Safety Recommendation: 2021-025
2021-025: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority publish guidance on the meaning and intention of the phase of flight alleviations in UK SERA where detailed as “except for take-off and landing” to better enable pilots to plan and act on minimum height requirements for safe operations.
The current exemption in SERA must cover a wide number of different approach and departure scenarios and so there is no 'once size fits all.' In consultation with the CAA RW Section and other SMEs, the CAA Guidance and Interpretation for Helicopter 'Take off and Landing' is as follows:
'Helicopter 'Take Off and Landing' - the CAA interprets this to mean the final stages of an approach or the initial stages of a departure, whereby the aircraft is in a stable flight configuration at or below 500'agl and the surrounding the FATO is clearly visible.'
This text, together with applicability, has been placed on the CAA SAFER webpages; a CAP is being produced which when published will close this action item.
Safety Recommendation: 2021-027
2021-027: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority encourage the development and deployment of Point-in-Space operations at landing sites.
The framework that will safely facilitate the use of Point-in-Space (PinS) operations continues to be developed. Flight Operations requirements and processes are already largely in place, the main focus remains on safeguarding the approaches and where the source data will be maintained. It is expected that by Q3 2022 procedures for hosting the procedures (expected to be in the AIP) and various charting requirements will have been confirmed. A parallel workstream producing guidance for PinS procedure implementation, and CAA website implications, is also planned to report by Q3 2022 enabling us to provide an update before the end of 2022.
Safety Recommendation: 2021-028
2021-028: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority revise its guidance on helicopter flight in degraded visual conditions to include further information on managing the associated risks
Following a review by the FOI (RW) team it is clear there already exists significant research material, associated papers and guidance documents relating to this subject, most of which remain relevant and valuable. However, the existence of this material may not be as widely known as it could be.
Therefore, a SkyWise notification will soon be issued detailing the available information and guidance and the reason for the reminder.
Flight Operations have separately advised AMs and safety managers by mail of the SkyWise and its content; it will be recommended that they include the subject on the agenda of their next safety meeting. FOIs and IOs on both the AOC and FCL & ATO oversight teams will raise the topic as a discussion point at the next audit or inspection.
This topic has also been raised with the Onshore Safety Leadership Group as safety discussion topic for this year.
Safety Recommendation: 2021-031
2021-031: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority ensure that operators show clear evidence within their system for operational control as required by UK ORO.GEN.110 (c), of how the tasking process separates the customer from the flight crew.
Whilst this incident involved a helicopter and the recommendation made specific reference to the interaction between the customer and the flight crew, the CAA will be issuing a Safety Notice to address this and other scenarios and types of operations where commercial pressure may be present in Q3 of 2022.
Safety Recommendation: 2021-032
2021-032: It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority assess the safety benefits and feasibility of Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring programmes for onshore helicopter operators conducting commercial operations or non-commercial complex operations and publish its findings.
CAP2520 – Policy and Guidance for the Implementation of Helicopter Point in Space Operations in the UK was published in May 2023. This document aims to present all factors helicopter operators must consider when introducing Point-In-Space (PinS) procedures.
Almondsbury Helicopter Airbase, Strensham Airbase, Henstridge Airfield, Royal Sussex County Hospital and King’s College Hospital were all selected as successful applications of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Programme, now in its third phase and run jointly by the UK Civil Aviation Authority and Department for Transport. Funding has also been secured to support these applications as blue light landing sites.
The HEMS Operators principally responsible for operating to the aforementioned landing sites are in the process of evaluating any necessary Management of Change to proceed in accordance with CAP2520.
The safe introduction of PinS, initially with Air Ambulance operations, is understood to be a medium to long term project for those involved. Therefore, the CAA consider that the original recommendation to ‘encourage the development and deployment of Point-in-Space operations at landing sites’ has been met and will continue to work with both DfT and Industry to progress the safe introduction of PinS.