JAA: pilots must follow ACAS RAs

 - January 30, 2007, 7:01 AM

Europe’s Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) want to require pilots to respond to resolution advisories (RAs) from airborne collision avoidance systems (ACAS) in all circumstances. On March 1, the regulator issued a notice of proposed amendment (NPA) for JAR-OPS 1.398 rules covering ACAS operations. The requirement to respond to all RAs would apply to all JAR-OPS 1 operators, including executive charter firms and any corporate flight departments that hold commercial aircraft operators certificates. The comment period will end on June 1.

Currently, JAR-OPS 1.398 allows pilots not to respond to an RA if “the intruder (aircraft) has been identified and determined not to be a threat.” The regulator included this clause in the belief that crews would otherwise have to respond to an excessive number of “nuisance” RAs.

JAA officials now take the view that overall response to RAs is already very high, so the option not to respond to them will not greatly change pilot behavior and will remove any possible uncertainty about whether or not to respond.

The European NPA is consistent with International Civil Aviation Organization amendments to ACAS operating requirements, as well as FAA policy. These policies were prompted by the July 2002 accident in which a DHL Boeing 757 freighter collided with a Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev Tu-154M airliner over southern Germany. The Tupolev pilot was found to have responded to ATC instructions that conflicted with the ACAS RA.

Full details of the NPA are available at the JAA Web site: www.jaa.nl/catalogue/npas.html. The JAA continues to be responsible for operating rules, but the new European Aviation Safety Agency will eventually take over this role.