Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Changing Times bring new duties for us all - Incident Reports

SAMAA has formally received delegated authority to control ALL model flying activities in the Country from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and we have to protect our allotted airspace. This is a very good development.
Your committee has been very busy for the past few months. The height restrictions for Model Aircraft have been changed to 500 metres in general and 850 metres for glider sites (to be specified) above our registered flying fields and the CAA now formally recognizes SAMAA to be the responsible body, accountable to the CAA for the control and regulation of all model flying activities, including areas/fields. This is very good news for us all.
In order to protect our 'cylinders' we now have available to us from the Confidential Aviation Hazard Reporting System (CAHRS), forms that we must complete every time their is an incursion into our airspace by general aviation, this is regarded as a "serious Incident" and the CAA wants to know about it. Confidentiality is assured, they only want to take pro- active action to prevent accidents.
The area that is being allocated to our 'cylinders' is 1 nautical mile (about 3 kilometers) in diameter and to whatever height we have permission to use (glider fields being higher). The reason for the 3 Kms is because this is the smallest size of an area which can be indicated on an aviation map. The process at present is that data pertaining to our flying sites is regularly published in a "Notice to Airmen" which is circulated to general aviation pilots and they are required to take note of the changes that are contained in these notices.
The new process will be that in addition to the Notams, our flying sites will also be marked on aviation maps, so that pilots can plan their trip to fly around the field or well above it, usually at least 150 metres above the 'cylinder'.
Incident Reporting Forms will be available from SAMAA, and all clubs should have them on hand. The CAA now considers a 'near miss" between a model and a general aviation aircraft as a 'serious incident' and they want to know about it.
If we, the modelers don't protect our airspace by reporting these incidents then we are not serious about the protection of our airspace, that we have fought so hard to obtain and we are endangering the lives of those who fly into our airspace even if it is their fault. We need to ensure that everyone knows where we are and what we are doing. Education will save lives, remember SAFE flying is No accident.
The forms are obtainable on our Website, (Not there yet ...Ed), and from the SAMAA office. A power Point presentation is also available by E-mail from the office, should Clubs wish to make use of it.

from management committee

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