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CAA and GASCo launch airspace infringement course

Pilots who infringe airspace in the UK may now be asked to attend a safety awareness course, it was announced today. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo) have jointly developed a unique training package targeting infringing pilots.

The CAA will recommend, where appropriate, that pilots who have infringed controlled or notified airspace 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.

Rob Gratton, Principal Airspace Regulator at the CAA, said: “We have always tried to prioritise pilot education as the way to deal with airspace infringements. The new course that GASCo has developed 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 the course. 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. Pilots can help to avoid infringements by:

  • Carrying out effective pre-flight planning and take advantage of free online flight planning tools
  • Turn transponders on and operate Mode Charlie (ALT)
  • Use listening squawks 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 control
  • 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

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