Episode 3

Published on:

9th Aug 2022

Safety sense leaflets – Commonwealth games airspace

This episode includes updates on our project to update our suite of Safety Sense Leaflets and the work that has gone into the temporary airspace restrictions for the Commonwealth Games.

Flying in Cloud

A recent AAIB investigation has highlighted the importance of being properly qualified to fly in cloud. Our podcast and animation cover the safety guidance and resources that pilots should be aware of.

Flying in Cloud

Carbon monoxide project - CODE

We discussed before our current CAA project on Carbon Monoxide. Recently published data reports are available on the CAA website at:

Carbon monoxide in general aviation

Safety Sense Leaflets

Our new suite of Safety Sense Leaflets is taking shape. You can access these on the CAA website.

Commonwealth Games

Aeronautical Information Service - NATS to sign up for NOTAM

NATS UK | Aeronautical Information Circulars (AICs) (ead-it.com) – for AI Circulars



WWGC2022 | The Womens World Gliding Championships 2022

Light Aircraft Association (LAA) Rally


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To get in touch please email GApodcast@caa.co.uk


Voiceover 0:11

Welcome to the general aviation podcast from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Alex Blomley 0:23

Hello, welcome to the CAA's general aviation podcast. Thank you for listening. In today's program, we're going to highlight a few items we've published recently. We're going to have a chat about safety sense leaflets and also our role in the design temporary airspace restrictions for the Commonwealth Games. Thank you to everyone who has listened to our series of podcasts thus far. And if you've not managed to have a listen as yet, then please do. We will include the links in the podcast notes. We have had a great email coming to us from Adrian a microlight pilot asking about licences. I'm pleased to say that we are tackling licences. And we hope to be able to provide an update to you all on our current piece of work on this, as I'm sure you can all appreciate it is a complex area. But we are determined to radically change what we have. So Adrian, thank you for your email and for your questions. And if any of you listening do have any further comments or queries that you'd like to raise, then do please email us at gapodcast@caa.co.uk. It has been a busy time this summer. And I hope that you have all managed to get airborne these last few weeks or months when the weather has been favorable. No doubt you will all be aware of the AAIB special bulletin published following the very sad incident on the second of April. Recently, we produce an animation and podcast highlighting the safety messages from that bulletin and the importance of being qualified and experienced to fly in cloud. I do encourage all of you to watch and listen to these materials if you haven't done so already. And we have included a link to the flying in cloud web page that was created to house these items. We did work with the AAIB on these and we're very fortunate enough to have an inspector join us for the podcast element. Those who listened to episode one of the GA podcast series, we talked about the code project, a piece of work we are undertaking investigating how GA pilots use active carbon monoxide detectors whilst in flight. We have just published the third quarter data summary of that trial and this is available on the carbon monoxide in general aviation webpage. Our suite of new and updated safety sense leaflets is taking shape. We have published Ditching and Loss of control in July with more in the pipeline. We're now joined by Ed Bellamy. Ed may be known to some of you, he is a GA pilot with over 15 years aviation experience and several years experience on the 737 with a European airline. He is the editor of our much loved Skyway code now in its third version, and a columnist with FLYER magazine, joins us today to talk about his latest project with the CAA Safety Sense leaflets. Hello, Ed. Thank you for joining us.

Ed Bellamy 3:10

Hello, Alex. It's great to be here.

Alex Blomley 3:12

Right. So we understand the CAA is currently reviewing and updating its suite of safety sense leaflets. This is a big commitment as there are quite a few of these. Can you share with us some of the background and history to these documents?

Ed Bellamy 3:24

Yes, so I believe there are around 26 at the moment, and slightly more than that, if you count some of the other kind of sister publications like the handling sense leaflets and some of the older GA safety publications that go along with them. They're essentially a range of leaflets that cover different topics of a kind of safety nature. And they tried to give GA pilots kind of practical guidance on how to conduct their activities safely. And they cover a number of topics such as care of passengers, winter flying considerations, VFR moving maps, and many others.

Alex Blomley 4:00

This project was started last year with the first refreshed safety since leaflet being launched. This is SS 02 Care of Passengers. Was there a reason why this was the first leaflet to be overhauled?

Ed Bellamy 4:12

We wanted to start with one that was relatively straightforward, just so that we wanted to get the search so that we could get the format, right, because obviously, the format in the nicest possible way of the existing ones was quite dated, and although a lot of the information is still very relevant, the format clearly needed a refresh, and we wanted to try and use the same visual language as the Skyway code. So we chose a relatively short and succinct and self contained topic, care of passengers, so that we wouldn't run into too many issues with having vast amounts of copy to organize or anything like that, and wouldn't require too much technical input to update since the basics of care of passengers essentially, you know, they stay the same, don't they? Nothing much has changed in that area. So it was about getting the format, right and that the visual language would work.

Alex Blomley 5:03

So are you taking each one in order? Or is it more down to a priority list?

Ed Bellamy 5:08

So when we started, I sat down and read through all of them. And I assigned each one of them a kind of low, medium, high value in terms of how important they were, to the community, you know, how important is their message and content, but also how much effort they would be to update. So the ones that were kind of low priority from a kind of value point of view. But nonetheless, would be quite a lot of effort to update tended to sink towards the bottom of the pile. So we broadly approached it in that way. Now, this wasn't, you know, there's nothing hard and fast about it, it was primarily how important we felt they were on an individual basis.

Alex Blomley 5:53

So as the author of these documents, what is the approach you take? Is it addressing the actual words and illustrations used? Or are we hoping to put across a particular concept when we update these documents?

Ed Bellamy 6:05

Yes, I mean, I start with the words. So I would describe myself almost as more of an editor than an author in this case, because although most of the new ones are complete re-writes, I think, to call myself the author would sort of suggest it's kind of just about my sort of knowledge, and it's not. So I start by identifying whether the subject itself, the content needs a technical update or not. To pick an example, I'm currently working on the ditching SSL. And after a bit of a technical review with some experts, I concluded that actually the content was broadly ok, already. So it's then a question of, once that's been done, I then move on to does the currently leaflet present things in the most logical ordered way? Could we present the information differently. So we deal with that issue, then once the kind of basic outline is there, move on to the more detailed kind of copywriting and editing it down. And then once I've got to a point where there's pretty much a complete leaflet in basic A4, then move on to putting into the graphic design kind of template. So we work with graphic designers called The Surgery based in West Sussex, and they have helped us develop this kind of visual language for the leaflets. And so at that point, I started working with them to put the copy in the different places in formatted layout, and then we talk about where the graphics go. So for example, some things are just difficult to explain in purely a written form. So where we think that for example, illustrating how to write a capsized life raft, or something could benefit from a diagram or a graphic, then we develop those as required. And then finally, once we've got all the text and the graphics we want, there's inevitably a certain amount of tweaking here and there adjusting page sizes to get it into the final finished product.

Alex Blomley 7:52

We have seven published so far. These are now on their own dedicated web page called Safety Sense on the GA web pages. And how long do you think this piece of work will take?

Ed Bellamy 8:03

Well, there's a sense in which it's somewhat open ended. I think by this time next year, I will hope that we would have pretty much all of the existing ones that we want to update will have been updated and translated into the new format. But even since we've started, we've got a list of probably at least five possible different ones. There are a new ones, there are ones that may not make it into the new format with their existing title and content, we might choose to break them up. And people can always think of new topics, I suspect. So it's probably from start to finish a 18 month two year process, but but in a sense, it'll never be entirely finished.

Alex Blomley 8:44

So we have approximately 26 or so titles that we are updating. And is there scope to add new titles and new topics?

Ed Bellamy 8:54

Yeah, so there was what was called a handling sense, leaflet previously. And that was just a two page leaflet that largely focused on the technicalities of store recognition and stall recovery, which is obviously a very pertinent topic at the moment. I mean, loss of control in VMC remains one of the leading causes of GA accidents. However, I wanted to morph it into something a little bit more detailed on the Human Factors side and actually give some practical examples of why pilots enter a stall situation in the first place and subsequently lose control. And this typically features around distraction in some way. So people's attention is drawn away from the primary task of flying the aircraft and keeping it at a safe speed and attitude. So I wanted to emphasize that human factors side and practical avoidance as much as the technicalities of how to actually recover from a stall and this is a theme that I think will hopefully run through a lot of the new SSLs where we just put a little bit more emphasis on the Human Factors side of things as well as the technicalities of how you do certain things correctly, which is hopefully what will come out more as leaflets continue. So for example, we have a number called at the moment, we've got two, in fact, it's called 'Pilots, it's your decision', and another one called 'Good airmanship guide'. And these two, I sort of look at them at the moment and I sort of see what how might we kind of repackage these because although they're very good, they're perhaps not quite in the sort of language that we would use at the moment around those subjects. Another example might be, we have a leaflet on the use of GPS, which is quite old now. And many of our listeners will probably know the one I'm referring to. But when we came to this subject, with a kind of present day perspective, we decided to look more at the human side of it. And that's what led to the VFR moving maps leafet that came out last year, because although the old leaflet is very good about the technicalities of everything that can go wrong with a GPS and how to not use it or whatever. The reality is, is that the last 10 years has taught us that it's more of a human machine interface that is the issue than a detailed understanding of the technology built behind it,

Alex Blomley:

Ed thank you for that for those of you who may not be familiar with our suite of Safety sense leaflets I encourage you all to take a look at them. Any new leaflet will be published on that dedicated webpage. And we will also share links to that page in the notes for this podcast. We will also share notifications via our Skywise subscription service. So if you're not already a member of Skywise, please do so it's free and means you will receive all GA news and regulatory updates.


You're listening to the general aviation podcast from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Alex Blomley:

So the Commonwealth Games ran this summer in Birmingham and similar to other large events, the CAA issued a number of airspace restrictions and guidance to those who may be looking to fly in the West Midlands area over the period of games. The CAA has worked with West Midlands Police, Birmingham and Coventry airports to produce information that supplements the Aeronautical Information published by NATS. That sets out the temporary airspace restrictions for the Commonwealth Games. And we thought we would have a chat with one of our CAA colleagues involved in the process of creating and designing airspace restrictions. We're now joined by Steven Maxted Hello, Steven, and thank you for talking with us today.

Stephen Maxted:

Hello, Alex. And thank you for having me,

Alex Blomley:

So Stephen, for those listening who perhaps don't know you Please, could you tell everyone who you are and what you do at the CAA?

Stephen Maxted:

Sure, well, it's not a problem. I'm the airspace regulator responsible for both temporary and permanent restrictions of airspace within the CAA's off route airspace team, and we work within the airspace regulation unit.

Alex Blomley:

So we're here today to talk about the airspace restrictions in place for the Commonwealth Games, but I thought it'd be good to learn more about how restrictions of this nature are designed. And in the case of Birmingham, there are several other organisations who we'd need to work with is that right?

Stephen Maxted:

That's correct, Alex, as with many cases of this size, many events of this size rather, the design and the publication of airspace restrictions is a collaborative one, and it needs to be in the case of the Commonwealth Games. The organisation requesting the restriction, or the sponsor, as we call them, was West Midlands Police, as the restriction was requested to satisfy security over the length of the games. As part of the CAA off route airspace team. We in collaboration with the West Midlands Police and Birmingham Airport, we worked with a plethora of stakeholders in the region, which included Coventry airport, a number of local GA aerodromes, commercial drone operators, some of which were carrying out surveys for HS2 and flying clubs in order to brief them on the restrictions in advance. In addition to these external stakeholders, we within the CAA collaborated to ensure that the message surrounding the restriction was publicised as wide as possible.

Alex Blomley:

So how does an organisation approach the CAA to have an airspace restriction put in place,

Stephen Maxted:

What they need to do is they need to submit a request for a temporary airspace restriction or the RAT as they commonly known, at least 90 days before the event. And this needs to be supported with a robust reason for that application. It can't just be we'd like this restriction over our display. And that's it, they need to drill down into supporting evidence. And we have requests covering a wide range of events from displays by the red arrows to security of the Commonwealth Games, or as we've done in the past for the G7 conference, and COP 26. The criteria for establishing new restrictions really is very high, and it's laid down under the Air Navigation Order twenty sixteen article two three nine. All requests to us are assessed under this article to establish if they're appropriate and proportionate. If these criteria are met, then we'll work with a sponsor in the case of the Commonwealth Games. It was West Midlands Police and Birmingham Airport and then we designed the temporary restriction. This restriction will then be mapped and then it It'll be discussed between the major stakeholders. And then once agreed, we will ensure that it has where possible, the minimal impacts upon other airspace users. We do stress that the intent is to minimize where possible the impact upon all airspace users, which is why we requested sponsors provide contact details in order to answer any questions that should arise and potentially allow access to the restriction. So once agreed, I think the process is then to publish the information via NATS AAS, which will be in the form of a mauve Aeronautical Information circular or AIC, or a briefing sheet. AIC is the preferred method. However, briefing sheets are published, if information has not been made available to be published within the airac cycle. The difference is that the briefing sheet is in a different place on the AIC website, but it is still easily accessible. And it should be noted that the information is the same on a briefing sheet as it is on an AIC I think

Alex Blomley:

You raise a really interesting point there that in the case of the Commonwealth Games, it was the sponsor, in this case, West Midlands Police and Birmingham Airport who proposed and designed the restriction they wanted to put in place and then it is our role to ensure it is appropriate and proportionate. And I think this is the message here that we really want to get across that RATs are coming in and changing the routes available to GA on a daily basis. And so it is key that pilots are checking NOTAMs, as you say, plan ahead of any flights they are doing.

Unknown Speaker:

Yeah, sure. That's right. Particularly this year. It's been a an unusually high number of temporary restrictions and they've surrounded air shows, Air Races, etc. And just for some awareness, our office has dealt with the Platinum Jubilee flypast, which was on a par with the 2012 RAF 100 flypast. So that was a large event and a large restriction, we've dealt with RIAT, which had its first air display since 2019. Farnborough as well, that's since 2018, I believe. And that air show had a change of airspace in the meantime, and obviously, the Commonwealth Games. And it's important that due to relaxing of the COVID restriction, many events that that people haven't seen and haven't held since '19, are now returning to the summer program. And it is imperative that fliers do read publications and do read notams before they aviate to make sure that they have the widest information for their route.

Alex Blomley:

Thank you for explaining all of this. We would recommend. If you're not already, that you sign up to the Aeronautical Information Service provided by NATS to see all the NOTAMs and review the Aeronautical Information circulars. And again, if you're not already subscribed to Skywise, do please register with us, you will receive a reminder link to view the NOTAM or AIC, I would stress that the skywise notification is not designed to replace looking at NOTAMs or AICs but is really a reminder for you to do so. We will include the links to the various items that we've talked about in this podcast in the notes. Thank you, Steve. Thanks for taking us through all of that.

Stephen Maxted:

Thank you.

Alex Blomley:

So this summer, we're supporting the women's world gliding championships hosted at the gliding club at Husbands Bosworth. Do have a look at their website, if you're interested in attending any of the events from the opening procession and ceremony. They have a procession I believe on the opening weekend. Then there's another open weekend. And then there's also the closing ceremony, which is open to the general public. And we're also preparing for the liight Aircraft Association rally at the beginning of September. We are planning to have a marquee there, and a number of our resident experts. I'm hoping to be there on a few days. So be nice to have a chat with some of you if you're there. And we'll be able to cover off any questions or queries that you may have. So it'd be great to see you there. Sadly, we weren't able to go to Aeroexpo this year, as it was cancelled. But we did send a team up to private flyer in Leeds, which went very well. So I don't know if any of you are able to get to that event. But I mean, hopefully we're hoping that aeroexpo will return next year so we may be able to attend then. So thank you for listening to the CAA's general aviation podcast. We hope to bring you another episode probably in the Autumn. And hopefully we'll see you at some of the events this summer. Thanks for listening

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About the Podcast

CAA on General Aviation
The General Aviation podcast brings you the latest guidance from the UK Civil Aviation Authority with information for all types of General Aviation (GA) operating in the UK. Including updates and discussions on our current projects and areas of work.

You’ll hear interviews with representatives from our GA teams, experts on their particular fields, sharing details of their work and regulatory updates as well as highlighting opportunities for members of the UK GA community to get involved.

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The UK's aviation regulator