The much loved Visit ATC Day programme is under way. This is designed for GA pilots who have not visited before to have a spell with their local radar controller, seeing his/her job and appreciating various aspects of flying in the local area. More units [b]will[/b] sign up, but the first declaration of participation comes from Bristol, Farnborough, Exeter, Glasgow, Southampton, Leeds Bradford and Prestwick Centre. A full list of participating units, with dates when each unit is open for a visit, as well as contact details for pre-registration, are listed below and will be update on the ASI Website Invitation Page
Pre-Warning of Restrictions due to planned ‘Events’
Reminder – the Mauve AICs cover fast jet displays and other restrictions of flying known for specific events. You can see what will be restricted weeks in advance – but remember, this is not a definitive list, the final safety net on the day, after Notam checking, is the freephone 0500-354802 (+44 (0)20 8750 3939) which gives temporary restrictions and airspace upgrades for a given day, available from sometime the evening before. To go directly to the AIS Index of all ‘Mauve’ AICs (which cover planned Restrictions of Flying) click here
UK VORs – Replacement/Withdrawal Programme
The current VORs in the UK infrastructure is under review, no longer in use by airlines except for emergency fall-back procedures. The current 46 VORs may be progressively reduced to 19 (newly equipped) VORs over the next few years as each comes up for renewal, al lexisting ones having already exceeded their operational lives. This strategy was presented to the aviation organisations in 2008 via NATMAC and accepted. Any DMEs associated with VORs will remain, and the current positions of any removed VORs will be marked with waypoints or IFR reporting points to aid GNSS training and navigation.
FlyOnTrack will keep VOR news up to date, including known dates of VOR renewal or withdrawal.
Withdrawn: Cranfield, Newcastle
Planned Next Withdrawal: Dean Cross (December 2014)
Next Under Review/Impact Assessment for Withdrawal dates: Machrihanish, Turnberry, Glasgow, Perth, Benbecula and Inverness
Radio Mandatory Zone established around Southend from 18/7/2014
The RMZ (click for extent) which was requested by the airport operator, will go live on 18 July 2014 and will remain in place until a decision is made regarding the airport’s application for controlled airspace. The CAA will review the RMZ in spring 2015.
Although an ATC clearance is not required, to gain entry to an RMZ, a pilot must establish two-way communication with air traffic control before entering, they must then remain on frequency while in the zone unless instructed otherwise*. Pilots planning to fly through the Southend RMZ will need to contact Southend on 130.775MHz before entering the zone. Aircraft not fitted with radios can still operate in the RMZ providing the pilot is able to co-ordinate arrangements with Southend ATC prior to departure
London CTR (Heathrow Zone) to become Class D 18/9/2014
NATS have announced that London CTR (aka Heathrow Zone) becomes class D on 18th September 2014, meaning VFR possible for Mode S equipped aircraft WITH a formal clearance to enter. There is guidance on the NATS site as to which routings and areas might get quicker/easier clearances than others. Here’s the NATS info/advice
Pilots planning and maintaining cockpit equipment need to be aware that:
A requirement for an 8.33 MHz spacing radio is coming – see this article by the LAA
A project to reduce the number of VORs in the UK down to 19 has already started but will progress over the next few years. Cranfield was the first VOR to be removed under this programme, more are being assessed, information will be announced here.
‘Listening Squawks’ (Monitoring Codes)
Latest Version (late 2013) : Here is a useful Graphic PDF for UK ‘Listening Squawks’ to print, cut and keep on your kneeboard – courtesy Flyer Magazine. Instructions on Listening Squawk use are on page 2. The current list of listening squawks around the UK is:
(Yes, 4572 is used for two different units.) Remember usual rules apply, you are not in receipt of a service and you must stay in Class G airspace, you cannot enter the CTA or CTR. Go back to another suitable squawk (eg: 7000-C) when you move away from the area or stop monitoring.
Clued Up Magazine now online
The CAA’s Clued Up magazine, including article on preflight planning, licensing advice and many safety topics for the private pilot are available online, but they are large downloads if that matters to you: Summer 2013 or Autumn/Winter 2013-14.
2014 Farnbrough LARS Guide (incl. Stansted TMZ advice)
Farnborough have a new LARS guide for 2014, well worth reading – remember that their LARS a massive area all round London, North beyond Duxford, almost to Lashenden in the East, Beachy Head in the South, and nearly to Membury in the West. It also covers advice for the Stansted TMZ. It will be on the links page when it drops from Hot News. See 2014 LARS from Farnbrough Guide – Remember if passing through the Farnborough West region (See guide), Farnborough West’s trial with a monitoring code or ‘listening squawk’ (4572 / 125.250 MHz) was successful, and the arrangement is now permanent.
Farnborough occasionally has short period (usually one hour duration) of temporary controlled airspace (CAS(T)) announced by NOTAM and on the restrictions/upgrades freephone number 0500-354802. CTR dimensions, shape, and the airway route and base levels changed fairly dramatically in 2011 – see AIC Yellow 99 of 2011 – they were Class A, they are now Class D, so VFR clearances can be negotiated with the controller. Here’s a link to the AIC ‘home page’, choose yellow AICs, then number 99 of 2011 (no permanent direct link exists)
Infringements Can Be Costly
It’s very rare that a prosecution for an infringement is reported in the press, but here is a link to an infringement of the Stansted Class D, TMZ, and Luton Class D. This fortunately did not result in a collision, but still attracted a large fine due to the risk and disruption. The learning point is simple – pilots are encouraged to call D&D on 121.5 MHz (or tell the ATC service provider they are using, if any), as soon as they safely can if they are ‘temporarily unsure of position’ in an area of a route known to have Controlled Airspace, TMZs, Danger Areas, etc. nearby. Why prolong the worry and stress for yourself when someone is paid to help locate you.
The CAA list of successful prosecutions 2012 is now published here confirming that very few infringements reach court, the authorities are very open to agreeing solutions (eg: some Nav retraining) before it reaches that stage, if the case merits it.
VFR Chart Frequency Card now as a download
Frequency Reference Cards are available to pilots exclusively as a digital downloadhere. The downloadable cards have replaced the traditional hard copy versions which came with aircharts.
Analysis of Pilot Surveys Following Infringements
Why do pilots infringe? A lot of work has been going on with analysis of data provided by pilots who have infringed NATS controlled airspace over the past couple of years. The first public release of the analysis is now available on Analysis of Pilots Surveys Release 1. (Also available on the ‘Statistics’ tag of this site.)
More Local Initiatives (and an Award)
City Airport (Barton) and Mainair Flying School have been awarded a NATS Infringement Prevention Award – they are situated very close to Manchester airspace and the Low Level Route. One of the things they have done, relevant to anyone flying anywhere near Controlled Airspace is a video about a not-uncommon event – following the wrong line feature. See Barton Infringement Award and Video Tayside Aviation Following the local poster initiative from Sleap, Tayside Aviation have produced softcloth ipad/GPS screen wipes for their pilots which detail local airspace on one side and tips from FlyOnTrack on the other. See Screenwipes from Tayside Aviation
Please let us know any similar initiatives
New Stansted TMZ ‘info sheet’ plus Farnborough LARS Map
Since 2009, Stansted has had a TMZ (Transponder Mandatory Zone) in the Class G airspace under the stubs of the CTA. A new info sheet has been produced for flying in the Stansted Transponder Mandatory Zone – see Transponder Mandatory Zone for Stansted
These will remain available on the LINKS page after the news item is removed.
Video Clip Help for Flying Under the LTMA
Video Clip help from NATS for visual flying around London, plus the pictorial airspace guides around the UK. There’s a new resource from NATS for anyone flying visually in the London area (link updated 18/1/2013): vfr.airspacesafety.com
Just pick the leg or legs encircling London and up between Stansted and Luton which interest you, and you get a short video brief and see the flight itself and specific landmarks on the way. So if you were thinking of flying (say) Oxfordshire to Kent, you could link legs from Thame through to Sevenoaks via Henley and Guildford. Also, you can click on specific airspace areas around the UK and view picture pdf guides written by local controllers who are usually pilots themselves. And don’t forget the NATS endorsement of an airspace warning device – moving map CAA chart, free airspace data downloads, warnings of airspace, and ‘locator’ information, all for around £150. See www.airspaceaware.com/