Director of the UK Airprox Board's Monthly Updates
With some learning themes for recreational pilots.
Avoiding collisions – a monthly update from Director UK Airprox Board giving some learning themes for recreational pilots.
Not counting 6 drone/UAV reports that were assessed this month, February’s Board meeting also looked at 15 aircraft-to-aircraft incidents, of which 8 were assessed as having a definite risk of collision (3 x Category A and 5 x Category B). All 3 of the Category A incidents, and one of the Category B Airprox resulted from head-on encounters where the pilots effectively did not see each other, and none of these encounters had the benefit of electronic conspicuity equipment to assist the pilots in gaining situational awareness. Collision warning systems are becoming more affordable, and I know that the PilotAware1 system is gaining popularity amongst many GA pilots (other systems are available), so I can only encourage everyone to have a look at what is available and see whether it’s time to invest in something that may well save your life.
The other main themes discussed this month were: poor airmanship decisions in 6 incidents; late-sightings/non-sightings in 9 events; and a couple of incidents caused by pilots flying too close to promulgated landing strips and microlight sites that were clearly marked on the map.
My Airprox of the month this month is Airprox 2016209, which was an overtaking situation that ended up as Category B incident. Constrained to a certain degree by airspace, an A109 pilot was routing past Bicester when he saw a tug/glider combo ahead. As he flew between this combo and the airfield, the glider unexpectedly separated from the tug, which then turned left in front of the A109 and dived towards Bicester. There are 4 lessons here: (1) try not to come between a tug/glider combo and a gliding site in case the glider releases – if it does then the tug will then likely dive immediately towards the glider site to try to get on the ground for the next tow as soon as possible; (2) overtake on the right because this is what is required and expected by other pilots; (3) don’t overtake too close to other aircraft in case they unexpectedly manoeuvre; and (4) tug pilots need to remember to clear their airspace also before automatically turning and diving after glider release. The full report can be found on the UKAB website at (www.airproxboard.org.uk) in the ‘Airprox Reports and Analysis’ section within the appropriate year in the ‘Individual Airprox reports’ tab.