GA Airprox incidents continue to fall

Date: 04 October 2013

Serious Airprox incidents involving general aviation aircraft fell in 2012, figures released today reveal. The overall number of incidents with GA involvement, of all levels of severity, also continued a steady decade-long downward trend, data published by the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) shows.

Throughout 2012 there were 13 incidents involving a GA aircraft assessed as ‘Category A’, the most serious classification. In 2011 there had been 19 such incidents. Although there was a slight increase in incidents between two GA aircraft – 59 in 2012 compare to 55 the previous year, the number of Airprox incidents involving a GA and a military aircraft declined significantly – 33 in 2012 as opposed to 46 in 2011.

The UKAB statistics are published for the first time in a dedicated Airprox magazine, sent free of charge to all UK-based private pilots. The magazine focuses on a number of specific incidents to highlight how that incident occurred and advise readers on how to avoid a similar situation.

Commenting on the figures, the Director of UKAB, Steve Forward, said: “As always a decline in the numbers of Airprox incidents is to be welcomed. However, we need to avoid complacency - far and away the most frequent causes of Airprox incidents are non-sightings and late sightings by pilots of aircraft that should have been in plain view. These incidents really should not be happening.”

Half of all GA related Airprox incidents in 2012 occurred in Class G airspace, under 3,000ft. A significant number were in air traffic zones, an issue that is now being addressed by a joint GA-Civil Aviation Authority working group.

The full statistics are available on the UKAB website, while a PDF version of UKAB’s magazine is available for download

For more information contact the UKAB Press Office on tel.020 7453 6025;

Follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA

Notes to Editors:

An Airprox is defined as: a situation in which, in the opinion of a pilot or controller, the distance between aircraft, as well as their relative positions and speed, have been such that the safety of the aircraft was, or may have been, compromised.

The UKAB is made up predominantly of pilots and controllers. It comprises a Chairman (the Director) and a mix of civil and military Members, all acknowledged experts within their fields of aviation. Their expertise covers commercial air transport, general aviation and military flying (both fixed wing and rotary); along with civil and military air traffic control.

The UKAB does not apportion blame or liability and has no legal powers: its sole aim is to enhance flight safety by assessing what happened in terms of ‘cause’ and ‘risk’ and then raising awareness of the findings within the aviation community. Where appropriate, the UKAB can make specific safety recommendations for changes in procedures or, for instance, the introduction of new equipment.

There are four risk categories agreed at international level, as follows:

A - risk of collision an actual risk of collision existed
B - safety not assured the safety of the aircraft was compromised
C - no risk of collision no risk of collision existed
D - risk not determined insufficient information was available to determine the risk involved, or inconclusive or conflicting evidence precluded such determination.