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National CAA policies around Europe on busting pilots who bust controlled airspace

Timothy, thanks for posting that report, although I’m sorry to see that the older Maules are woefully under-represented in this data set.

More seriously, do you think it unfair to remark that after decades of denigrating the use of GPS for air navigation, the UK CAA bears a significant institutional responsibility for those 75 to 95 percent of infringements which are “NOGPS”?

And with tongue only slightly in cheek, isn’t the obvious sure-fire way to reduce reported infringements (ostensibly by up to 97%) simply for the CAA to prohibit the use of transponders in Class G adjacent to controlled airspace?

Overt prohibition of TXP use would be problematic but as the report suggests, albeit obliquely, the CAA’s SS-TV wannabes are not at all stupid. They know that zero tolerance and robust punishment of transponding airspace infringers must achieve the same result.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

Jacko wrote:

do you think it unfair to remark that after decades of denigrating the use of GPS for air navigation, the UK CAA bears a significant institutional responsibility for those 75 to 95 percent of infringements which are “NOGPS”?

No.

And with tongue only slightly in cheek, isn’t the obvious sure-fire way to reduce reported infringements (ostensibly by up to 97%) simply for the CAA to prohibit the use of transponders in Class G adjacent to controlled airspace?

From memory, it would also be very effective to ground all PA28s and close Barton and White Waltham. Why don’t the CAA do the obvious thing?

Last Edited by Timothy at 12 Jun 22:12
EGKB Biggin Hill

Jacko wrote:

More seriously, do you think it unfair to remark that after decades of denigrating the use of GPS for air navigation, the UK CAA bears a significant institutional responsibility for those 75 to 95 percent of infringements which are “NOGPS”?

I made exactly this point on Flyer, and was set upon by Jonathan Smith and eventually by Rob Gratton who suggested that my account ought to be deleted. I complained to Ian Seagar about them playing the man rather than the ball but was ignored.

Last Edited by Graham at 12 Jun 22:17
EGLM & EGTN

Perhaps they are doing the obvious thing. A policy of capital punishment for people who gaily infringe CAS while advertising the fact with a transponder is clearly calculated to eliminate those problematic SSR returns.

Edit: on the basis of Timothy’s inside knowledge, I’m not at all sure that a policy of zero-tolerance really does exist. But if there were to be such a policy I’m sure that it would be effective in reducing reported infringements, not least by causing a large number of transponders to develop intermittent and difficult-to-trace faults…

Last Edited by Jacko at 12 Jun 22:56
Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

To be more serious, there is a significant change of heart and moving map GPS usage is now being promoted.

EGKB Biggin Hill

I agree it’s serious. But there is inertia in these things and old habits die hard. Are they not responsible for producing a generation of pilots who think that using GPS is not the ‘proper’ way to navigate?

I learned to fly during that time, and I was certainly told loud and clear that GPS was not how one should navigate.

EGLM & EGTN

(1) Promulgate the fact that enforcement action will be less severe for those pilots who have been using such a device effectively.

So the reports says.

Is it less severe?

How is an assessment made if the device is being used effectively?

Last Edited by Fuji_Abound at 12 Jun 22:53

(1) Promulgate the fact that enforcement action will be less severe for those pilots who have been using such a device effectively.

Maybe likewise for pilots who are squawking mode S?

And a first offence “yellow card” as the worst case for aircraft with ADSB-out might be an incentive to upgrade from Mode S to ES.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

If the CAA weren’t Judge, jury and executioner in these cases it might be a better system. To have a just culture means that the organisation investigating the incident can only do so properly if it’s not also involved in the consideration of punishment of the individual.

There’s no doubt that a problem exists, but how can the cases be dealt with in such a way that the pilot isn’t discouraged from reporting or fearful of the consequences of a minor incursion?

On the face of it the current approach of an online course with an exam and a follow up seminar if the test isn’t passed seems quite light touch.

The first thing that should be done is to establish the separation of function required to foster a just culture. Only the most egregious busts should be passed to the CAA for action and disciplinary action against the pilot or controller. The rest of the process needs to happen away from the desks of those involved in punishment and remain anonymous to the prosecution side of the CAA or wherever that function resides.
Airline safety offices function in exactly the same way so it’s not an alien concept to the industry. Once the just culture is established and is producing better data more publicly, the lessons can be incorporated into any recurrent training like the hour with an instructor as part of a revalidation or renewal.

Second, the exam and online course need matching and updating. The system loses credibility if it doesn’t appear fair or accurate. Using out of date chart information is negative training and completely unacceptable. A business case to carry out the work should be fairly easy to produce as the amount of additional holding or aircraft diverting as the result of an incursion should be known and a cost can be arrived at.

On a much longer third track, there must be a review of the current airspace layout, particularly in the hotspots around White Waltham and Barton. If the busts at Barton, for instance, are related to the proximity of airspace overhead or the LLC, then the local procedures and airspace design should be reviewed.

EGCV, United Kingdom

Just read the PDF posted above.

It is mostly good stuff, well written.

AFAICT most of it has not been acted upon. It is also from 2016 which is a long time ago relative to what is evidently current UK CAA policy.

The list of GPSs is quite interesting to read, seeing the huge variety of what people fly with, and a lot of it being real old junk which doesn’t display any “usable” moving map. It is also funny, since it includes one called “farming” and one called “Sandal 3308” which doesn’t have a (usable) moving map for Europe.

“Manchester” is probably the low level corridor which is a completely mad piece of airspace. You have to descend to a very low level (often this will place you in IMC but if you are VFR you won’t necessarily be advertising that to ATC) and it requires accurate navigation. Also, during the descent (which will usually be steep because you don’t want to fly so low generally, due to obstacles) you can clip a corner of that airspace. Such a clip, which I know for a fact used to be ignored, will now probably send you to Gasco.

“London” is London Control which doesn’t offer any service OCAS, so a bust is immediate as far as their ATC go. I know of several busts of the LTMA which were sent straight to Gasco.

“Southampton” do offer a service OCAS but frequently this is not provided (you get a “stand by” and they don’t get back to you). I am informed of two busts from there which went straight to Gasco…

The main objection I have to the current system is the zero tolerance. This is just plain crazy. How many people here could state with certainty they won’t go through a speed camera in the next 3 years? And if you do you get 3 chances and get a 6 month ban on the 4th. But there is a margin, supposedly 10% plus 3mph. The CAA officially counts 2 years before you are a “repeat offender” but in reality this is done behind closed doors and I doubt anybody believes that part is implemented. There are many ways to bust very briefly… ambiguity with ATC, a momentary distraction, you name it.

But this “zero tolerance” is a very recent change – probably in the last 12 months – coupled with using the £400 “Gasco day” instead of the previously used tutorial + exam (the exam with bogus questions, loaded so most fail).

It would be interesting why they stopped (or greatly reduced) the use of the tutorial+exam component. I can think of a couple of reasons, both being pretty controversial

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Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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