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Airprox of the Month

2016087 from the Airprox Board's September meeting (they were off to the seaside in August) deals with the conflict in the circuit between a circuit training Cessna and an arriving R22 helicopter.  The helicopter pilot was not familiar with Wycombe Air Park and may have been experiencing a high workload at the time.  There was a handover of air traffic controllers during the incident and there was a divergence between the common practice of controllers and the written local procedures.  The Board concluded as follows:

'Cause: The R22 pilot did not integrate effectively with the C152.

Contributory factors:

(1) ATC did not pass specific Traffic information on the C152 to the R22 pilot.

(2) ATC did not give specific joining instructions about the fixed-wing circuit to the unfamiliar R22 pilot.'

Aside from these formal conclusions there is a lesson for us all when flying into a strange destination.  Confusion is common amongst all of us when arriving at an unfamiliar airfield and year by year the specific requirements for particular airfields become more complex.  So in addition to getting the weather and NOTAMs it is very important to delve into the idiosyncrasies of wherever we may be going.  Start with the details in the Guide, get up the field's website and study it, phone them whether PPR is mandatory or not and self brief once more in flight before making the initial call to them.  If that entails flying an orbit or two before calling, so be it.  Don't let the flight take charge of you so that you crash into the circuit in a state of uncertainty.

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