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Airspace Infringments

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Airspace Infringments

Old 18th Jun 2019, 11:55
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Airspace Infringments

There is some discussion about the new consequences of airspace infringements elsewhere. With the aim of reaching a wider audience I was wondering how well known the new policy is, and to understand pilot's views.

It is said that even the most "minor" infringements may result in an automatic course attendance or licence suspension, and it is also said that every infringment must now be subject to a formal report by the controller.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 12:55
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I don't know what you are talking about. Any sources/references, perhaps? Or another effect of the so-called Brexit, in one particular country?

What is this "new policy"? Who defines it? Where is it documented?
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 13:10
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I'd also like to know what new policy is referenced. I sit on the Gatwick Local Airspace Infringement Team (pretty much all large airports have a problem and hence a local team) and haven't heard from the CAA representatives that policy has changed / is changing. I guess Fuji is saying he has heard that more and stricter consequences are going to be enforced.

Infringements should be and always have been taken seriously and our aim is to try and prevent them because we have to fight hard enough to keep some airspace to fly in as it is; without abusing what we don't have.

Education encouraging "better" behaviour is the key to that. The aim of the team is to improve the situation and simply doling out punishment is not going to either endear us or promote participation in better infringement avoidance.
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 13:51
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My understanding, and it may be wrong, is that all infringements involving NATS result in a mandatory report, with the controller being relieved from duty while the report is made. Other airspace controllers are being firmly encourage to report infrigements which of course include any ATZ sor perhaps designated danger areas activated by NOTAM or otherwise.

There then seems to be some debate as to what happens next. Some say that there has been a significant increase in the number of pilots who are referred to the GATSCo course who is the CAA's chosen provider for re-education, along similiar lines to traffic speed awareness courses. The pilot pays the cost and probably ends up with a nights hotel stay. It would seem there is no reference to instructors any longer, which, in the past was often the case. It would seem felt this has been well promulgated through CAP1404 and elsewhere.

It would seem that GATSCo has the contract with the CAA and the income now forms a signifcant part of their total income from the other charitable work they undertake.

Some beleive the new approach will prove very effective, others are less certain.
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 14:01
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"seems" .... "seems" ... "some beleive (sic!) " ... "it would seem .... " "believing ... "

and anyway it seams to applaye to youkeey ayrspaisse only, no wurrees ofer hear...

Factual verifyable information, please!
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 14:18
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Jan - I dont understand? I didnt realise this was only a form for stating facts.

I dont know the answers, and have said so.

If you, or others do, doubtless you will tell us?
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 14:25
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Hm, I must admit I had begun to develop some doubts myself, analysing the P P R U N E title, - the "R" bit in particular Then again, the "P P" does not really apply to private flying, either, so this chapter is a bit out of bounds for the original vocation anyway. Still, I am curious as to why this rumour is aired right now, is there any particular change aloft? In other words, WHAT IS GOING ON ? WHAT MAKES YOU POST THESE RUMOURS?

And yes, I suppose it is due to my training, as a (non-professional) pilot and in my job, but I do prefer to stick to known facts.
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 14:38
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Hi Fuji,

I am not aware that infringements automatically require a controller to be stood down (the Controllers at LGW are ANS not NATS - not that it would make any difference).

It may well be the case if a serious or life threatening event occurred but not if there was a simple (and I don't mean to understate the seriousness of infringements) event that required an airliner to be turned early to avoid a light aircraft close to or even inside an airspace boundary that posed a relatively low risk but no actual threat. An infringement could also be a PPL flying at 2510 ft with nobody else near. It's still an infringement, and might set off a radar alarm but it doesn't pose a risk so no stand down and probably no report, just a statistic to be noted.

From what I understand from the CAAs lead on airspace (who is an active PPL himself), the first thing they want is better education and fewer infringements and the last thing they want to be seen as is heavy handed or retributative.

Have a look on https://airspacesafety.com
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 14:44
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“Controllers will first try to maintain or regain separation between the infringing aircraft and any other traffic before trying to establish contact with the infringing pilot. If contact can be established the situation can be resolved very quickly and the controller will assist the pilot in vacating the airspace. The controller is required to file a report on every infringement of controlled airspace, and where the event is more severe in nature, the controller may be removed from duty and be unable to plug back in until the initial investigation process is complete.” NATS

This is NATS statement. I see it does say the infringement must be more severe in nature, but the report is mandatory in all cases.

Do Gatwick operate in a different way? I must say I have always found the Gatwick guys superbly helpful and have had many clearances both through the zone and via the threshold - thank you.

Jan - no worries no offence taken. I agree the facts are good, I am not sure of the facts, hence the careful wording. This may be of concern, or not, there are some pilots who are less than impressed and see the changes as the start of a zero tolerance policy, there are others than are clearly a lot more relaxed, and then there are those that simply dont know until (and if) they make a bust and find themselves on one of the courses with (it would seem) a rather do not pass go attitude to anything they may have to say in their defence.
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 14:59
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Ok, ok, thanks, fair enough. But why NOW? What has changed?
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 15:10
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Originally Posted by Jan Olieslagers View Post
Ok, ok, thanks, fair enough. But why NOW? What has changed?
For me, its topical, no other reason. The change is fairly recent, and if it is a change to zero tolerance, then I wonder how many pilots are aware?

Many of us will recall the days not very long ago this was not the case, so for that reason it seems to me its topical, and more than worthy of discussion.

I definitely wasnt aware of who is running the courses, the process involved in awarding the contract, and the real cost of going on the course. I have also been discussing whether it will have the desired benefits.

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Old 18th Jun 2019, 15:16
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The change is fairly recent
What change?
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 15:52
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“There is some discussion about the new consequences of airspace infringements elsewhere.”

Confused - can we clarify what the official (CAA / NATS etc) source or reference point is for the “new consequences”? Or is this an opinion on what might change?

Thanks
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 17:20
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This is a very odd thread.
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 19:24
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I wonder about the "elsewhere" bit, too. Vague, certainly. On purpose? Like as not. Why? Another mystery.

Last edited by Jan Olieslagers; 18th Jun 2019 at 20:00.
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 19:31
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Originally Posted by from the OP
....and it is also said that every infringment must now be subject to a formal report by the controller.
EU regs that have come into effect in the last few years may be relevant here. Reg 376/2014 makes reporting of certain events mandatory by specific persons - including PIC, controllers and flight information service officers - and reg 2015/1018 very specifically includes airspace infringements as one of those events.
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 20:55
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I hope there is no mystery.

In late 2017 the CAA developed a course with GASCo, the cost of which the CAA funded. GASCo is a registered charity.

GASCo received about £42K from these courses in 2018 at £200 per person per course. This would suggest somewhere over 200 pilots attended the course. Around a 1,000 pilots infringe a year. Of those infringments a percentage are ATZs, danger areas etc, and a percentage do not involve GA (military etc). We can make a reasonable guestimate of the number of pilots attending the course as a result of infringing 'NATS airspace" for example. Maybe its somewhere around half of the remainder.

If you infringe it is fair to say a probable consequence is course attendance, rather like a speed awareness course. It is said that when you add up the costs of a stay in a hotel, a loss of a days earnings or a days holiday etc the cost of the course is perhaps £500 or more, so it is also a significant financial penalty.

There have been some requests under Freedom of Information for data to enable the impact of these courses to be assessed. The data has not been forthcoming because it is said the data would reveal information that could be considered personal.

That is a brief summary of the issue. There are many facets of which I wasnt aware, and I suspect, but maybe entirely wrong, that may be true of others.

It also seems appropriate there is a wider discussion whether this is the "right" approach and it is being administred in the "right" way. Inevitably there are views on both sides of the divide.
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 21:38
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Fuji. Are you IMCR on the Flyer forum? How many other fora are you asking the same question on?
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Old 18th Jun 2019, 21:52
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Yes, two other places, because I know some pilots read more than one forum and obviously, some do not. I was interested to see the wider view on this matter.
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Old 19th Jun 2019, 11:30
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I very much support Fuji's initiative in raising this issue here. It has been exhaustively discussed in another place, but my perspective is somewhat driven by being present at a recent presentation by one of the CAA actors. This presentation featured an apparent spectacular rise in the rate of infringement in the last year or so, without being calibrated in terms of the reporting rate. When pressed on this point, the presenter was unconvincing and some of the audience, self included, were left to wonder if there is any real rise in infringing behaviour at all.


During the presentation, 5 episodes of what CAA regard as 'successful' prosecutions were presented. It turned out that two of these involved instructors, and not private pilots at all. A third involved a chap who had flown here from America (!) and infringed on a UK leg a Notam'd RAT resulting in an alleged close call with an airliner. The very substantial fine levied was justified because, apparently, he had failed to update his moving map the previous evening. No mention of the fact that someone flying here from the US might have expected to encounter joined up ATC, cohesive airspace design and flight following for a VFR trip in what is said to be a first world country. And certainly no mention of the fact that public officials, supposedly responsible for airspace policy, have presided over an airspace shambles where VFR pilots are supposed to switch from one ATC thiefdom to the next every few miles, give their life history each time and dial in a new squawk code, while being completely unaware of how helpful or otherwise the next controller, whoever that is, is going to be. And get fobbed off with some nonsense called a 'Basic Service' where collision avoidance is discretionary.


In this environment it's hardly surprising that many VFR pilots avoid radio contact, or worse (it's suggested), switch off their transponder altogether because (it seems likely) it is the imposition of Mode 'S' that has facilitated the increase in the reporting rate. Or resort to 'home made' remedies like moving map displays that may or not display Notams and ingenious but incomplete and unofficial collision avoidance systems, rather than talking to controllers. After all, there's even the nonsense of 'listening squawks' because controllers are apparently too busy to talk to pilots anyway.


What's needed here is a genuine recognition from the 'authorities' that UK airspace design, management and operation is of very poor quality and needs radical overhaul closely following the lines of the service provided to VFR pilots by the FAA. Rather than the single minded pursuit of individual pilots who, let's face it, can be any one of us after a moment's lack of concentration in this aerial minefield that we call 'home'.
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