Pilot monitoring the key to avoiding safety incidents, aviation industry told

Date: 27 March 2013

Improved cockpit monitoring amongst flight crew - where pilots check each others’ actions and the aircraft’s response - is an important tool in reducing the number of potential safety incidents, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said today. With the aviation industry increasingly seeking safety gains by focusing on the maintenance of core pilot flying skills in the face of flight deck automation, the CAA urges airlines not to overlook the quality of monitoring carried out by the flight crew. The CAA has launched a new training package to highlight the issue www.caa.co.uk/monitoringmatters. Aimed primarily at flight training instructors, the package will make interesting viewing to all commercial pilots who fly multi crew operations.

The Monitoring Matters package is made up of five video re-enactments of real life incidents where poor or non-existent monitoring compromised safety. The videos are accompanied by a major guidance document. The various components of the package can be viewed or downloaded from www.caa.co.uk/monitoringmatters. The video scenarios are acted out by serving airline training instructors.

The latest training aid builds on the CAA's Loss of Control Package (available on the CAA You Tube Channel) released in 2012 as part of the regulator’s efforts to tackle the most pressing safety issues facing commercial aviation. The training packages are not intended to be replacements for current training methods, or to take precedent over operational guidance issued by airlines and aircraft manufacturers.

Gretchen Haskins, Director of the CAA’s Safety Regulation Group, said: “Effective monitoring really does matter on the flight deck. Pilot Monitoring skills play an absolutely vital role in ensuring the safety of aircraft operations. However, we do see significant variations in the quality of this monitoring. If we are to maintain the UK’s excellent safety record we need to ensure all operators are focusing the relevant components of their ab initio and recurrent training on high quality cockpit monitoring. ”

The CAA has highlighted seven major risks in its current Safety Plan www.caa.co.uk/safetyplan. These Significant Seven risks have been identified following in-depth research carried out on the reports of over 1,000 fatal global accidents, and the findings of the CAA’s own Mandatory Occurrence Reporting Scheme database.

The Significant Seven are:

• Loss of control;
• Runway excursion;
• Controlled flight into terrain;
• Runway incursion;
• Airborne conflict;
• Ground handling; and
• Fire

These are also closely aligned with the European Aviation Safety Agency’s key safety priorities.

For further media information contact the CAA Press Office on: 0207 453 6030 press.office@caa.co.uk

Follow the CAA on www.twitter.com/UK_CAA

Notes to Editors:

The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.