Hot News

Welcome to Flying in the Bristol Area

On 1st March 2018 Bristol ATC ceased to provide a LARS.  An updated guide to flying in the Bristol Area has been published and is available here:  Welcome to Flying in the Bristol Area (wef 1 Mar 18)

The object of this guide is to assist with flying below, around, and through the Bristol  (EGGD) Controlled Airspace which is CLASS D.  Previously Bristol Airspace was an island in the FIR but now it is connected to Cardiff Airspace and the Airways system.  There are many options to route around or through the airspace (Note:  Transit through the CTR and CTAs is subject to permission, traffic and weather).

Bristol ATC will endeavour to accommodate requests from GA pilots but sometimes this will not be possible without delay so it may be better i.e. quicker to plan to go around or below, to save time and money; however if you are having ANY weather or navigation problems please do not be frightened to say so. They want to help.

Irrespective of the challenges posed by the airspace there are many additional hazards in the Bristol area; some marked on the chart, some not.


Listening Squawks: Changes for some ATC Units, and new ATC Units involved

With immediate effect: Six ATC units (3 pairs close together) around London and the south which have shared 3 listening squawks with their close neighbouring unit for a number of years have stopped sharing  to allow faster contact with the pilot if necessary. Initially announced by NOTAM before AIP update later. from Sept 14th onwards, Southampton gets 7011 (from 0011), Gatwick gets 7012 (from 0012), Stansted gets 7013 (from 0013). Their old partners remain as today, namely Bournemouth 0011, Thames Radar 0012, Luton 0013.

Brand New to the Scheme:
Brize – use 3727 whilst montioring 119.0 MHz outside the CTR
Southend – use 5050 whilst monitoring 130.775 MHz outside the CTR/CTA
Liverpool – use 5060 whilst monitoring 119.850 MHz outside the CTR

A temporary summary list can be found here

Freephone for info on daily Airspace Upgrades, RoF, Change

The number giving airspace upgrades, Restrictions of Flying, etc, has changed from 0500-354802 to 08085-354802 (free under most UK phone plans). Also, the normal landline number for it is now 01489-887515

SERA update (Standardised European Rules of the Air)

The UK CAA continues to work on certain UK differences from SERA with the DfT, EU, and Easa. More info, especially current exemptions can be found in the ORS4 index, – just search for  “Standardised” in the title list.
A change involves flying VFR (or not) in Class D at or below 3000′ amsl, with the need to remain 1000′ vertically from cloud to be VFR (along with the usual 5km minimum vis) instead of simply clear of cloud and in sight of surface. (Transiting aircraft, pilot can decide on conditions.) See UK SERA Implementation

Base of X-Channel Airway Q41 to be raised from 27th May ’17

The Class A airway between Solent Airspace and Jersey Zone will be raised from FL035 to FL055 from 27th May 2017, allowing higher VFR flights in the class G underneath.

NATS Releases Speeded Up Video of Disruption Effects of 2 Infringements

The video shows in succession the disruption caused by two separate infringements where a GA pilot in a light aircraft disrupted arrivals and departures at some of our busiest airports. Can it be said ‘no-one was hurt in these incidents’? It is true in one sense thanks to the well trained controllers, no-one on the aircraft was injured, but what about the stress on the controllers themselves? View incidents here

Infringement Analysis 2013-2015 (FASVIG)

A new detailed study of infringements has been published by the Future Airspace Strategy VFR Implementation Group using ATC and Pilot reports, 2013 to 2015.

Warton/Blackpool – do you know the difference?

Amazingly, Warton are getting some landings there for pilots who think they are landing at Blackpool. They are quite a few miles apart, the runways are dissimilar directions, and Warton has a distinct river running more or less E-W past it. So to try and publicise the problem, there is a new video….

Prosecution for London Heathrow CTR infringement

In case you were wondering, not many infringements lead to an actual court case, most end up with an agreed solution, such as a little retraining. However it does happen… CAA prosecution of infringement

Targets Set for Reduction In Infringements at Key Hotspots

Teams from local pilots, air traffic controllers, and the CAA have been set up in an attempt to reduce infringements numbers and risk around known hotspots at Birmingham, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Southampton, and Stansted. Targets have been set for reductions in 2015, with the possibility of  “Surveillance Mandatory Zones” in the vicinity of high risk areas of Class D airspace should improvements in the infringement situation not be achieved. To read the official announcement, Click Here

SERA – Standardised European Rules of the Air – Summary

A two page summary of the Standardised Rules of the Air ‘SERA’ changes is available here on FlyOnTrack – it’s easy to read, and covers visibility changes, quadrantal rules becoming semicircular and exemptions and more: See SERA

Low Level Common VHF Frequency in Scotland

Remote Scotland is trialing a Low Level Common VHF Frequency to compliment “See and Avoid” with “Hear and Avoid”. The CAA has given approval for all aviators to extend the use of SafetyCom’s VHF frequency 135.475 to 2,000′ AGL and below anywhere in uncontrolled airspace north of 56*N (Helensburgh to Falkirk). An AIC will be published reflecting this information in due course, in the meantime, click here: Scotland135475Trial for a pdf information poster which could be put on club noticeboards

Southend: Controlled Airspace started 2nd Apr ’15

Pilots with last year’s quarter mil chart for the Southend area (number 8), your new edition comes out late April, so for details of the new controlled airspace, see the appendices to this CAA decision letter

Equipment News

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.

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 – for the list of those available, click on ‘Clued Up’ here on the ASI downloads page

2014 Farnbrough LARS Guide (incl. Stansted TMZ advice)

Farnborough published 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 08085-354802.  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 download here. 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

A map of Farnborough LARS coverage is now available here as a pdf: Map of Farmborough LARS area

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):

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
The Airspace & Safety Initiative

GASCo is a charitable body whose object is to foster the development of General Aviation in the UK along safe lines. Visit the GASCo site.