Analysis of 2017's airspace infringement reports from private pilots has shown that that correct use of a moving map could have helped avoid 85% of airspace infringements.

Pilot reports were assessed against four measures that could have helped prevent the infringement or reduced its impact on other air traffic or controllers:

  1. Use of moving maps with an airspace warning
  2. Use of a frequency monitoring code (FMC)
  3. Recognition of/dealing with overload and distraction
  4. Better familiarity with aircraft and equipment

The report was carried out by a sub-group of the CAA's Airspace Infringement Working Group, made up of three experienced General Aviation pilots.

Key findings suggest that:

  • The correct use of a moving map could have prevented 85% of infringements
  • Correct use of a frequency monitoring code (also known as a listening squawk) could have prevented 65% of infringements
  • Recognition of/dealing with overload, fixation and distraction - possibly effective in 43% of case
  • Better familiarity with aircraft and equipment - possibly effective in 24% of cases

Rob Gratton, Chair of the Airspace Infringement Working Group said:

“The CAA actively promotes the use of GPS moving map technology as a mitigation against airspace infringements. But pilots must ensure that they are using the application and device correctly.

“We regularly publish infringement statistics, reports and guidance to help the GA community improve flying practice and continue to take the issue seriously.”

Read the full report: https://airspacesafety.com/update

Latest infringement statistics showing total reported infringements for 2017 and 2018 are now available here: https://airspacesafety.com/facts-stats-and-incidents/

Notes for editors:

An airspace infringement is the unauthorised entry of an aircraft into notified airspace. This includes flight in controlled airspace (Control Areas, Control Zones and Terminal Manoeuvring Areas), prohibited or restricted airspace (either permanent or temporary), active danger areas, aerodrome traffic zones (ATZ), radio mandatory zones (RMZ) or transponder mandatory zones (TMZ). 

Any airspace infringement has the potential to be a serious safety incident which may result in a mid-air collision or AIRPROX (where the distance between aircraft as well as their relative positions and speed have been such that the safety of the aircraft involved may have been compromised). 

In 2017 there were a total on 1165 airspace infringements reported through Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR) or Alleged Breach of Air Navigation Legislation (ABANL) reports. Of these, 307 were investigated by the CAA's Infringement Coordination Group.

The Airspace & Safety Initiative is a joint CAA, NATS, AOA, GA and MoD initiative to tackle major safety risks in UK airspace: https://airspacesafety.com