Following the recent EUROCONTROL report on TCAS RA compliance: https://www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/5842.pdf, IFALPA and IFATCA feel the need to send a reminder to the pilot and controller community.
The Eurocontrol study analysed radar data of TCAS RA events taken over a 12-month period over the core area of Europe and reports that only 38% of the RAs were followed correctly, and that 34% even manoeuvred in the opposite direction. The results are in line with previous studies and the trend remains alarming.
While RAs are rare events, when they happen the situation may be critical, and correct action must be taken promptly. Recurrent training should improve flight crew and controllers understanding of how TCAS works, how they should respond to RAs, and the limitations of TCAS. However, monitoring programmes have identified several situations where pilot responses were incorrect.
Aircraft operators and training providers should consider making these the focus of recurrent training sessions. For controllers, the biggest concern is that they could interfere with TCAS by issuing instructions opposite to an RA, which the pilots might then decide to follow instead of the RA. That said, it should be clear that TCAS is a last-resort collision avoidance system, NOT a separation assurance system.
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