does it work then? L

So, how well

Good question — and to find out practical electronic conspicuity trials have been carried out at three airfields

et’s be honest, busy airfields can be pretty fraught at times and even quiet ones can sometimes spring a heck of a surprise to the unwary — and that includes the

crew in the tower as well as the pilots. Pilots’ tales of close calls are all-too- common, while for many tower staff at general aviation airfields the only real information they get is what the pilot tells them on the radio and what they see with their eyes. So, with that in mind, trials have

That's all there is to the new aerial

been carried out to try to find a low-cost electronic solution to the potential risks, enhance safety and help to avoid airspace busts.

At this point you might be saying “yes but my lookout is pretty good” which is fair enough, but trials in the U.S. some years ago found that without traffic alerts the probability of pilots sighting a threat is generally low until just before impact, but with alerts a pilot’s search effectiveness increased by a hefty factor of eight, and an alert from air traffic services or a listening watch was likely to be similarly effective. Take this example closer to home at Sibson in 2019 when two aircraft ended up on short final at the same time. Radio calls hadn’t provided the pilots with good situational awareness and neither sighted the other; as the first touched down the second was 50ft above, so the air/ground radio operator decided to ‘instruct' the higher aircraft to “go around” even though by rights he shouldn’t have.

Airprox Board analysts reckoned that but for his ‘instruction’ there would have been a collision five seconds later. They added that had the aircraft been suitably equipped and the radio operator armed with an

ADS-B traffic display

he could have given better information much earlier, preventing the incident and the need for the radio operator (who was commended for his actions) to exceed his privileges.

In another airprox in 2019 in the North

Weald circuit, the Board also praised the air/ground operator for providing traffic info based on ADS-B that ensured there was no risk of a collision.

For the trial run by Airspace4All three airfields were selected, Manchester Barton, Goodwood and North Weald: Barton and Goodwood both have an Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) while North Weald’s radio is air/ground. The trial was due to run for six months with Barton’s starting in March 2019 while North Weald’s and Goodwood’s began in May. Barton’s initial try-out was completed in August 2019 and a second phase ran until April 30, 2020. The main aims were to see whether ADS-B


Barton's tower display

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