August 16, 2018

The GA Safety Survey – A Primer


The launch of the General Aviation Safety Campaign (GASC) and its progress over the last year has led to several initiatives, one of them being the GA Safety Survey. Initially known as a Targeted Inspection’, COPA has been successful in having the initiative renamed. See the President’s Corner in the August COPA Flight. These surveys aim at providing valuable information about the degree of understanding and hence compliance by owners and pilots within the GA community. The purpose of this information gathering exercise is to achieve a better understanding of the issues that our community faces and to help identify what tools, if any, should or could be implemented to assist members of our community to improve the overall safety of GA in Canada. 

COPA wishes to reassure all its members that this GA Safety Survey does not aim in any way to spy on aviators or find devious means of catching honest folks enjoying their favourite activities. This GA Safety Survey is precisely that: a safety survey whose findings will serve to improve the overall level of safety in our GA community. Although the precise mechanics are still being worked out, one can likely expect that a TCCA representative will approach a pilot, present the pilot with a card explaining the purpose of the initiative  and ask if this pilot would be interested in participating in the GA Safety Survey. The TCCA representative will use a specifically designed questionnaire and the pilot should answer the questions as accurately and simply as possible. 

This questionnaire is still being worked out but the Aviation Safety Letter 1/2018 ( illustrates the type of questions one can expect. As far as COPA understands at this time, the TCCA personnel will not ask the pilot to show his/her pilot licence or any other credential, nor any aircraft-related documentation in relation to this safety survey. A request for these documents would be part of a ramp check and COPA recognizes that TCCA inspectors can perform a ramp check of a pilot and/or an aircraft as part of their normal duties whenever they deem appropriate.

Participation in this survey is on a voluntary basis but COPA strongly encourages its members and everybody else in our GA community to participate if the opportunity arises. COPA also recognizes that considering the number of GA pilots around this country, the magnitude of the task, and the available resources within TCCA, COPA is concerned that the period required to make the survey relevant might be too long for it to be helpful. COPA has offered to cooperate with TCCA in this regard by conducting the survey on the COPA website in addition to TCCA inspectors in the field and providing the data to TCCA to support the efforts of the GASC. We will keep you informed of our progress in this direction and we welcome any suggestion in this regard.