July 13, 2018

General Aviation Safety Campaign (GASC) Update


During the recent COPA Convention held in St John, NB, on 21-23 June 2018, Ms Heather Schacker, Standards Branch, Transport Canada, Civil Aviation (TCCA), presented an update on the General Aviation Safety Campaign (GASC). This summary is based on Ms Schacker’s presentation. 

Launched in June 2017 at the COPA Convention in Kelowna, BC, the GASC is a collaborative initiative between TCCA and the industry, through COPA. The primary objective of the GASC is the enhancement of safety in General Aviation (GA) through safety promotion and education and relies heavily on lessons learned. It is a 3-year campaign intended to turn into a National Safety Program that will continue to as a collaborative effort between TCCA and industry to identify and address safety concerns, and to develop and implement Safety Initiatives.

The GASC is an opportunity for TCCA to reach out and engage with the GA community, primarily through COPA, and to collaborate with industry partners, addressing TSB recommendations and improving safety without relying on regulatory changes.

GA numbers 446,000 aircraft worldwide, with 34,472 of them in Canada and COPA numbers in excess of 16,000 members. Therefore, GA is a vital part of the aviation sector and it needs to be adequately maintained to keep it safe and in operation.

The GASC aims to decrease the number of fatal accidents, to improve and to promote aviation safety, to encourage external and internal collaboration on safety strategies, and to promote compliance to current regulations through non-regulatory instruments. Surveillance tools will be used, enabling a better evaluation of our programs through appropriate focus on specific areas of interest.

Ms Schacker reports that the GASC relies on three strong campaign pillars, each of these relying on specific safety topics. These campaign pillars include Pilot Decision Making, Pilot Proficiency, and Best Practices. Pilot Decision Making addresses four major topics such as environment and weather, human factors, flight planning, and situational awareness. Pilot Proficiency addresses the issues of maintaining piloting skills and recurrent training. Best Practices include passenger safety briefings, personal checklists, and safety equipment.

Since the launch of GASC a year ago, the GASC Focus Group and the Safety Initiative Team have been formed. Also, several Working Groups (WGs) have been defined and are in the process of being formalized. The Focus Group consists of TCCA and industry partners who will provide valuable input to guide the campaign towards a successful outcome. The recommended changes that the WGs identify require Focus Group support and TC Management approval. The Focus Group defines the strategy and objectives of the GASC, and monitors the progress of the project. The Safety Initiative Team (SIT) consists of TC and COPA personnel and serves as a guiding body for the working groups. The SIT is responsible for the coordination and management of the working groups. 

The SIT has identified numerous areas of concern over the past few months. These areas of concern have led to the creation of eight distinct WGs. The purpose of these WGs is two-fold: to improve communication flow with respect to aircraft operation, the regulations, and the overall operating environment, and to provide a means for the GA community to share with TCCA their perspective on what works, what needs improvement, and how to maintain compliance. These WGs include Maintenance, Angle Of Attack Indicators, Voluntary Reporting, Single Pilot Resource Management, Stabilized Approach and Landing, Safety Equipment, Flight Risk Assessment Tools, and TC Pilot Decision Making. Numerous persons responded to COPA’s call initiated at the suggestion of the Focus Group for participation in these WGs and work is progressing rapidly to structure them. We anticipate being in a position to contact the participants very shortly.