Safety Recommendation: 2023-011
2023-011: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority publish guidance for general aviation pilots on responding to unexpected weather deterioration, highlighting the factors affecting their performance and the benefits of planning before the flight how they will respond.
The CAA accepts this safety recommendation and has identified several publications, listed below, that cover handling unexpected weather deterioration including the factors affecting pilot performance, and the benefits of pre-flight planning. The General Aviation Unit (GAU) team has created a webpage dedicated to weather in GA operations, which will be populated with useful guidance for pilots, including flying in cloud.
The following publications provide useful guidance for pilots with regards to the topics highlighted in the safety recommendation.
- Inadvertent IMC Workshop replay — Astral Aviation Consulting
- Inadvertent IMC Workshop replay — Astral Aviation Consulting
- Weather guide to day trip planning — Astral Aviation Consulting
- Weather Forecast Decision Making — Astral Aviation Consulting
- Pre-flight planning - Airspace Safety
The GAU will continue to identify the best ways to draw pilot’s attention to this guidance and will also assess the need for additional material.
Safety Recommendation: 2023-012
2023-012: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority require air traffic controllers to receive training regarding the human performance characteristics and limitations associated with stress. This should include the verbal cues that may indicate that a pilot is operating under high stress, and mitigation strategies to help controllers deal with such event.
The power to amend the legal requirements for the training of air traffic controllers rests with the Department for Transport (DfT).
The current, initial training syllabus for civilian air traffic controllers already includes recognition of stress and its symptoms, in self and in others (UK Regulation (EU) 2015/340). Equivalent training for military air traffic controllers, which would apply to any Distress and Diversion (“D&D”) cell controller, is outside the scope of the CAA’s oversight.
In addition to the existing material for civil air traffic controllers, the CAA recognises that additional educational material to highlight the verbal cues that might indicate stress could be beneficial, and will consider such material in the context of acceptable means of compliance to UK Regulation (EU) 2015/340 and our nascent work with the UK Flight Safety Committee to update CAP 745 - Aircraft Emergencies: Considerations for air traffic controllers.
Safety Recommendation: 2023-013
2023-013: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority specify the types of information that air traffic controllers will obtain and record when responding to aircraft in an emergency to ensure that pilots’ needs are met and reported correctly if communicated to other air traffic control units.
The types of information that shall be contained in the emergency message passed by pilots are described in the Radiotelephony Manual (CAP 413) (Chapter 8 Paragraph 8.13). This information is reiterated in the Manual of Air Traffic Services (MATS) Part 1 (CAP 493), which is the manual used by civil air traffic controllers. Civil air traffic controllers (being those over which the CAA has oversight) are therefore advised through MATS of the pertinent information and are instructed through courses of basic and initial training to recognise pertinent data and to record it appropriately; this is a basic competency for air traffic controllers. This provides sufficient flexibility for an air traffic controller to consider what information they require from the pilot in an emergency and, importantly, when it is appropriate to obtain that information taking into account the human factors involved in such a situation.
However, a D&D cell will often, as in this case, be the first point of contact in an emergency and the military aviation authority (MAA) is responsible for their oversight. The CAA is aware that Acceptable Means of Compliance 3201(1) to MAA Regulatory Article (RA) 3201(1) states that air traffic services provided by the Ministry of Defence should be provided in accordance with the Radiotelephony Manual (CAP 413) and the RA 3000 series: Air Traffic Management Regulations; these latter Regulations being broadly analogous to the CAA’s MATS Part 1. As such, any military air traffic controller (including any D&D Cell controller) should be aware of the required content of a pilot’s emergency message.
Safety Recommendation: 2023-014
2023-014: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority encourage the use of checklists in air traffic management operations when dealing with abnormal and emergency situations.
The CAA acknowledges the potential safety benefits from the use of checklists in many (comparatively predictable) circumstances. Such checklists are already widely used by civil
air traffic services providers.
The CAA expects civil ANSPs to review the use of checklists (if used) during their internal investigation of accidents and incidents and requires civil air traffic controllers to undertake training in Abnormal and Emergency Situations (ABES). The CAA will consider whether to highlight the benefits of checklists in the context of our nascent work with the UK Flight Safety Committee to update CAP 745 - Aircraft Emergencies: Considerations for air traffic controllers.
The use of checklists within D&D by military air traffic controllers / assistants is a matter for the MAA.
Safety Recommendation: 2023-015
2023-015: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority determine the effect the D&D Cell’s executive control has on civil ATCOs and inform civil ATCOs of any differences in their responsibilities whilst executive control is exercised.
Executive control is an aspect of the D&D Cell’s services which are provided as a State obligation under agreement between the DfT and MOD, not the CAA, and for which the primary delivery is through the D&D cell. Executive control is exclusively a function of the D&D cell, and the CAA does not believe that this concept has a material impact on the operational control of an aircraft, which rests with the unit (whether civilian or military) in contact with the pilot. Where operational control is passed from one unit (whether civilian or military) to another, a full handover should take place.
Notwithstanding the above, the CAA will engage with the MAA to undertake a review of the applicability of the D&D term executive control and to clarify any effect that the D&D controllers believe the use of this term may have on civil air traffic controllers’ responsibilities. This activity will be commenced once the DfT has concluded its review/activity in relation to SRs 2023-16 and 2023-017.