Updates

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

While we understand that many pilots are currently unable to fly due to COVID-19 restrictions we aim to continue to release safety education and awareness material to support the GA community with the future return to flying and promote longer-term safety awareness. To meet that aim we are continuing to publish information relating to airspace infringement hot-spots.


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

 

Keep reading

Preparing to return to normal flying operations

CAA: Private Pilot Guide

Returning to flight in the wake of COVID-19

GASCo: Returning to flying

Recovery planning: Avoiding infringements

NEW: ASI infringements card

Infringement updates

Southend Controlled Airspace

Infringement avoidance

Learn more

Pre-flight planning

Learn more