Safety Management: Incident Reporting and Investigation

Your safety is the number one priority of the whole aviation industry. Learn about what measures make flying as safe as it is.

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The UK aviation industry has an excellent safety record and safety is monitored continuously by the CAA. There are a number of mechanisms for reporting and assessing potential safety incidents, enabling the whole industry to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Occurrence Reporting

The CAA operates a Mandatory Occurrence Reporting Scheme (MORS) in accordance with an EU Directive. It is intended to record reportable occurrences which endangered or which, if not corrected, would have endangered an aircraft, its occupants or any other person. The objective of the scheme is to contribute to the improvement of air safety by ensuring that relevant information on safety is reported, collected, stored, protected and disseminated. The sole objective of occurrence reporting is the prevention of accidents and incidents, and not to attribute blame or liability. The scheme applies to all registered or operated aircraft, and all aircraft in UK airspace.

'Near Miss' Reporting

'Aircraft Proximity Hazard' (Airprox) is the industry term for what is commonly referred to as a 'near miss'. The UK Airprox Board is an independent organisation sponsored jointly by the CAA and the Ministry of Defence to deal with all Airprox events reported within UK airspace. Its primary objective is to enhance flight safety in the UK in respect of lessons to be learned and applied from Airprox occurrences reported within UK airspace.

An Airprox is a situation in which, in the opinion of a pilot or a controller:

  • The distance between aircraft as well as their relative positions and speed have been such that the safety of the aircraft involved was or may have been compromised.

Safety Recommendations are made where appropriate, aimed at reducing the risk of recurrence of a particular Airprox.

Airprox reports can only be made by pilots or air traffic controllers and cannot be submitted by passengers or members of the public who are on the ground.  This is because, while aircraft can and do look close, it is virtually impossible to judge horizontal and /or vertical separation accurately by eye.

Accident Investigation

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is responsible for the investigation of civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within the UK. The fundamental purpose of investigating accidents is to determine the circumstances and causes of the accident with a view to the preservation of life and the avoidance of accidents in the future; it is not to apportion blame or liability. The AAIB accident reports include specific and general safety recommendations that seek to promote safety improvements in aviation.