Current topics in Flight Safety 

FPA Flight safety and security committee (SSC) in concerned with several current themes in fligth safety and security.

Increase in drone operations

ECA has published guidelines for drone sightings for pilots and air traffic control. Careless drone operation poses a risk for airplanes, helicopters and the surrounding areas. FPA welcomes drones in our shared air space, but urges caution in their operation.

You can find the ECA Drone Sighting Guidelines here, and a more detailed discussion on drone operations on the ECA website.

Remote towers

The Remote towers -concept allows for air traffic control via a remote connection, with an aim to control costs especially at airports with fewer aircraft movements. From the flight safety point of view, remote towers raise concern for the reliability of these systems, especially when considering their impact on pilot decision making during adverse weather conditions, and when selecting potential alternate airports.

GPS interference

GPS based systems are used on aircrafts for navigation support when operating near airports. GPS has helped further development of airport approach systems, offering pilot suppot independent of ground based systems. In addition, GPS has allowed for more consideration for the surrounding areas around airports. GPS interference has been detected around the world, often linked with military activity. The reliability of GPS systems is therefore a central concern for flight safety considerations, and the civilian air traffic should be protected from any interference. 

Upper age limit for commercial air transport pilots

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) sets the upper age limit for pilots in commercial operations, which then forms the basis for aeromedical assessment and granting medical certificates for commercial pilots. This is also impacted by the nature of flight operations, whether the pilot is operating a helicopter or an airplne, and the size of the aircraft. EASA has been evaluating current regulations and highlighted potential for futher revisions (for airplanes, 65 years, and for single piloted aircrafts, 60 years). From a flight safety viewpoint, the impact of long and irregular working hours over long periods of time are of particular concern to FPA.