GA safety: One leading authority calls in outside expertise

23 February 2013 / by Brian Mackie / Costs, Safety

UK GA pilots can expect an increasing amount of safety publications available online. Here, we’re mostly stuck with ink on paper

Government departments are not always the exclusive fountain of all knowledge, as the UK CAA has recognised. It’s decided to outsource its GA safety publications. Publishing group Archant will soon begin overhauling and producing general aviation safety material on the CAA’s behalf.

This will see Archant produce three editions a year of the CAA’s Clued Up magazine, featuring the latest GA safety advice and news – and they will be posted free to all UK registered PPLs, NPPLs and LAPLs. Digital editions of the magazine will also be available.

The change will also mark the end of production of the CAA’s General Aviation Safety Information Leaflets.

The UK Airprox Board’s (UKAB) twice-yearly publications will also cease, to be replaced by a special edition of Clued Up, analysing recent significant incidents.

Archant is the publisher of Britain’s long-running Pilot magazine. Jonathan Nicholson, of the CAA’s Corporate Communications Department, says: “The team behind Pilot are very experienced aviation journalists and flying enthusiasts. We are confident that that knowledge, combined with the resources of a major publishing house, will produce a high quality product.”

Nick Wall, Group Editor of Pilot magazine, says: “With our colleagues in Archant Dialogue, we are looking forward to developing the CAA’s safety publications, in print and digitally.”

The UK Airprox Board’s primary objective is to enhance flight safety in the UK, in particular in respect of lessons to be learned and applied from Airprox occurrences reported within UK airspace. UKAB is sponsored jointly – and funded equally – by the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the UK Ministry of Defence.

To encourage an open and honest reporting environment, names of companies and individuals are not published in UKAB’s reports. Its website is intended to contribute to the UK’s continuing drive to enhance flight safety. Details of specific Airprox events are provided, along with ‘lessons identified’ and action flowing from UKAB Safety Recommendations.

An Airprox is a situation in which, in the opinion of a pilot or a controller, the distance between aircraft as well as their relative positions and speed have been such that the safety of the aircraft involved was or may have been compromised.

The most immediate benefit of the Airprox system is for those involved in each event. Pilots and controllers each receive their own copy of the board’s final report, which sets out what happened and why. There are no names, and all language of blame is avoided. Instead, straightforward statements are made on what took place, with the emphasis placed on identifying lessons of benefit to all.

General aviation in the UK seems to be operating under a slightly different culture to ours.