness
Be aware of the danger of becoming distracted
Make contact with local air traffic services
If in doubt, pilots are urged to utilise the Flight Information Service or contact Distress and Diversion on 121.5 MHz.
The process that the CAA uses to deal with infringements is set out at www.caa.co.uk/cap1404