Mid-Air Collision Report

Midair collisions are a persistent and deadly threat to aviation safety. From 2016 to 2021, there were 43 reports of midair collisions involving GA operations in the United States, resulting in 79 fatalities. Data from the FAA’s Aviation Safety Information and Analysis Sharing (ASIAS) GA team indicate that over time, general aviation operators with Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) have had a consistently higher Resolution Advisory (RA) rate — an indicator of midair collision risk — as compared to commercial (part 121) operators. This difference prompted ASIAS to perform a study on TCAS RA events, particularly within the GA community. The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) later issued a report on the findings.

Over a three year period (2015-2018), ASIAS initially studied RA events at three airport locations, relying on data from algorithm-derived RAs, ADS-B equipment, Flight Operations Quality Assurance data, and text-based safety reports. At each location, areas of dense reports, or clusters, were identified and labeled based on the type of event occurring within it. These included Level Flight, Climbing Into Traffic, Descending Into Traffic, Parallel Approach, and Helicopter.

Once the initial results were validated, the study expanded to cover 50 airports in the United States with the most simulated general aviation TCAS RA events. The results for each location were intuitively displayed over a sectional to help depict the particular locations or routes where collision risk may be more likely. Clusters with darker or denser colors indicate areas with the most events. A graph also accompanies each display to illustrate the proximity of aircraft involved in the events. It is worth noting that the reasons for TCAS RA interaction vary with location, not just by airport, but by location at the airport.

While the report does not provide any specific mitigation strategies for avoiding midair collisions, it is the GAJSC’s intention that this information can provide the aviation community with useful insight on potential risk areas at certain locations in the NAS. The results have already been used by some air traffic facilities to validate changes to VFR routes that were under development.

See the report here: Mid-Air Collision Report (11 downloads)

The Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) Working Group Report is Available Now!

The GAJSC’s latest report, the Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) Working Group is now available online HERE! The GAJSC analyzes aviation safety data to identify emerging issues and develop mitigation strategies to address and prioritize safety issues. The GAJSC previously investigated CFIT accidents in 2000, which placed focus on equipping GA airplanes with — and use of — terrain awareness systems and GPS, as well as emphasized pilot training. Although the overall trend for CFIT events is encouraging, there were twenty-two fatal CFIT airplane accidents in the last five years (2016–2020).

In 2018, the GAJSC chartered the CFIT working group to develop data-driven recommendations (called Safety Enhancements) to mitigate the risk of fatal CFIT accidents. The working group was comprised of subject matter experts from a wide range of aviation organizations representing pilots, manufacturers, training providers, government, and academia. To develop the CFIT Safety Enhancements, the working group reviewed NTSB accident reports from sixty-seven CFIT events, following a recommendation-development process that is also used by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) and the US Helicopter Safety Team (USHST). The CFIT working group continued its work through unique challenges, including a US federal government shutdown and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GASJC is proud to release the CFIT Working Group Report. New GAJSC recommendations described in the report include expanding the weather camera network (SE 12 R1); augmented visual technology for GA (SE-51); WINGS program overhaul (SE 52); addressing pressure to complete a mission (SE 53); and evaluating UIMC escape training (SE 56). Read all of the recommendations and learn more about their implementation on the GAJSC’s CFIT page HERE.

The GAJSC’s next working group is focused on mitigating System Component Failure Non-Powerplant (SCF-NP) events.

Controlled Flight Into Terrain Working Group Completes Drafting Safety Recommendations in Daytona Beach, FL

Last week, the GAJSC Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) Working Group met for the last time at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Working Group finished drafting safety recommendations targeted at reducing the number of CFIT general aviation accidents. The NTSB’s 2019-2020 Most Wanted List includes a discussion of CFIT avoidance as part of the Board’s “Improve the Safety of Part 135 Aircraft Flight Operations” issue area.

The Working Group will present its Safety Enhancements to the GAJSC for review and approval at the GAJSC’s meeting early next month. The recommendations are slated to be released later this year, along with a report on the Working Group’s efforts.