Analysis of Occurrences in February 2022
Airprox Reports (6). One earlier incident described in our spring issue highlights the inadvisability of carrying out an orbit in a circuit unless instructed or cleared to do so at a controlled aerodrome. If too close behind an aircraft ahead a better strategy at airfields where the downwind leg cannot be extended may be to fly slightly outside and above (if CAS permits) the aircraft ahead following the published circuit, make no attempt to descend or land and go-around at circuit altitude overhead the runway.
As previously observed, 6 aircraft in a circuit plus joining traffic seems somewhat excessive.
IFR Level Busts (6). All were in types certified for, but not necessarily flown by, a single pilot.
Maintenance Reports (7). These usually indicate discovery of some previous maintenance error and are very useful, if followed up, with a view to preventing future errors.
Runway Incursions (1).
Runway Excursions (3). Two of these were by the same pilot of a nose-wheel type and followed landings with multiple bounces. It is not clear whether the events followed a long period without flying.
A Cessna 172 blew over while taxying on a paved surface.
Burst Tyres (2). One of these occurred during a practice RTO.
Fuel filler cap insecure (1). This was an instructional flight, the student checked the tank contents and the filler cap, but the instructor did not double check the covered filler cap.
VHF Comms Failure (5). In two cases the pilot had accidentally turned the audio selector volume down.
Weather Related (3). One was a wise precautionary landing in a helicopter due to deteriorating ceiling and visibility, an option not so readily available to fixed wing pilots. One PA28 encountered such turbulence that both pilots sustained minor injury when their heads hit the roof. There is a detailed report of an airframe icing encounter in a DHC 6 Twin Otter. It’s hard to learn what to do in icing from written material, made more difficult in that light icing when encountered can often generate only modest performance loss, such that the experience may seem unremarkable. The root cause of this event was deemed to be that the frontal system the crew expected to avoid had moved faster than anticipated exacerbated by operational delays en route.
CAS Infringements (25). Of these some causal or contributory factors could be identified:
Not monitoring altitude sufficiently often (1). Misreading altimeter by 1,000ft (1).
Lateral position error (3).This includes climbing to the intended level too soon after flight below CAS.
Rushed departure with incomplete route preparation due airfield closure time.
Complex pattern of airspace boundaries (1)
London Information (3).This may not be the appropriate service to use when flying close to controlled airspace, despite receiving a basic service with squawk, they have no radar and cannot give warning of a potential infringement or issue instructions. This may not be obvious to visiting foreign pilots.
Manchester Low Level Route (3), of which none had exceeded the boundaries of the LLR but were squawking incorrectly for part of the route.
Distraction (4). These were electric trim failure after take-off with efforts to reset it. Assuming this LAA type had a manual trim wheel this is not important, the priority must be to aviate, navigate and communicate. One night departure experienced difficulty with instrument light dimming, while another departing pilot in complex airspace was distracted by an aft seat passenger trying to locate the iPad battery charger.