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Hot News

Future “Restrictions of Flying” AICs (known as of Mid June 2016)

Click for a pdf of known restrictions of flying, information received mid June 2016. Note, many more events will be notified, these are the ones formally signed off for restrictions. Keep an eye on on others may be notified by AIC and/or NOTAM, and also on the day via the restriction and airspace upgrade freephone 0500-354802.

Thames Radar Frequency for 0012 Listening Squawk now 133.450 MHz

The VFR listening squawk 0012 is shared by Thames Radar and Gatwick. Gatwick remains the same monitoring frequency (126.825 MHz), but Thames has now changed to 133.450Mhz (the official list is section 1.6 of the UK IAIP)

Concern over Increase in Channel Islands and Bristol Infringements

Bristol very concerned about a sudden ‘four in ten days’ hit on infringements potentially putting traffic at risk (but for controller intervention). Please take (even) extra care with airspace bases/boundaries near Bath, Hullavington and Burnham-on-sea and make sure you are flying with a 2016 chart and, and understand properly any software products in use. Bristol Pictorial VFR Guide is here

Jersey ATC report an unwanted increase in infringements, please make sure you read the info on the Channel Islands Control Zone (CICZ) before heading that way. The website is also included in the links sub-page here under airspace guides.

Thames Radar Listening Squawk Freq Change on 26/5/2016

The frequency that pilots use to monitor Thames Radar whilst using the listening squawk 0012 changes from 132.7 MHz  to 133.450 MHz from May 26th 2016. (Gatwick frequency for this monitoring code remains the same.)

Strumble (D)VOR to be replaced 10th May 2016 (weeks of service outage)

STU DVOR is planned to be taken out of service May 10th to allow for equipment upgrades and site improvements. This will also include the co-located DME. The duration of this outage is planned to take between 3-4 months.

Bristol LARS hour change, plus pictorial guide update

Bristol LARS new service hours have changed to 1000-1800 (local) from March 1st 2016, at other times a service will only be provided to aircraft in/out and transiting Bristol, or other agencies by arrangement. The new pictorial guide, well worth reading, is here: FLY ON TRACK,amended 01Mar2016

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….

Norwich VFR Airspace Guide Updated Jan 2016

The VFR guide (photos, advice etc) for pilots in the vicinity of Norwich CTA and CTR has been updated. The new version here, which can also be found on the FlyOnTrack links page with the other guides for airspace around the country.

2016 changes coming to Airspace near London & Hampshire

The Future Airspace Strategy has announced the start of changes to modernise UK airspace by 2020, starting with the London area (and Solent). See the LAMP announcement (LAMP being London Airspace Management Programme, not to be confused with light the aircraft maintenance programme)

‘Listening Squawks’ (Monitoring Codes) – New Graphic

Listening Squawks are expected to be on CAA VFR charts from 2016. In the meantime, here is a late 2015 version 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 (always with Mode C/ALT when you have it):

  • 0010 Birmingham 118.050 MHz
  • 0011 Solent / Bournemouth 120.225 MHz / 119.475 MHz respectively
  • 0012 Thames Radar/Gatwick 132.7 MHz / 126.825 MHz respectively NB: Thames Radar frequency 132.7 changes to 133.450 MHz on 26th May 2016
  • 0013 Luton / Stansted 129.550 MHz / 120.625 MHz respectively
  • 0440 Edinburgh 121.2 MHz
  • 2620 Glasgow 119.1 MHz 
  • 2677 Leeds Radar, 133.125 MHz
  • 3660 Warton Approach, 129.525 MHz
  • 4517 Oxford Approach, 127.750 MHz (during hours of ops)
  • 4572 East Midlands Approach 134.175 MHz
  • 4572 Farnborough Radar (West) 125.250 MHz
  • 5077 Bristol 125.650 MHz
  • 6170 Doncaster Approach 126.225 MHz
  • 7045 Aldergrove Approach 128.5 MHz
  • 7366 Manchester 118.575 MHz

(Yes, 4572 is used for two different units.) the ones in colour are reasonably new. The Scottish ones ask that they are used within 20 miles of the unit. 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.

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

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, www.caa.co.uk/ors4 – just search for  “Standardised” in the title list. These include the VMC within Class D and E airspace below 3000 feet amsl, exceptions to the minimum height requirements and landing or taking off near open air assemblies. In addition, the UK’s exemption from certain aspects of SERA’s Special VFR requirements has been extended until June 2016. See list of exemptions

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, all existing 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. The renewal programme is accelerating, see the latest information on progress (June 2015) is here in the information notice 043 of 2015 and (Sept 2015) information notice 080 of 2015

The Autumn/Winter Clued Up Magazine, available online here, contains  good advice on Human Factors and avoiding Controlled Flight into Terrain, and also the details of the VOR Replacement Programme (page 26).

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 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 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): 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/
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.