Hot-spot narratives

Between October 2019 and October 2020, the eight Local Airspace Infringement Teams (LAIT) and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) compiled 25 narratives to help pilots avoid infringing airspace at known hot-spots around the UK.

Each narrative has been written based on the Threats and potential Errors that we can all be exposed to in the course of our flying, recreationally, during training or during the course of business operations. In addition to identifying the specific hot-spots, the narratives have offered educational information to increase our knowledge-base as aviators and guidance from safety partners involved in helping pilots prevent airspace infringements.

Index

Airport/Aerodrome/Airspace Area/Subject Narrative Number
Aerodrome Traffic Zones Rule 11 14
Manchester Barton 7
Birmingham CTA-2 3
Brize Norton CTR 11
Doncaster/Sheffield CTR & Northern CTA 5
CTR & Southern CTA 21
East Midlands CTA-2 8
Farnborough All CTR and CTA 10
Blackbushe operations 19
VFR, Fairoaks & Transits 25
Flight Information Services London & Scottish Flight Information 23
Gatwick CTA and Redhill aerodrome 15
Hawarden RMZ 6
Liverpool All CTR & CTA 13
London Control Area LTMA 22
London Control Zone Southwest corner 1
Luton CTR & western CTA 24
Manchester Low-Level Route 2
East of CTR 12
NOTAM Deactivation of Controlled Airspace 17
Prohibited and Restricted Airspace EG P, EG R & RA(T) 20
Solent South of CTR (CTA-2) 4
North of CTR (CTA-3 & CTA-5) 9
Southend CTA & CTR 18
Stansted CTA, CTR &TMZ 16

25. Farnborough Controlled Airspace

Preventing infringements of Farnborough Controlled Airspace

This infringement update is the twenty-fifth in a year-long programme of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. This narrative has been written by the team at Farnborough Air Traffic Service Unit and members of the Wessex Local Airspace Infringement Team.

This is a third narrative focussing on the Farnborough Controlled Airspace (CAS) structure to help pilots learn directly from factors identified in the 7 months since the airspace was implemented on 27 February 2020. Since implementation, there have (to 27 September) been 85 reported airspace infringements of the structure. The main areas involved are:

  • Infringements of CTR-1 involving aircraft operating at/from Blackbushe Airport (EGLK). This was covered in detail in narrative 19 (Farnborough Controlled Airspace; Blackbushe Airport);
  • Infringements of CTR-2 and CTA-1 involving aircraft departing from or arriving at Fairoaks Airport (EGTF); and
  • Infringements by transit aircraft.

The structure comprises 2 Class D CTR around the aerodrome and 7 Class D CTAs and 2 Class E CTA (FIGURE 1). The vertical extents of these zones and areas can be found in narrative 19 and in the UK AIP at ENR 2.1 (Air Traffic Service Airspace: FIR, UIR, TMA and CTA)

Farnborough Figure 1

Figure 1

Factors Leading to Airspace Infringements

Use of Visual Reference Points

When planning to transit any CAS, it is essential that as part of your pre-flight planning, you are aware of the VRPs relevant to that airspace, know what the VRPs look like and consider the likely routings and or/holding points that may be used employing those VRPs. In many infringements it has been found that pilots do not know the location of many of the VRPs when relying upon them for point-to-point transits or as holding points. As part of pre-flight planning, use applications like Google Earth to familiarise yourself with that to expect to see on the ground and use your VFR chart to decide where and how you will hold if you are issued a clearance limit of one of the VRPs.

Farnborough has 10 VRPs to assist in the provision of air traffic services to aircraft operating in the vicinity of Farnborough as follows:

M3 Junction 3 lies within the London Control Zone and is clearly visible as the circular junction of the M3 and A322 (FIGURE 2)

Bagshot VRP lies on the southwestern edge of the London CTR and is to the southwest of Bagshot town. When viewed from the air it is on the northside carriage of the M3 motorway on the portion of the road where the carriageways divide around a slip of woodland to the southwest of Junction 3. (FIGURE 2)

Farnborough Figure 2

Figure 2  

M3 Junction 4 lies within the Farnborough CTR-1 and is clearly visible as the Figure of 8 junction of the M3 and A331 between the towns of Frimley, Camberley and Farnborough (FIGURE 3). This VRP is used as a standard VFR departure from Blackbushe Airport not above 2,000 feet. When issued with a Standard M3 Junction 4 Departure by the FISO unit at Blackbushe, you will be expected to hold north of the VRP and contact Farnborough Radar on 133.440MHz.

Fleet Pond VRP is the pond to the northwest of Farnborough Airport laying to the south of the M3 and inside the Farnborough CTR-1 (FIGURE 3). This VRP is also used as a standard VFR departure from Blackbushe Airport not above 2,000 feet. When issued with a Standard Fleet Pond Departure by the FISO unit at Blackbushe, you will be expected to hold northwest of the VRP and contact Farnborough Radar on 133.440MHz.

Farnborough Figure 3

Figure 3

Hook VRP can be identified as the bridge crossing the track at Hook railway station (FIGURE 4). It lays in Class G airspace to the northwest of the Farnborough CTR-1 and just to the north of the RAF Odiham aerodrome traffic zone.

Guildford VRP is the railway station at Guildford (FIGURE 4). It lays in Class G airspace to the east of the Farnborough CTA-4 (2,500 feet to 3,500 feet) and to the south of CTA-1 (2,000 feet to 2,500 feet). When issued with a clearance limit at this VRP you should remain south and east of the town and River Wey to avoid entering the CTRs.

Farnborough Figure 4

Figure 4

The Tongham VRP is the prominent traffic roundabout on the A31/A331 south of Aldershot and west of the part of the A31 known as the Hog’s Back (FIGURE 5). It is located within the Farnborough CTR-1.

Approximately 2.5NM to the west southwest of the Tongham VRP, and also inside the Farnborough CTA-1 is the VRP of Farnham Castle. This VRP lays just to the north of Farnham and is a distinctive series of red brick/red roofed buildings with a building inside a walled grass circular area. (FIGURE 5)

Farnborough Figure 5

Figure 5

Underneath CTA-4 (2,500 feet -3,500 feet) lays the Frensham Great Pond VRP (FIGURE 6). It can be found midway between Haslemere and Farnham and on the western edge of the A287.

The final Farnborough VRP is the railways station at Alton. (FIGURE 6). The town of Alton lays to the west of CTA-6 (2,500 feet – 5,500 feet) and on the southern edge of the RAF Odiham MATZ and approximately 3NM southeast of Lasham aerodrome. When planning to use this VRP, you should be aware of intense gliding with winch- launch activity up to 3,700 feet amsl (3,000 feet agl) at Lasham and the ATZ at RAF Odiham 3NM to the north.

Farnborough Figure 6

Figure 6

Operations at Fairoaks Aerodrome

Up to 27 September, there have been 21 airspace infringements involving aircraft either departing from or arriving to Fairoaks Airport. The 2 main risk areas that have been identified relate to:

  1. CTA-1 which lays to the south of the London CTR and extends from 2,000 feet (Farnborough QNH) to the base of the London Control Area (LTMA) at 2,500 feet. In this location, pilots have either infringed the CTA-1 due to retaining take-off power after departure and have inadvertently climbed into the CTA or have been unaware of/forgotten about the lower base of CAS in that area. When planning your flight, apply effective Threat and Error Management and remain below 2,000 feet until, on departure, south of the A3 which runs northeast bound from Guildford to the M25 at Wisley. When inbound to Fairoaks, ensure that you are below 2,000 feet (QNH) prior to the A3. Of note too is the Farnborough CTA-4 to the southwest of Guildford which has a base of 2,500 feet and extends up to the base of the LTMA at 3,500 feet.
  2. CTR-2 which s a wedge-shaped volume of Class D airspace which lays less than 3nm to the southwest of Fairoaks aerodrome. The CTR extends from the surface to the base of the LTMA (2,500 feet) and extends the CTR slightly to the east where the LTMA has a lower base.

A recent infringement of the CTR-2 resulted from a pilot positioning wide to the west for a straight-in approach to Runway 06 at Fairoaks; the pilot flew west of Woking and entered the CTR resulting in a loss of separation with an aircraft making an IFR approach to Farnborough airport. The use of a Moving Map (FIGURE 7) in assisting with the positioning for the approach would have provided the pilot with excellent position situational awareness against the airspace and may have prevented the occurrence; the pilot had been using a Moving Map but dispensed with it prior to establishing their position against the CTR boundary.

Farnborough Figure 7

Figure 7

To enable pilots to get a clear understanding of the vertical extent of the different controlled airspace areas abound the aerodrome, the management team at Fairoaks Airport has produced a very simple, yet effective, airspace chart ; the graphic is represented at FIGURE 8 below and is found in Fairoaks Airport Pilot Notice (PN) 03/20. The introduction to this PN also highlights the following very useful information relevant to all pilots operating in that area:

  1. The base of controlled airspace to the south of Fairoaks shall be lowered from 2,500ft to 2,000ft AMSL. As a result, pilots of departing aircraft can climb to a maximum altitude of 1,900ft once clear of the London CTR.
  2. Pilots of inbound aircraft must ensure, unless a clearance to enter controlled airspace has been received, that they avoid the Farnborough CTR and that they descend to be below the Farnborough CTA to the south of Fairoaks and are not above 1,400ft AMSL prior to entering the London CTR.
  3. Pilots departing from runway 24 at Fairoaks must be aware that the north-eastern edge of the Farnborough CTR is located on the climb-out at a range of less than 3nm.
  4. Pilots should be aware that the base of airspace to the south-west of Guildford has been lowered from 3,500ft to 2,500ft.
  5. Pilots of departing VFR aircraft that desire to transit the Farnborough controlled airspace must squawk 0467 and freecall Farnborough Radar on 133.440.However, pilots must not enter controlled airspace until a clearance has been received and acknowledged.
  6. Pilots of departing aircraft that desire to transit the London CTR airspace must make their intentions clear to the Fairoaks ATSU in order that their flight can be prenoted to Heathrow and that they are transferred to the correct frequency. Typical radios call would be:“Callsign, PA28, 2POB to Coventry, request Ascot/Burnham” or
    “Callsign, C152, 2POB to Gloucester, request routing via Woodley”However, pilots must not enter controlled airspace until a clearance has been received and acknowledged.
  7. Pilots of aircraft departing IFR when runway 24 is in use at Fairoaks can normally expect to receive a clearance to enter controlled airspace prior to departure. However, see paragraph i below.
  8. Pilots of aircraft departing IFR when runway 06 is in use at Fairoaks can expect to receive after departure instructions, but not a clearance, prior to departure and must not enter controlled airspace until a clearance has been received and acknowledged.
  9. The provisions of paragraph h above will also apply if Fairoaks is using runway 24 but Farnborough is using runway 06, and there is conflicting traffic departing from Farnborough.

In the event that Fairoaks Flight Information Service Unit or Air/Ground Communications Service passes a discrete SSR code, it must be noted that the allocation of such a discrete squawk does not imply a clearance to enter controlled airspace which should only be done after a clearance has been received and acknowledged.

Farnborough Figure 8

Figure 8

 

Transit Aircraft

If you plan to transit the Farnborough Class D airspace structure, you should call Farnborough Radar on 133.440 MHz for a clearance. To enter/cross the 2 Class E CTA under IFR, you should call Farnborough Radar on 125.250 MHz for that clearance.

Aircraft seeking a transit of Farnborough airspace North – South are very likely to be instructed to route via M3 Junction 4 and Tongham VRP, with a possible requirement to hold adjacent to either of these, so a good understanding of their location is vital to the efficient operation of the airspace.

East – west transits often be instructed to route via the Basingstoke to Woking Railway line, or routing via the M3 Motorway.

Analysis of the 53 airspace infringements up to 27 September by aircraft requesting to transit the CAS structure has made the following finding that might be of use to prevent further occurrences:

Obtaining and Reading Back of Clearances

The Skyway Code offers great guidance for increasing the chances of successfully obtaining a transit as follows:

Giving the controller reasonable time to respond to your request. Where possible, 10 minutes flying time from the intended entry point is ideal. If you are part of a planned ‘fly out’ where there are multiple aircraft looking to transit the airspace, apply good airmanship in considering the wider picture. SKYbrary defines airmanship as “the consistent use of good judgment and well-developed skills to accomplish flight objectives. This consistency is founded on a cornerstone of uncompromising flight discipline and is developed through systematic skill acquisition and proficiency. A high state of situational awareness completes the airmanship picture and is obtained through knowledge of one’s self, aircraft, environment, team and risk.” This can be achieved by:

  1. Staggering departures to allow time for each aircraft to arrive at the airspace at different times (why not allow plan for the faster aircraft to depart first?);
  2. Planning different holding areas in the event that clearances may take time to obtain and anticipate that the issuing of transit clearances will be subject to delay (this will also reduce the risk of mid-air collision);
  3. Remembering that other aircraft will also be looking to transit the airspace at the same time as your ‘fly out’. Today you may be one of 5 or 6 aircraft planning to cross the CTR, tomorrow you could be a flying on your own when there is another ‘fly out’ trying to do the same as you.

Sounding professional on the radio by clearly and concisely articulating your request. Use the standard format in Chapter 6: Approach Phraseology of CAP413- Radiotelephony Manual. This will give the controller the confidence that you can be relied on to comply with the conditions of the clearance. Remember that you cannot enter CAS until a clearance has been obtained and readback correctly. Part of the readback MUST include the flight rule under which you are operating. (FIGURE 9); a failure to readback the clearance verbatim will result in a request to read it back again thereby delaying the entry into CAS and will also add to frequency congestion.

Farnborough Figure 9

Figure 9

Plan for a transit that seems likely

If the controller is busy it is unlikely that a transit that would be given that crosses the final approach track at a similar altitude to that of arriving aircraft. However, a transit high above the traffic flow at right angles is much more likely to work. Crossing through the aerodrome overhead or just downwind of the arrival threshold can often be accommodated.

If a transit is not forthcoming, positively alter course away from the airspace and monitor your Moving Map to ensure that you remain clear of the airspace. Knowing the airspace and associated VRPs described at the start of the narrative is an essential part of pre-flight planning.

 

Aircraft flying in the vicinity of Farnborough CAS

The Airspace & Safety Initiative website provides extensive advice on how to avoid the risk of infringing airspace. You are strongly encouraged to: 

  • Use a Moving Map. In over 80% of airspace infringements, pilots were found not to be using a moving map or not using one correctly. This is particularly evident during instructional flights where instructor workload is high and distractions highly likely. Using moving maps not only gives pilots a profile along the planned route showing CAS above and below the route but it offers airspace warnings.
  • When flying in proximity to CAS, and able to, Take 2 and operate on the most appropriate altimetry setting when operating under CTA. In this case it is the London QNH.
  • Obtain a Lower Airspace Radar Service (LARS) from Farnborough Radar. Pilots can obtain a LARS from Farnborough Radar in this area on 125.250 MHz; the hours of operation are listed in the UK AIP EGLF AD2.18 or subject to NOTAM action if different.
  • Use the FMC. Rather than squawking 7000/2000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 4572 and monitoring 125.250 MHz. Obtain the London QNH by asking an adjacent ATS unit or by listening to that given to other aircraft on 125.250 MHz. It may also be obtained for the ATIS frequency (128.405 MHz).
  • Apply Threat and Error Management when planning and flying. Always consider airspace when making a detailed plan. Build in climb and descent points when routing in the vicinity of multiple CTAs with differing base altitudes. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by. Have a point beyond which you are not going to fly if you do not have a positive clearance to enter CAS particularly when departing Fairoaks and Blackbushe when cockpit workload is high. One of the biggest causes of infringements is distraction; manage that Threat when operating close to CAS.
  • Avoid flying on the RPS in the vicinity of Farnborough CTAs or below the London TMA. When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will be higher in relation to the London QNH. Always ask for the London QNH rather than accepting/flying on the Chatham RPS.
  • If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of the CTA, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter CAS when appropriate, ATC is able to control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained.

24. Preventing infringements of Luton Controlled Airspace

Preventing infringements of Luton Controlled Airspace

This infringement update is the twenty fourth in a series of narratives focusing on airspace infringements in the UK. This article highlights the risk of airspace infringements around Luton Control Areas (CTA) and Control Zone (CTR) and provides guidance and suggestions to assist in reducing the risk.

In 2019, there were a total of 44 airspace infringements of Luton Controlled airspace; 23 infringements of the Luton CTR and 21 of the Luton CTA. In the first 8 months of 2020, including the period of the COVID-19 restrictions on General Aviation, there have been 24 infringements (15 of the CTR and 9 of the CTA).

Any infringement within the controlled airspace requires the Luton radar controllers to establish a minimum of 3NM lateral or, when altitude information is available, 3,000 feet vertical separation which results in an increase in workload for pilots and controllers as well as delays to arriving and departing aircraft. The impact of an infringing aircraft will depend upon the location and can impact on both Stansted and Luton airports simultaneously.

The Class D Luton CTR extends from the surface to 3,500 feet with the nine parts of Luton Class D CTA ranging from 2,500 feet (at the lowest part) to 5,500 feet (at its highest). The London Terminal Control Area (TMA) is contiguous with the CTA in some areas. VFR flights in the Luton CTR/CTA will be given routeing instructions and/or altitude restrictions in order to integrate VFR flights with other traffic; a 1.5NM wide VFR lane is also depicted on the 1:500K VFR chart. Pilots should anticipate clearance and routeing instructions via Entry/Exit Lanes and as such should be planned for transits of the CTR; prior to entering controlled airspace, as clearance, from Luton radar, is required to transit this lane. (FIGURES 1 and 2)

Luton Controlled Airspace narrative Figure 1

FIGURE 1

Luton Controlled Airspace narrative Figure 2

FIGURE 2

The number of aerodromes (including disused ones) and those with ATZ, privates landing sites, navigational aids and Visual Reference Points marked on the chart can make the airspace appear complex, before the various airspace classifications, levels, frequencies and Frequency Monitoring Codes (FMC) are included. Identifying the ‘Threats’ in the planning stage for flights in this area will assist with solutions to ensure infringements do not occur.

Visual Reference Points

Seven Visual Reference Points (VRP) are published to support the planning of flights through the CTR via the Entry & Exit Lane (known as North & South Lane) as follows:

a. The village of Pirton is on the edge of the CTR and lies at the northern edge of the North Lane. The VRP is the church in the village (FIGURE 3).

b. The VRP at Offley lays on the A505 west of Hitchin and 3.5NM northeast of the airport. (FIGURE 3). The VRP is the bridge over the A505. This VRP is often used as a clearance limit as part of the VFR CTR transit clearance as a holding area to establish visual contact with aircraft to allow integration with at Luton Airport.

Luton Controlled Airspace narrative Figure 3

FIGURE 3 Pirton and Offley VRPs

c. The VRP at Hyde lays less than 2NM south of the airport. The VRP is the railway bridge at East Hyde and is easily identifiable to the northeast of the sewage farm/water treatment works. (FIGURE 4)

d. Kimpton Hall VRP lays to the south of the village of Kimpton and 3.25NM southeast of the airport. (FIGURE 4).

The VRPs at Hyde and Kimpton Hall are often used as a clearance limit as part of the VFR CTR transit clearance as a holding area to establish visual contact with aircraft to allow integration with traffic at Luton Airport.

Luton Controlled Airspace narrative Figure 4

FIGURE 4 Hyde and Kempton Hall VRPs

e. The final 3 VRPs all relate to motorway Junctions and are shown in FIGURE 5. One, the M1 Junction 9 lies inside the CTR and 3.7nm southwest of the airport; it is the figure of 8 junction on the straight piece of motorway mod way between Hemel Hempstead and Luton. The other 2, M1 Junction 8 and A1(M) Junction 4 both lie outside the CTR and are easily identifiable point to set as your clearance limit if you are not in receipt of a clearance to enter controlled airspace.

M1 Junction 8 is to the east of Hemel Hempstead and is the entry point for the south lane. The final VRP at A1(M) Junction 4 lays between Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City and is the confluence of several major roads.

Luton Controlled Airspace narrartive Figure 5

FIGURE 5 M1 Junction 9, M1 Junction 8, A1(M) Junction 4 VRPs

Infringements of the Luton CTR and CTA-2

The area north of Bovingdon VOR (BNN) is an area where infringements of the Luton CTR and CTA-2 (base 2,500 feet) have occurred (FIGURE 6), mainly by instructors who have become distracted from monitoring their height or exact position when teaching. Infringements of the London Control Area (LTMA) where the base is 2,500 feet immediately overhead BNN have also been reported. Even with restrictions on GA flying in the first half the year there were 6 infringements in the first 6 months of 2020 in these areas.

Luton Controlled Airspace narrative Figure 6

FIGURE 6

Westbound/Eastbound to the South of the Luton CTR

The use of BNN and BPK can assist with remaining south of the CTR but if planning by landmarks or features reference to Chesham (Southwest of BNN) – Hemel Hempstead – St. Albans – Welwyn Garden City is an option.
In the area under to the west of Luton CTR there were 9 infringements within CTA-2/3/4/8/9 within the first 6 months of 2020.

Southbound/Northbound to the West of the Luton CTR

For those who wish to route in the gap between the Halton ATZ (active 0900-2000 or SS + 15 (1 hr earlier in Summer)) and the Luton CTR it is essential that pilots must plan and identify prominent features to assist in the ‘Threat & Error Management’ of navigational errors.

If routing southbound from Milton Keynes following the railway line to Leighton Buzzard and then towards Tring lakes to the east of Wilstone Reservoir will keep pilots out of the Halton ATZ and west of the Luton CTR. Although the Milton Keynes to Tring railway line/Grand Union Canal/A4251 junction is suggested it needs to be highlighted that at Tring all these 3-line features will eventually lead you into the south western corner of the Luton CTR. With ‘Error Management’ in mind the best solution would be to track towards Chesham after Tring. (FIGURE 7)

Luton Controlled Airspace narrative Figure 7

FIGURE 7

Southbound/Northbound to the East of the Luton CTR

CTA-1 (base 2,500 feet) lies to the east of the Luton CTR; the use of BPK and Barkway (BKY) can be useful if radio navigation aids are required to assist with remaining east of the CTR. Alternatively, planning a route with reference to Hertford – east of Stevenage – Letchworth Garden City/Baldock at the end of the A1(M) is an option to be considered in the planning phase. (FIGURE 8) Similarly, the area north of Brookman’s Park (BPK) can also result in an infringement of the TMA, Luton CTA-1 or parts of the Stansted CTR and CTA.

Luton Controlled Airspace narrative Figure 8

FIGURE 8

Flying North of the Luton CTR

The M1 remains an easy feature to identify from the air but with so many junctions close to CTA boundaries (FIGURE 9), it is vital to recognise where airspace steps down towards the Luton CTR. The boundary of the CTA-6 where the base is 4,500 feet (just north of junction 13, with a railway line passing nearby) southeast of Milton Keynes, south of Cranfield airport should be recorded in any flight plan and identified as a potential ‘Threat’ in the planning stage. The A421 is a good visual boundary feature as it routes towards Bedford.

Similarly, CTA-5 boundary base reduces to 3500 feet near junction 12 for Toddington. However, pilots often confuse the junction with Toddington Services which is one mile further south or the ‘dumbbell’ junction with the A5 at Houghton Regis, north of Dunstable and a mile north of the Luton CTR boundary.
Tracking north of the CTR can be planned by reference to Royston – north of Letchworth Garden City – Toddington Services on the M1 – Leighton Buzzard.

Luton Controlled Airspace narrative Figure 9

FIGURE 9

When operating west of the red line the Luton FMC (0013) should be used including monitoring of Luton Radar on 129.550MHz.

 

When operating east of the red line the Stansted FMC (7013) should be used including monitoring of Essex Radar on 120.625MHz.

With all these suggested routes, if you are not in receipt of an air traffic service, good airmanship is to squawk 0013 and monitor the Luton Radar frequency of 129.550MHz rather than squawking 7000 or 2000. However, it is important in your pre-flight planning to know where the boundary lies between using the Luton FMC of 0013 and that for Stansted of 7013 and monitoring the Essex Radar frequency of 120.625MHz. The chart in the UK AIP at ENR6.80 and in AIC YELLOW 006/2020 shows that when crossing the line between Royston and BPK you should be changing FMC and frequencies depending on your direction of flight; failure to do so will result on relays in resolving airspace infringements. There have been recent occurrences where pilots have infringed the Stansted CTR/CTA to the east of Ware, tracking northeast or southeast, but still using the Luton FMC.

Preventing an airspace infringement

The Airspace & Safety Initiative website provides extensive advice on how to avoid the risk of infringing airspace. Pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Use a Moving Map which will provide a profile along your planned route showing the controlled airspace boundary. When flying in proximity to Luton controlled airspace, and if able to, Take 2.

Obtain a service from Farnborough on LARS North: 132.800MHz.

Use a Frequency Monitor Code (FMC). If you do not want to obtain a service from ATC use a FMC appropriate to the direction of flight (rather than squawking 7000/2000). FMCs have proven to prevent infringements and reduce the severity of such occurrences.

Farnborough LARS North 132.800MHz
Luton Radar 129.550MHz FMC: 0013
Essex Radar (Stansted) 120.625MHz FMC: 7013

Use the correct QNH. Obtain the Luton QNH from the ATIS (120.580MHz) or monitor the Luton frequency (129.550MHz). The Luton ATIS is also available on 01582 395225 if the METAR is required prior to departing, especially from a private site close to the CTR or under the Luton CTAs.

Make a Detailed Plan. Build in your climb and descent points when planning your route. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by.

If necessary, request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of the CTA, then a clearance must be obtained from Luton Radar before climbing. If in doubt, of the base of CAS or the boundary contact Luton Radar for assistance.

23. London and Scottish Flight Information

Providing a “Friendly Information Service”

This infringement update is the twenty third in a series of narratives focusing on airspace infringements in the UK. This article highlights the service that London and Scottish Information provide and the assistance available to help you avoid infringing airspace.

It has been said you can obtain an idea of weather conditions across the UK by listening to the London or Scottish Information frequencies during the day, especially in the summer; the busier the frequency the nicer the weather. Although you are probably more familiar with the Flight Information Service Officer (FISO) at your local aerodrome the FISO at London or Scottish Information provide an invaluable service and provide a range of information if you ever need it.

The FISOs at the NATS control centres provide a ‘Basic’ and ‘Alerting’ service for General Aviation (GA), military and commercial aircraft operating outside Controlled Airspace (CAS) within the UK Flight Information Regions (FIRs). You can always obtain information without requesting a ‘Basic Service’.

London FISOs based at NATS’ Swanwick Centre provide a service to the aircraft within the London FIR below FL195, 24 hours a day.

 

London Control FIS Sectors

London Control (Swanick) FIS Sectors

 

The Scottish FISOs based at Prestwick Centre are responsible for the Scottish FIR between 08:00 -20:00, local time, up to FL55. Outside these times and levels, the service is provided by air traffic controllers on various sectors.

 

FIS Figure 2 Scottish Control FIS Sectors

Scottish Control (Prestwick) FIS Sectors

 

Area Frequency Times & Coordinates Levels
A 119.875 MHz 0800-2000 (One hour earlier in Summer) SFC to blo FL55
B 134.850 MHz H24 SFC- FL245
C 134.775 MHz H24 SFC- FL245
D 121.325MHz H24 SFC- FL245
E 127.275 MHz See UK AIP ENR 6-33. See UK AIP ENR 6-33.
F 128.675 MHz H24 SFC- FL245
G 123.775 MHz H24

2000-0800 (One hour earlier in Summer)

FL55-FL245

SFC-FL55

H 124.500 MHz See UK AIP ENR 6-33. See UK AIP ENR 6-33.

 

Although FISOs are not controllers they are highly trained and experienced. Under a ‘Basic Service’, a FISO’s role is to assist you in achieving a safe flight. The passing of executive instructions, headings or altitudes to fly is not permitted but providing information to assist you in achieving that safe flight is permitted. This could be anything from letting you know of the latest METAR or TAF, parachuting activity, Search and Rescue Operations (SAROPS), Temporary Danger Areas (TDA) or significant weather affecting your route. Some of this information may have changed since you completed your pre-flight planning and departed so obtaining the most up-to-date information is always wise if you believe the situation may have changed.

During the summer of 2020 many airfields had revised and reduced operating hours and declassified the relevant CAS when the aerodromes were closed. This information was notified via NOTAM, but this information was also available from the FISO. This is an example of when the FISO can be a useful source to obtain updated information and may have, and possibly continue to assist, in mitigating the risk of airspace infringements.

FISOs do not use radar-based surveillance to exercise positive control or offer advice to pilots but may monitor aircraft positions using a Flight Information Display (FID) although they rely on the information pilots give to help form a traffic ‘picture’ utilising a 1:500k VFR chart. The FISO have access to other information and documentation if required. Direct telephone lines to every adjoining London and Scottish control sector, and every major airfield, plus many of the minor airfields assists in obtaining information and co-ordination quickly. However, the FISO has no data to show the number of aircraft expected to establish contact and request a service. There is no traffic level prediction tool, just a weather forecast and a calendar of airfield events, a list of air shows and ‘fly ins’ to help to foresee those potentially busy times and areas.

When you first establish contact with the FISO and request a service from London or Scottish Information you will be asked for your callsign, aircraft type, position, altitude and routeing, and then asked to squawk ‘conspicuity 1177’ for London or ‘7401’ for Scottish. As a non-radar service, this squawk isn’t primarily for the benefit of the FISOs; it informs all the radar units across the London and Scottish FIR that you are talking to Flight Information.

Once the FISO has the aircraft details, the route can be checked for any possible issues with active Danger Areas (DA). If one is identified as active the pilot can be informed and the extent and level of its activity. This simple and easy process has prevented DA infringements.

The alternative of squawking 7000 or 2000 would mean the ATCO at a radar equipped unit is unable to contact the pilot as quickly compared to an aircraft displaying the FIR squawk. The use of a specific Frequency Monitor Code (FMC) is probably a better option than a FIR squawk but in those areas where the air traffic control unit does not have a specific FMC then obtaining a service from the FIR is an alternative option to the 7000/2000 transponder code. Alternatively, obtaining one of the Flight Information Services from the specific unit always remains an option. Subject to the FISO workload, it is possible request the FISO pre-note a unit of your intended route through the airspace if your workload is high or external factors are having an impact on flight safety.

As FISOs are not permitted to issue specific altitude or heading instructions, it can often be that pilots will be asked to transfer frequency to specific frequency for a controller to be able to identify the aircraft and provide specific instructions or information. This is more likely in the pre- or post-infringement phase of a flight. By obtaining a service from London or Scottish Information and flying close to a controlled airspace boundary, the relevant radar unit can quickly contact the FISO if there is likelihood of an infringement or if an infringement has occurred. Although it may be disconcerting that you have been asked to change frequency, the key aspect is safety; not only your safety but the safety of other pilots and aircraft.

Unplanned flight diversion, unexpected change in plan or a track deviation can create potential ‘Threats’ to the risk of an airspace infringement. Every year the infringement statistics include the ‘unexpected’ aspect as a partial causal factor in the infringement. The extent of the ‘Threat’ will vary depending on your experience, knowledge and skill in maintaining situational awareness. In terms of ‘Threat and Error Management’ the FISO, like any ATCO, can assist in the ‘Error Management’ aspect by assisting (some may see it as an additional pilot) in obtaining information or co-ordinating diversions to airfields if necessary.

As many infringements of airspace are vertical incursions, the use of the correct pressure setting is important. Although FISOs can obtain the correct pressure setting in your area, it is easier to request it from the local airfield frequency or obtain it from an Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) frequency. The use of the Regional Pressure Setting (RPS) beneath CTA has resulted in numerous infringements as its use will result the level displayed on the altimeter lower than the aircraft’s actual level resulting in a vertical infringement. If you are flying close to controlled airspace and in receipt of a ‘Basic Service’ from London or Scottish Information, consider which frequency/who best to get a service from to help prevent an airspace infringement. Make this aspect of your flight an important part of your pre-flight planning.

Maintaining situational awareness is essential and although there is a benefit of receiving a service from the FISO the pilot is responsible for avoiding aerodrome traffic zones (ATZ) whilst en-route. Consideration should be given to leaving the FIS frequency, and advising the FISO of such, to change to the relevant approach unit if your track will pass through the extended runway centreline of those airfields with instrument approach procedures outside controlled airspace.

So, the next time you go flying consider whether obtaining a service from London or Scottish Information is an option or whether any information you need or updated could be available from your friendly Flight Information Service Officers.

22. London Control Area (LTMA)

Preventing infringements in the London Control Area

This infringement update is the twenty second in a series of narratives focusing on airspace infringements in the UK. This article is slightly different from our normal narratives and is focussed around the London Control Area (LTMA) rather than specific airfields or controlled airspace.

As we approach the summer bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (apologies Scotland) you may be planning to fly further away from your normal area over the extended holiday weekend. Even if you’re not, perhaps this is a timely reminder of the infringement risk when flying under or close to the London TMA. For those not familiar with the airspace it comprises 24 different areas across a volume of airspace extending approximately 100NM from West to East and, in some areas 90NM from North to South. It encompasses the south east of England from east of the Isle of Wight turning north just to the west of Dover, passing Southend, to the northeast of Clacton before turning west passing south of Cambridge towards Milton Keynes before turning south to the east of Oxford, east of Southampton and back to the Isle of Wight. The area overlays international airports, multiple civil and military aerodromes and private landing sites serving all aspects of aviation. The LTMA is Class A airspace with the lowest base in places as low as 2,500 feet but the base levels rise further away from the centre and provides contiguous controlled airspace to the various Class D CTRs and CTAs for the London airports.

The areas are notified in the UK AIP in the En-route 2.1 (ENR2.1) section relating to Air Traffic Services Airspace and in the chart at ENR 6.42 (Figure 1 and 2). They are depicted on the 1:250,000 and 1:500,000 VFR charts, as per the extract and examples shown in Figure 2.

It is important to remember that the vertical limit of the 1:250,000 VFR chart is 5,000 feet so any TMA area with a base of 5,500 feet will not be depicted.

London TMA

Figure 1 London TMA

London TMA

Figure 2 London TMA

In 2019 there were 279 reported infringements of the LTMA. An infringement of the TMA requires the ATCO to achieve 3NM or 3,000 feet separation from the unknown infringing aircraft and invariably requires the issuing of ‘safety intervention measures’ such as avoiding action to known traffic to achieve separation. An infringement of the TMA creates a significant safety risk to other pilots and considerable disruption to traffic with the associated increase in workload of pilots and ATCOs due to the traffic density at the various airports.At first glance, the chart of the area looks complicated but careful planning before the flight, including formulating a ‘Plan B’ option, can assist with reducing the workload during the flight and the chance of an airspace infringement from occurring. ‘Plan B’ should be an alternative route around controlled airspace when ‘Plan A’ is denied due to traffic density or when the weather requires a track diversion. We have already encountered several hot summer days with CBs bubbling away; flying through this thermic and turbulent air can quickly result in an infringement of the TMA or be a contributory factor to such an event. The ‘Plan B’ option is always a good ‘Error management’ technique when identifying the risks of your planned route as part of your Threat & Error Management.

 

Hotspots

There are certain areas where infringements occur more often than others. A 5NM radius of the following areas are a general guide as to identified ‘hotspots’ in respect of the TMA. Some of these infringements also result in infringements of adjacent CTAs.

Location Base of LTMA Risk/Effect of Infringement
BNN – BPK – LAM 2,500 feet Infringements can affect Heathrow, Luton and Stansted traffic.
WOD 2,500 feet, west of WOD 3,500 feet Infringements can affect Heathrow traffic
3NM North of BKY and north of Stansted and Luton CTA 4,500 feet Infringements can affect Luton and Stansted traffic
MID – MAY – DET 2,500 feet although the levels change between MAY and DET Infringements can affect Gatwick traffic

 

Tips to avoid the Class A LTMA

Complete Comprehensive Pre-flight Planning

If you intend landing at an aerodrome under the TMA, a CTA or close to a CTR boundary, ensure you have briefed the local procedures; don’t assume that just because you went there last year nothing has changed. Those aerodromes with an ATZ that lay partly within a CTR have a Local Flying Area (LFA) agreement with the relevant controlling authority for the airspace (examples are Denham, Fairoaks, White Waltham and Redhill). It is vital that you follow the published procedures; LFA are not depicted on the VFR charts. Every year infringements are reported when pilots fail to follow the agreed procedures, either by track, altitude or both and infringe the adjacent airspace (CTR) which can easily lead onto an infringement of the TMA; in the 3 years from July 2017 to July 2020 there were almost 70 infringements of the London CTR through non-compliance with published LFA procedures.

A further example requiring detailed flight planning is the controlled airspace around Farnborough, introduced less than a month before the COVID-19 lockdown. You may have read the AICs and publicity material last winter, but have you refreshed your understanding of the airspace boundaries and Class E procedures? This is covered in a detailed narrative (number 10) on this page: Local area information

GPS Moving Maps and Alerts

The benefit of such technology cannot be over emphasised but in many infringements, it has been found that a contributory factor in the event was the deselecting of alerts or not checking the vertical filter settings are set correctly for the planned route. In one occurrence, a pilot reported that the GPS failed on a flight inbound to Elstree from the southwest; in a few seconds, their workload increasing dramatically; a paper chart was immediately available which helped enormously. By plotting the route on a paper chart, you have a perfect contingency in place when the ever-present Threat of a Moving Map failing in flight actually occurs.

Plan Climb and Descent Points

A significant number of infringements occur when pilots start their climb too early from the boundary of different LTMA areas or start their descent too late when approaching areas with a lower base. Why not add a waypoint to your route plan in your Moving Map/on your paper chart that coincides with where it is safe to start a climb or where you need to start your descent to remain under that lower LTMA area ahead of you?

There have also been occurrences when aircraft have left CAS in the descent, following a pilot request, for the pilot to subsequently infringe CAS further along its track to the destination.

Once an aircraft has left CAS a new clearance is required to re-join any further CAS further along its route. Every year reports are received where pilots are unaware of this requirement or have lost situational awareness of their position in relation to adjacent CAS boundaries. A recent airspace infringement resulted when a pilot flying IFR in the Class A Worthing CTA descended out of the airspace and routed under the LTMA areas 8 and 20 only to re-enter LTMA area 2 when positioning to make an approach to Shoreham (Figure 3). The pilot openly reported that:

Having been “cleared to leave controlled airspace by descent,” I carried out a constant descent towards my next waypoint. During this descent, I became unaware that the aircraft had left controlled airspace and my current flight path would then result in me re-entering Class A airspace. This event has highlighted the importance of thoroughly studying the airspace structure along the intended route and also to understand and comply with the exact ATC clearance.

Re-entering LTMA area 2

Figure 3: Re-entering LTMA area 2 when positioning to make an approach to Shoreham

Actively Plan to Remain Clear of the Controlled Airspace – ‘TAKE 2’

In 2017, an active GA pilot and member of a Local Airspace Infringement Team introduced the concept of remaining clear of controlled airspace by 200 feet below the case of controlled airspace (or above a CTR/CTA with Class G above, or above an ATZ or Restricted Prohibited or Danger Areas) or 2nm laterally to help pilots avoid infringing airspace. His simple yet effective idea was supported by safety partners across the aviation community and so the TAKE2 concept was born.

‘Take 2’ can be difficult in some locations around the London area. However, the principle of providing a margin for unexpected errors in the vicinity of CTR/CTA boundaries should not be forgotten just because ‘Taking 2’ might not be possible areas all the time.

In the first month after all COVID-19 related limitations on General Aviation flying were removed, there were almost 30 reported infringements of the TMA. Of these, 15 involved an incursion of 300 feet or less. If the pilots involved had adopted the ‘Take 2’ principle perhaps some of the infringements could have been prevented.

Every year infringement reports are received relating to instructional flights and air-test/maintenance flights. In each of the past 3 years, approximately 1 in 6 infringements occur during instructional flights. With the numerous airspace boundaries and changing levels it is critical that the location for these flights is carefully assessed. As the name says the forecast upper wind is a forecast wind and it’s easy to inadvertently drift into the TMA whilst concentrating on a specific exercise or task assuming the upper wind is as per the forecast. Closer monitoring of an aircraft’s position and track during such flights could eliminate these infringements; this is made all the simpler by the Flight Instructor actively using Moving Map technology both in planning and executing the training flight.

Pressure Setting

The London QNH or the QNH from the aerodrome you’re receiving a service from must be used. If not receiving a service, a QNH can be easy obtained by listening to the appropriate frequency or from the ATIS of the closest airport. Pilots should not be operating on a Regional Pressure Setting when operating under the TMA. There is only a small part of the TMA where the notified base is a Flight Level (FL), so planning when to adjust to a FL and standard pressure setting should be noted.

Frequency Monitor Codes (FMC) ‘Listening Squawks’

The pre-flight planning should include the applicable FMCs and associated frequency for the route. These are available in the UK AIP at ENR1.6 (2.2.5), on this ASI Squawk card and summarised below.

LTMA Listening squawks

Figure 4 LTMA Listening squawks

 

Unit FMC Monitoring Freq
Luton Radar 0013 129.550 MHz
Stansted (Essex Radar) 7013 120.625 MHz
Southend Approach 5050 130.780 MHz
Gatwick Director 7012 126.825 MHz
Thames Director 0012 132.700 MHz
Farnborough Radar 4572 125.250 MHz
Southampton (Solent Radar) 7011 120.230 MHz
Oxford Approach 4517 125.090 MHz

UK Flight Information Services (UK FIS)

Obtaining one of the Flight Information Services is an alternative to using an FMC, even if only for a short duration, if the flight is likely to be operating close to an airspace boundary which you are unfamiliar with. London Information is not permitted to provide a surveillance service so when operating in this busy area the safer option is to obtain a service from the most appropriate unit. There are numerous units which provide a service depending upon your location and route.

If you are lost or uncertain of your position, don’t delay in seeking assistance, squawk 0030 (FIR Lost) and call Distress and Diversion (D&D) on 121.500MHz.

For clarification Thames Radar provide a service to London City and Biggin Hill and the 0012 FMC may be used when flying in the vicinity of London City and London Heathrow and operating outside of the London CTR/London City CTR/CTA.

NAVAID Tracking to/from the TMA

Tracking towards the TMA boundary with the base levels gradually decreasing needs close monitoring and in reverse climbing under the TMA when tracking away. Tracking ‘navaids’ may provide assurance of being ‘on-track’ but it will not provide vertical guidance for remaining below controlled airspace.

21. Doncaster Sheffield controlled airspace: Gamston and Netherthorpe

Preventing infringements of Doncaster Sheffield controlled airspace in the vicinity of Gamston and Netherthorpe aerodromes

This infringement update is the twenty-first in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It has been written by members of the Yorkshire LAIT including ATCSL at Doncaster Sheffield and Liverpool, and operators at Gamston and Netherthorpe aerodromes.

The Yorkshire LAIT has noted that a second hot-spot exists for airspace infringements of the Doncaster Sheffield Controlled Airspace to the south of the airport (figure 1) in relation to aircraft operating into and out of Gamston and Netherthorpe aerodromes. In the months from 1 April to 1 July 2019, there were a significant number of infringements of the CTR and CTA, in the vicinity of Netherthorpe and Gamston aerodromes.

 

Doncaster Sheffield controlled airspace to the south of the airport

Figure 1 Doncaster Sheffield controlled airspace to the south of the airport

 

Doncaster Sheffield Airspace

The Doncaster Sheffield airspace to the south of the airport comprises 8 Control Areas (CTA) and the Control Zone (CTR-2):

AREA VERTICAL LIMITS CLASSIFICATION
CTA-2 1,500 feet – FL105 D
CTA-3 2,000 feet – FL60 D
CTA-6 2,000 feet – FL105 D
CTA-7 2,000 feet – FL105 D
CTA-9 4,000 feet – FL85 D
CTA-11 FL60 – FL85 D
CTA-12 FL60 – FL105 D
CTA-13 E, RMZ and TMZ

 

ZONE VERTICAL LIMITS CLASSIFICATION
CTR-2 SFC – 4,500 feet D

 

Whilst CTA-7 is aligned north-south to the west of the CTR-2, the east’s equivalent is CTA-6 which is sandwiched between CTA -2 and CTA3 and wraps around to the east.

CTA-13 is classified as Class E controlled airspace coincident with a Transponder Mandatory Zone (TMZ) and Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ). The area is bordered by magenta and blue semi-circles depicting this construct.

 

Figure 2a CTA-13

Figure 2a CTA-13

 

Figure 2b CTA-13

Figure 2 b CTA-13

Inbound to or Outbound from Retford Gamston Airport

The airport lies approximately 12nm to the south southeast of Doncaster Sheffield Airport and has an elevation of 87 feet. The Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) lies partly within and beneath the following 2 volumes of controlled airspace and extends to 2,000 feet agl (2,087 feet amsl):

  1. The Class D CTA-3 which extends from the 2,000 feet on the Doncaster Sheffield QNH to Flight Level 60;
  2. The Class D CTA-6 which extends from 2,000 feet on the Doncaster Sheffield QNH to Flight Level 105. This CTA also ‘wraps around’ the CTA and CTR to the east to towards the River Idle; and well above the ATZ to the east lies the Class E, TMZ/RMZ CTA-13 which extends from Flight Level 85 to Flight Level 105.

Due to the location of the CTAs, Gamston has a Local Flying Area (LFA) which is active between 0630 and 2100 hours local. Gamston’s runways are oriented 03/21 and the circuits are flown to the west towards the final approach for Runway 02 at Doncaster Sheffield. When Gamston airport is open traffic operating within the ATZ should do so up to 2,000 feet AAL (2,100’ QNH). In order to ensure a minimum of 500 feet vertical separation from traffic within the ATZ, Doncaster Radar will not descend over the Retford ATZ below 2,600 feet on Doncaster Sheffield QNH

When Runway 02 is in use at Doncaster Sheffield Airport or when Doncaster Radar is off line, an LFA exists within the same lateral limits as the ATZ with a vertical limit of 2,000ft AAL. This lower limit is in place to provide adequate IFR separation for traffic landing on the Doncaster Sheffield runway 02. As a result, care must be exercised when joining via a standard overhead joining procedure. Traffic remaining in the Gamston ATZ should squawk 7010; this converts on the Doncaster radar screens to CCTS (figure 4)

When Runway 20 is in operation at Doncaster Sheffield, an LFA will be activated by Doncaster Radar within the area shown on figure 3; the lower limit is either 1,500 feet or 2,000 feet (based on the Doncaster QNH) dependent on the base of the CTA with an upper limit of 2,500 feet on the Doncaster QNH.

When active a message will be included on the Doncaster ATIS 134.950 Mhz stating “Gamston Local Flying Area Active”.

Figure 3 LFA activated by Doncaster Radar

Figure 3 LFA activated by Doncaster Radar

 

Figure 4 LFA on Doncaster radar screens

Figure 4 LFA on Doncaster radar screens

 

Airways Joining Clearance Procedures for Gamston

A Letter of Agreement is in place between Gamston/Retford Airport and Doncaster Sheffield Airport; in summary the procedures as are as follows:

  1. Subject to workload, the AGCS operator at Gamston Airport will contact the Doncaster Radar Assistant by direct line and pass details of an aircraft that is about to depart to join controlled airspace.
  2. After departure, the aircraft is to remain outside controlled airspace until the pilot has obtained a joining clearance from either Prestwick Centre or Doncaster Radar. The Doncaster Radar Assistant will request the Airways joining clearance from the relevant Prestwick Control sector depending on the Airways joining point as required.
  3. The pilot of the departing aircraft may call Doncaster Radar for Traffic information prior to changing frequency to Prestwick Control to obtain joining clearance.
  4. Occasionally, aircraft will depart outside the airways structure toward Newcastle VOR or Durham Airport. In this case the pilot will comply with 2 above until a clearance to enter Class D airspace has been issued.

Inbound to or Outbound from Netherthorpe Aerodrome. The airport lies approximately 12nm to the southwest of Doncaster Sheffield Airport and has an elevation of 254 feet. The Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) lies partly within and beneath the following 2 volumes of controlled airspace and extends to 2,000 feet agl (2,254 feet amsl):

  1. The Class D CTA-3 which extends from the 2,000 feet on the Doncaster Sheffield QNH to Flight Level 60;
  2. The Class D CTA-6 which extends from 2,000 feet on the Doncaster Sheffield QNH to Flight Level 105.

With an aerodrome elevation of 254 feet, the upper part of the Netherthorpe ATZ lies in the Doncaster Sheffield CTA. The western edge of CTA—3 and CTA-6 lies over the aerodrome at Netherthorpe and just to the west of Runway 18/36.

When Netherthorpe is considered to be active, in order to facilitate the Netherthorpe ATZ and local flying a portion of the Doncaster Sheffield control area to the south west will be available for use by Netherthorpe aircraft without the requirement to obtain an ATC clearance from Doncaster Radar. This area is shown on the attached map will be known as the Netherthorpe Box, (figure 5). The vertical limits of the Netherthorpe box are 2,000 feet to 2,500 feet amsl. Doncaster Radar will ensure that IFR arriving to and departing traffic from Doncaster Sheffield Airport will remain outside the Netherthorpe Box.

 

Figure 5 The Netherthorpe Box

Figure 5 The Netherthorpe Box

 

Visual Reference Points

There are 5 VRPs in the vicinity of the southern half of the controlled airspace structures depicted in figure 6:

Figure 6 VRPs

Figure 6 VRPs

 

M1/M18 Interchange at Thurcroft VRP is the triangular confluence of the 2 motorways (figure 7) and lies within Class G airspace 2.6nm to the west of the CTA-6 and underneath CTA-11. The M1 motorway is a good line feature to follow northbound until this point. If continuing north and northwest bound by following the M18, you should be aware of the threat of overlying airspace at 4,000 feet amsl in the vicinity of Rotherham and then 2,000 feet over the city of Doncaster.

Figure 7 M1 M18 interchange at Thurcroft

Figure 7 M1 / M18 interchange at Thurcroft

 

The VRP at the A1/M18 Interchange at Wadworth (figure 8) lies just inside the Doncaster Sheffield CTR-2 (Surface to Flight Level 105). Pilots not in receipt of a clearance to enter controlled airspace should remain airspace should remain to the west of the VRP and below 2,000 feet Doncaster QNH.

Figure 8 A1 / M18 Interchange at Wadworth

Figure 8 A1 / M18 Interchange at Wadworth

 

Daneshill Lakes VRP (figure 9) is a group of lakes lies 5nm to the north of Gamston and approximately 7nm to the south southeast of Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The VRP is listed as the lake to the southeast of the cluster. Pilots using this VRP should be aware that whilst the physical VRP lies outside the CTR-2 and under CTA-2 (1,500 feet amsl – FL105), many of the lakes lie within the Class D CTR.

Figure 9 Daneshill Lakes

Figure 9 Daneshill Lakes

 

The VRP at A1/A57 Interchange at Clumber lies 1nm to the west of the edge of the Gamston ATZ and is identifiable as the confluence of 5 roads on the edge of the wooded area and just to the south of a railway line (figure 10). It lies underneath CTA-3.

Figure 10 A1 A57 Interchange at Clumber

Figure 10 A1 A57 Interchange at Clumber

 

Thoresby Lake VRP lies in Class G airspace and approximately 1.5nm to the south of to the south of CTA-3 which has the base altitude of 2,000 feet amsl. In applying Threat and Error Management, this is an idea delay point to either start your climb if heading south from under the CTA or to be at or below the CTA when heading north and routing underneath controlled airspace.

 

Separation Standards against an Unknown Aircraft

An unknown aircraft and a separation standard of either 5nm laterally or 5,000 feet vertically must be achieved between that aircraft and IFR aircraft inbound to, or outbound from, Doncaster Sheffield Airport or operating within controlled airspace. In addition, the visual circuit at Doncaster Sheffield airport is frequent used by large aircraft such as Boeing 737s for training; these circuits are flown at 2,000 feet to the east of the airport with a descent to 1,500 feet on final approach. Due to the size, speed and integration aspects, these circuits are much wider than conventional GA circuits and can extend to the edge of controlled airspace. The departure profiles for Runway 20 and arrival profiles for Runway 02 are shown below (figures 11 A and B).

Figure 11 A R20 IFR departure tracks

Figure 11 A R20 IFR departure tracks

 

Figure 11 B R02 IFS arrival tracks

Figure 11 B R02 IFS arrival tracks

 

Preventing an airspace infringement

To prevent an airspace infringement, a s part of their pre-flight planning and in-flight execution, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Consider, in your Threat and Error Management and planning, the climb and descent points when departing from, and arriving to Gamston and Netherthorpe. The risk of an airspace infringement at high-workload points in your flights. Some guidance includes identifying and understanding that Threat and manage the Error accordingly by:

  1. planning to be below 2, 000 feet QNH or the relevant height on your aerodrome’s QFE ahead of reaching the boundary of CTA-3 or CTA-6. If routing from the south, a good point to be at this safe height would be the River Maun and River Meden, the latter flows through Thoresby Lake;
  2. unless you are remaining in the visual circuit, do not depart on the QFE as you will be higher on reaching for example 1,900 feet on your altimeter.
  3. when departing beware of ‘busting’ your planned level. The biggest cause of this is through distraction and by maintaining a higher than required power setting.

Use a Moving Map to give you a profile along your planned route showing controlled airspace above and below your route along with any airspace warnings. Insert waypoints to show descent and climb points that are built into your plan which is advised to, when able, incorporate the Take 2 initiative.

Use the FMC. Rather than squawking 7000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 6170 and monitoring 126.225MHz. Obtain the Doncaster Sheffield QNH by asking an adjacent ATS unit or by listening to that given to other aircraft on 126.225 MHz. It may also be obtained for the ATIS frequency (134.955 MHz) or via telephone, externally 0871-220 2210, Ext 5645, or internally on Ext 5645.

Avoid flying on the RPS in the vicinity of Doncaster Sheffield CTAs. When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will be higher in relation to the Doncaster Sheffield QNH. If you are receiving a FIS from London Flight Information Service, ask the FISO for the Doncaster Sheffield QNH rather than remaining on the Barnsley RPS.

If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of the CTA, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter controlled airspace when appropriate, ATC is able to control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained.

20. Prohibited and Restricted Airspace

Preventing infringements of Prohibited and Restricted Airspace

This infringement update is the twentieth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It has been written by the airspace sponsors involved in the establishment of permanent and temporary prohibited and restricted airspace.

Each year a number of pilots infringe prohibited or restricted airspace in the UK. There are three types of such airspace:

  1. Prohibited and Restricted Airspace;
  2. Restricted Area (Temporary) also known as a RA(T); and
  3. Emergency Restrictions of Flying, known as ERF.

Irrespective of the type of area, all three are established under article 239 of the Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO2016) [as amended] on behalf of the Secretary of State. The regulations made under this article may apply either generally or in relation to any class of aircraft as notified and it is an offence to contravene, permit the contravention of or fail to comply with any regulations made under this article.

Power to prohibit or restrict flying

239.(1) If the Secretary of State decides it is necessary in the public interest to restrict or prohibit flying by reason of—

(a) the intended gathering or movement of a large number of persons;

(b) the intended holding of an aircraft race or contest or of a flying display; or

(c) national defence or any other reason affecting the public interest,

the Secretary of State may make regulations prohibiting, restricting or imposing conditions on flights by aircraft specified in paragraph (2) flying in the circumstances specified in paragraph (2).

(2) The aircraft and circumstances are—

(a) aircraft, whether or not they are registered in the United Kingdom, in any airspace over the United Kingdom or in the neighbourhood of an offshore installation; and

(b) aircraft which are registered in the United Kingdom, in any other airspace, being airspace for which the United Kingdom has, under international arrangements, undertaken to provide navigation services for aircraft.

 All types of area are established by secondary legislation through a Statutory Instrument (SI) and notified by a variety of means. Notifications comprise a volume of airspace and a list of types of operations that are exempt the restrictions (such as Police Helicopters, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services etc) or a means by which a pilot may request access to the area. This may be granted as:

  • a clearance issued by an ATC unit named in the SI; or
  • a permission issued by an individual, a function (such as Flying Display Director or Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit), FISO or AGCS unit.

In 2019 there were 22 infringements of restricted airspace; 6 in permanent areas, 15 in RA(T)s and one in an ERF. This article is intended to provide some knowledge of these types of airspace structures and guidance and useful tips to assist pilots in preventing infringing them.

Prohibited and Restricted Areas

A Prohibited area is an area within which flight is prohibited. There are currently 2 Prohibited Areas in the UK and are listed in the UK AIP ENR (En-Route) section 5.1 (ENR 5.1); both surround nuclear establishments in Scotland. Both areas are assigned a 3 letter and 3 number code. The letters are EG (the designator for the UK) and P for Prohibited; the initial number relates to the position in degrees of latitude e.g. P813 at 58oN.

A Restricted area is an area within which some flying is restricted. As with prohibited areas, all are listed in the UK AIP at ENR 5.1. There are over 40 areas in the UK and they are found around nuclear installations, high-security prison sites, royal residences, areas of Central London and some military establishments. Each area is assigned a 3 letter (EG R) and 3 number code as for Prohibited Areas, e.g. R036 for 50oN. One area is designated as an EG RU (Port of Dover) as it is only applicable to Unmanned Aircraft Systems, hence the U.

The areas are charted as a magenta hatched area and annotated as, for example P813 or R220. The altitude is shown in thousands of feet (2.1 meaning 2,100 feet) and is AMSL (see FIGURE 1). In one area the altitude is Unlimited (UNL).

 

Prohibited and Restricted Areas

FIGURE 1: Prohibited and Restricted Areas

 

The entry in the UK AIP ENR 5.1 notifies the dimensions and the exceptions to the restrictions when, or under what criteria flight, is permitted. Once a permission or a clearance is granted to enter the area, it is still cognizant on the pilot to comply with other aviation legislation such as the ANO2016, Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) or the Rules of the Air 2015. As part of pre-flight planning, if your flight will be in the vicinity of a Prohibited or Restricted Area, it is good practice to review the AIP entry to understand the entry conditions.

Restricted Area (Temporary) (RA(T))

The onset of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of many air displays, festivals and major sporting events. However, prior to 2020, each year some 80-90 RA(T) were established under article 239 of the ANO2016; as the UK comes to terms with the pandemic, events will undoubtedly start to be arranged that will require the protection through RA(T) which will require the awareness of airspace users.

Established to ensure the safety of participants or attendees or for national security reasons, these temporary airspace structures, are notified via a J-series NOTAM and, whenever time permits, through the issuing of a MAUVE Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC). AIC’s can all be found on the NATS AIS website. Just click IAIP (at the top) and they are within the Aeronautical Information Circulars link.  White, Yellow, Pink Mauve and Green AIC will all be displayed. M064/2019 would have been found in the Mauve section.

For complex structures where the AIC 28-day publishing schedule cannot be met, the CAA team will aim to issue a Briefing Sheet on the NATS AIS News page (http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/public/index.php.html). In addition, details of RA(T) are available on a daily basis on the NATS AIS Telephone Information Line; two numbers are available as follows: 08085-354802 or +44(0)1489-887515. The recorded message will give brief details of any restrictions on which you can then brief yourself using the UK NOTAM system (for example via the NATS AIS website) or on Moving Map software.

A RA(T) will always be designed to restrict flight using the minimum amount of airspace to achieve the aim. Whilst most are circles of a specified radius, some RA(T) can be more complex in shape. To assist you in interpreting the list of coordinates forming the boundary, each AIC will include a chart of the area. When operating in the vicinity of a RA(T), it is essential that a good lookout is maintained for other traffic which may be routing abound the area. In addition, for air display RA(T), participants, including fast-jets and large aircraft or formations may be holding outside the RA(T) awaiting a display slot-time and clearance to ‘run-in’.

As RA(T) are specific to individual locations and events, an air show with slower and lower display participants will a have a smaller RA(T) than one which has, for example, fast-jets. This allows the protection of the aircraft engaged in display manoeuvres from unknow traffic but does not restricted transit traffic through the area disproportionately.  Due to the manoeuvres associated with displaying a large-formation team, such as the Red Arrows, these shorter, individual displays, although part of the bigger event, require a larger volume of restricted airspace. For a standard display, in anticipation of a full show, the Red Arrows will be granted a 45-minute cylindrical RA(T) extending to 8,000 feet agl (depending on other airspace structures) within a circle of radius of 6nm centred on the Team’s display datum.

When planning a flight in the vicinity of an air show, it is important to consider all restrictions in 4 dimensions to ensure that the correct volume of airspace is avoided at the relevant times, for example:

AIR SHOW 1

e.g. Bournemouth

AIR SHOW 2

e.g. Rhyl

Air Show Rectangular RA(T)
5nm x 8nm
SFC – 5,500 feet amsl
Daily 1200-1600 hrs UTC for 4 days
Circular RA(T)
Circle 3nm radius
SFC-4,000 feet amsl
1100-1600 hrs UTC
Jet Formation Display Team Circle 6nm radius
SFC-8,000 feet amsl
Day 1: 1200-1245 hrs UTC
Day 2: 1400-1445 hrs UTC
Day 3: 1400-1445
Day 4: 1515-1600
Circle 6nm radius
SFC-8,000 feet amsl
1230-1315 hrs UTC

 

FIGURES 2 to 5 relate to the RA(T) for the Royal International Air Tattoo 2019. The NOTAM (J0214/19) in FIGURE 2 notifies you of a RA(T) comprising 2 areas (one from Surface to FL65 and one from Surface to FL85) between 0700 hours UTC and 1900 hours on each day from 17 to 21 July 2019. Narrative 17 at https://airspacesafety.com/local-area-information/ provides information on how to decode NOTAM.

 

FIGURE 2: NOTAM J0214/19

FIGURE 2: NOTAM J0214/19

 

The AIC narrative (FIGURE 3) and associated chart (FIGURE 4) are extracts from AIC M064/2019 which was issued on the NATS AIS website and provide a clearer notification of the activity. The AIC is also referred to in the NOTAM to assist in your briefing. 

FIGURE 3: AIC M064/2019 TEXT

FIGURE 3: AIC M064/2019 TEXT

 

FIGURE 4: AIC M064/2019 CHART EXTRACT

FIGURE 4: AIC M064/2019 CHART EXTRACT

 

As all RA(T) will be notified by NOTAM, they should appear on Moving Map displays provided that the platform is connected to the internet at the time of planning provided the NOTAM has been issued at that time (a final check of the AIS Telephone Information Line just before you go flying will reduce the risk of not knowing about a RA(T)).  FIGURE 5 shows how the RA(T) was depicted on a Moving Map for the Royal International Air Tattoo 2019. The benefits of the correct use of Moving Map technology when planning for, and undertaking, the flight cannot be underestimated.

 

FIGURE 5: Royal International Air Tattoo RA(T) DEPICTION ON MOVING MAP

FIGURE 5: Royal International Air Tattoo RA(T) DEPICTION ON MOVING MAP

Emergency Restrictions of Flying

In the event of a disaster or major incident occurring on land or sea, within the boundaries of the UK Flight Information Regions, an Emergency Controlling Authority (ECA) may request that an Emergency Restriction of Flying (ERF) Regulations be made under the ANO2016. This is done to prohibit flight in the vicinity of the incident by aircraft not directly engaged in emergency action and thus ensures the safety of life and property, particularly for those working at the scene of the incident or engaged in Search and Rescue (SAR) action. Similar restrictions might also be necessary in the case of an emergency not classed as a disaster or major incident. In 2019, 14 ERF were established for incidents ranging from terror events to the finding of unexploded World War II munitions.

When ERF Regulations have been brought into force, the ECA is the only authority which may grant permission for aircraft to be flown within the notified airspace. Subject to overriding considerations of safety, flights by aircraft directly associated with the emergency action will be given priority over those seeking to overfly the area for any other reason.

Due to the nature of these restrictions, the means of notification are much more limited; a J series NOTAM (FIGURE 6) will be immediately issued but this serves only to notify pilots in the pre-flight planning phase and Air Navigation Service Providers.

 

FIGURE 6 J series NOTAM

FIGURE 6: J Series NOTAM

 

To cascade this information, the Distress and Diversion (D&D) cell at Swanwick Centre will broadcast a sécurité message on the aircraft emergency frequencies (GUARD) of 121.500MHz and 243.000MHz; air traffic service units close to the area will also advise pilots of aircraft on frequency.

How to Avoid the Risk of Infringing Airspace

The following points have been drawn up through analysis of recent airspace infringement of restricted airspace:

The Airspace & Safety Initiative website provides extensive advice on how to avoid the risk of infringing airspace.

Always use a Moving Map as part of your pre-flight route planning and in-flight to display the most ‘up-to-date’ airspace situation. Ensure that your device is connected to the internet when planning your flight.

In 2017, a pilot dispensed with their moving map when flying close to an air display; the subsequent RA(T) infringement resulted in an airprox with a jet positioning for its display.

In 2018, a pilot failed to connect their tablet device to the internet when planning/briefing for their flight and was unaware of a RA(T); the subsequent RA(T) infringement resulted in an airprox with a large transport aircraft practising its display.

Plan every flight in detail. Once you formulate your plan, consider a Plan B.

Apply Threat and Error Management in your planning. Threat & Error Management

Always call the NATS AIS Telephone Information Line prior to your flight (including each individual flight on a ‘multi-sector’ day’s flying). This will not only provide you with information on planned RA(T) but also on any ERF that may have been established since your last briefing. The information on this telephone line will not be sufficient to use solely as briefing material but will form the starting point to conduct a NOTAM/AIC brief on the activity. Two numbers are available as follows:

  • 08085-354802; or
  • +44(0)1489-887515.

Always carry out a NOTAM brief prior to EVERY flight no matter how short or local your flight is anticipated to be.

When able, it is recommended that you ‘Take 2’ around or over restricted airspace. In any case, when flying in the vicinity of such airspace structures, keep a good look out for other traffic and, for air display RA(T), beware aircraft entering, or holding to enter, or exiting the RA(T). TAKE2

Previous narratives in this series have encouraged pilots to obtain a service from ATC or use a Frequency Monitory Code (also known an FMC or Listening Squawk) when operating in the vicinity of controlled airspace to prevent airspace infringements or to enable their prompt resolution; by doing so (or by monitoring 121.500MHz on a second radio), you will also receive timely notifications of any ERF. Listening Squawks

19. Farnborough Controlled Airspace: Blackbushe Airport

Preventing infringements of the Farnborough Controlled Airspace in the vicinity of Blackbushe Airport

This infringement update is the nineteenth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It has been written by the team at Blackbushe Airport, Farnborough Air Traffic Service Unit and members of the Wessex Local Airspace Infringement Team.

The Farnborough Controlled Airspace (CAS) complex was implemented on 27 February 2020. During the first 4 months there were 17 reported airspace infringements involving aircraft departing or arriving at Blackbushe; 58% of these related to aircraft vacating the Blackbushe Local Flying Area (LFA) and infringing the Farnborough Control Zone (CTR-1)

Blackbushe aerodrome is surrounded by an aerodrome traffic zone (ATZ) of 2NM radius, except that part of the circle located directly above of and to south of the M3 Motorway.  The ATZ extends from the surface to 2,000 feet AAl (2,325 feet AMSL). (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Farnborough CAS complex

Figure 1 Farnborough CAS complex

Whilst the aerodrome lies within Class G airspace, part of the Blackbushe ATZ lies within the Class D Farnborough CTR-1. The area of overlap between the EGLK ATZ and EGLF CTR-1 forms the Blackbushe LFA .  The LFA dimensions are promulgated in in the UK AIP at AD2.22.4 LOCAL FLYING AREA.  It is shown in Figure 2 which is published on the Blackbushe Airport website at https://www.blackbusheairport.co.uk/aerodrome.

The LFA is available from surface to 2,000 feet AMSL (1,675 feet AAL) to VFR flights. SVFR operations within the LFA require a clearance from Farnborough Radar, and are required to be separated from other SVFR/IFR aircraft.  As a result, issuance of such a clearance from Farnborough Radar would be available to only one aircraft at a time.

Figure 2 Farnborough LFA

Figure 2 Farnborough LFA

Aircraft JOINING/OPERATING in the Blackbushe Visual Circuit

Runway 25

The majority of the airspace infringements to date have resulted from pilots extending downwind in the Runway 25 visual circuit (Figure 3) and leaving the LFA in the vicinity of Hawley Lake. The AIP entry for the LFA states “Pilots are required to contain their circuits within the LFA and ATZ. In particular, on Runway 25 note to turn base leg west of Hawley Lake to avoid infringing the CTR to the east.” In addition, on the Blackbushe Airport Information page pilots are advised to “Turn Base Leg before reaching Hawley Lake to ensure circuits remain inside the ATZ/LFA.  If aircraft ahead are establishing a wider circuit, do not follow, but reposition deadside or orbit as appropriate, and in communication with ATSU.”

If the visual circuit is extending to the east and there is a possibility that you might leave the LFA, make a positive, early decision to reposition deadside for another circuit; DO NOT extend over or to the east of Hawley Lake.

Figure 3 Farnborough R25

Figure 3 Farnborough R25

Runway 07

When joining for Runway 07 turn base leg When joining or descending deadside, take care to remain west of Yateley.  Follow the path of disused runway 14/32, keeping it to the left at all times.

Turn Base Leg before reaching The Elvetham Hotel (and abeam Fleet Services) to ensure circuits remain inside the ATZ/LFA.  If aircraft ahead are establishing a wider circuit, do not follow, but reposition deadside or orbit as appropriate, and in communication with ATSU. (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Farnborough R07

Figure 4 Farnborough R07

If you are re-joining the circuit, you must ensure that you are squawking 7010 prior to entering the LFA.  Where you are entering the LFA from the south (within the Farnborough CTR-1), you may either retain the squawk issued for your transit, or select 7010 once North of the M3.

General Circuit Procedures

Circuit Procedures
  • Circuits are always to the south of the Airfield and are flown at 800 feet QFE for most fixed wing aircraft.
  • For jet, turbo-prop, or other high-performance traffic, circuits are flown at 1,200 feet QFE.
  • Rotary wing circuits are flown at 800 feet QFE typically inside the fixed wing circuit. All pilots should be aware of rotary traffic using non-standard circuits when using the Helicopter Training Area to the south of Runway 07/25.
  • Pilots must remain north of the M3 motorway to avoid infringing the Farnborough ATZ/CTR.
  • In the interests of safety, orbits in the circuit are generally not permitted, but may be required on occasion due to the range of aircraft with different performance characteristics. Should orbits be required they should first be declared, and then be executed in the direction of the circuit.
  • Unless in an emergency, aircraft must observe the Rules of the Air for aerodromes at all times.

Aircraft DEPARTING Blackbushe Airport

Another area in which airspace infringements have occurred are during the departure phase, in particular from Runway 07 where a ‘wrap around’ departure is required to avoid the noise abatement areas associated with Yateley. The Blackbushe airport website gives clear guidance as follows:

Runway 25 Departures

“If departing to the North or West, straight out departures are permitted with a right turn to avoid overflying Hartley Wintney and avoid entering controlled airspace to the South.

If departing to the South West, South or East, a clearance must be sought to enter the Farnborough CTR/CTA”.

Runway 07 Departures

“On climb out, a turn 10° to the south must be made to avoid Yateley.

Unless in an emergency, all turns must be to the south.  To leave the circuit, climb on the downwind leg into the overhead, remaining outside controlled airspace by remaining below 2,000 feet AMSL (1,675 feet AGL) unless in receipt of a clearance from Farnborough Radar.”

The important point to note to avoid infringing the Farnborough CTR-1 is that departing aircraft must maintain below 2,000 feet AMSL (1,675 feet AGL) until clear of the lateral confines of the LFA to the west and north.  Care must be taken when departing to the southwest not to inadvertently enter the CTR if you are not in receipt of an air traffic clearance to enter the CTR

Preventing an airspace infringement when operating at Blackbushe Airport

The key to avoiding airspace infringements when operating to/from/at Blackbushe is to have a thorough understanding of the airspace structures and local operating procedures.

When operating in the Blackbushe circuit always remain in the LFA.

When flying downwind for Runway 25, turn base leg before reaching Hawley Lake. If the aircraft ahead of you is flying wide circuits, go around early and reposition for another circuit.

When flying downwind for Runway 07, turn base leg before the Elvetham Hotel (abeam Fleet Services).

When departing from Runway 07, turn right downwind and remain below 2000 feet AMSL (1675 feet AGL) until clear of the LFA.

Prior to each flight into/from Blackbushe, review local procedures as part of your pre-flight planning. These are clearly explained at:

Aircraft flying in the vicinity of Farnborough CAS

The Airspace & Safety Initiative website provides extensive advice on how to avoid the risk of infringing airspace. You are strongly encouraged to:

  • Use a Moving Map. In over 80% of airspace infringements, pilots were found not to be using a moving map or not using one correctly. This is particularly evident during instructional flights where instructor workload is high and distractions highly likely. Using moving maps not only gives pilots a profile along the planned route showing controlled airspace above and below the route but it offers airspace warnings.
  • When flying in proximity to controlled airspace, and able to, Take 2 and operate on the most appropriate altimetry  setting when operating under CTA.  In this case it is the London QNH.
  • Obtain a Lower Airspace Radar Service (LARS) from Farnborough Radar. Pilots can obtain a LARS from Farnborough Radar in this area on 125.250MHz; the hours of operation are listed in the UK AIP EGLF AD2.18 or subject to NOTAM action if different.
  • Use the FMC. Rather than squawking 7000/2000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 4572 and monitoring 125.250MHz. Obtain the London QNH by asking an adjacent ATS unit or by listening to that given to other aircraft on 125.250MHz.  It may also be obtained for the ATIS frequency (128.405 MHz).
  • Apply Threat and Error Management when planning and flying. Always consider airspace when making a detailed plan. Build in climb and descent points when routing in the vicinity of multiple CTAs with differing base altitudes. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by. Have a point beyond which you are not going to fly if you do not have a positive clearance to enter controlled airspace particularly when departing Fairoaks and Blackbushe when cockpit workload is high. One of the biggest causes of infringements is distraction; manage that Threat when operating close to controlled airspace.
  • Avoid flying on the RPS in the vicinity of Farnborough CTAs or below the London TMA. When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will be higher in relation to the London QNH.  Always ask for the London QNH rather than accepting/flying on the Chatham RPS.
  • If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of the CTA, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter controlled airspace when appropriate, ATC is able to control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained

18. Southend CTR/CTA

Preventing infringements in the vicinity of Southend

This infringement update is the eighteenth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It has been written by the team at Southend Airport Air Traffic Control.

During 2019 there were 33 reported infringements into the Southend CTR/CTA. It has been identified that a large percentage of these infringements were undertaken by aircraft that made a late request for a transit whilst very close to, or already having crossed, the Controlled Airspace (CAS) boundary.

 

The Southend CAS complex

The Southend CAS complex

 

The Southend CAS complex comprises 3 Control Zones (CTR) and 10 Control Areas (as follows); all are Class D airspace:

AREA VERTICAL LIMITS AREA VERTICAL LIMITS AREA VERTICAL LIMITS
CTR-1 SFC – 3,500 feet CTA-1 1,500 – 3,500 feet CTA-6 2,500 – 5,500 feet
CTR-2 SFC – 4,500 feet CTA-2 1,500 – 4,500 feet CTA-7 2,500 – 3,500 feet
CTR-3 SFC – 5,500 feet CTA-3 1,500 – 5,500 feet CTA-8 3,500 – 5,500 feet
CTA-4 2,500 – 3,500 feet CTA-9 3,500 – 4,500 feet
CTA-5 2,500 – 4,500 feet CTA-10 3,500 – 5,500 feet

 

In order to prevent these and other types of infringement, pilots are encouraged to as part of their pre-flight planning and in-flight execution consider the following:

Aircraft planning to cross/enter Southend CAS

Use a Moving Map to give you a profile along your planned route showing controlled airspace above and around your route along with any airspace warnings.

Make requests for a transit clearance as early as is practically possible. Give yourself plenty of time (Ideally 5 minutes prior to Southend CAS boundary) to be able to request and receive a transit clearance. Southend LARS (130.780 MHz) can handle over 200 aircraft on some days and therefore the frequency can become incredibly busy. Giving yourself more time will reduce your workload and decrease the chance of entering CAS without a positive clearance and reduce the chance of you having to take delaying action or change your level.

Have a point beyond which you are not going to fly, or where you will have to change your route or level, if you have not received a clearance to enter controlled airspace.

On days where the Southend Radar frequency becomes busy, Southend controllers will ‘split’ the radar into two separate positions to help manage traffic and RT loading more efficiently. Aircraft that request a transit may be instructed to contact ‘Southend Director’ on 132.455MHz. Being instructed to contact Southend Director does not give you permission to enter Southend CAS unless a positive clearance to do so has already been obtained.

Make a Detailed Plan. Southend offers a flexible approach to CAS transits and will try to accommodate all users when able. However, depending on a variety of factors such as traffic situation and runway in use, the route that you request may not always be immediately available or practical.

Plan for the possibility of alternative routings, changing levels (i.e. descending below CTA) or having to hold outside CAS whilst waiting for a clearance to be given. Know the location of the Southend VRPs and what they look like (see below).

When planning a route that involves flying through a runway extended centreline, consider the possibility of being given an alternative routing that takes you to a VRP or via the Southend overhead.

Southend radar are more likely to be able to accommodate a clearance that is perpendicular to the runway centrelines and close to the airfield i.e. Routing South Woodham Ferrers (VRP), overhead the airfield and Sheerness (VRP) and the reciprocal.

Visual Reference Points

Southend has 8 Visual reference points (VRPs) as follows:

Southend VRPs

Southend VRPs

1. Billericay (Lake Meadows Park. North of Billericay train station).

Location: 11nm NW of Southend just before CTA-4 of Southend CAS.

Pilots approaching Billericay towards Southend may need to be already in the descent to remain outside Southend CAS (Base 2,500 feet at CTA-4).

2. South Woodham Ferrers (Sewage works NE of South Woodham Ferrers Town)

Location: 5.5nm NNW of Southend. Underneath Southend CTA1 (Base 1,500 feet) and 0.5NM from the Southend CTR (base surface).

Used by VFR aircraft departing Southend. Often used by Southend Controllers for joining and transit aircraft as the VRP is perpendicular to the Runway extended centrelines. Aircraft flying in the vicinity of South Woodham Ferrers are encouraged to contact Southend ATC due to the busy nature of this VRP and the vicinity of aerodromes such as Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome.

3. Northey Island (East of Maldon/Heybridge Basin in the River blackwater)

Location:  9NM N of Southend. Underneath Southend CTA4 (base 2, 500 feet) and 0.5NM from Southend CTA-1 (base 1500 feet).

Aircraft wishing to transit Southend CAS from the North are encouraged to contact Southend Radar 5 minutes before Northey Island VRP.

4. Southminster (Lakes South of Southminster train station)

Location: 7NM NE of Southend inside Southend CTR (base surface).

5. Whitstable Harbour

Location:  18NM SE of Southend under London Control Area (LTMA) (base 5,500 feet)

Aircraft wishing to transit Southend CAS from the SE are encouraged to contact Southend Radar no later than Whitstable Harbour VRP.

6. Southend Pier (Seaward end of Pier with cultural centre)

Location: 3NM South of Southend inside CTR (base surface)

Often used to hold joining aircraft from the South during busy periods. VRP perpendicular to runway centrelines so may be used to route transit aircraft.

7. Sheerness (Docks and Fortification)

Location: 7.5NM SSE of Southend underneath CTA-7 (base 2,500 feet) and 0.5NM from CTA-1 (base 1,500 feet).

Used by VFR aircraft departing Southend. Often used by Southend Controllers for joining and transit aircraft as the VRP is perpendicular to the Runway extended centrelines.

8. Gateway Port (Large Cargo Port on Thames Estuary)

Location:  8NM SW of Southend underneath Southend CTA-1 (base 1,500 feet) and 0.5NM from CTR (base surface).

Depending on Runway in use used to route transit aircraft. As it is located on the Runway extended centreline, pilots may be given a clearance with a “not above” altitude restriction.

Aircraft flying in the vicinity of Southend CAS

Use a Moving Map to give you a profile along your planned route showing controlled airspace above and around your route along with any airspace warnings.

Request a Lower Airspace Radar Service from Southend Radar. Pilots can request a LARS from Southend radar on 130.780 MHz between 0900L-1800L. Outside these hours the Southend radar frequency is still monitored, and a service can be requested.

Use the FMC. Rather than squawking 7000/2000, use the Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 5050 and monitoring Southend Radar on 130.780 MHz. If aircraft are fitted with Mode S transponders the Southend controller will be able to see your Flight ID (callsign) on their radar display and will be able to call you if they observe you approaching or about to enter CAS. Aircraft should not hesitate to establish contact with Southend Radar if they require any assistance or are unsure of their position.

Make a Detailed Plan. The airspace in the vicinity of Southend is very complex with the Southend, Stansted and London City CTAs in close proximity along with changing levels to the base of the London TMA.  Build in your climb and descent points when routing in the vicinity of multiple CTAs/LTMA with the differing base altitudes. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by.

If appropriate – request a CAS crossing clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of the Southend CTA, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter controlled airspace when appropriate, Southend ATC can control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained

 

17. Controlled Airspace Deactivation NOTAM

Preventing airspace infringements of Controlled Airspace

NOTICES TO AIRMEN (NOTAM) RELATING TO CONTROLLED AIRSPACE DEACTIVATION

This infringement update is the seventeenth in a series of narratives focusing on helping pilots avoid airspace infringements in the UK. It has been written by a number of industry partners to help pilots better understand NOTAM relating to the deactivation of controlled airspace.

We are all experiencing strange times in aviation; COVID-19 and the associated overseas travel restrictions have reduced commercial air transport (CAT) to all but a trickle with freight flights outnumbering the previously packed airport schedule of passenger flights.  With demand for air transport low and many Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) and airport staff furloughed, several airports are operating revised or reduced hours.  Consequently, the need for H24, Class D Control Zones (CTR) and Control Areas (CTA) has reduced and many airports are deactivating controlled airspace to Class G when the airport closes.

A thorough check of the NOTAM validity is essential as some of these can be changing daily with short-term notification of activity. Some NOTAM are providing guidance to use the Frequency Monitoring Code [FMC] (sometimes referred to as a “Listening Squawk”) and monitor the appropriate frequency, even when the ATS is closed as a defensive measure just in case the airspace is activated between the time you plan and fly.

As a result of these deactivations, some Moving Map applications depict the airspace boundaries in rarely seen colours and may visually show airspace being deactivated throughout the NOTAM period, when in fact the airspace is only classified as Class G for certain periods of time (the schedule) within the NOTAM period.

In the first 2 weeks of the resumption of GA sport and recreational flying (beyond that permitted for maintenance flights), there were 47 airspace infringements, 40 of which involved GA aircraft. A number resulted from the mis-interpretation of NOTAM relating to the deactivation of controlled airspace.  If you are unsure about the NOTAM, its content or how to interpret some of the information, this narrative should help to make the NOTAM more understandable.

NOTAM structure

A NOTAM comprises several Fields (A-G) and a Q Line.  The NOTAM is constructed in accordance with Operating Procedures for AIS Dynamic Data (OPADD) defined in ICAO Annex 15. The current OPADD is Edition 4.

The NOTAM’s Q line is a coded line which contains the reference FIR and a series of letters denoting the type of activity. It also contains the central point in Degrees and Minutes and the radius in nautical miles (NM) of an area which encompasses the entire activity.  This is why, on some Moving Maps, an activity area such as a polygon is sometimes depicted as an even larger circle. The Q line is used for Aeronautical Information Management purposes and offers little flight planning information to pilots.

The fields (all or some which may be used depending on the NOTAM series being used) relate to:

A ICAO code for FIR or aerodrome
B Start time in UTC
C Ends time in UTC
D Daily Schedule
E Free text field describing the activity iaw OPADD
F Lower level of activity
G Upper level of activity

All NOTAM use UTC. Care must be taken in the summer months due to the one-hour time difference in the UK between UTC and local.

NOTAM Series

There are currently 18 NOTAM series in use in the UK; they can be found in the UK AIP at GEN 3 .1 (Aeronautical Services) table 3.6.3.4. Each series covers a specific content.  For example, a NOTAM relating to London Heathrow will be an A series NOTAM, a similar one for Birmingham would be a C series.  Unusual Aerial Activity (UAA) is notified using an H series NOTAM as it relates to a navigation warning. The establishment of a volume of Restricted Airspace (Temporary) (RA(T)) or a Temporary Danger Area (TDA) would be promulgated by a J series NOTAM.

Controlled Airspace Deactivation NOTAM

A number of CTA/CTR are deactivated at certain times through the day; these changes in classification are notified by NOTAM which is then annotated on Moving Map displays.  One such volume of airspace subject to declassification is the airspace around Birmingham.  An example is NOTAM C3627/20 which deactivates Birmingham’s CTR and CTA between 2259 hours UTC and 0559 hours UTC on each day starting on 2 June 2020 and ending on 30 June 2020 (see FIGURE 1).

In decoding this NOTAM, the following information is provided:

Q Line Birmingham Airport and the subject airspace (CTR/CTA) encompassed in a 20nm radius centred at 5225N 000152W
A ICAO code for Birmingham Airport EGBB
B Start time in UTC 2259 hours UTC on 2 June 2020
C Ends time in UTC 0559 hours UTC on 30 June 2020
D Daily Schedule Each day from 2259 hours UTC to 0559 hours UTC
E Free text field Description of activity in clear words or using abbreviations in OPADD
F Lower level of activity Not used in this series
G Upper level of activity Not used in this series
NOTAM FIGURE 1

FIGURE 1

If the airspace was deactivated for the entire period from 2259 hours on 2 June 2020 until 0559 hours on 30 June 2020, the NOTAM would not contain a schedule (D field)

Some locations that need to open ad hoc will add extra information for pilots such as listening out on the appropriate FMC frequency, and squawking the appropriate FMC code. Note that you should listen out FIRST, THEN set the squawk code with altitude [ALT] (MODE A and C). This will allow the Air Traffic Service Unit (ATSU) to quickly identify aircraft within the lateral/vertical confines of the airspace in the minutes running up to reactivation of controlled airspace. An example of the extra information that a NOTAM might contain in these circumstances is shown below:

PILOTS ARE REQUESTED TO MAKE BLIND CALLS ON SOLENT 120.230 AND MONITOR UNTIL CLEAR. SQUAWK MONITOR 7011 FOR SOLENT/SOUTHAMPTON IS ADVISED. IF DEPARTING FROM A SITE WITHIN THE ATZ/CTR, TRY CALLING SOUTHAMPTON ATC ON THE LANDLINE OR MAKE BLIND CALLS WHILST ON THE GROUND TO SOLENT 120.230 MHZ.

 When there is overlapping airspace with neighbouring units, pilots should be aware that there is a possibility of different ATC unit operating hours. Even if CTAs are deactivated, airspace delegated to neighbouring units might still be active. An example of this is in the Solent area with Southampton and Bournemouth ATSUs. In FIGURE 2, NOTAM B1353/20 clearly guides pilots which FMC to use in the area. This also acts a reminder that part of the Solent CTA is routinely delegated to Bournemouth. The line Stoney Cross–Beaulieu-Needles is the published FMC boundary and when using an FMC and flying west of that line, pilots should select the Bournemouth radar frequency of 119.475MHz and squawk Bournemouth’s FMC (0011) irrespective of Solent opening hours and any deactivation of CTA/CTR.

NOTAM FIGURE 2

FIGURE 2

 Moving Map Depiction

Not all Moving Map depictions for airspace deactivation NOTAM are the same. For example, SkyDemon uses a colour coding system. When airspace is activated it is outline in red/orange and when deactivated it is outlined in green. The associated NOTAM has a similar colour banner shown in FIGURE 3.

NOTAM FIGURE 3

FIGURE 3

Care must be taken to review and decode the NOTAM correctly.  The Green boundary will be shown H24 until 0559 hours UTC on 30 June 2020 because a NOTAM exists to deactivate the Class D airspace; it does not indicate that the airspace is declassified H24 unless that is stated in NOTAM.  Only by expanding the NOTAM as shown in FIGURE 4 will you see the scheduled times of ‘2259 – 0559’.

NOTAM FIGURE 4

FIGURE 4

REMEMBER when planning and carrying out your flight that the existence of a green boundary does not necessarily mean that the Class D airspace is deactivated.  It is vital that the schedule is referred to so that you are aware whether a clearance to enter the CTR/CTA is required due to the airspace being Class D.

Other Information in the E Field

A telephone number will be included in many H series NOTAM relating to unusual aerial activity (UAA).  This is an agreed contact number of the activity sponsor that will be available while the NOTAM is effective.  On occasions, for example, a 15-minute flying display may be subject to a 2-hour window for a variety of reasons ranging from weather contingencies, transit from previous displays or finalisation of the event programme at the point when the NOTAM was submitted into the European AIS Database.  During the pre-flight planning stage of your flight, you can call the sponsor to establish a more accurate time of the activity thereby possibly negating a re-route to avoid the activity. If the sponsor is contacted who states that the activity the NOTAM refers to has either been cancelled or has a later start time, or an earlier finish time, then it is perfectly permissible to accept these as the new start/finish times for the NOTAM concerned.

Some parachuting activity takes place in an inverted cone of airspace. The E field of the NOTAM will contain a number of values showing the radius of the activity at different altitudes. The Q line, and possibly the depiction on Moving Maps, will show a circle based on the highest altitude (and therefore largest radius) where the parachutists will vacate the aircraft and then drift to the drop zone (DZ) whilst descending through the cone of activity. The NOTAM is depicted as a circle with the centre based on the DZ since at the time of NOTAM submission the winds will be unknown. However, in reality the activity will usually take place in the upwind part of the depicted circle.

The NOTAM in FIGURE 5 relates to one such parachute jumping exercise (PJE). If you are planning to fly at 3,000 feet amsl, good airmanship dictates that you should remain 4NM from the DZ at 515246N 0011320W as you may encounter parachutists between 1100 hours UTC and 1800 hours UTC; if you are planning to fly at 1,500 feet amsl, the radius is only 2NM.

Should you wish to speak to the event sponsor to check on the status of this activity, you could do so on 07970 363xxx. On Moving Maps, this NOTAM would be displayed with a circle of 10NM as that is the maximum radius of the activity but only between 6,001 feet amsl and 15,000 feet amsl.

NOTAM FIGURE 5

FIGURE 5

Prevent an airspace infringement

This website includes extensive advice on how to avoid infringing airspace. Reviewing other hot-spot narratives as part of your pre-flight planning will offer a great deal of useful advice. Pilots are strongly encouraged to:

  • Pre-flight plan that incorporates all aspects of the flight including the departure, en-route and arrival phases of the flight should be detailed, unrushed and focussed. The planning should incorporate Threat and Error Management (TEM). Make a Plan B as part of your TEM. There is a requirement to plan for every flight even if you are getting airborne to fly visual circuits; NOTAM and weather must be briefed.
  • Use a Moving Map which will provide a profile along your planned route showing the controlled airspace boundary. Know exactly how your chosen Moving Map depicts airspace, UAA and alerts and pay attention to, and note, the alerts before cancelling/accepting them.
  • Take 2. When able Take 2. Apply TEM when planning your route and altitude. By ‘Taking 2’ you will have time to recover from distractions and external threats such as conflicting aircraft prior to infringing airspace.
  • Make use of an Air Traffic Service. Note the frequencies along your route, print off a PLOG and plan your transmissions.
  • Use a Frequency Monitor Code (FMC). Rather than squawking 7000/2000, and if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use an FMC appropriate to the direction of flight. FMCs have proven to prevent infringements and reduce the severity of such occurrences.

 


The full set of hot-spot narratives can be found on this page: Local area information

16. Stansted CTA, CTR and TMZs

Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of Stansted

This infringement update is the sixteenth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It has been written by members of the Stansted Local Airspace Infringement Team.

Following 12 weeks of consultation in early 2009, the CAA approved the establishment of two Transponder Mandatory Zones (TMZ) around Stansted airport. This resulted from overriding safety concerns in relation to the number, and severity, of airspace infringement risk of the two Control Areas (CTA) adjacent to the Control Zone (CTR) reported in previous years. The introduction of the TMZs negated any additional controlled airspace to be introduced but enhanced controller situational awareness and safety.

With Aeronautical Information Circulars published, Letter of Agreements with local airfields signed and controllers trained, the procedures were introduced on 24 September 2009. Over ten years later despite many pilots correctly adhering to the requirements, reports of infringements of the TMZ and Stansted controlled airspace continue to be submitted. Why is there still, on average, one TMZ infringement each week of the year? Is there a lack of awareness of the existence of the TMZs, an understanding of the transponder requirement or the correct procedures to be followed to enter the TMZs?

In 2019, there were a total of 131 infringements of the 3 notified airspace types at Stansted: 54 were in the Control Area (CTA), 24 were in the Control Zone (CTR) and 53 were in the TMZ.

London Stansted

London Stansted

Transponder Mandatory Zones

TMZs 1 & 2 are co-incident with the lateral boundaries of CTA-1 (north-east) and CTA-2 (south-west) of the Stansted CTR. They are Class G airspace from the surface to 1,500 feet amsl and are subject to SERA 6005 and therefore notified airspace in relation to airspace infringements.

Stansted TMZ-1 and TMZ-2

Stansted TMZ-1 and TMZ-2

Access to the Stansted TMZs, without ATC approval, requires a serviceable Mode S Elementary transponder to be operated, at all times and to its full extent. Despite this such traffic is strongly recommended to afford itself to one of the UK Flight Information Services from Farnborough North (channel 132.800 MHz) or make use of the Frequency Monitoring Code (FMC) 7013 and listen to Essex Radar (channel 120.625 MHz). The Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) facilitates access into the TMZ for those pilots whose aircraft do not meet the transponder requirement. The UK AIP publishes the requirements to operate within the TMZ in GEN1.5 (AIRCRAFT INSTRUMENTS, EQUIPMENT AND FLIGHT DOCUMENTS) paragraph 5.3.1(f); these requirements are reproduced in the various commercial flight guides.

If you wish to operate in a Stansted TMZ without a serviceable Mode S transponder or without any form of transponder, access may still be granted subject to specific ATC approval. This approval may only be obtained from Farnborough Radar on channel 132.800 MHz between 0800-2000 or from Essex Radar on channel 120.625 MHz at other times. In such circumstances, the procedures for Farnborough Radar to co-ordinate with Essex Radar may result in short delay so an awareness of this fact in the pre-flight planning stage should be remembered with an earlier call made to reduce the potential delay.

When an unknown aircraft is detected within a TMZ there is a significant workload increase for the controller including a set procedure to be followed with co-ordination. Although Class G airspace, all un-identified primary only or Mode A-only returns will be treated as an airspace infringement and if necessary ‘Avoiding Action’ passed to arriving IFR aircraft and departing IFR aircraft if already airborne. Other departing aircraft will be held on the ground and delayed depending upon the position of the unknown aircraft. A ‘Loss of Separation’ is recorded when it’s not possible to maintain 3NM laterally or 3,000 feet vertically from the unknown aircraft.

If you intend to visit any of the airfields near the TMZs, review the arrival and departure procedures online and in VFR flight guides; you may be required to obtain a specific briefing from the airfield operators to ensure compliance of the agreed local ATC procedures. When you PPR/book into the aerodrome, ask the ANSP/AGCS of any specific procedures that need to be followed.

Further information relating to the Stansted TMZ can be found in UK AIP EGSS AD2.2.7

Stansted Controlled Airspace

Although many pilots comply with the TMZ procedures, there are still reported infringements of CTA-1 and CTA-2 when pilots have climbed from the TMZ into the CTAs or flown through the corner of the CTR boundary.

The controlled airspace complex comprises the CTR and 4 CTA. The CTR extends from the surface to 3,500 feet amsl with CTA-1 extending from 1,500 feet amsl to 3,500 feet amsl and CTA-2 extending from 1,500 feet amsl to 2,500 feet. Two additional CTAs exist: CTA-3 (2,000 feet amsl to 3,500 feet amsl) to the east and south east of the CTR and lies above Andrewsfield and High Easter aerodromes. CTA-4 lies to the west and northwest of the CTR and has the Luton CTA-1 to the west of that; CTA-4 extends from 2,500 feet amsl to 3,500 feet amsl and lies above Audley End and Nuthampstead aerodromes. All airspace is Class D. The Class A London Control Area (LTMA) is contiguous from the upper CTA levels to FL195.

CTA-1 and TMZ-1 northeast of the Stansted CTR

CTA-1 and TMZ-1 northeast of the Stansted CTR

CTA-2 and TMZ-2 southwest of the Stansted CTR

CTA-2 and TMZ-2 southwest of the Stansted CTR

CTA-3 west of the Stansted CTR adjoins the Luton CTA

CTA-3 west of the Stansted CTR adjoins the Luton CTA

CTA-4 east of the Stansted CTR

CTA-4 east of the Stansted CTR

Stansted has 14 Visual Reference Points (VRPs); all are listed in UK AIP EGSS AD2.22.5; changes made in 2019 are now depicted on the latest VFR charts.

For those pilots who use radio navigation techniques to navigate by, or as a back-up for visual navigation, there are 3 VOR/DME nearby to assist with cross-referencing positions from notified airspace boundaries:

NAVAID ID FREQUENCY NOTES
Barkway VOR/DME BKY 116.250 MHz under CTA-4 and 4NM from the CTR boundary
Brookmans Park VOR/DME BPK 117.500 MHz 2NM from the boundary of CTA-2 and TMZ-2.
Lambourne VOR/DME LAM 115.600 MHz 2.5NM from the boundary of CTA-2 and TMZ-2 and inside the Stapleford ATZ.

If routing between the Stansted and Luton CTRs, flying direct between the VOR/DME of BPK and BKY and keeping to the west of the WARE and PUCKERIDGE VRPs will ensure that, if below the LTMA, you will not infringe controlled airspace. In Threat and Error Management (TEM) terms, infringing CAS is a ‘Threat’ then perhaps the ‘Error Management’ is utilising these NAVAIDs to assist with navigation.

Prevent an airspace infringement

The Airspace and Safety Initiative website provides extensive advice on how to avoid the risk of infringing airspace. Airspace infringements can be avoided by effective pre-flight planning, sound inflight decision making underpinned by the application of TEM; a few examples relevant to this area are:

  • On departure from North Weald aerodrome, a Threat is infringing TMZ-2 through the Error of not turning on the transponder prior to departure. Manage the Error by not rushing to depart when at the holding point.Remember “Lights, Camera, Action” – Landing light on, Transponder on fully, No traffic on final or on the runway. When all checks are complete, you are ready to depart into the TMZ.
  • When operating out of, into Andrewsfield, a Threat is infringing CTA- 3 through the Error of being too high over, or to the west of Braintree. Manage the Error by maintaining at or below an altitude of 1,800 feet on the QNH when routing to the east until Braintree is behind you. Manage the same Error when routing westbound by descending to, or below, 1,800 feet on the QNH prior to reaching the east side of Braintree. Another error that pilots make is in setting the Andrewsfield QFE too early, and infringing CTA-3 by flying over Braintree at a HEIGHT of 1,800 feet. This actually puts you at an ALTITUDE of 2,086 feet since Andrewsfield’s elevation is 286 feet amsl.
  • When operating at North Weald aerodrome, a Threat is infringing the CTR through the Error of flying wide visual circuits to Runway 20 or turning too late on departure from Runway 02.A water tower to the west side of the M1 lies just inside the Stansted CTR; turn prior to reaching that feature to remain outside the CTR. Rather than extending late downwind, continue the normal (un-extended) circuit pattern at circuit height to initiate a go-around for another circuit to prevent an inadvertent airspace infringement

 In addition, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Use a Moving Map which will provide a profile along your planned route showing the controlled airspace boundary and associated visual and aural warnings as you approach the airspace. When flying in proximity to Stansted controlled airspace, and if able to, Take 2.

Obtain an air traffic service from Farnborough North on channel 132.800 MHz.

Use a Frequency Monitor Code (FMC). Rather than squawking 7000/2000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use an FMC appropriate to the direction of flight; the Stansted FMC is 7013 with Essex Radar (channel 120.625 MHz). There are a further 3 FMCs in use in the vicinity of Stansted’s controlled airspace.Review the chart at ENR6.80 to understand the boundaries of the areas; this information is also replicated in AIC Y006/2020

Airport ATSU Channel FMC
Luton Luton Radar 129.550 MHz 0013
Southend Southend Radar 130.780 MHz 5050
London City Thames Radar 132.700 MHz 0012

Use the correct QNH Obtain the Stansted QNH from the ATIS (127.180) or monitor Essex Radar (120.625). ATIS also available on Clacton VOR (on frequency 114.550 MHz/channel 92Y).

Make a Detailed Plan. Build in your climb and descent points when planning your route. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by. Prepare a PLOG listing frequencies of useful adjacent ATSU/aerodromes that may need to be called such as:

Stapleford ATZ Stapleford Radio 122.805 MHz
Andrewsfield ATZ Andrewsfield Radio 130.555 MHz
Earls Colne ATZ Earls Colne Radio 122.430 MHz
Duxford ATZ Duxford Information 122.080 MHz
North Weald North Weald Radio 123.530 MHz

If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb into the CTA, or a turn into the CTR is required then a clearance must be obtained from Essex Radar before entering controlled airspace. If in doubt, contact Essex Radar on channel 120.625 MHz for assistance.

 

15. Gatwick Controlled Airspace and Redhill Aerodrome

Focus on Redhill — Preventing Airspace Infringements in the vicinity of Gatwick

This update is the fifteenth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It has been written by members of the Gatwick Local Airspace Infringement Team.

In 2019, there were 77 infringements of Gatwick Controlled Airspace (CAS); 54 were in the Control Area (CTA) and 23 were in the Control Zone (CTR). Every month of 2019 saw at least one infringement of the Gatwick Controlled Airspace (CAS) by an aircraft operating to or from Redhill. Some of these were navigational errors, pilots entering the Gatwick CTR without permission, however many were vertical infringements of the CTA caused either by inaccurate height keeping or inaccurate altitude reporting equipment. Any infringement may result in an immediate safety risk with arriving or departing traffic, ‘go-arounds’ and disruption to thousands of passengers from one of the busiest single runway operations in the world. Airspace infringements can be avoided by effective pre-flight planning, sound inflight decision making underpinned by the application of Threat and Error Management (TEM).

The CTR extends from the Surface to 2,500 feet amsl with the CTA extending from 1,500 feet amsl to 2,500 feet amsl; both are Class D airspace. The Class A London Control Area (LTMA-1) extends upwards from 2,500 feet amsl to FL195.

Gatwick CTR and CTA

Gatwick CTR and CTA

Redhill

Redhill Aerodrome is approximately 4.5NM northeast of London Gatwick.  The southern half of the Aerodrome lies within the Gatwick CTR and the northern half beneath the Gatwick CTA. An ATC service is provided by Redhill Tower on Channel 119.605; there is no requirement to contact Gatwick ATC for an entry clearance as long as flights are made within the published Local Flying Area (LFA) joining or leaving via one of the Visual Reference Points (VRPs); in accordance with the published Redhill procedures. To reduce the chances of pilots using an incorrect altimeter setting all procedures are based on the Redhill QNH. The LFA is not coincident with the Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ). The ATZ is a non-standard shape and the maximum altitude within the ATZ is 1,400 feet QNH unless otherwise co-ordinated with Gatwick ATC. The LFA and associated procedures are published in the UK AIP EGKR AD 2.22 FLIGHT PROCEDURES (section 3).

The VRPs are:

  • Junction 7 M25/ Junction 8 M23;
  • Godstone (the southern tip of Godstone town);
  • Godstone Railway Station (the railway station in South Godstone not in Godstone);
  • Buckland (the lake to the West of Reigate)
Redhill VRPs

Redhill VRPs

The southern boundary of the Redhill’s non-standard ATZ is 3NM north of, and  parallel, to the Gatwick extended  runway centreline. Any excursion from the ATZ or the LFA extension to the West of the ATZ create a risk to the Gatwick operation resulting in ‘go-arounds’, disruptions, delays impacting the  airport and airlines.

A ‘Loss of Separation’ is recorded when it’s not possible to achieve 3NM or 3000FT from the unknown aircraft.

The location of Redhill Aerodrome is a key factor in the airspace infringement risk. This is important when Runway 18/36 is in use, especially when 36 is used with a strong northerly wind.

Runway 18 departing aircraft must complete their turn within 0.5NM of the Southern Aerodrome Boundary and track parallel to the 08/26 runways on the crosswind leg. For fixed-wing aircraft flying the standard (left-hand) circuit pattern, this is a turn of more than 90° which must be made at low level, typically below 200 feet agl, especially when commencing the take-off run from the displaced threshold on runway 18. Helicopters turn right from Runway 18.

Runway 36 aircraft must turn base remaining within the ATZ and track parallel to runways 08/26 to turn on to final approach at a range not greater than 0.5NM. For fixed-wing aircraft flying the standard (right-hand) circuit, the base-leg turn must be made abeam Burstow Park Farm allowing for the drift caused by the northerly wind. The turn from base-leg to final requires a turn of more than 90° which must be made at low level and results in a very short final approach leg. A series of green woodsheds exist right on the southern boundary of the ATZ which provide a good visual landmark. These must be kept to the south of the aircraft at all times. Helicopters fly a left-hand circuit to Runway 36.

Gatwick Runway 18 / 36

Gatwick Runway 18 / 36

 

Redhill flying area

Redhill flying area

When Runway 08/26 is in use helicopter pilots must ensure they remain north of the southern ATZ boundary, approximately mid-way between Axes Lane and Cross Oak Lane (marked by Picketts and Brownslade Farms on the LFA diagram). This particularly important at night when fewer ground features are visible.

The Redhill UK AIP entry contains operational information and details of the LFA. All aircraft must have a    serviceable transponder with altitude reporting. Those aircraft that do not may apply for an exemption. Visiting aircraft will be deemed to have an exemption by virtue of obtaining PPR by telephone. The use of Runway 18/36 is restricted to transponder equipped aircraft only.

The Redhill operational information page of the aerodrome’s website contains details of the LFA, VRPs, information of arrival/departure tracks, circuit and noise abatement procedures.

Terminal Control & Gatwick Approach

Gatwick Approach are required to provide a minimum separation of 3NM laterally or 3000FT vertically between IFR aircraft and any unknown aircraft within the CTA/CTR.  A deviation outside of the ATZ or LFA may result in an infringement of the Gatwick controlled airspace.   Any infringement may have an immediate impact on the approach controller’s workload and may require avoiding action or suspension of Gatwick movements. As the controller will not know the intentions of the unknown aircraft, they are required to take proactive action promptly. A telephone call to Redhill ATC highlighting the issue, ascertaining the aircraft identification and allowing Redhill sufficient time to contact the aircraft, issuing information or instructions to the infringing aircraft, if known, and for the pilot to comply with those instructions, all takes time. In the meantime, the risk remains while the aircraft remains within the CTA/CTR, distracting the controller who may need to issue instructions to multiple commercial aircraft operating to or from Gatwick until the risk no longer exists.

Some of the Gatwick departures route directly over Redhill Aerodrome, hence there is sometimes very little time to resolve conflict, especially when Runway 08 is in use at Gatwick.

Away from the Redhill area an additional ‘hot‐spot’ is traffic routeing via Bough Beech Reservoir which is underneath the eastern Gatwick CTA boundary. These are caused by aircraft climbing too early after departure or descending too late when arriving. When heading eastbound, do not commence a climb above 1,400 feet QNH until Bough Beech Reservoir is behind you. In the same manner, when heading westbound into Redhill, ensure you are at or below 1,400 feet QNH prior to reaching the eastern edge of the reservoir; plan your descent to be at or below 1,400 feet prior to that point.

Any infringement of the CTA in this area can have an immediate impact on traffic being sequenced by the Gatwick approach controller for Runway 26 or affect departures from Runway 08.

Gatwick CTA Bough Beech Reservoir boundary

Gatwick CTA Bough Beech Reservoir boundary

 

Redhill SSR Code

Redhill uses an unvalidated and unverified conspicuity code 3767 which pilots must only select when instructed to do so by Redhill ATC.  As ATC only provides a service within 10NM of the Aerodrome, pilots flying outside this area should inform ATC on passing 10NM (i.e. just to the West of Bough Beech Reservoir) when they will be instructed to select A7000/2000. Pilots are encouraged to either obtain a service from Farnborough LARS East on Channel 123.225 or select the Frequency Monitor Code (FMC) 7012 and monitor Gatwick on Channel 126.825.

Prevent an airspace infringement

The Airspace & Safety Initiative website provides extensive advice on how to avoid the risk of infringing airspace. Redhill pilots are strongly encouraged to:

  • Use a Moving Map which will provide a profile along your planned route showing the controlled airspace boundary.
  • Take 2. When flying in proximity to Gatwick controlled airspace, and if able to, Take 2. Apply TEM when planning your route and altitude; there is high terrain to the northeast of Edenbridge with a spot height of 820 feet amsl. Use the Redhill-to-Tonbridge railway line to remain clear of the Gatwick CTR and in the area of lower terrain. There is half a mile between the railway line and the CTR boundary, hence it is prudent to apply the “line feature on the left” recommendation.
  • Obtain a service Obtain a service from Farnborough ATSU on LARS East (Channel 123.225) or West (125.250MHz) as appropriate.
  • Use a Frequency Monitor Code (FMC). Rather than squawking 7000/2000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a FMC appropriate to the direction of flight. FMCs have proven to prevent infringements and reduce the severity of such occurrences.
    Gatwick: Channel 126.825 Code: 7012
    Once outside the area defined in the UK AIP EGKK AD 2.22 FLIGHT PROCEDURES (section 5) and in the chart at UK AIP ENR 6-80 (FREQUENCY MONITORING CODE (FMC) AREAS) use one of the following:
    Farnborough West: 125.250MHz Code: 4572
    Thames: 132.700MHz Code: 0012
  • Use the correct QNH Obtain the Redhill QNH from the ATIS channel 125.305 which operates H24. If you are unable to receive the Redhill ATIS use the Gatwick QNH from their ATIS frequency 136.525MHz.
  • Make a Detailed Plan. Build in your climb and descent points when planning your route. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by. Note that most of the Redhill VRPs need to be overflown not above 1,400 feet QNH.
  • Use the Redhill-to-Tonbridge railway line to remain clear of the Gatwick CTR. There is half a mile between the railway line and the CTR boundary, hence it is prudent to apply the “line feature on the left” recommendation.
  • If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of the CTA, then a clearance must be obtained from Gatwick Director on channel 126.825. If in any doubt, contact Gatwick Director for assistance.

14. Infringements of Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ)

Infringements of Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ)

This update is the fourteenth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It focuses on infringements of Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ) and sets out the requirements to comply with Rule 11. 

Introduction

An airspace infringement is the unauthorised entry of an aircraft into notified airspace and there is a requirement to report them. Notified airspace includes permanent and temporary controlled (CAT/TMA and CTR), prohibited and restricted airspace, permanent and temporary active danger areas, radio and transponder mandatory zones (RMZ and TMZ) and Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ).

In 2019 there were 100 reported ATZ infringements across 45 ATZs.  Reported figures are regularly published here: airspacesafety.com/facts-stats-and-incidents/

ATZs and Rule 11

  • ATZs are established to protect traffic around an aerodrome.
  • ATZ is defined in Article 5 of the Air Navigation Order 2016.
  • ATZ are marked on a chart as a circle of magenta dots with the aerodrome name and elevation (in feet amsl).
  • Aerodromes that are notified in the AIP are ‘protected’ by Rule 11

ATZ dimensions

ATZs normally extend from land surface to 2,000 feet agl. The radius depends on the length of the aerodrome runway, either 2.5 NM or 2 NM from the midpoint of the longest runway. Offshore the dimensions are from sea level to 2,000 above mean sea level, with a radius of 1.5 nm. Some ATZ have non-standard dimensions. See Aerodrome Traffic Zones and UK AIP for more details.

ATZ marked on a chart

ATZ marked on a chart

The applicability of Rule 11 depends on the type of aerodrome.

For Government aerodromes Rule 11 applies at the times notified in the UK AIP (ENR 2.2) or when notified by NOTAM.

Example listing from UK AIP ENR 2.2

Example listing from UK AIP ENR 2.2

For an aerodrome that has an air traffic control unit or flight information service centre Rule 11 applies during the notified hours of watch of the air traffic control unit or the flight information service centre

For a national licensed aerodrome or an EASA certificated aerodrome having an air/ground communications service unit with aircraft Rule 11 applies during the notified hours of watch of the air/ground communications (AGCS) service unit.

Example listing from UK AIP EGBE AD 2.17

Example listing from UK AIP EGBE AD 2.17

What about MATZ?

A Military Aerodrome Traffic Zone (MATZ) provides a volume of airspace within which increased protection may be given to aircraft in the critical stages of circuit, approach and climb-out; a MATZ also contains an ATZ.

A MATZ has a circle of 5 NM radius up to 3,000 ft aal and with additional ‘stubs’ aligned with selected approach path provides a volume of airspace within which increased protection may be given to aircraft in the critical stages of circuit, approach and climb-out.

All military aircraft have to obtain permission to enter the MATZ . It is good airmanship for civil pilots to call for a MATZ penetration. And they have to comply with Rule 11 in respect of the ATZ that that lies within the MATZ.

ATZ within a MATZ on a chart

ATZ within a MATZ on a chart

Pilots intending to overfly Government aerodromes protected by an ATZ should be aware of some activities that extend above the vertical extent of the ATZ such as:

  1. Aircraft conducting PFLs from above, but into, the ATZ. Aircraft such as the Tutor will climb to between 3,000 and 2, 500 feet aal to position to High Key to commence the PLF procedure.
  2. Glider operations. Not only do some winch launch operations extend to above the ATZ eg 3,300 feet amsl at Syerston but intense gliding activity may be present in the airspace above the ATZ.

What is an Infringement of an ATZ?

An ATZ, and compliance with Rule 11, provides a safety barrier against mid-air collisions by enabling increased situation awareness to pilots operating in the aerodrome traffic pattern. This is essential in airspace where many of the other barriers such as air traffic control and radar supported by infringement warning tools (such as CAIT – Controlled Airspace Infringement Tool) are absent. Some 2/3 of Class G ATZ are not serviced by radar.

Rule 11 refers to Rule 11 of Rules of the Air 2015. Paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 set out conditions that must be met before an aircraft can fly, take-off or land within the ATZ. Failure to comply with one of these 3 paragraphs prior to entering the ATZ will mean that the pilot has infringed the airspace.

A pilot’s responsibility prior to entering an ATZ depends on the type of service provision.  An aircraft must not fly, take off or land within the ATZ unless the commander of the aircraft has complied with paragraphs (3), (4) or (5) of Rule 11, as appropriate as follows:

  1. If the aerodrome has an air traffic control unit the commander must obtain the permission of that unit to enable the flight to be conducted safely within the ATZ. (Rule 11, para 3)
  2. If the aerodrome provides a flight information service the commander must obtain information from the flight information centre to enable the flight to be conducted safely within the ATZ (Rule 11, para 4).
  3. If there is no flight information centre at the aerodrome the commander must obtain information from the air/ground communication service (AGCS) unit to enable the flight to be conducted safely within the ATZ (Rule 11, para 4).

To comply with point 1 above, the pilot simply needs to obtain a permission from ATC to enter the ATZ.

To comply with points 2 or 2 above, the pilot must achieve 2-way communication with the AFISO or AGCS.  Listening to AFISO or ACCS transmissions to and regarding other aircraft does not satisfy the requirement to obtain information from the AFISO or AGCS to “enable the flight to be conducted safely”. The location, altitude, speed, etc. of other aircraft within/into/out of the ATZ will be different to the flight in question.   The pilot will not be informed about the airspace/air traffic environment, such as non-radio aircraft that have previously coordinated their arrival, by listening to information related to other aircraft and neither intended for nor necessarily relevant to his/her flight. Equally, the AFISO and other traffic within and around the ATZ will be unaware of ‘listening only’ aircraft and this reduces the wider situational awareness of aerodrome traffic.

The Rest of Rule 11

There is one more paragraph of Rule 11, (paragraph 6) and requires a pilot to:

  1. maintain a continuous watch on the appropriate radio frequency notified for communications at the aerodrome; or
  2. cause a watch to be kept for such instructions as may be issued by visual means if that is not possible; and
  3. if the aircraft is fitted with a radio communicate the aircraft’s position and height to the ATC unit, flight information centre or the ACGS unit (whichever is relevant) on entering the ATZ and immediately prior to leaving it.

If the pilot has complied with Rule 11 paragraphs 3, 4, or 5 but has not complied with point 3 above (Rule 11 para 6c), the pilot has not infringed the ATZ but has breached Rule 11 and has demonstrated poor airmanship.

In Summary

A pilot who has only obtained information by listening out rather than having obtained information by 2-way communications, and has not reported entering the ATZ, has committed an airspace infringement.

A pilot who has complied with the Rule 11 (2) – (5) but has not reported entering the ATZ iaw Rule 11 (6)(c) has not infringed the ATZ but has demonstrated poor airmanship and not has not fully complied with the requirements of Rule 11.

What next?

The next step is to double check that you understand rules around an ATZ and know how to comply with Rule 11.

A comprehensive briefing for Pilots, ANSP and AGCS units has been shared by the CAA and is available here: ATZ Brief.

 

13. Liverpool Controlled Airspace

Preventing airspace infringements in Liverpool Controlled Airspace through defensive controlling and the use of Frequency Monitoring Codes

This infringement update is the thirteenth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It has been written by members of the Northwest LAIT at Air Traffic Control Services Limited (ATCSL) at Liverpool Airport.

Liverpool has historically had its fair share of airspace infringements. Its geographical location on the coast means that to the west it sometimes has pilots ‘hugging the coast’ and infringing the Control Area (CTA) as the base is 2,000 feet amsl. More often though, the infringements are due to pilots cutting the corners of the northern and southern ends of the Manchester low-level route and therefore infringing  the Northeast and Southeast corners of the Liverpool Control Zone (CTR).

 

Liverpool CTR and CTA

Liverpool CTR and CTA

 

Much work has been done in recent years to try to reduce these infringements, by controllers and pilots coming together at the North West LAIT, discussing the hot spots for infringements (as described above) and providing much-needed focus on the topic. The North West LAIT is well attended by many local flying clubs and schools, whose flying instructors, student pilots and PPL holders are genuinely keen to play their part in keeping the number of infringements of the local airspace to a minimum.

As a result, infringements have indeed reduced. In 2017 there were 34 infringements of Liverpool’s controlled airspace and in 2018 the number fell to 18. For 2019, the figure reduced further to 9. This has largely been attributed to defensive controlling by the Liverpool controllers and the use of Frequency Monitoring Codes (also known as ‘Listening Squawks’) by pilots.

The Liverpool Air Traffic Services Manager, Matt Jackson, explains how defensive controlling works and the benefits of frequency monitoring codes.

“When there are 7000 squawks within a few miles of the edge of controlled airspace, you generally keep an eye on them to see what they’re doing, as much as possible. Sometimes if it’s really busy and you are working lots of traffic you will not be able to give the 7000s much attention, but you will be aware that they are there.

If an aircraft looks as though it is heading towards my airspace I would try calling it to see if it is on my frequency. This is known as defensive controlling, i.e. defending the boundary of your airspace and pro-actively asking pilots heading towards the boundary what their intentions are, before they reach it. This means that a controller will pre-empt a pilot infringing their airspace by contacting the pilot and effectively saying ‘you seem to be heading towards my airspace – would you like a clearance to enter it?’

This is where the Frequency Monitoring Codes, FMCs, are so incredibly useful and I would really encourage all pilots to please use FMCs whenever they possibly can. It definitely helps in these situations.

If the aircraft does not respond to my call and is obviously not on my frequency, this can make things quite difficult. It may enter my airspace, in which case I may need to tactically manage the other traffic in the area, to ensure I avoid it. This may even go to the extent of offering inbound aircraft the off-duty runway, just to avoid the unidentified traffic – which is not an ideal situation.

I may need to speak to neighbouring ATS units to ask whether they know the aircraft’s callsign or whether it is on their frequency, just to try and establish contact with it.

However, if an aircraft is squawking the Liverpool frequency monitoring code 5060 and listening out on my frequency (Liverpool Radar 119.855 MHz), all of this inconvenience and extra hassle goes away! It shows that the pilot has done their homework and has good situational awareness – which is a great start! If I need to call them, they should be listening out on my frequency, ready to respond. I can literally ask them what their plan is.

If they were about to call to ask for a zone entry, I can try to provide them with what they want. If they are just operating near the edge of controlled airspace and don’t want to enter, at least we can have a chat so I can find out what their plan is.

As an example, a scenario that we are faced with frequently is where light aircraft fly between Blackpool and Caernarfon, following the coastline at 2,500 feet. These aircraft will sometimes call Liverpool Radar to ask for a clearance through the CTA at 2,500 feet QNH, which we will try to accommodate if we possibly can. Many aircraft following this route, however, do not call and just blast straight through the airspace!

As it is a known traffic route – especially on a sunny day – Liverpool controllers will be suspicious of any traffic which appears to be following this route but not talking to them. This is where being able to call the aircraft on 119.855 MHz to ask what the pilot’s intentions are is invaluable, offering a clearance through the airspace if that is what the pilot wants.

Defensive controlling if a great way to help pilots avoid airspace infringements, but it will only work if pilots are listening on the right frequency!

It is very different to the opposite – perhaps outdated – way of thinking, which is for a controller to watch a pilot flying towards their controlled airspace and not to say anything, to watch the pilot infringe their airspace, and then tell them they have infringed. This doesn’t really help anyone because it could have been avoided.

Yes, it is always the pilot’s responsibility to not infringe, but if the controller can predict it is about to happen, surely it is better for everyone if the situation is avoided. Please use frequency monitoring codes to help controllers help you not infringe!”

AIC Y006/2020, found on the NATS AIS website, refers to the use of FMC in the UK FIRs. Paragraph 2 explains the methodology of their use. Whilst Liverpool ATSU applies ‘defensive controlling’ exceptionally well, not all ATSUs have the capacity to apply this controlling methodology. However, subject to workload, ATC will often endeavour to provide a timely warning if an aircraft looks like it will infringe but there can be no guarantee that pilots will always be warned if controlling capacity does not permit. Pilots remain responsible for their own navigation and in particular for obtaining permission to enter controlled airspace.

To prevent an airspace infringement, as part of their pre-flight planning and in-flight execution, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Use a Moving Map and, when able, Take 2.

Plan. As part of your plan, consider not only the route but also the relationship between prominent geographical features and the limits of controlled airspace. As an example, in following the coast from Hoylake to Flint Bridge at 1,800 feet Liverpool QNH (to remain under CTA-4) there are places where being over water the pilot may also be inside the Liverpool CTR or CTA-2.

Avoid flying on the Regional Pressure Setting (RPS) in the vicinity of Liverpool Controlled Airspace.  When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will probably be higher in relation to the Liverpool QNH.  If you are receiving a FIS from London Flight Information Service, ask the FISO for the relevant QNH rather than remaining on the Barnsley or Holyhead RPS.

Obtain an air traffic service.  Know which ATS unit can provide a LARS.  To the south of the Liverpool controlled airspace it is Shawbury Zone (133.150MHz) and to the north it is Warton Radar (129.530 MHz).

Maintain not above 1,300 feet (Manchester QNH) in the Manchester low-level route (LLR).  As explained in narrative number 2 (Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of the Manchester LLR), Liverpool cannot vector aircraft east of the eastern edge of the LLR and, therefore, when required to sequence their inbound traffic one method available is to vector traffic towards the north east of the Liverpool CTR which sits above the northern portion of the CTR. The Liverpool traffic must be at 2,000 feet to safely pass beneath the Manchester departures whilst aircraft within the LLR can be at 1,300 feet and just 700 feet below.

Therefore, any aircraft initiating an early climb above 1,300 feet before they have left the northern edge of the LLR pose a serious risk to the Liverpool traffic; in addition, there is an increased risk of experiencing wake turbulence issues. When the Liverpool radar controller observes aircraft climbing early and infringing above the northern portion of the LLR, they are unable to take avoiding action by climbing as this will result in confliction with the Manchester departures, instead the only option available is to make an avoiding action turn. With the resultant delay in flight crew initiation compounded by the rate of turns, the potential for a loss of separation event is increased.

 

Mr Matt Jackson, Liverpool Air Traffic Services Manager

The author Mr Matt Jackson, Liverpool Air Traffic Services Manager

 


The full set of hot-spot narratives can be found on this page: Local area information

12. Manchester Controlled Airspace to the east (area of the Pennines)

Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of the Pennines to the east of Manchester

This infringement update is the twelfth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It has been written by members of the Northwest LAIT at Manchester Airport Air Traffic Service Unit.

During the 12-month period, from April 2019 to March 2020, almost 80 airspace infringements occurred in Manchester controlled airspace. Three areas have been identified in a heat map as high-risk areas:

  1. Manchester Low-level Route (54% of infringements)
  2. In the vicinity of Barton aerodrome (18% of infringements); and
  3. Manchester CTA-3 and the eastern edge of the CTR (17% of infringements)

The Class D Manchester CTR extends from the Surface to 3,500 feet amsl; the Manchester CTA-3 is also Class D with a base of 3,000 feet amsl and upper limit of 3,500 feet amsl. Above both is the Manchester Control Area (TMA) which is Class A airspace. All airspace is based on the Manchester QNH.

Figure 1 Manchester CTR

Figure 1 Manchester CTR

The following land features are all outside Manchester CTR and under CTA-3:

  1. the VRP at Dovestone Reservoir;
  2. Chew Reservoir;
  3. the easterly lakes of Torside Reservoir;
  4. Kinder Reservoir;
  5. Combs Reservoir;
  6. Fernlee Reservoir; and
  7. Errwood Reservoir.

The VRPs at Glossop, Whaley Bridge and Lamaload Reservoir all lie on the edge or inside the Manchester CTR.

Figure 2 VRPS on the edge of the Manchester CTR

Figure 2 VRPS on the edge of the Manchester CTR

Figure 3 VRPS on the edge of the Manchester CTR

Figure 3 VRPS on the edge of the Manchester CTR

 

Fourteen airspace infringements of the Manchester CTR and CTA were on the west side of the Pennines between Stanedge (a helicopter site marked on the VFR chart) and Whalley Bridge; the biggest cluster was around Dovestones Reservoir.

The main causal factors associated with airspace infringements in this area are:

  1. flying too close to the Manchester CTR to remain to the west of the Pennines;
  2. flying too close to the base of the Manchester CTA or operating on the RPS and not the Manchester QNH. Since the RPS being the lowest forecast pressure for the entire Barnsley Altimeter Setting Region, when flying on the RPS, pilots will be higher in relation to controlled airspace than they think. Remember: “Wind-on Hectopascals, wind-on height”; and
  3. operating on the London Flight Information Service frequency rather than Manchester Radar’s frequency. This offers no ability for prompt resolution to a potential airspace infringement. When pilots listen out on Manchester Radar (and squawking 7366), Air Traffic Control has got the opportunity to carry out ‘defensive controlling’ and free-call an aircraft prior to the pilot possibly infringing.  In addition, pilots will hear the Manchester QNH being given to IFR inbounds thereby obtaining the correct altimeter setting.

The Low-level Route (LLR) was covered in the second narrative of this series (see narrative 02); this narrative has been amended in line with the changes relating to the Class D VMC criteria which came into effect on 26 March 2020.  As a review, the main factors that may prevent the 40+ infringements in this area are:

  • Do not commence a climb too early when exiting the LLR;
  • Do not enter the LLR too high due to commencing a descent too late when approaching the LLR;
  • Do not turn to the east too early (in the vicinity of Stretton) or commence a climb too early when positioning to recover to Manchester Barton. When routing northbound, turning abeam the Thelwall Viaduct and delaying a climb until east of a line that runs south to north through M6 Junction 20-21 to M62 Junction 11 will keep you clear of the Manchester CTA above the LLR;
  • Applying Threat and Error Management when routing through the corridor; it may not be possible to Take 2 but being aware of the effects of thermal lift around Warrington may prevent a vertical infringement.
  • Ensuring you are flying on the correct altimeter setting (Manchester QNH). When under the service of an adjacent ATS unit, do not accept the RPS (Barnsley); ask for the Manchester QNH or listen out on the Manchester ATIS (Departure ATIS (121.980 MHz), or the MCT VOR (113.550 MHz); on VOLMET North (128.600 MHz)

To prevent an airspace infringement, as part of their pre-flight planning and in-flight execution, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Use a Moving Map and, when able, Take 2.

Use the FMC. When flying VFR in the LLR, rather than squawking 7000, use the Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 7366 and monitoring Manchester Radar on 118.580 MHz. If aircraft are fitted with Mode S transponders the Manchester controller will be able to see your callsign on their radar display and will be able to call you if they observe anything untoward. Aircraft should not hesitate to establish contact with Manchester Radar if they require any assistance or are unsure of their position.

Plan. As part of your plan, consider not only the route but forecast and actual weather conditions on the Pennines.

 Avoid flying on the Regional Pressure Setting (RPS) in the vicinity of Manchester Controlled Airspace.  When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will probably be higher in relation to the Manchester QNH.  If you are receiving a FIS from London Flight Information Service, ask the FISO for the relevant QNH rather than remaining on the Barnsley RPS.

Obtain an air traffic service.  Know which ATS unit can provide a LARS.  To the south of the Manchester controlled airspace it is Shawbury Zone (133.150MHz) and East Midlands Radar (134.180 MHz); to the north it is Warton Radar (129.530 MHz).

 


The full set of hot-spot narratives can be found on this page: Local area information

Narrative 02. ‘Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of the Manchester low-level route’ has been updated since it was first published in line with the changes relating to the Class D VMC criteria.

11. Brize Norton CTR

Brize Norton airspace infringement hot-spot

This infringement update is the eleventh in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement hot-spots in the UK. It has been written by members of the Air Traffic Control Unit at Royal Air Force Brize Norton.

RAF Brize Norton is home to the RAF’s Strategic and Tactical Air Transport (AT) and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) forces. With its mixed-fleet of aircraft, RAF Brize Norton provides rapid global mobility in support of UK overseas operations and exercises, as well as AAR support for fast-jet aircraft both on operations and in support of UK Homeland Defence.

The Brize Norton airspace comprises a single Control Zone (CTR) which extends from the surface to 3,500 feet above mean sea level (based on the Brize Norton QNH) as depicted in Figure 1. This airspace is designated as Class D controlled airspace. It lies within the Oxford Area of Intense Aerial Activity and is the only volume of controlled airspace around a military aerodrome in the UK. In 2018 there were 20 reported airspace infringements and 17 infringements in 2019.

Brize Norton CTR

Figure 1 Brize Norton CTR

Most IFR aircraft are large military transport aircraft (A330, C17, A400M or C130). Given the confines of the airspace this means that the timing of turns is critical – especially when making allowance for the wind. Often the controllers are not only ensuring the traffic is kept inside controlled airspace but also sequencing them against aircraft radar training circuits and IFR procedures as well as visual arrrivals. This means a high degree of accuracy is required and considerable co-ordination between different control positions adding to controller workload and task complexity.

Transits through the Brize CTR

When transiting the CTR under IFR, the pilot will be placed under Radar Control on entering controlled airspace, at which point the controller becomes responsible for separation between IFR aircraft and terrain.

When transiting the CTR under VFR, the pilot will be placed under Radar Control on entering controlled airspace.  Once under Radar Control with a VFR transit clearance, the pilot is responsible for separation between all aircraft and terrain. The Approach controller is the airspace manager at Brize Norton and will issue a transit clearance to either the controller who is providing the service to the aircraft or to the aircraft if it is on his/her frequency. Prior to issuing a clearance, the controller will consider possible conflictions as follows:

  1. Radar Training Circuit Traffic which is normally operating between 2,300 ft QNH and 2,800 ft QNH. On occasions the traffic may be above that altitude. These are normally flown to the south and east for Runway 25 and to the north and west for Runway 07.
  2. Visual Circuits which are flown between 1,300 ft QNH and 1,800 ft QNH.
  3. Arrivals via airways which route inbound via the reporting points NAXAT (283o/6.4nm from Brize Norton) or MALBY (246o/20nm from Brize Norton) descending from FL90. In Class G airspace, the traffic is normally under a Deconfliction Service.
  4. Departures joining controlled airspace which route outbound via NAXAT or MALBY climbing to FL80. Again, in Class G airspace the traffic is normally under a Deconfliction Service.

Pilots operating under VFR should be aware of the possibility of wake turbulence due to the size of the aircraft operating at Brize Norton.

Minimum Separation Standards for Aircraft within the CTR

The following separation standards are required between KNOWN traffic inside the CTR:

  1. IFR and IFR – 3nm or 1,000 ft (exceptionally, reduced vertical separation of 500 ft may be applied if the civil pilot accepts it and a re-route is impractical).
  2. VFR and IFR – 3nm or 500 ft. If the pilot operating VFR is visual with the IFR aircraft, he/she can take their own separation.
  3. VFR and VFR – Pilots operating VFR are responsible for their own separation from traffic based on traffic information issued by the controller.

An infringing aircraft that is not radar identified by Brize Radar becomes unknown traffic; a separation standard of 5nm laterally or 5,000 ft vertically is required between that aircraft and IFR aircraft inbound to, or outbound from, RAF Brize Norton operating within Brize Norton CTR.

Standard Transit Routes

Having called Brize Zone on 119.000 MHz, 10-15 nm prior to entry into controlled airspace, pilots can expect to be issued with one of the following VFR routes:

  1. 8 miles East of the aerodrome (via Farmoor reservoir VRP).
  2. 8 miles West of the aerodrome (Fairford to Northleach Roundabout VRP).
  3. At 3,300 ft QNH in any direction.
  4. At 2,300 ft QNH one nm through the Approach Lane (west or east of the aerodrome will be specified).
  5. Directly through the overhead not above 1,300 ft QNH.
  6. Any other routing subject to internal coordination with other control positions.

Adjacent Airspace/Aerodromes

RAF Fairford

To the southwest of the CTR lies RAF Fairford which is home to deployments of USAF aircraft and the location of the annual Royal International Air Tattoo. The aerodome lies within an  Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) which is established under Rule 11 of Rules of the Air Regulations 2015. The ATZ is a circle of 2.5nm radius centred (at 514101N 0014725W) on the longest notified runway (Runway 09/27); it extends from the surface to 2,000 ft above aerodrome elevation (2,286 ft amsl).  The ATZ comprises both Class G airspace and, where coincident with the Brize Norton CTR, Class D airspace. The ATZ is notified as active H24 in the UK AIP ENR 2.2. Under Rule 11, pilots require permission from the controlling authority (Brize Radar) to enter the ATZ at any time.  On occasions, a Military Aerodrome Traffic Zone (MATZ) is also established which extends around and above the ATZ  and is notified by NOTAM. The MATZ is a circle of 5nm radius (also centred at 514101N 0014725W)  up to 3000ft above aerodrome elevation with a single stub to the east aligned with the approach to Runway 27.  The stub extends 2nm either side of the final approach track from 5nm to 10nm and extends from 1,000 ft to 3,000 ft (both above aerodrome elevation).  The MATZ airspace structure requires all military aircraft to obtain permission to enter; pilots of civil aircraft only require permission to enter the ATZ which lies within the MATZ; however, it is good airmanship for pilots of civil aircraft to call for a MATZ penetration when it is established.

Oxford Airport

To the northeast of the CTR lies Oxford Airport. The aerodome is protected by ATZ which is also established under Rule 11 of Rules of the Air Regulations 2015. The ATZ is a circle of 2nm radius centred at centred (at 515013N 0011912W) on the longest notified runway (Runway 01/19); it extends from the surface to 2,000 ft above aerodrome elevation (2,270 ft amsl).  The ATZ comprises Class G airspace and is notified as active coincident with Tower hours (0630 – 2230 hours UTC (winter) (which is 0530-2130 hours UTC in summer)) except Christmas and New Year. Details can be found in the UK AIP EGTK AD2.17 and 2.18. Under Rule 11, pilots require a permission from the controlling authority (Oxford Approach) to enter the ATZ at any time.

Little Rissington

To the north (3.8nm from the edge of the CTR) lies the aerodrome at Little Rissington.  This is home to 637 VGS a military gliding unit which carries out winch launching of gliders.  The aerodrome lies 722 ft amsl and winch cables may be enountered up to 2,000 ft above aerodrome elevation (2,800 ft amsl). Gliders, however, may be encountered at higher altitudes overhead and in the vicinity of the aerodrome.  Activity times are notified in the UK AIP ENR 5.5 in the section with other military units.

Important factors to think about when flying in the vicinity of RAF Brize Norton

Always use a moving map

There are many reasons why a pilot can lose situational awareness of his/her position that could result in an airspace infringement. Whether flying recreationally or carrying out an instructional flight, the correct use of a moving map is known to reduce that risk and assist in increasing pilot capacity.

Take 2

An initiative through the Local Airspace Infringement Teams (LAIT) is to Take 2. By remaining, when able, at least 2nm horizontally away from the edge of the CTR or in the case of the CTR, 200 ft above. Any inadvertent deviation from level flight or planned course could be caught in sufficient time to prevent an airspace infringement.

Use the appropriate Frequency Monitoring Code (FMC) and listen out

The airspace outside the CTR is Class G airspace and there is no requirement to receive a service from Brize or Oxford Radar (unless you require entry into the ATZs notified above). However, the introduction of the FMC’s below allow ATC to observe an aircraft that may have potential to conflict with their traffic and transmit a blind call asking them to establish comms.

  • 3727 for Brize Norton on frequency 124.275 MHz; or
  • 4517 for Oxford on frequency 125.090 MHz

Once communication is established, and the aircraft is identified, the potentially conflicting aircraft becomes known traffic to the controller, enabling tactical planning or incident recovery to be completed quickly. Use of this FMC has been proven to prevent infringements and reduce the severity of such occurrences, as well as enhance the controller’s and pilot’s situational awareness, creating a safer and more predictable situation than would otherwise exist.

If appropriate – request a clearance.

If for any reason entry into the Brize Norton CTR is required, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this will be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter controlled airspace ATC can control you more effectively and ensure safety is maintained.

 


More hot-spot narratives can be found on this page: Local area information

10. Farnborough Controlled Airspace

Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of Farnborough Controlled Airspace

This infringement update is intended to follow the format of the narratives focusing on identified infringement ‘hot-spots’ in the UK. It has been written to provide pilots with a comprehensive guide to the Class D and Class E Farnborough controlled airspace which become effective on 27 February 2020 to assist in the prevention of airspace infringements.

Farnborough proposed to implement new RNAV instrument flight procedures for departures and arrivals, utilising RNAV1 and RNAV5 navigation specifications. These new flight procedures will be contained by the introduction of controlled airspace (CAS) in the form of two class D Control Zone (CTR) around the aerodrome and seven Class D Control Areas (CTAs) and two Class E Control Area, linking the new structures and contiguous with, established London Terminal Control Area (LTMA) CAS.  The electronic conspicuity for the Class E airspace is to be introduced as a transponder mandatory zone (TMZ). A speed limit of 250 knots IAS applies below FL100.

Farnborough CTR/CTA Controlled Airspace
Farnborough CTR/CTA Controlled Airspace

Structure Vertical Limits Classification
CTR 1 SFC-3500 feet Class D
CTR 2 SFC-2500 feet Class D
CTA 1 2000-2500 feet Class D
CTA 2 1500-5500 feet Class D
CTA 3 2000-5500 feet Class D
CTA 4 2500-3500 feet Class D
CTA 5 2500-4500 feet Class D
CTA 6 2500-5500 feet Class D
CTA 7 3500-4500 feet Class D
CTA 8 4500-5500 feet Class E with TMZ
CTA 9 5500 feet-FL65 Class E with TMZ
Class A overlies CTA 9 at FL65 and above regardless of QNH

 


Airspace access and responsibilities

Class D Controlled Airspace: CTRs 1 & 2, and CTAs 1 – 7

  • IFR and VFR flights are permitted within all Class D airspace; SVFR flights are permitted in Class D CTR. An ATC clearance is needed and compliance with ATC instructions is mandatory.
  • Aircraft operating IFR or SVFR are separated from each other and are given traffic information in respect of VFR flights, traffic avoidance advice is available upon request.
  • Flights operating under VFR are given traffic information in respect of all other flights and traffic avoidance advice is available upon request.

Class D VMC Criteria (VFR Minima)

Before 2359 hours UTC on 25 March 2020

Altitude Band Flight Visibility Distance from Cloud
Below FL100 and above 3,000 ft AMSL, or above 1,000 ft above terrain, whichever is the higher. (SERA.5001) 5km 1,500m horizontally and 1,000 feet vertically
At and below 3,000 ft AMSL, or 1,000 ft above terrain, whichever is the higher. (SERA.5001) 5km 1,500m horizontally and 1,000 feet vertically
Alternative, at and below 3000 ft AMSL when transiting class D airspace and remaining outside the aerodrome traffic zone or aerodrome traffic circuit (ORS4 No. 1312) For aircraft, other than helicopters 5 km.

For helicopters 1,500 m

Clear of cloud and in sight of the surface

From 26 March 2020

Altitude Band Flight Visibility Distance from Cloud
Below FL100 and above 3,000 ft AMSL, or above 1,000 ft above terrain, whichever is the higher. (SERA.5001) 5km 1,500m horizontally and 1,000 feet vertically
At and below 3,000 ft AMSL, or 1,000 ft above terrain, whichever is the higher. (SERA.5001) 5km 1,500m horizontally and 1,000 feet vertically

Class E Controlled Airspace: CTAs 8 & 9

  • Class E airspace is controlled airspace. Compared with Class G airspace, there is a greater likelihood of encountering faster and heavier aircraft types within Class E airspace.
  • IFR flights must obtain an ATC clearance to operate within class E airspace as with other controlled airspace classifications.
  • IFR flights are separated from other IFR flights and receive traffic information as far as practicable on VFR flights and when receiving a surveillance-based ATS, traffic avoidance advice will be provided whenever practicable or when requested.
  • ATS providers (Farnborough, London Terminal Control and Solent Radar) are not responsible for providing separation between IFR and VFR flights within the two Class E CTA.
  • Unlike other controller airspace classifications, pilots operating VFR are not issued with an ATC clearance to operate within class E airspace.
  • Pilots operating VFR within Class E airspace are not required to receive an Air Traffic Service, but it is recommended that such pilots seek to obtain a Basic Service or a Traffic Service (see CAP 774) from Farnborough ATC when operating in either CTA 8 or 9.
  • Pilots of VFR flights are responsible for collision avoidance irrespective of whether an ATS (UK FIS) is provided.
  • Farnborough Class E airspace is additionally notified as a Transponder Mandatory Zone (TMZ). Regardless of flight rules used, all aircraft within the TMZ must be equipped with Mode S transponders with altitude reporting, or if unable to meet the transponder requirements, obtain an approval (for lack of equipage) to enter TMZ airspace from the controlling Air Traffic Service Unit prior to entry.  An approval is not a clearance.
  • Pilots intending to operating VFR within Class E airspace that is additional notified as TMZ (i.e. CTA 8 & 9) must prior to entry either display:
    • appropriate Frequency Monitoring Code (FMC) for that volume of airspace; or
    • VFR conspicuity (7000) with altitude reporting; or
    • If unable to meet the transponder requirements, establish communication with the controlling ATS unit and obtain an approval to enter class E airspace.
  • Pilots may utilise the FMC for Solent (7011) or Gatwick (7012) when monitoring the relevant frequencies within Class E airspace, however they must remain VFR at all times.
  • Pilots already operating in accordance with VFR within CTAs 8 or 9 and subsequently wish to operate in accordance with IFR in these CTAs, must continue to operate VFR until an IFR clearance has been obtained.

Class E VMC Criteria (VFR Minima)

Altitude Band Flight Visibility Distance from Cloud
Below FL100 and above 3,000 ft AMSL, or above 1,000 ft above terrain, whichever is the higher. (SERA.5001) 5km 1,500m horizontally and 1,000 feet vertically

 


Controlled Airspace Transits

Pilots requesting to transit Class D airspace should call Farnborough Radar on 133.440 MHz.

Pilots wishing to transit Class E airspace (CTA-8 and CTA-9) under VFR in communication with ATC should call Farnborough LARS on 125.250 MHz. Pilots wishing to transit under IFR should call Farnborough Radar on 133.440 MHz.


Other Aerodromes

Blackbushe Airport lays to the north of CTR-1; part of its ATZ lies within the Class D CTR. Operational interactions with Farnborough airport, and Local Flying Area procedures are specified in UK AIP AD2 EGLK-2.22 Flight Procedures.

 Fairoaks Aerodrome IFR inbounds form the ATS route network will route via a Farnborough standard arrival route (STAR). Outbound aircraft will be managed in accordance with information specified in UK AIP AD2 EGTF-2.22 Flight Procedures. Fairoaks airfield southerly departures need to be aware of possible ACAS events against Farnborough IFR arrivals in CTA-1.

Farnborough controlled airspace may additionally include IFR operations from RAF Odiham, Lasham, Dunsfold, Goodwood and Shoreham.


Royal Flights

The extant AIC Y101/2018 will be withdrawn with the introduction of the new controlled airspace. Then, a NOTAM will be issued to promulgate the reclassification of the Class E CTA-8 and/or CTA-9 as Class D CAS when Royal Flights are arriving/departing Farnborough aerodrome.

VFR pilots are to be aware of the change in airspace classification due to any Royal Flight activity in this area.


Visual Reference Points

The VRPs at Hook, Alton and Guildford all act as points to indicate the boundaries of Class D airspace; the 3 VRPs lay close to, but outside, controlled airspace.  Other VRPs are listed in the UK AIP EGLF AD2.22.

An aircraft that enters Class D airspace or Class E Aispace under IFR  without a clearance is, to air traffic control, an unknown aircraft and a separation standard of either 3nm laterally or 3,000 feet vertically must be achieved between that aircraft and IFR aircraft inbound to, or outbound from, Farnborough Airport.


Further information

As well as the information in this update there are two downloads available:

Related aeronautical information is included in:

  • AIC Y127/2019 – CHANGES TO CLASS E ATS PROCEDURES
  • AIC Y128/2019 – CHANGES TO SSR TRANSPONDER CODE PROCEDURES
  • AIC Y002/2020 – FARNBOROUGH AIRSPACE CHANGE PROPOSAL – IMPLEMENTATION 27 FEBRUARY 2020
  • AIC Y006/2020 – THE USE OF FREQUENCY MONITORING CODES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM FLIGHT INFORMATION REGIONS

To prevent an airspace infringement

As part of their pre-flight planning and in-flight execution, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Use a Moving Map. In over 80% of airspace infringements, pilots were found not to be using a moving map or not using one correctly.  This is particularly evident during instructional flights where instructor workload is high and distractions highly likely. Using a moving map not only gives a pilot a profile along the planned route showing controlled airspace above and below the route but also offers airspace warnings.

When flying in proximity to controlled airspace, and able to,  Take 2 and operate on the most appropriate altimetry  setting when operating under CTA.  In this case it is the London QNH.

Obtain a Lower Airspace Radar Service from Farnborough Radar. Pilots can obtain a LARS from Farnborough Radar in this area on 125.250MHz; the hours of operation are listed in the UK AIP EGLF AD2.18 (Monday to Friday 0700-2200 (0600-2100), Saturday and Sunday and Public Holidays 0800-2000 (0700-1900). Outside these hours, pilots may (subject to workload) receive a service from Farnborough or be requested to contact an alternative VHF frequency.

Use the FMC. Rather than squawking 7000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 4572 and monitoring 125.250MHz.  Obtain the London QNH by asking an adjacent ATS unit or by listening to that given to other aircraft on 125.250MHz.  It may also be obtained for the ATIS frequency (128.405 MHz).

Apply Threat and Error Management when planning and flying.  Always consider airspace when making a detailed plan. Build in climb and descent points when routing in the vicinity of multiple CTAs with differing base altitudes. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by. Have a point beyond which you are not going to fly if you do not have a positive clearance to enter controlled airspace particularly when departing Fairoaks and Blackbushe when cockpit workload is high. One of the biggest causes of infringements is distraction; manage that threat when operating close to controlled airspace.

Avoid flying on the RPS in the vicinity of Farnborough CTAs or below the London TMA.  When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will be higher in relation to the London QNH.  If you are receiving a FIS from London Flight Information Service, ask the FISO for the London QNH rather than accepting/flying on the Chatham RPS.

If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of the CTA, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter controlled airspace when appropriate, ATC is able to control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained.

09. Solent CTA-3 and CTA-5

Solent CTA-3 and CTA-5 airspace infringement hot-spot

This infringement update is the ninth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement ‘hot-spots’ in the UK. It has been written by members of the Solent LAIT, Southampton Airport and Southampton Air Traffic Control.

The Solent airspace comprises the Southampton Control Zone (CTR Surface to 2,000 feet amsl) and 8 Solent Control Areas (CTA). This airspace is designated as Class D controlled airspace.

The CTA-3 portion of the Solent CTA extends from 2,000 feet to 5,500 feet while the CTA-5 portion extends from 2,500 feet to 5,500 feet (highlighted in red below – figure 1). In 2019 Southampton/Solent airspace was subject to 91 airspace infringements. At least 14 of these infringements involved either one or both of these two areas. This is significant because these two areas only make up a small fraction of the total Solent CTA and the impact of infringements here creates a high risk of a loss of separation.

Analysis of the infringements shows most aircraft infringe by cutting corners and enter controlled airspace by crossing the line. However, there are also a significant number of infringements that occur by aircraft ‘climbing’ into the CTA while routing under the area. This latter type of infringement, particularly in this area, can have more major consequences.

Solent CTA (3) and CTA (5)

Figure 1: Solent CTA-3 and CTA-5

 

Figure 2: Final approach track for the Runway 20 ILS at Southampton

Figure 2: Final approach track for the Runway 20 ILS at Southampton

Figure 2 shows the final approach track for the Runway 20 ILS at Southampton (depicted in yellow). The red lines in Figure 2 show the typical approach path of inbound IFR traffic. When vectoring for the Runway 20 ILS approach, controllers are instructing IFR aircraft to turn and descend in order to intecept the final approach path at about 8 nautical miles from touchdown and at an altitude of 2500ft.

Most IFR aircraft (usually commercial/scheduled) are flying at around 180KTs – so covering 1NM every 20 seconds. Given the confines of the airspace this means that the timing of turns is critical – especially when making allowance for the wind on the day. Often the controllers are not only ensuring the commercial traffic are kept inside controlled airspace but also sequencing them between traffic ahead and traffic behind. This means a high degree of accuracy is required.

Commercial aircraft can be operating 500 feet above the base of controlled airspace. Although there are other approaches to Runway 20 at Southampton, over 95% use the ILS approach. ATC will descend IFR aircraft to 500 feet above the base of controlled airspace (as is standard operating procedure). Any infringement of the CTA-3 or CTA-5 here can rapidly cause a loss of separation which has serious implications for all concerned. The controller would have to take mandatory avoiding action and a full investigation would be carried out into the incident. The controller is then unable to continue working until a preliminary investigation is complete.

An infringing aircraft that is not radar identified by Solent Radar becomes unknown traffic; a separation standard of 3nm laterally or 3,000 feet vertically is required between that aircraft and IFR aircraft inbound to, or outbound from, Southampton Airport or operating within Southampton/Solent controlled airspace.

The New Alresford VRP exists underneath the CTA-5 which has a base of 2,500 feet and this VRP is commonly used by aircraft routing around the Solent CTA to the northeast.

Important factors to think about when flying under the CTA -3 and CTA-5

  • Take 2. An initiative through the Local Airspace Infringement Teams (LAIT) is to Take 2. By remaining at least 200 feet below the base of the area (or 2nm horizontally away from the edge of the Control Zones) then, any inadvertent deviation from level flight or planned course could be caught in sufficient time to prevent an airspace infringement. As mentioned in the introduction, it is especially important when flying ‘under’ these Solent control areas. A radar controller can usually see traffic operating beneath controlled airspace while controlling inbound traffic to Southampton and has to expect such aircraft to remain outside controlled airspace. Any vertical deviation that results in an aircraft entering the CTA (without a clearance) can immediately cause a loss of separation with the aircraft within, which quickly becomes a significant safety event employing actual and tactical avoiding action, creating a highly elevated workload with yet greater risk and resulting in all the reporting action and investigation that that entails. If you just ‘pop up for a moment’ it can easily be as significant as a horizontal one from an ATC perspective.
    Download TAKE2
  • Set the correct QNH. The base of controlled airspace is determined by the local ‘Solent’ QNH, not the local regional pressure setting (RPS). A difference of 3-4 HPa is not unusual and aircraft flying close to the base can inadvertently infringe just by having the wrong (inappropriate) QNH selected.
    Download Altimetry Key tips
  • Use the appropriate Frequency Monitoring Code (FMC) and listen out. The airspace below the CTA-3 and CTA-5 is Class G airspace (uncontrolled). There is no requirement to receive a service from Southampton ATC (the controlling authority). However, the introduction of the FMC (7011 for Southampton/Solent Radar – 120.230MHz) enables ATC to observe an aircraft that may be of potential conflict to their traffic inside controlled airspace, and then call such an aircraft when appropriate. Once communication is established, and the aircraft is identified, the potentially infringing aircraft becomes known traffic to the controller, enabling tactical planning or incident recovery to be completed quickly. Use of this FMC has been proven to prevent infringements and reduce the severity of such occurrences as well as enhance the controllers’ and pilots’ situational awareness creating a safer and more predictable situation than would otherwise prevail.
    Download Listening squawks
  • If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of controlled airspace (2,000 feet for CTA-3, 2,500 feet for CTA-5), then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter controlled airspace when appropriate, ATC are able to control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained.
    Download R/T – Prepare your transmissions
  • Always use a moving map. There are many reasons why a pilot can lose situational awareness of his/her position that may then result in an airspace infringement. Whether flying recreationally or carrying out an instructional flight, the correct use of a moving map is known to reduce that risk and assist in increasing pilot capacity.

08. East Midlands CTA-2

Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of East Midlands

This infringement update is the eighth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement ‘hot-spots’ in the UK. It has been written by members of the Midlands LAIT including East Midlands ATC and operators at Nottingham Aerodrome.

The Midlands LAIT has noted that a significant ‘hot-spot’ exists for airspace infringements of the East Midlands Controlled Airspace in the Class D Control Area 2 (CTA-2) which is to the east of the Airport and CTR. Its base is 1,500 feet (based on the East Midlands QNH) and extends to FL105. It is bisected by the A46 which runs south-north from Leicester. Over a 4-year period to 2019, 47% of airspace infringements occurred in CTA-2. Of the remaining infringements, some 30% occurred in the northern part of the Control Zone (CTR) between Derby and Long Eaton.

East Midlands Controlled Airspace

East Midlands Controlled Airspace

East Midlands Controlled Airspace

Controlled Airspace Transits

East Midlands ATC take a flexible approach to issuing transit clearances. Use is often made of the M1 motorway, Wymeswold disused airfield, and Ratcliffe on Soar power station. When runway 09 is in use at East Midlands, pilots are often instructed to route west of East Midlands Airport. Many other tactics and routes are used, so it is important for pilots to pay close attention to ATC instructions. Altitude restrictions appropriate to the traffic situation will be used.

Inbound to or Outbound from Nottingham Aerodrome

The aerodrome lies approximately 10nm to the northeast East Midlands Airport and underneath CTA-1 (2500 feet East Midlands QNH to FL105) and within an Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) which extends to 2,000 feet agl (2,138 feet amsl). The aerodrome is serviced by Air/Ground on Nottingham Radio 134.880 MHz. Nottingham’s runways are oriented 27/09 and 21/03 and circuits are flown left hand; circuit information is shown on the Nottingham City Aerodrome website. The preferred method of joining the circuit is via the standard overhead join at 2,000 feet Nottingham QFE; this will give pilots over 350 feet vertical separation from the East Midlands CTA-1 above the aerodrome.

When arriving from/departing to the west, pilots are to ensure that they do not confuse Derby for the Stapleford/Long Eaton areas; there are similarities with the A38 routing to the west of Derby and the M1 to the west of Stapleford/Long Eaton in a similar SW/NE orientation; this may be a causal factor into airspace infringements of the CTR in this area. By maintaining at least 1nm north of the A52 road that links Derby to Stapleford, pilots will remain outside the East Midland CTR. In the vertical extent, flying below 2,500 feet on the East Midland QNH; however, a recommended route from the west of northwest is via Trent (TNT) or Carsington Water and Hucknall disused aerodrome to the northwest of the city of Nottingham.

When arriving from/departing to the northeast, pilots should plan to avoid Syerston which is 9nm northeast of Nottingham aerodrome. The Syerston ATZ is active 0830-Sunset +15 minutes UTC in the winter; in the summer, operating times are 1 hour earlier. The aerodrome is used for gliding activity with winch launching taking place up to 3,300 feet amls. This means that winch cables could be encountered over the aerodrome above the ATZ along with intense gliding activity. Pilots intending to transit the ATZ at Syerston are to establish 2-way communications with Syerston Radio on 128.525 MHz and comply with Rule 11 of the Rules of the Air Regulations 2015.

When arriving from/departing to the east, pilots should plan to avoid the parachuting site at Langar (6.5nm east-southeast of Nottingham aerodrome). The entry in the UK AIP ENR5. 5 shows that the site is notified via Langer on 129.905 MHz or through East Midlands Radar (134.180 MHz) or London Information (124.600 MHz). Nottingham Radio will also provide a warning when able. Drops will normally be made from upwind of the drop zone and, if the weather allows, are usually made from FL150.

When arriving from/departing to the south/southwest, pilots should plan remain below CTA-2 unless in receipt of an CTA crossing clearance from East Midlands Radar. When inbound, do not be tempted to start a climb to 2,000 ft on the Nottingham QFE too early to position for the overhead join. When departing from Nottingham aerodrome, you will be given the East Midlands QNH so you are on the East Midlands/ Nottingham QNH to prevent a vertical airspace infringement due to pressure differences.”

Visual Reference Points

East Midlands has six VRPs; of which four are in the vicinity of the eastern half of the controlled airspace structures as follows:

  1. Melton Mowbray VRP is the site of the old RAF Melton Mowbray aerodrome located just to the south of the town and 4.8nm southwest of the TV mast at Waltham on the Wold with an elevation of 1,489 feet amsl (1,031 feel agl) . Pilots inbound to Nottingham aerodrome from the VRP on a direct tract will need to descend to below 1,500 feet on the East Midlands QNH or be in receipt of an air traffic clearance to enter controlled airspace to avoid infringing CTA-2 (1,500 feet QNH to FL105).
  2. Bottesford VRP lies within Class G airspace and some 8 miles from the nearest CTA boundary (CTA-1).
  3. Trowell (Motorway M1, Service Area) VRP lies underneath the Class D CTA 1 (2,500 feet East Midlands QNH to FL105). Pilots not in receipt of a clearance to enter controlled airspace should remain below East Midlands QNH. When visually acquiring this VRP, of note this is not a junction that offers and entry/exit from the M1; there is, however, the A609 which is oriented east/west to the south of the motel and services. Caution must be taken not to confuse the motel and east/west orientation of the A52 at Junction 25 of the M1 for Trowell
  4. Markfield (Motorway M1, Junction 22) VRP lies underneath Class D CTA- 4 (2,500 feet to 5,500 feet on the East Midlands QNH); above 5,500 feet is Class A airspace. Pilots not in receipt of a clearance to enter controlled airspace should remain below 2,500 feet East Midlands QNH.

An aircraft that enters controlled airspace without a clearance is, to air traffic control, an unknown aircraft and a separation standard of either 5nm laterally or 5,000 feet vertically must be achieved between that aircraft and IFR aircraft inbound to, or outbound from, East Midlands.

East Midlands Runway 09 Departure Routes

East Midlands Runway 09 Departure Routes
The red area is that typically used by aircraft below 6,000 feet

 

East Midlands Runway 27 Arrival Routes

East Midlands Runway 27 Arrival Routes
The red area is that typically used for Continuous Descent Approaches below 6,000 feet

To prevent an airspace infringement

As part of their pre-flight planning and in-flight execution, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Use a Moving Map to give you a profile along your planned route showing controlled airspace above and below your route along with any airspace warnings. When flying in proximity to controlled airspace, and able to, Take 2.

Obtain a Lower Airspace Radar Service from East Midlands. Pilots can obtain a LARS from East Midlands radar on 134.180 MHz; the hours of operation are H24.

Use the FMC. Rather than squawking 7000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 4572 and monitoring 134.180MHz. Obtain the East Midlands QNH by asking an adjacent ATS unit or by listening to that given to other aircraft on 134.180MHz. It may also be obtained for the ATIS frequency (122.680 MHz).

Avoid flying on the RPS in the vicinity East Midlands CTAs or below the DTY CTA. When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will be higher in relation to the East Midlands QNH. If you are receiving a FIS from London Flight Information Service, ask the FISO for the East Midlands QNH rather than remaining on the Barnsley RPS.

Make a Detailed Plan. Build in your climb and descent points when routing in the vicinity of multiple CTAs with differing base altitudes. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by. Have a point beyond which you are not going to fly if you do not have a positive clearance to enter controlled airspace; in the case of departing Nottingham, this should be the lateral confines of the ATZ.

If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of the CTA, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter controlled airspace when appropriate, ATC is able to control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained

Monitor the DME. The East Midlands DME is on frequency 109.35. If you tune into the DME and remain at least 9 DME to the east, and still below CTA-2 (base 1,500 QNH), you will remain outside of the CTR thereby preventing a lateral infringement.

07. Manchester Barton ATZ

Preventing ATZ infringements at Manchester Barton Aerodrome

This infringement update is the seventh in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement ‘hot-spots’ in the UK. It has been written by the Aerodrome Flight Information Service Officers (AFISO) at Manchester Barton Aerodrome who are members of the Northwest LAIT.

Whilst ATZ infringements have always been reportable as an occurrence (a breach of Rule 11 of The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015), in recent years the national focus on Airspace Infringements prevention and improved reporting have identified a number of common contributary factors which have led to such infringements. In 2018 there were 130 reported infringements of ATZ in the UK; to 17 December 2019 there were 100. This type of airspace infringement is a particular risk to the operation at Manchester (Barton) Aerodrome. This article is intended to give helpful guidance and useful tips to assist pilots in preventing an ATZ infringement at the Aerodrome and may also be relevant at other ATZs elsewhere.

The Barton ATZ has a 2nm radius and extends to 2,000 feet above aerodrome level. It sits underneath the Manchester Control Area (CTA with vertical limits of 2,000 feet – 3,500 feet Manchester QNH) and against the Manchester CTR (Surface to 3,500 feet Manchester QNH) as depicted below; it is a non-standard ATZ as it excludes the portion of the circle that lies within the Manchester CTR. The ATZ is active during the published hours of the Aerodrome Flight Information Service as per the entry in the UK AIP at EGCB AD 2.17. The ATZ is established to give protection to aircraft at the critical stages of flight when departing, arriving and flying in the vicinity of the aerodrome and it can be a busy area of airspace. Compliance with Rule 11 is essential to ensure that the ATZ’s protection is an effective mitigation against a mid-air collision.

The ATZ lies primarily within Class G airspace, however the top of the ATZ lies above the base of the Class D Manchester CTA (aerodrome elevation is 73 feet amsl). This also means that it is impossible to transit at the top height (2,000 feet agl) or above the Barton ATZ without clearance from Manchester ATC. Aircraft arriving to, and flying visual circuits at Barton will do so on the Barton QFE; departing aircraft will be issued the Manchester QNH.

 

Barton ATZ has a 2nm radius and extends to 2,000 feet above aerodrome level

Barton ATZ has a 2nm radius and extends to 2,000 feet above aerodrome level

 

The ATZ lies primarily within Class G airspace, however the top of the ATZ lies above the base of the Class D Manchester CTA

The ATZ lies primarily within Class G airspace, however the top of the ATZ lies above the base of the Class D Manchester CTA

 

Between January to December 2018, there were 25 reported infringements of the Barton ATZ and from January to December 2019, there were 12. The majority of these infringements involved aircraft that were inbound to land with a small number by aircraft not landing but flying within the vicinity. These are further broken down as follows:

Inbound Local Area Transits
Locally-based aircraft Visiting aircraft Non-Barton based
2018 13 8 4
2019 6 4 2

 

Manchester Barton Aerodrome is a member of the Northwest Local Airspace Infringement Team. Significant local awareness and education has been made and a large reduction in the number of infringements involving locally-based aircraft has been evident as this awareness and education has taken effect. This additional information aims to further extend this awareness and educational to pilots around the country who may be visiting the aerodrome or passing the vicinity.

A study of the infringements breaks down the majority of causal factors into the following areas:

  • Lack of awareness of Rule 11 – A number of pilots were unaware that if asked to “Standby” they must not enter the ATZ (even if they have previously remained on frequency in the local area) until the AFISO has passed updated Aerodrome Information. Some incidences cited busy RTF as a contributary reason or distraction from passengers.
  • Lack of pre-flight planning –  It was evident that in some cases, non -Barton based aircraft transiting or operating within the immediate local area had not completed an adequate pre-brief for their intended flight. In some cases, these aircraft had also not completed PPR.
  • Distraction – The pilot may have been distracted, either by passengers or whilst under instruction, in the latter cases allowing the student to continue to infringe without taking preventative or corrective action in good time.

Tips on preventing ATZ infringements at Barton

A number of local VRPs are established in the vicinity of the aerodrome which are referenced below and may provide assistance in judging a suitable distance at which communications and aerodrome information should be established and received.

  • Inbound from the South (via the Manchester Low-Level Route)
    Plan to make your initial call at or before reaching the VRP at Thelwall Viaduct. Be sure not to initiate any climb until you have passed this VRP and are well clear of the Low-Level Route. In the event that you are unable to establish two-way communications, you could remain 3-4 nm from the ATZ and route Northbound until this is established.
  • Inbound from the Northwest, North and Northeast
    A good place to make your initial call is in the vicinity of VRP’s at Leigh Flash, Middlebrook Stadium or M60/M62/M66 Heaton Interchange. These all allow 5+ nm before reaching the ATZ.

Transiting Southwest to Northeast and reverse
The aerodrome and ATZ can become extremely busy. Should a transit of the ATZ be necessary, ensure that a call is made in good time at least 5 miles before reaching the boundary to allow you to receive aerodrome and specific traffic information. We would suggest, when busy, that it may be more prudent to remain at least 3-4 nm from the Aerodrome, therefore well outside the ATZ and route around via the West and North side of the ATZ. The Barton AFISO can provide a basic service and will advise of any traffic that may be of relevance to your routing.

Plan ahead – Especially during busy periods, the frequency may be busy and so sufficient time should be allowed in order to establish two-way communication and aerodrome information. If you are asked to standby, you must not enter the ATZ; in addition, it would be best practice not to orbit immediately adjacent to the ATZ, so an early call ten miles out will be beneficial. Have a backup plan should you be unable to establish contact. This may involve re-routing or holding within the local area, being careful of other airspace in the vicinity.

Use a Moving map – A moving map display will give you a good clear indication of the ATZ and adjacent airspace giving you the ability to maintain situation awareness.

Transponder Code – When in communication with Barton Information, aircraft can be expected to be allocated a specific transponder code. This code is designed to assist Manchester ATC in identifying any aircraft that are in communications with the Barton AFISO, enabling improved and swift resolution should any infringements of the Manchester or other nearby airspace occur.

Relevant Traffic Information – The AFISO is responsible for providing traffic information to aircraft within the ATZ and immediate vicinity. Therefore, by ensuring a timely call to the AFISO with accurate position and height well before entering the ATZ, he/she is then able to provide a much more complete ‘picture’ of relevant traffic to both yourself and other aircraft in or near the ATZ, assisting all pilots in situational awareness and reducing risk of collisions.
(Note: The airfield is also participating in an Airspace4All GA Airfield ATS ADS-B Traffic Display Trial – this helps provide the AFISO with additional situational awareness and provides a further tool in which the AFISO can help pilots avoid ATZ or other controlled airspace infringements)

Local Procedure Changes – On 26 March 2020, the overhead join height will be reduced from 1800ft agl to 1500ft agl. This aims to give additional separation from the Manchester CTA above and in the vicinity of the aerodrome reducing potential for inadvertent vertical infringements of the Manchester CTA. Circuit height will remain at 1000ft agl.

Further information, local procedures and online PPR can be found within the Operational section at www.cityairportandheliport.com

 

06. Hawarden RMZ

Preventing airspace infringements of the Hawarden Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ)

This infringement update is the sixth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement ‘hot-spots’ in the UK. It has been written by the air traffic control team at Hawarden aerodrome which is a key member of the Northwest LAIT.

History of the RMZ

Due to Hawarden’s location in uncontrolled airspace it was becoming ever more difficult to de-conflict aircraft on Standard Outbound Clearances (SOCs) from the myriad of non-communicating flights permitted to operate in uncontrolled airspace. To maintain the safety of all aircraft, Hawarden ATC is required to avoid conflictions to planned Hawarden departures by delaying an aircraft’s take-off until unknown traffic is no longer an operational issue.

Control of inbound airways traffic to Hawarden Airport is transferred to Hawarden ATC within the protection of Controlled Airspace. However, all Runway 04 final approach paths and several critical areas of the Runway 22 final approach are located in Class G airspace, where Hawarden traffic may come into conflict with unknown, non-communicating aircraft. In cases of such conflict, Hawarden ATC would provide an extended routing to their traffic, which resulted in an increased fuel burn and the associated environmental impact.

Numerous high velocity and heavy aircraft operating at Hawarden Airport made the ‘see and avoid’ principle incompatible with Class G operations. If the pilots’ intentions could be ascertained, this would increase situational awareness, and allow controllers the ability to plan ahead accordingly.

In 2017 Hawarden ATC identified these safety concerns that could be improved by the adoption of a known traffic environment such as a Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ).

The RMZ would require all aircraft to make and maintain two-way radio contact with Hawarden ATC and advise ATC with pertinent flight details. This would generate a known traffic environment. An RMZ would not permit Hawarden ATC to deviate the route of all traffic to aid deconfliction; it would however, generate the known traffic environment within which the lower de-confliction minima can be applied (in accordance with UK FIS) and Hawarden traffic could be routed with the confidence that routine unexpected manoeuvres of aircraft do not need to be taken into account.

It was recognised that the establishment may generate some operational restrictions to non-radio equipped aircraft which currently utilise the airspace. To this end, it was necessary to permit some ‘alternative means of compliance’ to be developed which would allow operators to access the airspace, yet still provide Hawarden ATC with a known traffic environment.

It was considered that the option of an RMZ provided the most balanced solution with due regard to Hawarden Airport operators and other airspace users. After a period of consultation and CAA review the airspace was implemented in March 2017. It comprises 3 areas:

Area A lies to the north and is located underneath the Manchester CTA; it extends from the surface to 2,500 feet amsl.

Area B is the largest area and lies overhead the Hawarden ATZ and to the south; it extends for the surface to 3,000 feel amsl.

Area C lies to the south and is located over the western part of Wrexham and over the high ground to the south of Hawarden aerodrome; it extends for the surface to 4,500 feel amsl.

All three areas are charted on VFR charts with blue semi-circles on the inside of the boundary lines. The Hawarden Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ) frequency 120.055 MHz which is also annotated on the charts.

Hawarden Radio Mandatory Zone

Hawarden Radio Mandatory Zone charted on VFR charts with blue semi-circles on the inside of the boundary lines

 

Hawarden RMZ Areas

Hawarden RMZ areas

RMZ Procedures

For flights within the RMZ pilots must comply with ONE of the following:

(a) Establish 2-way RTF communication with Hawarden Radar (120.055 MHz) passing flight details before entering the RMZ and maintain communication within the RMZ.

Flight details will comprise:

  1. Callsign
  2. Aircraft type
  3. Position
  4. Level/altitude
  5. Intentions of the flight.

(b) Display the Hawarden Frequency Monitoring Code (FMC) of 4607 (with Mode C (ALT) if available), whilst monitoring Hawarden Radar on frequency 120.055 MHz prior to entering, and within, the RMZ.

(c) Non-radio aircraft should contact Hawarden ATC by telephone (01244 522012), email (atcopshawarden@airbus.com) or by text message to 07786 208 291 prior to commencing any planned flights that will enter or cross the RMZ. The aircraft registration, type, estimates and points of entry/exit, planned altitudes and duration/activity in the RMZ needs to be passed to Hawarden ATC. On receipt of this information an acknowledgement will be issued. This gives you authority to enter the RMZ.

(d) Conduct flight in accordance with valid Letter of Agreement with Hawarden ATC if operating from a site within the RMZ.

Hawarden Frequency Monitoring Code (FMC)

The Hawarden FMC (commonly known as a listening squawk) is 4607. It should always be used with Mode C (ALT) if available). It is designed so you can monitor the Hawarden Radar Frequency without contacting ATC; however, you must establish two-way communication with ATC if requested. Observing the transponder code will indicate to Hawarden ATC that you are monitoring the frequency able to be contacted by ATC should the need arise.

Use of the FMC:

  1. Monitor the Hawarden Radar Frequency of 120.055 MHz.
  2. Select the transponder code 4607 (with Mode C (ALT) if available).
  3. Remember you are not receiving an ‘Air Traffic Service’.
  4. You remain responsible for your own navigation and terrain clearance.
  5. You are not cleared to enter the ATZ or any Controlled Airspace.
  6. You do not need to contact Hawarden Radar.
  7. ATC will call you if they wish to contact you. You will be called in relation to your position.
  8. When leaving the RMZ, deselect 4607 first and change frequency.

Visual Reference Points (VRPs):

These VRPs can be useful in identifying the boundaries of the RMZ to assist with frequency change or selection of the FMC. We suggest pilots use the VRPs in the vicinity of Hawarden as a guide to selecting the FMC.

Outside the RMZ:

  • Beeston Castle lies 5.7nm to the east of the RMZ boundary near the village of Tarporley and to the south of the Shropshire Union Canal).
  • Chester VRP lies just to the east of the RMZ Boundary to the east of the city of Chester and on the junction of the M53 and A51.
  • Oulton Park lies 8.3nm to the northeast of the RMZ boundary and just to the south of the entrance to the Manchester Low-level Route.
  • Borras Quarry lies on the eastern RMZ boundary and to the north of Wrexham town.

Inside the RMZ:

  • Poulton Disused Airfield lies 0.9nm inside the RMZ boundary and to the southeast of Hawarden aerodrome.
  • Mold Town lies 1.4nm inside the western RMZ boundary
  • Flint Bridge lies 0.5nm inside the RMZ boundary to the northwest of Hawarden aerodrome.

RMZ Infringements

Whilst there has been a year-on-year reduction in the number of airspace infringements of the RMZ, the numbers remain high. In the 9 months of its implementation in 2017 there were 115 airspace infringements (circa 13 per month), in 2018 there were 74 airspace infringements (6 per month) and in 2019 there has been as average of 4 airspace infringement per month.

The major causes of RMZ Infringements appear to be a lack of understanding by pilots of the requirements for 0entry to an RMZ or a failure to note the area’s depiction on aviation charts.

It is important for pilots to ensure they are operating the latest software updates for their navigation equipment. Procedures and frequencies do change and a number of infringements have been down to calling on/monitoring the out of date Approach frequency.

Most aircraft that infringe the RMZ tend do so to the south west of the airspace just below the Niton CTA, base level 4500 feet. Pilots, believing that they are routing well to the south west of Hawarden don’t call Hawarden Radar, but end up transiting through the south western portion of the zone.

This has a significant impact on aircraft making instrument approaches to Runway 04. The RMZ provides a certain amount of protection from, and predictability for, aircraft transiting nearby. However, due to the high ground in that area radar coverage is poor and unknown traffic quite often appears late on, requiring rapid avoiding action for aircraft at a critical stage of flight, unknown traffic must be de-conflicted by either 5nms horizontally or 3,000 feet vertically. If aircraft call early to transit, co-ordination can be achieved, or inbound aircraft vectored early to pass behind the known traffic.

An aide memoir detailing the RMZ and its requirements can be found here: Hawarden Radio Mandatory Zone

05. Doncaster Sheffield Controlled Airspace and Sandtoft Aerodrome

Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of the Sandtoft Aerodrome

This infringement update is the fifth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement ‘hot-spots’ in the UK. It has been written by members of the Yorkshire LAIT including ATCSL at Doncaster Sheffield and Liverpool, operators at Humberside, Yorkshire Aero Club and Sandtoft Aerodrome.

The Yorkshire LAIT has noted a significant ‘hot-spot’ exists for airspace infringements of the Doncaster Sheffield Controlled Airspace in the vicinity of, and in particular, to the west of the Sandtoft ATZ. In the 3 months from 1 July to 1 October 2019, there were a significant number of infringements of the CTR and CTA, by aircraft arriving to or departing from Sandtoft aerodrome.

Inbound to or Outbound from Sandtoft Aerodrome

The aerodrome lies to the northeast Doncaster Sheffield Airport.  The Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) lies within the following 3 volumes of controlled airspace and extends to 2,000 feet agl (2,013 feet amsl):

  1. The Class D CTR-1 which extends from the surface to Flight Level 85,
  2. The Class D CTA-1 which extends from 1,500 feet on the Doncaster Sheffield QNH to Flight Level 85, and
  3. The Class D CTA-5 which extends from 2,000 feet on the Doncaster Sheffield QNH to Flight Level 85. This CTA also ‘wraps around’ the CTA and CTR to the east towards Gamston.

Sandtoft’s runways are oriented 23/05 and the circuits are flown to the west towards the final approach for Runway 20 at Doncaster Sheffield. (ie Runway 23 right-hand circuits and Runway 05 left-hand circuits). The edge of the Sandtoft ATZ is just 1.5nm east of the final approach to Runway 20 at Doncaster Sheffield Airport and less than 5nm from the departure end of Runway 02

On arriving in the Sandtoft ATZ, pilots should, once established in the circuit, remain within the ATZ by turning downwind for Runway 23 overhead the caravan / lake complex to the southwest of the aerodrome; pilots should, where possible, not delay the turn onto downwind in order to achieve circuit height. Similarly, the turn onto the base leg for Runway 05 should be commenced over the same turning point. Failure to follow these procedures may result in an infringement of controlled airspace. Pilots should also note the displaced threshold of Runway 23, to ensure clearance of obstacles in the undershoot.

When departing to the North, leave the Sandtoft ATZ tracking north to pass to the east of Goole Docks [1] remaining below 2,000 ft Doncaster QNH until you are north of the River Ouse.

When departing to the East, leave the Sandtoft ATZ with Epworth [2] on your right-hand side remaining below 2,000 ft Doncaster QNH until you are east of the River Trent [3].

When departing to the South, leave the Sandtoft ATZ with Epworth [2] on your right-hand side before turning to track south remaining below 2,000 ft Doncaster QNH until you are east of the River Trent [3].

When departing to the West, leave the Sandtoft ATZ tracking north until east of Goole Docks before turning west.  Remain north of the M62 [4] and below 2,000 feet Doncaster QNH until you are west of the Eggborough Power Station [5].   If you wish to depart due west, remain in the visual circuit at Sandtoft and obtain a CTR transit from Doncaster Radar on 126.225 MHz prior to entering controlled airspace. Alternatively, pilots could call Doncaster Sheffield ATC on the ground; in this case TC would issue a discrete squawk and establish a proposed route the pilot would like to fly through the CTR.

Diagram

[1] Goole Docks
[2] Epworth
[3] River Trent
[4] M62
[5] Eggborough Power Station

Visual Reference Points (VRPs)

Doncaster Sheffield has 6 VRPs; of which 4 are in the vicinity of the northern half of the controlled airspace structures as follows:

Goole Docks VRP lies within Class G airspace and 0.65nm to the north of Class D CTA 5 (Surface to Flight Level 85). Pilots not in receipt of a clearance to enter controlled airspace should remain to the north of the VRP or below 2,000 feet Doncaster QNH.

Haxey VRP lies within Class G airspace and under the Class D CTA 5 (Surface to Flight Level 85) and on the eastern edge of the Doncaster CTA. Pilots not in receipt of a clearance to enter controlled airspace should remain to the east of the VRP and below 2,000 feet Doncaster QNH.

A1/M18 Wadworth Interchange VRP lies within the Class D CTA 2 (surface to FL105). Pilots not in receipt of a clearance to enter controlled airspace should remain airspace should remain to the west of the VRP and below 2,000 feet Doncaster QNH.

M18 Stainforth Services VRP lies within Class D airspace at the northern edge of the Doncaster Sheffield CTR1 (Surface to FL85). Pilots not in receipt of a clearance to enter controlled airspace should remain to the north of the VRP and below 1,500 feet Doncaster QNH.

Sandtoft VRPs

Sandtoft VRPs

An aircraft that leaves the lateral confines of the ATZ without a clearance to enter the CTR is, to air traffic control, an unknown aircraft and a separation standard of either 5nm laterally or 5,000 feet vertically must be achieved between that aircraft and IFR aircraft inbound to, or outbound from, Doncaster Sheffield Airport or operating within controlled airspace.  In addition, the visual circuit at Doncaster Sheffield airport is frequent used by large aircraft such as Boeing 737s for training; these circuits are flown at 2,000 feet to the east of the airport with a descent to 1,500 feet on final approach.  Due to the size, speed and integration aspects, these circuits are much wider than conventional GA circuits and can extend to the edge of controlled airspace. The departure profiles for Runway 02 and arrival profiles for Runway 20 are shown below.

Doncaster Sheffield departure and arrival tracks

Doncaster Sheffield departure and arrival tracks

To prevent an airspace infringement, as part of their pre-flight planning and in-flight execution, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Use a Moving Map to give you a profile along your planned route showing controlled airspace above and below your route along with any airspace warnings.  When flying in proximity to controlled airspace, and able to,  Take 2.

Use the FMC. Rather than squawking 7000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 6170 and monitoring 126.225MHz.  Obtain the Doncaster Sheffield QNH by asking an adjacent ATS unit or by listening to that given to other aircraft on 126.225 MHz.  It may also be obtained for the ATIS frequency (134.955 MHz) or via telephone, externally 0871-220 2210, Ext 5645, or internally on Ext 5645.

Avoid flying on the RPS in the vicinity of Doncaster Sheffield CTAs.  When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will be higher in relation to the Doncaster Sheffield QNH.  If you are receiving a FIS from London Flight Information Service, ask the FISO for the Doncaster Sheffield QNH rather than remaining on the Barnsley RPS.

Make a Detailed Plan. Build in your climb and descent points when routing in the vicinity of multiple CTAs with differing base altitudes. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by. Have a point beyond which you are not going to fly if you do not have a positive clearance to enter controlled airspace; in the case of departing Sandtoft, this should be the lateral confines of the ATZ.

If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of of the CTA, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter controlled airspace when appropriate, ATC is able to control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained.

 

04. Solent CTA-2

Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of the Solent

This infringement update is the fourth in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement ‘hot-spots’ in the UK. It has been written by members of the Solent LAIT, Southampton Airport and Southampton Air Traffic Control.

The Solent airspace comprises the Southampton Control Zone (CTR, surface to 2,000 feet amsl) and eight Solent Control Areas (CTA) as depicted in Chart 1. The CTA‐2 portion of the Solent CTA extends from 2,000 feet to 5,500 feet and also above the CTR to 5,500 feet amsl. Southampton in subject to over 100 airspace infringements during a year the majority of which are in CTA‐2.

This specific CTA‐2 comprises an area over the New Forest and western Solent (including a segment over the north west of the Isle of Wight) under which lies a wide area of Class G airspace between the control zones of Southampton and Bournemouth. When we look at the infringements that do occur most are caused by aircraft infringing the base of that airspace.

Solent CTA‐2 outlined in red

Chart 1: Solent CTA‐2 outlined in red

An infringing aircraft that is not radar identified by Solent Radar becomes unknown traffic; a separation standard of 3nm laterally or 3,000 feet vertically is required between that aircraft and IFR aircraft inbound to, or outbound from, Southampton Airport or operating within Southampton/Solent controlled airspace.

Commercial aircraft can be operating 500ft above the base of controlled airspace. Both Bournemouth and Southampton have instrument approaches that commence in CTA‐2, often with commercial aircraft descending to 500 feet above the base of controlled airspace (as is standard operating procedure, see Chart 2). Any infringement of the CTA‐2 here can cause a loss of separation which has serious implications for all concerned with ATC having to take mandatory avoiding action and a full investigation being carried to the incident. This will usually involve the controller being unable to continue working until a preliminary investigation is complete. It may also result in delay for commercial passengers and crew.

Typical inbound routes using CTA‐2

Chart 2: Typical inbound routes using CTA‐2 (Southampton routes for Runway 02 in Red – Bournemouth routes for Runway 26 in Green)

Important factors to think about when flying under the CTA‐2

Set the right QNH. The base of controlled airspace is determined by the local ‘Solent’ QNH, not the Portland RPS. A difference of 3‐4 hPa is not unusual and aircraft flying close to the base of controlled airspace can inadvertently infringe just by having the wrong (inappropriate) QNH selected.

Take 2. An initiative through the Local Airspace Infringement Teams (LAIT) is to Take 2. By remaining at least 200 feet below the base, or 2nm horizontally away from the edge of a block of controlled airspace then, any inadvertent deviation from level flight or planned course could be caught in sufficient time to prevent an airspace infringement. As mentioned in the introduction, it is especially important when flying ‘under’ the Solent CTA‐2 – i.e. below 2000ft. A radar controller can usually see traffic operating beneath controlled airspace while controlling inbound traffic to Southampton (and in principle in this area, Bournemouth too) and has to expect such aircraft to remain outside the CTA‐2. Any vertical deviation that results in an aircraft entering the CTA‐2 (without a clearance) can immediately cause a loss of separation with an aircraft within. This quickly becomes a significant safety event employing avoiding action, creating a highly elevated workload with yet greater risk and resulting in all the reporting action and investigation that that entails. If you just ‘pop up for a moment’ it can easily be as significant as a horizontal infringement from an ATC perspective. As can be seen in Chart 2, the entire area of CTA‐2 is used for approaches to Runway 02 at Southampton and Runway 26 at Bournemouth.

Use the appropriate FMC (Listening Squawk) and listen out. The airspace below the CTA‐2 is Class G airspace (uncontrolled). There is no requirement to receive a service from either Bournemouth ATC (to the west) or Southampton ATC (the controlling authority). However, the introduction of the Frequency Monitoring Code (7011 for Southampton/Solent Radar – 120.230MHz, or 0011 for Bournemouth Radar 119.475MHz) enables ATC at those units to observe an aircraft that may be of potential conflict to their traffic inside controlled airspace and interrogate such an aircraft when appropriate. The use of this FMC has been proven to prevent infringements and reduce the severity of such occurrences and enhance the controllers’ and pilots’ situational awareness creating a safer and more predictable situation than would otherwise prevail. The agreed ‘demarcation’ line between the Solent and Bournemouth FMC is a line orientated northwest to southwest between Stoney Cross and Hurst Castle; to the west it is Bournemouth (0011/119.475MHz) and to the east is Solent Radar (7011/120.230MHz).

If appropriate – request a clearance. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of 2,000 feet in CTA‐2, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter controlled airspace when appropriate, ATC are able to control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained.

Visual Reference Points (VRPs)

To help orientate yourself, and also enable a position report if you are talking to an ATC unit, there are five VRPs (Chart 3 below) which lie under or close to CTA‐2:

Cowes VRP is the harbour at the mouth of the River Medina on the Isle of Wight lying to the east of CTA‐2 and under the Portsmouth CTA with a base of FL65. The VRP acts as a prominent geographical feature by which to be below 2,000 feet (Solent QNH) when routing westbound and to remain below 2,000 feet QNH when routing eastbound.

Calshot VRP lies on the edge of the Southampton CTR (SAM 177°/8 nm) and is the site of the Calshot Power Station with a single chimney to the west of Calshot Castle and the activities centre. Pilots intending to operate in Class G airspace using this VRP should remain south of the VRP and below 2000 feet on the Solent QNH.

Beaulieu VRP is the site of the old RAF Beaulieu aerodrome on Beaulieu Heath. It can be identified at having 3 former runways in the standard WWII triangular configuration with the apex to the north.

Hurst Castle lies to the south of CTA‐2 and under CTA‐8 with a base of 3,500 feet amsl (on the Solent QNH).

Stoney Cross VRP is the site of the old RAF Stoney Cross aerodrome to the north of the A31 road leading to the start of the M27. The VRP lies on the western edge of CTA‐4 (base 2,500 feet Southampton QNH).

Solent VRPs on the half‐mil VFR chart

Chart 3: Solent VRPs on the half‐mil VFR chart

03. Birmingham CTA-2

Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of Warwick

[UPDATED November 2020]

This infringement update is the third in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement ‘hot-spots’ in the UK. It has been written by members of the Midlands LAIT: Birmingham Airport Air Traffic Limited, the Flight Information Service Officers at Coventry Airport and Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome and the CAA.

A constant ‘hot-spot’ for airspace infringements is the Birmingham Control Area 2 (CTA2) which lies to the south of the Birmingham Control Zone. Its base of 1,500 ft amsl (based on the Birmingham QNH) and extends to 4500 ft amsl to the base of the Daventry CTA (Class A). The Birmingham CTR and CTA are both Class D controlled airspace. In the period from 1 January to 11 October 2019, there were 21 infringements of CTA 2 amounting to 56% of all airspace infringements affecting Birmingham controlled airspace. The airspace is in place to facilitate descents to final approach to Runway 33 and departures from Runway 15. Significant ground features in the vicinity of the CTA are Leamington Spa and Warwick which straddle the boundary between CTA 2 and CTA 4 (base level 3,500 ft Birmingham QNH), the M40 motorway and Coventry Airport and city to the northeast. Warwick Castle, a popular scenic turning point, lies almost 1nm north on the southern boundary of, and under CTA 2.

CTA2 and CTA4

CTA2 and CTA4

Following consultation with the Birmingham Local Airspace Infringement Team, the CAA, and a review of infringement data, Birmingham Airport has taken the decision to remove the M40 J15 Warwick VRP (with effect from 10 September 2020). The 1:500,000 and 1:250,000 VFR charts will be amended when re-issued.  Pilots are reminded that routing to the south of Royal Leamington Spa will prevent an infringement of CTA-2.

An infringing aircraft that is not radar identified by Birmingham Air Traffic Control becomes unknown traffic; a separation standard of 5nm laterally or 5,000 feet vertically is required between that aircraft and IFR aircraft inbound to, or outbound from, Birmingham Airport.

Arrivals to Runway 33 are routed through CTA 4 (3,500 feet to 4,500 feet) descending into CTA 2 (1,500 feet to 4,500 feet) prior to entering the CTR (surface to 4,500 feet) prior to landing (see chart 2). As the inbound traffic will be descending, the air traffic controllers have little option other than to either break the aircraft off the approach or issue radar vectors to maintain 5nm lateral separation or to stop an aircraft’s descent 5,000 feet above the unknown traffic posing the challenge then to descend the aircraft in sufficient time to establish a stable approach.

Runway 33 Arrivals

Runway 33 Arrivals

Arrivals to Runway 15 from the south are routed via either downwind left-hand or right-hand through CTA 4 and CTA 2 into the CTR as depicted in Chart 3. As the inbound traffic will be descending, the air traffic controllers have little option other than to issue radar vectors to maintain 5nm lateral separation or, if they are still high enough, to stop an aircraft’s descent 5,000 feet above the unknown traffic.

Runway 15 Arrivals

Runway 15 Arrivals

Departures from Runway 15 at Birmingham Airport will climb out towards CTA 2 and CTA 4 (see chart 4). Again, to maintain standard separation of 5nm laterally or 5,000 feet vertically, departing aircraft may have to be issued with radar vectors; in addition, depending on the position, heading a height of the infringing aircraft, departures may need to be suspended and inbounds issued with amended missed approach.

Runway 15 Departures

Runway 15 Departures

Non-squawking aircraft operating underneath the CTAs will be deemed to be clear of controlled airspace; should that traffic be infringing controlled airspace, the risk of a mid-air collision is heightened.

Inbound to or Outbound from Coventry Airport?

Coventry lies underneath Birmingham Control Area 2 (CTA2), and the base of this controlled airspace is 1500ft QNH (1267ft Coventry QFE). Due to the high risk of potential confusion, Coventry will issue the Coventry QNH rather than QFE to aircraft in/outbound (QFE is available on request but remember the base of controlled airspace is close).

No overhead joins are permitted due to the controlled airspace above. Straight in approaches are not encouraged due to integrating with circuit/joining traffic via the following VRP’s.

For Runway 23, routing is via Draycott water VRP to integrate with circuit traffic on left base. For runway 05, routing is via Southam VRP to integrate with circuit traffic on Right base. Circuit altitude is 1,200 feet QNH (Height 1000 feet QFE).

Once on the Coventry frequency, pilots will be given the Coventry conspicuity squawk and reminded to remain outside AND BELOW controlled airspace, as an aid to help prevent airspace infringements.

Aircraft routing around the Coventry ATZ/through the runway approaches for Coventry should contact Coventry Information on 123.980 MHz for a basic service and any relevant traffic information. Traffic on the Birmingham 0010 will not be passed traffic into/outbound from Coventry by Birmingham radar and will not be monitoring your flight around Coventry!

Inbound to or outbound from Wellesbourne Mountford?

When operating to/from Wellesbourne Mountford remember that the aerodrome elevation is almost 150 feet; this equates to 5 hPa. If you are flying on the Wellesbourne QFE, remember its relationship to the Birmingham QNH; you could be flying higher than you think in relation to controlled airspace. When departing to the northwest or northeast, make a plan that includes the wider airspace picture. Consider how to avoid Snitterfield Gliding Site (winch launching up to 2,400 feet amsl) early in your plan; a recent airspace infringement saw a pilot, who was flying from Wellesbourne Mountford to Halfpenny Green, make a late plan to avoid Snitterfield to the east after climbing to 2,000 ft. This resulted in the pilot infringing CTA2; an early plan to route via Stratford-Upon-Avon and Studley would have kept the aircraft well clear of the lower CTA. To assist in this, the team at Wellesbourne Mountford have produced a much-simplified diagram. Published primarily for departures from Wellesbourne it applies equally to inbound and transit traffic. It is published on the website and regularly briefed to visitors.

Avoiding Birmingham Controlled Airspace

To prevent an airspace infringement, as part of their pre-flight planning and in-flight execution, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Use a Moving Map and where able Take 2;

Obtain an air traffic service.Know which ATS unit can provide a LARS. To the west and northwest, it is Shawbury (133.150MHz), to the south and southwest it is Brize Norton (124.274 MHz) and to the northeast it is East Midlands (134.180MHz).

Use the FMC. Rather than squawking 7000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 0010 and monitoring 123.980MHz. Obtain the Birmingham QNH from the ATIS frequency (136.030 MHz) or by listening to that given to other aircraft on 123.980MHz

Avoid flying on the RPS in the vicinity of Birmingham CTAs. When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will be higher in relation to the Birmingham QNH. If you are receiving a FIS from London Information, ask the FISO for the Birmingham QNH rather than remaining on the Barnsley RPS (or Cotswold RPS if flying from the southwest). In addition, this can be obtained on the ground prior to departure by calling Birmingham’s ATIS number of 0121 767 1260; this not only gives the QNH but will also give you an idea of the runway in use, the current weather and TAF.

Make a Detailed Plan. Build in your climb and descent points when routing in the vicinity of multiple CTAs with differing base altitudes. Know what VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by.

 

02. Manchester low-level route (updated 30 March 2020)

Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of the Manchester low-level route (updated 30 March 2019)

This infringement update is the second in a series of narratives focusing on identified infringement ‘hot-spots’ in the UK. It has been written by members of the Northwest LAIT: NATS Manchester; ATCSL, Liverpool; Barton Aerodrome; and Ravenair, Liverpool Airport.

During a 6-month period, from April to October 2019, over 30 airspace infringements have been reported in the vicinity of the Manchester Low-Level Route (LLR). The LLR is a 4nm wide corridor of Class D airspace within which helicopters or aeroplanes may fly VFR without individual ATC clearance subject to compliance with the Class D VMC at AIP ENR 1.4 and SERA.5001.

Aircraft may be flown as Special VFR within the LLR without individual ATC clearance, subject to the aircraft being flown:

  • by day only;
  • clear of cloud and in sight of the surface;
  • at a speed of 140 knots or less, to;
  • in a flight visibility of at least 5 km; and,
  • squawking 7364 and listening out on Manchester Radar 118.580 MHz.

Pilots using the LLR are responsible for their own separation from all other flights when operating within the LLR airspace at all times. Note that the FMC procedures in Manchester’s UK AIP entry at AD 2.22 (paragraph 7) are in the process of being changed to reflect the advice here.

The infringement teams associated with this airspace have noted the risk areas:

Entering and Leaving the LLR

The majority of airspace infringements occur in three areas:

  • The northern end of the LLR near the VRPs at Leigh Flash and Haydock Racecourse due to pilots starting their descent to enter the LLR too late or due to starting the climb to a higher altitude too early;
  • The southern end of the LLR near the VRPs at Winsford Flash and Oulton Park again due to pilots starting their descent to enter the LLR too late or due to starting the climb to a higher altitude too early; and
  • the eastern edge of the LLR near the VRPs of Stretton and the Thelwall Viaduct. These infringements tend to be due to aircraft starting a climb too early to reach the altitude to carry out an overhead join at Barton aerodrome or by turning the corner to Class G airspace too early using Stretton as a turning point. In the case of the disused aerodrome at Stretton, the VRP is towards the western end of the site and outside controlled airspace; the aerodrome extends a further 0.65nm into the Manchester Class D Control Zone (CTR). As such, pilots are advised to remain to the west of the western perimeter of the aerodrome to avoid inadvertently infringing controlled airspace.

The LLR Area North of the M56 Motorway

The M56 crosses the LLR west to east at the approximate mid-point:

  • To the east of the northern half of the LLR lies Class G airspace from surface to below 2,000 feet amsl. Above that lies the Manchester Control Area (CTA) to 3,500 feet amsl.
    North of Liverpool’s runway 27 extended centreline, the controlled airspace is delegated to Liverpool. South of the runway 27 centreline the western side half is generally delegated to Liverpool and the eastern side remains with Manchester
  • To the west of that same part of the LLR lies controlled airspace; the Liverpool CTR from surface to 2,500 feet amsl and then the Class D Manchester CTA to 3,500 feet with the Class A Manchester TMA extending upwards from 3,500 feet amsl.

Pilots departing Barton and routing to the west, are reminded that once they reach the eastern edge of the LLR, to continue westbound without a clearance, as far as the western edge of the LLR, they must be at or below 1,300 feet Manchester QNH. It is vital that pilots understand that three-dimensional structure to avoid being in conflict with Commercial Air Transport aircraft.

To deconflict Liverpool IFR inbounds to Runway 27 from the Manchester departures from Runway 23L/R the 2 units operate a “tunnel system”. This means that when Runway 23L/R is in use at Manchester, Liverpool cannot just route their inbound traffic straight for final approach. Instead Liverpool need to pass to the west of the aerodrome and descend below 4000ft before turning downwind descending further to 2000ft before the western edge of the LLR. Manchester departures from Runway 23 will climb above the Liverpool traffic.

Manchester departures from Runway 23 will climb above the Liverpool traffic

Manchester departures from Runway 23 will climb above the Liverpool traffic

Liverpool cannot vector aircraft east of the eastern edge of the LLR and, therefore, when required to sequence their inbound traffic one method available is to vector traffic towards the north east of the Liverpool CTR which sits above the northern portion of the CTR. The Liverpool traffic must be at 2000ft to safely pass beneath the Manchester departures whilst aircraft within the LLR can be at 1300 ft and just 700ft below.

Therefore, any aircraft initiating an early climb above 1300 feet before they have left the northern edge of the LLR pose a serious risk to the Liverpool traffic; in addition, there is an increased risk of experiencing wake turbulence issues. When the Liverpool radar controller observes aircraft climbing early and infringing above the northern portion of the LLR, they are unable to take avoiding action by climbing as this will result in confliction with the Manchester departures, instead the only option available is to make an avoiding action turn. With the resultant delay in flight crew initiation compounded by the rate of turns, the potential for a loss of separation event is increased.

Manchester area chart

Manchester area chart

To prevent an airspace infringement, as part of their pre-flight planning and in-flight execution, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

Use a Moving Map and where able, outside the LLR,  Take 2

Use the FMC. In the LLR, rather than squawking 7000, squawk either SSR code 7366 and maintain a listening watch on Manchester Radar frequency 118.580 MHz or squawk 5060 and maintain a listening watch on Liverpool Radar frequency 119.855 MHz.

Elsewhere, pilots operating in the vicinity of, but intending to remain outside Manchester controlled airspace bounded by the following co-ordinates:

  • 533723N 0023744W
  • 534459N 0020433W
  • 533650N 0015216W
  • 532510N 0014456W
  • 530412N 0015647W
  • 530253N 0023751W
  • 533723N 0023744W

squawk 7366 and maintain a listening watch on Manchester Radar frequency 118.580 MHz

If aircraft are fitted with Mode S transponders the Manchester controller will be able to see your callsign on their radar display and will be able to call you if they observe anything untoward. Obtain the Manchester QNH by listening to that given to other aircraft on 118.580 MHz, from the Arrival ATIS (128.180 MHz), Departure ATIS (121.980 MHz), or the MCT VOR (113.550 MHz); on VOLMET North (128.600 MHz), or by asking an adjacent ATS unit. Aircraft should not hesitate to establish contact with Manchester Radar if they require any assistance or are unsure of their position.  Note that the FMC procedures in Manchester’s UK AIP entry at AD 2.22 (paragraph 8) are in the process of being changed to reflect the advice here.

Plan. As part of your plan, build in your climb and descent points when routing in the vicinity of multiple CTAs with differing base altitudes – this is especially pertinent when approaching/leaving the LLR. Know what the VRPs look like and what airspace lies above them or close by. Beware when flying through the LLR as some VRPs are not easy to see, especially when trees are in full foliage.

Avoid flying on the Regional Pressure Setting (RPS) in the vicinity of Manchester and Liverpool CTAs. When flying on the RPS, as it is the forecast lowest QNH for a region, you will probably be higher in relation to the Manchester or Liverpool QNH – and therefore possibly inside controlled airspace without a clearance to do so. If you are receiving a FIS from London Flight Information Service, ask the FISO for the relevant QNH rather than remaining on the Barnsley RPS.

Obtain an air traffic service. Know which ATS unit can provide a LARS. To the south of the Manchester/Liverpool controlled airspace it is Shawbury Radar (133.150MHz) and to the north it is Warton Radar (129.530 MHz).

To transit through the Liverpool CTR, a well-trodden route is to cross CAS from Oulton Park – Runcorn Bridge to Kirby or vice versa. Liverpool ATC will aim to clear the pilot to cross controlled airspace by their requested route as much as possible. However, as traffic levels increase during certain times of the day, traffic may be asked to orbit south of the M56 motorway (northbound transits) or north of the M62 motorway (southbound transits) until the Runway 27 approach is clear and the transit traffic can safely pass behind the inbound traffic. As a consequence, during busy inbound traffic periods, transits may initially be asked to position and route through the LLR and once north / south of the final approach be given a clearance to enter controlled airspace and proceed on their requested/cleared route.

Think MAM TOR. This is a useful mnemonic created by the CFI at Ravenair, Liverpool, who is an active member of the Northwest LAIT:

  • Manchester QNH – Get from the ATIS
  • Altitude – fly not above 1,300 feet on the Manchester QNH
  • Map Navigation – is your route planned?
  • Transponder – squawk 7366 if monitoring Manchester, or as directed if in receipt of a service from Liverpool
  • Open Eyes! – keep a good lookout as lots of traffic use the corridor, in both directions, not always with a transponder or radio
  • Ready – to Aviate, Navigate and Communicate.

01. London CTR (southwest corner)

Preventing airspace infringements in the southwestern corner of the London Control Zone

The first in a series of infringement updates from the CAA that highlight known infringement ‘hotspots’. Information has been taken from Mandatory Occurrence Report investigations that cover areas where incidents can easily occur. 

The CAA has noticed a recent increase in airspace infringements in the southwestern corner of the London Control Zone (CTR) where pilots are navigating using the navigation features in the vicinity of Bagshot.

Most of the town of Bagshot is within the London CTR, which is classified as Class D airspace, and just 6nm south of the final approach track to Runway 09R at London Heathrow Airport.

Bagshot mast and the Bagshot VRP

Note the potential for confusion between the Bagshot mast and the Bagshot VRP

Bagshot mast lies in Class G airspace to the west of Bagshot town, and to the northeast of Camberley, but is within 300 metres of the southwestern edge of the London CTR. Its position, as notified in the UK AIP is 512124.68N 0004321.29W. Pilots not in receipt of a clearance to enter the London CTR should maintain a track to the west or southwest of the mast.

Whilst it is a prominent geographical feature and is annotated on the VFR charts (as it is over 300 ft agl, and is actually 765ft AMSL) the mast is not annotated as a VRP.

Bagshot VRP lies on the southwestern edge of the London CTR and is to the southwest of Bagshot town. When viewed from the air it is on the northside carriage of the M3 motorway on the portion of the road where the carriageways divide around a slip of woodland to the southwest of Junction 3.

Pilots intending to route via the Bagshot mast to Bagshot VRP, or vice versa, should note that a direct track will result in them entering the London CTR.

To prevent an airspace infringement, as part of pre-flight planning and in-flight execution, pilots are strongly encouraged to:

  • Use a GPS Moving Map and TAKE2;
  • Obtain an air traffic service from Farnborough APP on 125.250MHz. The airspace between Farnborough and the London CTR is narrow; this will help prevent infringing the London CTR, or the Blackbushe or Farnborough ATZ.
  • Use the FMC. Rather than just squawking 7000, if you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a Frequency Monitoring Code by squawking 4572 and monitor 125.250 MHz
  • Plan ahead. Think in 3-dimensions. Pirbright Ranges (EG D133A and EG D133B) are normally active to 1200 feet amsl. EG D133B is occasionally active to 2,400 feet when notified by NOTAM. Ash Range (EG D032) is charted to 2,400 feet amsl but is only activated by NOTAM. For all areas, a Danger Area Activity Information Service is available from Farnborough APP on 125.250MHz when open or at other times from London Information on 124.600MHz

Advice and guidance

The LAITs and Airspace and Safety Initiative partners strongly encouraged pilots to apply the following guidance to avoid airspace infringements:

  • Use a Moving Map. In the vast majority of airspace infringements, pilots were found not to be using a moving map or not using one correctly. This is particularly evident during instructional flights where instructor workload is high and distractions highly likely. Using Moving Maps not only gives pilots a profile along the planned route showing notified airspace along, above and below the route but it offers other airspace warnings of unusual aerial activity; it is essential that functions of the equipment are correctly understood and the settings are correctly applied/configures to enable updates and warnings to be available both pre- and in-light. In addition, the ‘platforms’ for Moving Maps are also idea for use with Electronic Conspicuity devices to help avoid mid-air collisions.
  • When flying in proximity to Controlled Airspace (CAS), and able to, Take 2 and operate on the most appropriate altimetry setting when operating under CTA.  Remember that the Regional Pressure Setting offered by some ANSP is the lowest forecast pressure setting for an altimeter setting region. Care must also be taken to note where the base of CAS changes between an altitude and a Flight Level.
  • Obtain a Lower Airspace Radar Service (LARS). Pilots can obtain a LARS from a number of Air Traffic Service Units around the UK; details can be found at LARS Frequencies and in the relevant sections of the UK AIP in the Aerodrome Section.
  • Use an FMC. If you do not want to obtain a service from ATC, use a Frequency Monitoring Code. Details of the codes, the frequencies and the notified areas of use can be found at Frequency Monitoring Codes (Listening Squawks) and in the relevant sections of the UK AIP in the Aerodrome Section and in the YELLOW AIC on the NATS AIS website.
  • Apply Threat and Error Management when planning and flying.  Airmanship is the art of applying your skill and knowledge to flying. A practical and easy way of doing this is by using Threat and Error Management (TEM) to manage ALL hazards likely to be encountered on the ground and in the air. In this card we look at how TEM can be used to prevent airspace infringements.TEM is the practice of thinking ahead to predict/identify and avoid errors and threats and manage any that occur. Understanding TEM will enable a pilot to think and plan, in advance, for the eventualities that can lead to an airspace infringement. By spending time on the ground, pre-flight, to consider these factors you will be better prepared for many of the things that can wrong in the air. One of the biggest causes of infringements is distraction; manage that Threat when operating close to CAS.
  • Avoid flying on the RPS in the vicinity of CTAs or below TMA. When flying on the RPS, as it is the lowest forecast pressure setting for a region, you will be higher in relation to, for example, the London QNH.  Always ask for the relevant QNH rather than accepting/flying on the RPS. Key advice on altimetry is included on this Altimetry Key Tips download.
  • If appropriate – request a clearance to enter controlled airspace. If for any reason a climb is required above the base of the CTA, then a clearance must be obtained. Depending on a variety of factors, not least the runway in use and traffic situation at the time, this may well be available. By obtaining a clearance to enter CAS when appropriate, ATC is able to control more effectively and ensure safety is maintained.
  • Plan your flight and include in that planning how you will arrive at and depart from an aerodrome. Many infringements of CAS occur in the vicinity of departure or destination aerodromes. Considering the Threats associated with local airspace and how you will arrive, what altimeter setting, direction of patterns etc will reduce the probability of making an error at the final stage of a flight. On departure, by knowing the local airspace, you can adjust climb rates, direction of turns, initial planned altitude and manage distractions during a stage of flight where workload is high. Remember POWER, ATTITUDE, TRIM when entering the climb but ATTITUDE- POWER-TRIM when levelling off.

 

Local Airspace Infringement Teams

Local Airspace Infringement Teams (LAIT) have been set up in eight UK infringement hot-spots. They include representatives from the Airport Operator, CAA, Air Navigation Service Provider (both Tower and Approach if required), adjacent ATC units and aerodromes, local airspace users (including GA and Military), airspace4all, GASCo and airlines served at the airport.

Each LAIT is focused on reducing of airspace infringements through local and initiatives and targeted actions. This work is reported  to the CAA’s Airspace Infringement Working Group (AIWG) and shared between LAITS for UK-wide infringement reduction.

  • Gatwick serving Gatwick CTR/CTA
  • London serving London CTR/London City CTR/CTA
  • Luton serving Luton CTR/CTA
  • Midlands serving Birmingham CTR/CTA and East Midlands CTR/CTA
  • North West serving Manchester and Liverpool CTR/CTA, Hawarden RMZ and Barton ATZ
  • Stansted serving Stansted CTR/CTA
  • Wessex serving Southampton CTR/Solent CTA, Bournmouth CTR/CTA and Farnborough
  • Yorkshire & Humberside serving Doncaster Sheffield CTR/CTA, Leeds Bradford CTR/CTA and Humberside ATZ

Midlands

Birmingham CTA/CTR infringements

To 11 August 2019, 59% (17 of 29) of reported Birmingham CTA/CTR infringements were inside CTA2, the Control Area immediately to the south of the CTR (CTA2 1500ft – 4500ft).

Main causal factors identified related to poor altimetry (pilots operating on Wellesbourne or Coventry QFE or RPS instead of the Birmingham QNH) or poor navigation.

Pilots intending to overfly the VRP at M40 Junction 15 at Warwick should note this lies underneath CTA2.

To avoid infringing CTA2:

  • use a moving map
  • plan your flight, paying attention particular to vertical extents of controlled airspace
  • use the Birmingham Listening Squawk of 0010 and listen out on 123.980 MHz
  • ensure use of the Birmingham QNH
  • and/or ‘TAKE2’

 

Download PDF – TAKE2

Birmingham Airport VFR Pilot Guide

North West

Take2

The North West Local Airspace Infringement Team (LAIT) has been working to help reduce airspace infringements in the area around Manchester airport.

The team has produced a poster to help remind pilots to give themselves a safety margin and help avoid causing an infringement. Remember TAKE2:

  • Plan to stay 2 nm from the edge of Controlled Airspace
  • Plan to stay 200 ft above/below Controlled Airspace

Download PDF – TAKE2

 

 

Barton Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ)

The ATZ at City Airport and Heliport (Manchester Barton) was infringed 23 times in 2018 (to 2 November). Analysis has shown the main causal factor to be a lack of understanding by pilots as to their responsibilities prior to recovery to the aerodrome or whilst intending to transit through the ATZ.

The ATZ (circle of radius 2nm from surface to 2000 ft agl (2073 ft amsl)) is established to protect aircraft during critical stages of flight. Failure of the commander to obtain information from the flight information centre to enable the flight to be conducted safely within the aerodrome traffic zone not only compromises flight safety but is a breach of Rule 11 of The Rules of the Air 2015.

All operators are to ensure that they are familiar with Rule 11 and the activation times of the ATZ prior to operating in/in the vicinity of such airspace:

SI 2015 No. 840 CIVIL AVIATION The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015

Hawarden Radio Mandatory Zone

The Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ) surrounding Hawarden aerodrome was established in March 2017 to enhance the safety of all aircraft operating in the vicinity of Hawarden aerodrome and to better integrate the increasing number of commercial A300-600N Beluga aircraft operations. AIC Y014/2017 was issued on 16 March 2017 detailing the areas and access requirements.

Despite the area being charted prior to implementation (the boundary is depicted by blue semi-circles), the RMZ was subject to 74 airspace infringements in 2018.

Analysis has shown the main causal factor to be a lack of understanding by pilots as to the requirements for entry into the RMZ or a failure to note the area’s depiction on aviation charts.

SERA 6005 requires that pilots of aircraft wishing to operate in airspace designated as an RMZ shall maintain continuous air-ground voice communication watch and establish two-way communication, as necessary, on the appropriate communication channel, unless in compliance with alternative provisions prescribed for that particular airspace by the ANSP.

In the case of Hawarden, details of provisions are found at United Kingdom AIP, AD2.22 paragraph 3 and at Hawarden Radio Mandatory Zone A5 card

Download – Hawarden Radio Mandatory Zone

 

Stansted

The two Stansted TMZs were established in 2009 as a result of the large number and severity of controlled airspace infringements in the vicinity of Stansted Airport.

The Stansted LAIT has published this guide to the TMZ.

Download PDF – Stansted TMZ

Wessex

The Solent LAIT membership has formulated its ’10 Golden Rules’ of good advice to help pilots avoid infringing notified airspace.  The Team’s membership is cross-industry from not only Southampton Airport and its ANSP but also from GA, commercial and military aerodromes in the Southampton area and GA pilots.  Whilst the team focusses on measures to reduce airspace infringements in Southampton/Solent controlled airspace, the advice given in this paper can be translated across the entire country.

Written by an active GA pilot, the advice given is based not only on good practice but also on many of the causal factors which lead to airspace infringements.  The airspace around Southampton Airport remains one of the most infringed in the United Kingdom with over 60 airspace infringements in the past 12 months.

Hotspots include the CTAs to the north and south due to pilots flying too high (or on the wrong altimeter setting).  Caution must be taken when flying along The Solent (CTA-2 base 2000 feet Solent QNH) or in the vicinity of Winchester (CTR extending from the surface upwards, CTA-1 base 1500 feet Solent QNH and CTA-3 base 2000 feet Solent QNH) and in the vicinity of New Alresford (CTA-3 base 2000 feet Solent QNH and CTA-5 base 2500 feet Solent QNH).

The Golden Rules flyer offers great advice.

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