Our independent review of General Aviation (GA) safety was commissioned and funded by the Department for Transport following a commitment to do so in the 'Aviation 2050: The Future of Aviation' green paper. The review was initiated in July 2019 with the DfT appointing Geoffrey Podger as the Independent Chair and the CAA, represented by myself, acting as the technical and specialist support.
In our review which you can see at CAP 1886 we were asked to work with the GA community to:
- Assess the current level of risk to all parties (pilots, passengers and third parties)
- Map out, and compare to other states, our regulatory system
- Develop recommendations on the acceptable level of risk and how it can be achieved
- Develop recommendations to ensure the regulatory system is fit for purpose and proportionate
Having completed our review we concluded that the current safety level of recreational GA in the UK is acceptable, viewed in terms of its unavoidably great risk than commercial aviation, the much higher risk acceptability of voluntary activities and compared with other high-risk activities. We anticipate the report will be used to aid the State Safety Board, chaired by the Department of Transport, to confirm there is an acceptable level of safety performance within the UK GA sector.
We also made a number of other conclusions and comments, importantly:
- Pilots should be encouraged and there should be an expectation that pilots will undertake periodic training throughout their flying careers, both through voluntary attendance at refresher or further development training sessions and through the current initiative to bring about, through guidance, a more structured approach to the requirement to fly every two years with an instructor
- The CAA should continue to monitor safety trends and take appropriate action if the trend significantly increases, including the option of setting a compulsory requirement for further development training
- Passengers in GA - non-commercial operations are participants in a recreational activity and can choose not to take part if they believe the risks to be unacceptable
- The comparatively rare individual accidents that result in the death of non-involved third parties should continue to be investigated and responded to on an individual and specific basis as is currently the case.
Comments on the review or its conclusions, should be sent to GASafety@caa.co.uk by 24 April 2020.
You can listen to Tony Rapson and Geoffrey Podger discuss their review in the CAA's On Air podcast.