On my desk is coaster that says: “30 Years MOR Scheme 1976-2006”. It has the Civil Aviation Authority logo above the words. Now that was worth celebrating. Three decades of Mandatory Occurrence Reporting in civil aviation in the UK.
It would be difficult to put a number on the number of potential accidents and incidents prevented by the learning that has flowed from thousands of MORs. Nevertheless, there are certainly people who have been spared the fate of being involved in life threatening events.
1976 was my first year of paid employment. It was a glorious hot summer. In the autumn, I started an apprenticeship with no idea that the path of my career would lead to me working with MORs.
At that time, I was working out how to do engineering drawing and make precision items using machine tools. If remember right, being on a flat roof at Yeovil College experimenting with a solar water heater. Working out how to stop it leaking and pump at the right times.
Not my biggest interest but aviation was around me given the presence of Westland Helicopters in the town. That company had its own apprentice training school. Many of the college apprentices like me worked for small engineering companies that depended on Westland’s.
I recollect this because, at that time, my memories of a fatal aircraft accident were of the one that led to the establishment of the MOR system in the UK. In 1972, British European Airways flight 548 crashed in Staines killing 118 people on board. This was a British aircraft, operated by a British company on British soil. A sad and tragic event. I plan to go to see the Trident memorial window in St Mary’s Church in Staines. The 118 stars in its border represent those who died.
The UK has contributed considerably to shaping the rules that now apply in Europe.
When I arrived in Cologne in 2004, the Directive 2003/42/EC was in place. This wasn’t the strongest piece of legislation and although it required EU Member States to have an MOR system it was weak on getting people to share information. That’s one of the big benefits of such approaches. It’s to learn from others so that you don’t have to experience the same problems.
Now, to give it the full title we have: Regulation (EU) No 376/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the reporting, analysis and follow-up of occurrences in civil aviation, amending Regulation (EU) No 996/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Directive 2003/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulations (EC) No 1321/2007 and (EC) No 1330/2007 Text with EEA relevance.
Yes, that’s a mouthful but the text of the Regulation is invaluable to make a system of collecting and sharing MORs throughout the whole European aviation system. Will the UK continue to participate in this European system post-Brexit? Everyone assumes it will but the answer to the question how is – no one knows.