Carefree pilots who “kick the tires, and light the fires” are unlikely to be aware of the steady growth in airprox risks over the last decade.
The danger of inadvertently flying too close to another aircraft, with the risk of collision is known as a ‘risk bearing incident’. The team at the UK’s Airprox Board investigate these events and share data to promote safer skies for all.
The majority of airprox incidents take place in Class G airspace – below 3,000 feet – airspace where VFR pilots like to fly
Over the last three years there has been an average of 102 incidents (of all types) per year. In 2018 there were over 50 GA and military incidents, and 95 GA on GA incidents. The 2020 Airprox Board Report, highlighted that 80% of events involve GA and light recreational aircraft. The majority of airprox incidents take place in Class G airspace – below 3,000 feet. This is exactly the kind of airspace where VFR pilots like to fly. In practical terms, that represents around three potentially fatal collisions every month. This is a serious topic for general aviation pilots, flying VFR. However, all pilots can take practical steps to reduce the risks and improve their safety.
Lookout – the most obvious way to improve your airmanship, make sure that your regular visual look out is observed, as a vital part of your flying routine.
Fit a Trig Mode S Transponder – this can be upgraded to ADS-B Out by installing a TN72 GPS Position Source. The UK’s CAA’s Conspicuity Scheme is still active, with a rebate of £250 available, towards the cost of equipment. Using a Mode S transponder with ADS-B Out makes you visible to all aircraft equipped with an ADS-B 1090 traffic receiver.
Use your Trig 8.33 VHF radio – Trig radios have a standard feature called Dual Watch. This allows the pilot to transmit and receive on a primary channel, but to monitor a secondary channel. By using Dual Watch, you can monitor the Low-Level Common Frequency on 130.490. Civil and military pilots in Class G airspace, at or below 2,000 feet who are not in receipt of a LARS, ATC service or monitoring a listening squawk can use this frequency. Blind calls can be made to help enhance situational awareness further reducing the risk of collision
Trig Marketing Manager Jon Roper said “We encourage pilots to be aware of airprox risks, but to take preventative steps, using a Trig transponder and radio. ADS-B Out indicates your position to other aircraft, whilst monitoring 130.490 on Dual Watch improves your situational awareness. All pilots can actively improve GA safety, and reduce collision risks by using Trig equipment in this way.”