Work Together, Stay Apart is an industry-wide safety campaign from CAA, to reduce the likelihood of mid-air accidents and the number of near collision and air proximity events within the circuit at unattended aerodromes.
Airborne conflict doesn’t affect just one individual or operator alone. It affects multiple pilots and operators flying in shared airspace, including any passengers in the aircraft at the time of conflict. This campaign is about recognising that all participants that operate at and from an uncontrolled aerodrome, and those who influence those operations, have a role to play in managing this risk.
The safety campaign is the first of its kind at this scale. Operating alongside business-as-usual safety education, inspections and industry guidance, the campaign is a coordinated set of activities targeted at increasing shared understanding of standardised procedures among pilots, improving aerodrome management and safety, and collaborating with operators to promote best practice.
Airborne conflicts at unattended aerodromes are a serious issue. Unattended aerodromes are those aerodromes that don’t have an air traffic service. Although many small aerodromes are always unattended, the term unattended also applies to other aerodromes with air traffic services, when they are off-watch.
Seven people have been killed in mid-air collisions at unattended aerodromes since 2008 and critical near miss incidents have increased every year since 2016.
- Since 2008 there have been 3 fatal mid-air collisions at unattended aerodromes: Paraparumu in 2008, Feilding in 2010, and Masterton in 2019.
- Since 2016 there have been 431 events at unattended aerodromes reported through CA005 forms, due to a situation between two aircraft that resulted in a near collision, avoiding action being taken or where the pilot has felt that the other aircraft was uncomfortably close.
- In 2022, there were 14 critical near collision events reported, where there was one barrier left preventing a mid-air collision from occurring.
The safety campaign will span a two-year period with initiatives such as seminars for industry participants, working groups to address specific issues, educational material and dedicating the entire Summer 2023 edition of CAA’s Vector magazine.