Recommendation R19970096

Recommendation issued to: Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Recommendation details
Output No: R19970096
Date issued: 20 October 1997
Safety action status:

This recommendation resulted from a study into violations of controlled airspace.


From 1 January 1993 to 31 December 1996, 112 occurrences of pilots being unsure of their position or lost were reported to the Bureau. Of these 112 occurrences, 24, or almost one-quarter, resulted in a VCA.

In January 1996, the Bureau released the report Flying Training in Australia (Bureau of Air Safety Investigation 1996). The report found that for the period 1987-1991, most incidents (78%) involved either poor navigation techniques or improper in-flight procedures which led to the pilot becoming lost or unsure of position. In some instances the pilot then penetrated controlled airspace without a clearance.

The current study has indicated that navigational difficulty is the most common factor leading to VCAs.

Civil Aviation Regulation Part V, 5.84, which lays down the current training requirement for the PPL (aeroplane), requires the pilot, amongst other things, to have completed 5 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command.

Section 3.17 of the Day VFR Syllabus - Aeroplane, provides general guidance and standards for navigation training. Apart from fuel management, the navigation training requires the student to reach a private pilot licence standard where he/she can consistently demonstrate proficiency in conducting the exercise and is deemed fit to operated without supervision.

There is scope for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to provide more guidance either in the syllabus or the regulations regarding basic navigational abilities to be attained by the student. Increased emphasis should be placed on navigation training in the vicinity of controlled airspace including operations into controlled airspace. This would help to ensure that student pilots obtain the proper training.

Output text

The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority require greater emphasis to be placed on the navigation training in the vicinity of controlled airspace and the procedures for entry into controlled airspace.

Initial response
Date issued: 02 November 1998
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action status: Closed - Accepted
Response text:

CASA is working in conjunction with Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) to produce a set of competency based standards for the Private (PPL) and Commercial (CPL) aeroplane licences. This is a major project involving substantial industry consultation and expenditure. The project is expected to be complete and the new standards available to the aviation industry by February 1999.

All elements of flying skill identified as essential to safely exercise the privileges of a PPL or CPL will be addressed in the competency based standards. The criteria required to objectively assess whether a candidate has met the required standard of performance for each element will be listed. As far as CASA is aware, Australia will be the first country to have such a set of standards for aviation. Improved and consistent standards of training and testing across the entire flying training industry is the expected outcome.

Included in the standards are the essential elements and performance criteria applicable to basic navigation, including operations into and near controlled airspace. A draft copy of the standards relating to these elements is attached. CASA considers that these standards will provide the additional syllabus guidance recommended by BASI and lead to an improved standard of pilot performance in these areas.

Because the standards will be comprehensive and objective, it is not considered necessary to increase the minimum hours devoted to navigation training. Mandating increased training hours does not necessarily increase competency and is inconsistent with CASA's policy of less prescriptive regulation. Detailed and objective standards will, however, assist all involved in the training and testing process (including the trainee) to ensure that a safe standard is achieved.

Last update 01 April 2011