he General Aviation Safety Council of Ireland is a volunteer body made up of representatives from General Aviation in Ireland set up in 2012. We meet regularly and our aim is to promote General Aviation Safety in Ireland.
Aviation Safety - Airlines
Airlines operate in highly regulated conditions, usually in controlled airspace to and from well-equipped airports with highly trained professional crews following strict procedures. Airline accidents are thankfully rare; a direct result of worldwide efforts to study the reasons why accidents and incidents occur so that lessons can be learned to prevent re-occurrences. Today airline travel is probably the safest mode of transport there is.
Safety - General Aviation
GA is generally accepted to include all forms of aviation outside commercial air transport and military flying; this includes a wide variety of machinery, operating environments and people. The freedom and flexibility associated with GA flying as well as its diversity of aircraft types, operating environments and experience levels, means that many of the factors that ensure such a superb safety record in the airline industry are more difficult to achieve in GA. For example, most light aircraft are operated under Visual Flight Rules where the pilot is responsible for collision avoidance and must operate beneath weather close to the ground. Most light aircraft are operated by a single pilot who is solely responsible for all aspects of the flight. Many recreational GA pilots don’t get to fly as often as they would like due to cost or poor weather conditions. It is unlikely that GA operations will ever achieve the safety record of the airlines; however, every effort must be made to reduce risk by careful consideration of the factors that cause accidents.
The elimination of risk in flying is not a practical goal – even within the highly regulated and procedural airline world. However, in the GA world we must minimise the risk to ourselves, our passengers and those on the ground, by learning as much as we can from accidents and incidents; we must be aware of high-risk areas and minimise our exposure to them. By far the highest cause of aircraft accidents is human error. While we probably learn most from our own mistakes, in aviation we must also learn from the mistakes of others. Accident and Incident reports are important, but often the ‘bare facts’ hide the most valuable lessons.
A large part of the GASCI function will be to promote safety awareness among all those involved in the Irish GA community. This includes not just pilots, but also ground handlers at FBOs, aircraft engineers, Air Traffic Controllers, airfield operators, and indeed government regulators. One proposed way of achieving the GASCI aim is to assist in implementing a confidential Incident Reporting System for GA in Ireland. Another is to run safety seminars in conjunction with flying clubs and training establishments around the country. Others may include assisting in the production of ‘safety sense’ leaflets for Ireland, poster campaigns highlighting specific safety issues and examining GA incident and accident reports worldwide for safety lessons relevant to the Irish GA scene. GASCI aims to be a non-political body representing the broad spectrum of GA in Ireland who pool their expertise for the common good.
My Friend learned about flying from that
‘I learned about flying from that’ articles are always interesting and a great way to learn. If we are honest, everyone (not just the pilots) involved in Flying has one or two of these stories. However, it’s a small world and we are naturally shy about admitting our mistakes in public (sometimes even to ourselves). To encourage the process GASCI will produce a suitably ‘de personalised’ regular piece entitled ‘My Friend Learned about flying from that’ which will aim to educate, provoke thought and hopefully save someone from hurting themselves or their pocket.