Reporting Schemes

Reporting Schemes

Best Practice – Reporting Schemes

  • Enhance existing reporting schemes to ensure a comprehensive capture of airspace infringement data.
  • Use internal publicity and education to remind controllers of the need to report airspace infringements.
  • Explain to controllers why comprehensive reporting of infringement incidents is important.
  • Establish a policy of education rather than litigation with the regulatory body so that controllers feel that they are working to resolve the problem rather than policing it.
  • To encourage reporting, provide feedback to controllers when responses are received from pilots so that controllers can see that their reports are having an effect.

Cost – Some publicity costs and staff time to provide feedback to controller’s reports.


Responses from a number of countries indicate that the extent of the infringement problem is largely unknown and that reporting rates are variable, with some estimating that about 30% of incidents are reported. In other countries reporting rates vary between different units. A similar situation existed in the UK in 2003 where the number of reported infringements from the main ANSP was about 200 and had been consistently around that level for a number of years. The ANSP was concerned by the risk associated with infringements and conversational evidence was that controllers were only reporting the most “serious” infringement incidents. To try to understand the real number of airspace infringements they initiated a reporting drive that saw numbers of reports rise to over 400 by 2005 and over 600 by 2007. Currently this now stands at over 800 reports per year. This initiative gave new momentum to the Regulator and ANSP to tackle the issue of airspace infringements, leading to the large amount of safety activity that is ongoing. A recent tool to warn controllers about infringements also captures data on the number that occur and enables a direct comparison to be made with the number that are reported.

Sample Material


Infringement Statistics by NATS.


Samples of pilot reports fed back to controllers

Heathrow CTR, Pilot error on ADF settings plus mis-read heading
Pilot: Turned to course 173 deg. I misread this heading from my pilot log (173 was actually the heading for the next leg, not this one). I selected WOD 352 (an NDB) but the gauge did not respond and after a few checks I decided that the gauge must be unserviceable* and resorted to VFR navigation. There was lots of standing water in the fields which made it difficult. After 6 minutes I called Farnborough LARS and the controller informed me of the incursion and routed me to the west leaving controlled airspace two minutes or so later.

(* Later in the flight I realised that the ADF was not U/S, I had failed to depress the "ADF" button on the device and when I did the gauge read normally.)

Navigation Error near Gatwick due distractions
Pilot: This was the first flight for my (relatives), and for the first time when on a flight in the same sort of area I had decided not to switch to Farnborough LARS but stay with (my departure airfield frequency). Had I switched, as I normally do, Farnborough would have warned me of my impending error and corrective action could have been taken. I can only conclude I was distracted from navigating my planned route and mis-identified certain features.

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