"Due Regard" Podcast

Psychology

Eddie sez:


The theme of this video podcast is placing the responsibility for safety with the pilot and, as the name implies, the pilot must have a due regard for safety. The phrase, "A due regard for safety", comes from the ICAO in relation to state aircraft, such as the military. The irony, in my experience, is that safety was assumed without taking the necessary measures to assure it. So let's not do that, okay?

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2020-06-01

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"A due regard for safety"

The term "due regard" comes from the 1944 Chicago Convention:

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Photo: The 1944 Chicago Convention Signatories
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[Convention on International Civil Aviation Done at Chicago, Article 3] d) The contracting States undertake, when issuing regulations for their state aircraft, that they will have due regard for the safety of navigation of civil aircraft.

A "state aircraft" typically means those of a country's government, be it their government civil aircraft or of their militaries.

As one of those pilots many years ago, we were only told this:

[FAA Order 7110.65Y, Pilot/Controller Glossary] DUE REGARD − A phase of flight wherein an aircraft commander of a State-operated aircraft assumes responsibility to separate his/her aircraft from all other aircraft.

Armed with this, "they" would release us in to the world on missions that require we simply disappear. We would file IFR flight plans with our departure airport plainly named and a route of flight that simply ended at a "point in space." Then we went off to do what we needed to do, and this could include interaction with other airplanes, surface or sea forces, or even a subsequent landing. More often than not, we would simply appear at another "point in space" and return to the civilized world. Was this safe? I don't know.

The following comes from the same FAA order. I don't think it appeared in any of our regulations back in my due regard days, but maybe it did.

[FAA Order 7110.65Y, §1-2-1, ¶o.] Flight operations in accordance with the options of “due regard” or “operational” obligates the authorized state aircraft commander to:

  1. Separate his/her aircraft from all other air traffic; and
  2. Assure that an appropriate monitoring agency assumes responsibility for search and rescue actions; and
  3. Operate under at least one of the following conditions:
    1. In visual meteorological conditions (VMC); or
    2. Within radar surveillance and radio communications of a surface radar facility; or
    3. Be equipped with airborne radar that is sufficient to provide separation between his/her aircraft and any other aircraft he/she may be controlling and other aircraft; or
    4. Operate within Class G airspace.
    5. An understanding between the pilot and controller regarding the intent of the pilot and the status of the flight should be arrived at before the aircraft leaves ATC frequency.

I must admit that as a line pilot much of these precautions may have been taken behind the scenes without my knowledge. I can state, however, that I am ignorant of those precautions if they existed. So what does this mean for us civilian pilots? First, it means that we cannot have complete faith in all information sources. Second, it means that just because our operation has existed accident free, doesn't assure us that they have done everything as safely as possible or have just been lucky.


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