Updates

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.

7. 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

 

6. 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 RMZ A5

5. 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.

[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

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

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.

4. 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

3. Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of Warwick

This infringement update is the third in a series 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.

Birmingham Control Area 2 (CTA 2) which lies to the south of the Birmingham Control Zone is a constant hot-spot for airspace infringements. 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 with M40 Junction 15 Warwick VRP 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

M40 Junction 15 Warwick VRP lies in Class G airspace approximately 13nm South southeast of Birmingham Airport and underneath Control Area 2 (CTA2). The base of Class D airspace at Warwick VRP is 1,500 feet (Birmingham QNH).

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

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

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 instructions or delayed/suspended.

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).

To join for Runway 23, route via Draycott Water VRP for left base; for Runway 05, route via Southam VRP for right base.

No overhead joins are permitted due to the controlled airspace above, and dead side/straight in approaches are not encouraged due to integrating with circuit/joining traffic via the VRP’s.

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.

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), by asking an adjacent ATS unit 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.

2. Preventing airspace infringements in the vicinity of the Manchester low-level route

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 without individual ATC clearance subject to:

  • remaining clear of cloud and in sight of the ground;
  • flying at a maximum altitude of 1,300 ft on the Manchester QNH; and
  • there being a minimum flight visibility of 4 KM.

Pilots using the LLR are responsible for their own separation from all other flights when operating within the LLR airspace at all times. Further details on the LLR can be found in the UK AIP entry for Manchester Airport at AD 2.22 (paragraph 7).

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, 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. 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.

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.

1. 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

Keep reading

Infringement updates

East Midlands CAS

Infringement avoidance

Learn more

Pre-flight planning

Learn more