Third training course on general aviation surveillance and control

28 January 2022

As part of the COLIBRI Project, implemented by the WCO and financed by the European Union (EU), a third face-to-face training course was organized in Dakar, Senegal, for the benefit of national administrations with powers and responsibilities in the field of general aviation (GA) monitoring and control.

The course brought together 44 participants from Customs, the Gendarmerie, Air Force, Police and Civil Aviation authority ANACIM, as well as officers from the Airport Anti-Trafficking Unit (CAAT) of the Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP).

This five-day workshop provided an opportunity to study in greater depth the subjects covered during the online course held in March 2021.

The course was opened by Mr. Birame Sidy Kane, Director of the WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) for West Africa, who emphasized the importance of the WCO initiative in ensuring that this particular means of transport does not represent a risk to the safety of international aviation activities, and in ensuring that there is full compliance with the regulatory framework applicable to GA.

The first two days of the workshop were devoted to the theoretical aspects and regulations, while the remaining days allowed participants to take a closer look at the methodology used through practical case studies involving different examples of concealment methods discovered during controls conducted around the world. This experience-sharing of good practices provided participants with a solid basis to be built upon when planning future controls of GA aircraft.

The final day of the training was dedicated entirely to practical work. The Armée de l’Air (Air Force), in collaboration with the company Arc en Ciel, facilitated participants’ access to the apron of the old airport of Dakar, thus providing them with ideal conditions for conducting exercises on the ground.

Three mixed groups made up of representatives of Customs, the Gendarmerie, Police, Air Force and ANACIM were given access to the different aircraft present on the runway and in the hangar, including a Cessna and a Piper. Assisted and guided by the experts, the groups carried out simulations of actual controls, physical inspections and documentary controls of the aircraft, pilot and crew. These practical exercises allowed them to visualize in situ the different modes of concealment and identify the main “hiding places” available on a GA aircraft. The participants were also able to consolidate concepts that were previously purely theoretical, such as the load capacity and the take-off and landing capacity of aircraft, as well as codes and matriculation plates.

After this practical training, participants will be required to undertake the COLIBRI e-learning course available on the WCO CLiKC! platform in order to verify the knowledge acquired and receive a certificate of participation. This six-hour online course is a synthesis of the courses given during the training sessions, and its content is covered in the COLIBRI Project Technical Handbook for Training on Monitoring and Controlling General Aviation, available to administrations in four languages.

The next activity taking place under the COLIBRI Project in Dakar will be in the form of Regional Training, to be held from 28 February to 4 March 2022, dedicated to the Geoportal and the use of the CENcomm. The Geoportal is a mapping tool which uses the very latest technologies available, such as satellite imagery to strengthen the monitoring of clandestine flights, and a mobile application to assist administrations in the organization of their controls.