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A study of the perceptions of air safety and mid-air collision prevention during regulatory change

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

The aviation industry has been subject to a steady change in its regulations; any change, however minor, has the potential to lead to a decrease in safety. In analysing the data associated with near-miss reporting, together with opinions garnered from those within the aviation industry, this research highlights the impact that regulatory change can have on the barriers to mid-air collision.

The research is needed now because, over and above the normal level of changes, ‘Brexit’ will undoubtedly lead to a new regulatory framework, and there has also been an exponential increase in the number of near-misses between drones and aircraft since January 2015. There is a need for more, or better, regulation surrounding drones. The chance of a drone colliding with an aircraft has increased substantially, acknowledged by both UK and EU authorities, and the findings from this research have contributed to their public consultations. This thesis is strategic with respect to regulatory change in general, the conclusions being equally applicable in any aviation scenario. Brexit and drone proliferation are current examples of the need to manage safety through times of regulatory change, the latter being an example of when a lag in regulation change can cause safety to decrease. Notwithstanding the immediacy of this research, the principles laid out in this thesis will apply to the introduction and management of any future changes to aviation regulations.

A survey into the perceptions of aviation personnel received 413 responses across 56 countries. The results are analysed quantitatively first, then triangulated with qualitative analysis of free text comments and reports from interviews with key industry representatives. The analysis is further supported by secondary data in the form of nearmiss reports and a case study. A limitation of the study is that, although the survey attracted a global audience, the individual numbers of responses from many countries is not enough to make a representative argument for anything but a global perspective, when a comparison between regions would have been useful.
Original languageEnglish
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Award dateJun 2018

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