GA airfields launch safety group

A new group has been formed to enable General Aviation airports and airfields to share data and experiences with the aim of improving safety.

The General Aviation Safety Benchmark Group (GASBG) was launched last Friday, 5 February and is a no-cost group open to airports and airfields which have a maximum code C aircraft operation for passengers and a fire category of 6. That’s to keep membership to GA operators only.

So far, four airports are taking part: London Oxford, London Biggin Hill, London Southend and St Athan. Enquiries and applications are being taken from others.

Harry Harrad, Safety and Compliance Manager, at LOA and London Heliport is Chairman of GASBG. He told FLYER, “There’s not much industry sharing in GA. We want to move towards a harmonised approach among GA airports with open discussion and lessons learnt from occurrences.”

There will be four meetings a year: two face-to-face (when allowed) at a member’s airport, and two virtual on Microsoft Teams. The first meeting is in March.

Nine topics are on the agenda for the first meeting:

  1. Damage to aircraft
  2. Wildlife strikes and hazard management
  3. Significant FOD events (Foreign Object Debris)
  4. Runway and taxiway incursions and excursions
  5. Near misses on the apron
  6. Airspace & drone infringements
  7. Airprox
  8. Laser strikes
  9. Air Traffic Engineering Failures, ie ILS or Dewpoint sensors failures

One subject that will raise eyebrows and blood pressure among some pilots is the wearing of hi-viz jackets by pilots when walking on the apron. “GA pilots take a relaxed approach to this,” said Mr Harrad.

The quarterly meetings will discuss the topics and share data, with the objective of identifying a problem, then looking at the causes and possible solutions. The idea is to introduce safety initiatives at member airports at the same time, giving a coordinated approach to get the message across and using Safety Performance Indicators to check and monitor results.

GASBG will be using Centrik as its Safety Management software capturing information from all member GA Airfields as part of the analysis of Safety Performance Indicators and to identify hazards in a central repository.

“Tangible and measurable outcomes for the benefit of GA,” said Mr Harrad.

Any GA airport of airfield operator looking to join or find out more about GASBG can contact Mr Harrad by email: hharrad@londonoxfordairport.com

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