Julian Bray writes: Following the tragic events of last year, the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] has introduced tough new rules for the operation of any and all airshows in the UK. Although the CAA regulations are demanding, some changes in the aerial displays will be noticed and spectators will be positioned slightly back from traditional flight lines.
In full disclosure, and as a member of the British Air Display Association, I welcome the changes. In reality, they were long overdue, and for the first time highly detailed and wholly independent, active real-time monitoring is in place, together with a pre-show validation programme for all participating flyers and their aircraft. The shake up has also prompted organisers everywhere to re-consider what is offered in terms of ground and static displays.
These have been improved, expanded and many spectator viewing positions extended with live commentary PA systems now covering all areas where the public is admitted. Some smaller air shows however may not return, due to a combination of a near 200% CAA fee increase and hiked show Insurance premiums.
The most directly affected by the CAP 403 regulations are air shows held inland and situated in the middle of high density conurbations, road networks and industrial estates. Local residents may for example experience increased road closures and diversions during flying display periods. Traditional 'free' viewing areas outside of the venue, not connected with the air show, will be closed or people quickly moved on.
Those travelling to air shows by car or bus, may experience additional delays, so the word is, start out earlier or better still arrive by train.
Farnborough held every other year, continues to be one of the main events in the UK aviation calendar, combining an important aviation trade show in the first part of the week, then a huge public air show over the final weekend.
This is the FIA Safety statement in full, on first reading, it appears to be legalistic and onerous, but in reality we are set for a stunning week at Farnborough and a superb flying display. Enjoy.
FIA SAFETY STATEMENT
|Understandably we have and continue to receive many enquiries from both the public and media regarding safety at Farnborough International Airshow. We wanted to take this opportunity to address some of these concerns.|
Safety governs every aspect of the Farnborough International Airshow and we are always fully compliant with the CAA regulations. Indeed, Farnborough has its own set of regulations, which go above and beyond those of the CAA.
These include mandatory validation for all the participating pilots and aircraft before they can display to the public and the ‘Farnborough Bowl' rule, which requires that pilots are only permitted to fly to their minimum display heights while within the airfield boundary which restricts aircraft manoeuvres.
On top of this, all flights are also monitored by an electro-optical tracking system; a unique safety procedure that flags if any pilot’s display deviates from that approved in validation.
Although we are confident our current safety regulations are best in class, we welcome any changes to regulations from the CAA that continue to reduce risk and ensure Farnborough remains a best practice organisation.
Our application and risk assessment, compliant with the latest version of the CAP 403 regulatory document for Airshows, includes some significant changes in the air display areas, air display content and operational management of people on the ground.
Some of these changes include:
- A restricted aerobatic display area away from built up areas
- Additional scrutiny of aerobatic manoeuvres and aircraft
- Road closures to the west of the airfield during flying periods
- Increased crowd separation lines within the airshow
We are also working with our numerous stakeholders and local agencies to ensure that those outside the show are as safe as those inside.
We know that people of Farnborough are very proud of their Airshow and its history, yet we also know that road closures and diversions can be an inconvenience.
We will give detailed updates of traffic restrictions closer to the Show so that local residents have time to plan their journeys accordingly.
We are extremely confident that we will deliver a fantastic airshow whilst further eliminating risk to visitors and the community. Farnborough will continue to be the showcase for the international aviation industry and a celebration of the pioneers of flight.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aerospace & Incident Management Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com