Airspace-in­fring­ing pi­lots may have their li­cences sus­pended by the CAA

Pilot - - PILOT NOTES -

Pi­lots who in­fringe Con­trolled Airspace could have their li­cences pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended while the in­ci­dent is as­sessed, the CAA has an­nounced. The de­ci­sion is the Au­thor­ity’s lat­est at­tempt to re­duce the num­ber of in­fringe­ments oc­cur­ring in UK airspace, which re­main ‘wor­ry­ingly high’ de­spite pre­vi­ous at­tempts by the CAA, ATC ser­vice providers and GA rep­re­sen­ta­tive bodies to tackle this se­ri­ous safety is­sue. Last year more than 1,000 in­fringe­ments were re­ported to the CAA.

Un­der a new process, pi­lots who are iden­ti­fied as hav­ing in­fringed Con­trolled Airspace, a Danger Area or Re­stricted Area, could have their li­cence or li­cences pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended, while the de­tails of the in­ci­dent are in­ves­ti­gated and fol­low-up ac­tion con­sid­ered. “The CAA is com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing a speedy res­o­lu­tion to any in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and will only im­pose a sus­pen­sion for as long as nec­es­sary,” it says.

De­tails of new in­fringe­ments re­ceived by the CAA are as­sessed on a weekly ba­sis by a team made up of in-house pi­lots, in­ves­ti­ga­tors and air traf­fic con­trollers. If an in­ci­dent is deemed to reach a cer­tain level of se­ri­ous­ness, then the li­cence of the pi­lot in­volved will be pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended un­til fur­ther no­tice. The cri­te­ria used to de­ter­mine the level of se­ri­ous­ness of a par­tic­u­lar in­fringe­ment can be viewed at caa.co.uk/cap1404 De­pend­ing on the out­come of the sub­se­quent fol­low-up ac­tion, the Au­thor­ity will make a de­ci­sion about lift­ing the pro­vi­sional sus­pen­sion.

“The CAA has al­ways ac­knowl­edged that the ma­jor­ity of in­fringe­ment events are un­in­ten­tional,” it says, “but some do have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on op­er­a­tions in­side con­trolled airspace. All events, how­ever, carry some risk. Some events clearly show in­ad­e­quate pre-flight plan­ning, poor air­man­ship, or in­suf­fi­cient pi­lot knowl­edge. In a few cases, a de­lib­er­ate in­ten­tion to fly into con­trolled airspace has been found, and there have been in­stances of mul­ti­ple in­fringe­ments by the same pi­lot. It is likely that in these cir­cum­stances pi­lots will have their li­cences sus­pended.” How­ever, it notes that “the CAA will con­tinue to fo­cus on tack­ling in­fringe­ments through ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing and opt for pro­vi­sional sus­pen­sion or le­gal en­force­ment in more se­ri­ous cases.”

Fol­low­ing a re­cent se­ri­ous in­ci­dent at the be­gin­ning of the fly­ing sea­son, when a Red Ar­rows dis­play was se­verely dis­rupted be­cause of an in­fringe­ment, the CAA has pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended the li­cence of the pri­vate pi­lot in­volved.

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