I notice some of you have out of date Air Law books and there is also some confusion about Class E airspace so the following may help. Remember for the air law exam you are never asked about specific airfields or specific pieces of controlled airspace so this information below is more about what I want you to know about rather than the popular,’ this is what you need to know to pass the exam’ style of courses!
There will also be some changes to VFR minima with SERA but the CAA has filed for exceptions which havnt been finalised yet, more later.
On the 18 September 2014, the London CTR control zone – the busiest piece of airspace in the UK through which all Heathrow traffic flies, changed from Class A to Class D airspace.
The reclassification supported the introduction of SERA, the Standardised European Rules of the Air (which will eventually replace our familiar Rules of The Air with a few exceptions) this created consistent airspace classifications across Europe by the end of the 2014, or so they say!
Under SERA, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and Special VFR flights will not be able to enter Class A airspace.
Notice the new ‘warm front’ markings denoting a TRANSPONDER MANDATORY ZONE
All VFR or SVFR flights will need to gain clearance to enter the zone, something that is always subject to the current work load of air traffic controllers.
Aircraft will also have to carry a transponder, with Mode S being mandatory.
Access is provided whenever possible, but we would ask VFR and SVFR pilots to remember that this is a very busy piece of airspace and our priority has to be providing a safe service to commercial traffic.”
Access to the airspace immediately around Heathrow Airport itself – referred to as the ‘Inner Area’ – will be restricted via ‘Prior Permission Required’ by telephone.
Pilots are being reminded that unless they really need to fly inside the ‘Inner Area’, they should plan to route around it.
You will notice there are three airfields within the London Control Zone that are of interest to fixed wing pilots, Denham, White Waltham and Fairoaks, all of these airfields are surrounded by TMZ London CTR markings but none of these airfields seem to have got round to publishing any details about the new airspace on their websites, that I can see and this is why I say always use the official information when checking airfields, notams or weather. I would recommend a visit to White Waltham or Denham both of which have very good facilities for visiting pilots but obviously need careful preparation, briefing and flight.
Using the AIIP you will find this information for White Waltham which also applies to the other two airfields.
(b) Mode S Transponders (i) The carriage of a Mode S Transponder within the LFA is encouraged, however there is currently no requirement for aircraft operating in the White Waltham LFA to comply with the requirements of the London CTR Mode S Transponder Mandatory Zone (TMZ). (ii) Pilots of suitably equipped aircraft shall utilise the transponder to the maximum serviceable extent, selecting SSR code 7000 with altitude information selected where fitted.
CLASS F AIRSPACE HAS GONE!
Class F airspace has been established for many years in the UK Flight Information Regions (FIR) in the form of Advisory Routes (ADRs).
These ADRs have been replaced either by Class E ‘airways’, which will be designated as Transponder Mandatory Zones (TMZs), or returned to Class G airspace.
Although Class E is controlled airspace, in which an air traffic control service is provided to IFR aircraft only, VFR aircraft may also operate within it and do not require a ‘clearance’ or need to be in contact with ATC, they will, however, require a functioning Mode S SSR transponder.
VFR aircraft operating without a transponder can access the airspace, but must first establish two-way radio contact with air traffic control before entering. VFR flights that request an air traffic service will be assisted with either a Basic or a Traffic Service, subject to the operational capacity of the air traffic unit. Additional procedures are to be introduced to accommodate gliding activity through airway N560 between the Scottish TMA northern boundary and Inverness.
The changes have the greatest impact upon the Scottish FIR and there is more information on the Fly on Track site below