Lat­est Air­proxes


The Air­prox Board as­sessed 23 in­ci­dents dur­ing its Jan­uary meet­ing, of which seven were drone/uav re­ports and six­teen were air­craft-to-air­craft in­ci­dents. Of the lat­ter, a def­i­nite risk of col­li­sion was as­sessed for five events (one Cat­e­gory A and four Cat­e­gory B). ‘Two in­volved air­craft join­ing the vis­ual cir­cuit… which re­in­forces the need to fully un­der­stand the var­i­ous join types, ad­here to pro­ce­dures, and watch out for oth­ers join­ing the cir­cuit who you may not have heard on the ra­dio,’ says the Board. The other main themes dis­cussed this month were: poor air­man­ship de­ci­sions (nine); late-sight­ings/non-sight­ings (five); and three in­ci­dents in­volv­ing sim­ple con­flicts where nei­ther pi­lot was fully aware of the other.

Both of the cir­cuit join­ing in­ci­dents ‘in­volved a com­bi­na­tion of pi­lots press­ing on when un­cer­tain of the po­si­tion of the other air­craft; as­sum­ing an­other pi­lot would do some­thing he did not in the end do; pi­lots not fol­low­ing join pro­ce­dures (thereby deny­ing oth­ers sit­u­a­tional aware­ness of where they might be); and con­fu­sion over ra­dio calls that were either missed, or not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of what the pi­lot was ac­tu­ally do­ing,’ says the Board. ‘As we have seen be­fore, and es­pe­cially at airfields with air-ground only, the vis­ual cir­cuit re­lies heav­ily on peo­ple be­ing pre­dictable (or clearly stat­ing their in­ten­tions if they can­not be); ro­bust look­out at all times; think­ing about po­ten­tial con­flict points (and es­pe­cially with re­spect to non-ra­dio or ra­dio-fail air­craft); and clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion of in­ten­tions.’

The Board’s ‘Air­prox of the Month’ was one of these join­ing in­ci­dents, a Cat­e­gory A in­volv­ing a Piper Twin Co­manche and a Van’s RV-9 that were both join­ing Run­way 27LH at Shob­don. The RV-9’S pi­lot was join­ing from the south and con­ducted an over­head join as he stated on the ra­dio. The Twin Co­manche ini­tially wanted to join ef­fec­tively cross­wind from the north but agreed also to con­duct an over­head join when re­quested by the AFISO. But the twin’s pi­lot then re­verted to a cross­wind join rather than fly­ing through the over­head, and the two air­craft came into prox­im­ity near the up­wind thresh­old. ‘The Twin Co­manche’s pi­lot was of course per­fectly en­ti­tled to join cross­wind, but should have made his re­vised in­ten­tion to do so clear to all, and should have avoided the RV-9,’ says the Air­prox Board’s re­port.

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