Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Welcome to our forums

G-BXBU CAP10B - appalling performance by ATC, D&D, and everybody else

Shortcomings everywhere (and a good point about why people like him are flying around without their transponders on) but at a very basic level a VFR-only pilot needs to decline the instrument approach offered and refuse to descend into the cloud unless there is no other option at all.

It’s evident though that he was way beyond making his own decisions – he was always going to do as he was told.


In the good old times teaching precautionary landings was standard fare, now only one of the lessons in the SEP CPL UK CAA syllabus – but then frozen ATPLs gain a MEP CPL on an integrated course where precautionary landings are not relevant. So in effect the precautionary landing is hardly taught if at all.

A tailwheel CAP 10 in the period where it was flying in sight of ground, will have flown across dozens of suitable precautionary landing sites. The pilot and passenger, could have sat out the weather over a cup of tea with a farmer with minimal, perhaps no, paperwork. Unfortunately, the training in precautionary landings is not practised and was not part of the pilot’s aeronautical decision making.

I therefore would suggest that this AAIB report misses the most obvious safety training recommendation, and this reflects the general hollowing out of the body of knowledge within the CAA and training community over the last decades. The reasons for this hollowing out being in large part external to the CAA itself – budgets, contractors, brexit, etc etc etc

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

I’m fairly certain that when UK was member of EASA, VFR on top with just PPL was allowed, and suspect that it is still allowed, but would need to dig into the regulations to be sure.

Indeed, it’s allowed in (UK) SERA as VMC does not require “surface in sight” plus this restriction is was removed from (UK) PPL (including for pilots like here who only had 1.5h simulated IMC from 25 years ago), I said “historically”

While not relevant to the case here, it will be interesting to see how some VFR stuck above clouds is handled across London TMA? I know the answer to this in Madrid & Paris (you get VFR clearance into Alpha from FIS)

Last Edited by Ibra at 27 Apr 18:41
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

Keep this on topic please.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Ibra wrote:

While not relevant to the case here, it will be interesting to see how some VFR stuck above clouds is handled across London TMA?

It will depend heavily on the assertiveness or otherwise of the pilot. If I find myself on a sticky wicket and need entry into Alpha airspace to stay alive, I’ll be getting it.


As a reminder, the MAYDAY call, or in this specific case the 7700 squawk, liberates one of all this SERA etc BS.
Forget all this nonsense about airspace, approach procedures or minimas… once a MAYDAY situation is declared, the CMD can/must do whatever he/she deems necessary to save/protect the passengers, crew, cargo, and aircraft, to assure a safe completion of the flight.

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

During a recent flight on board the mighty Piper Cub, with top notch 2023 panel as you would expect (Compass, airspeed, altitude; RPM, oil pressure and temperature, one radio and a transponder) I started noting some low clouds in the valleys and fjords below me and a bit later some high clouds in the direction I wanted to fly. After altering my heading a little bit to the west to see if that would help, I decide that it was not going to work. I told the ATC that I was going to try east and follow the coast hoping to get below the clouds. And that’s probably where Norwegian ATC differentiated themselves compared to what’s described in this report: just 2 minutes later they told me that from their radar the clouds were coming from the North-East so I would probably not be able to fly through. Looking at my position, I replied that if possible I would like to land in Molde. They told me it should work and switch me over to the AFIS in Molde. They probably got a message from ATC because they immediately told me that the snow is coming but if I’m quick I should be able to land before.
So I never declared any sort of distress, PAN, nor Mayday, but when they saw that they could give me some help, they did so very efficiently. I joined the final in Molde at 3000’, which meant that I reached 120kt (I know for most of you that’s a normal speed on final, but in a 90hp Cub, that’s like breaking the sound barrier :-) and touched down right when it started snowing!

ENVA, Norway

No UK ATC unit has access to radar weather, AFAIK. Most can look up tafs and metars though, but many won’t do it (they ask you to contact FIS e.g. London Info).

I think the UK has far more GA traffic than Norway, but still the “performance” of both units in this case is despicable. I’ve never dealt with D&D but have found Exeter to be OK, for the job they do, which is basically managing no traffic punctuated by the odd plane They do have super diligent ground staff who will scream at you from 100 metres if you aren’t wearing the yellow jacket, especially while “crossing an active taxiway” (no plane within miles, ground or air).

The report doesn’t identify what actually went wrong in the tower (and accident reports rarely blame “the system”) but the Red Arrow jet (the AAIB forgot to redact that part) was probably occupying their minds too much.

As I said, the #1 lesson is to keep decisionmaking in the cockpit. It’s easy for private pilots to be screwed from the outside.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

If there’s one aircraft type I really wouldn’t like to be stuck over the clouds in, it’s an aerobatic type.

But I’m astounded that no one involved considered checking the weather over a wider area. The report mentions that Gloucester and Birmingham had good VMC, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t have to fly out quite that far to get into better conditions.

Andreas IOM

If there’s one aircraft type I really wouldn’t like to be stuck over the clouds in, it’s an aerobatic type.

A friend returned from an aerobatic competition in his CAP 231 a few years ago, using ADS-B weather and iPad to fly on top of clouds until he ‘knew’ the layer would break up, which it did. Upon his arrival I asked him what he’d have done if the engine quit, half expecting some story about spinning down. His answer was “I’d jump”. This is a guy with a lot of experience, has Lancair IV for IFR etc.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 28 Apr 18:16
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top