Pilot Medical Declaration examined in AAIB 2023 review

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has published its Annual Safety Review of 2023 which includes information on occurrences notified to the Branch well as the safety actions taken or planned.

The AAIB received 790 occurrence notifications (compared to 778 in 2022) and opened 25 field investigations. A further 80 investigations were opened by correspondence.

There were 10 investigations into fatal accidents which involved 11 deaths. All involved General Aviation (seven light aircraft, two gliders and one hot air balloon).

In 2023, the AAIB published two special bulletins, two formal reports, 25 field investigation reports and 63 correspondence investigations.

The Branch made 40 Safety Recommendations and 99 significant Safety Actions were taken proactively by the industry in 2023 as a direct result of AAIB investigations.

One of these, concerning the death of an 87 year old pilot, resulted in a working group set up by the UK CAA to examine the Pilot Medical Declaration. The Working Group proposed a set of changes which were consulted on in late 2023, with an update due by the end of June 2024.

The AAIB reports says, “The CAA intends to create webpage dedicated to PMDs, which will include a range of comprehensive guidance for pilots including the medical factors that must be considered when making a self-declaration of medical fitness.

“The new webpage will include a link to the relevant UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) webpage describing the Group 1 medical standard for drivers that must also be adhered to by pilots who are self-declaring their medical fitness to fly.”

AAIB investigations in 2023

Crispin Orr, Chief Inspector of Air Accidents said, “In 2023 there were 10 fatal air accidents in the UK resulting in 11 deaths. All involved General Aviation. Whilst this number of fatal accidents was not unusual, they all occurred in the summer months and the fatal glider mid-air collision was the first for nine years.

“Loss of control in flight continues to be the prevalent cause of fatal accidents. The key safety messages to avoid loss of control have been reinforced in revised promotional materials published by the Civil Aviation Authority.

“Accidents involving Commercial Air Transport (CAT) continue to be rare with non-fatal runway excursions, ground collisions and tail-strikes being the most common types of occurrences in the UK and globally.

“Serious incidents rarely attract much media attention but are a valuable opportunity to identify safety issues before they become manifest in an accident.

“Over the last 20 years, two-thirds of the CAT field investigations conducted by the AAIB were into Incidents and Serious Incidents rather than Accidents, with a high proportion yielding Safety Recommendations that have proved to be highly significant in further improving air transport safety.”

AAIB Annual Safety Review



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