CAA proposes new electronic identification devices for GA
Proposals for how GA aircraft and airspace users in uncontrolled UK airspace can use low-cost and low-power electronic conspicuity devices to make themselves more visible to each other have been released by the CAA in CAP 1391 Electronic Conspicuity. ‘Any move to make aircraft more visible is an aid to safety,’ says the Authority. ‘In the UK there are no requirements for light aircraft flying outside controlled airspace to carry any form of electronic device, such as a transponder. And there are no current plans to mandate such equipment in uncontrolled airspace. In some cases transponders may add too much additional weight and have unrealistic power requirements for certain aircraft.’ New plans set out an industry standard for equipment based on low-cost, lightweight Automatic Dependant Surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology.
The standards have been drawn up by the GA community and the CAA through an electronic conspicuity working group and build on work that was chaired by AOPA Chief Executive Martin Robinson, with representatives from other key GA organisations also advising. Clair Muir, CAA Manager of Safety Programmes, said: “We are aiming to make it significantly easier and cheaper for pilots to be able to electronically show other aircraft their position by turning the ‘see and avoid’ concept into ‘see, be seen and avoid’. The goal is to create an environment which encourages more pilots to equip their aircraft with a device voluntarily. If that happens, then we hope to see a reduction in the number of midair collisions and Airprox incidents.”
The CAA is consulting with manufacturers on a new process to remove regulatory barriers, making it easier for them to build a range of devices. Once the process is running, manufacturers will be required to make a declaration to the CAA that their device meets the standard in order for it to be used legally on board an aircraft. The administration charge for declaration has been waived in the scheme’s first year.
A list of current declarations will be published on the CAA website. It is then the responsibility of the aircraft operator to ensure that the device has a valid declaration and can be used on board. The draft process can be viewed at: caa.co.uk/cap1391