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I have two beaches close by where I can paramotor. One is 30 minutes drive away and the other is 10 mins drive. The closer one is more appealing (as its closer) as well as being nicer. Problem is, it lies within 5 miles of an RAF airfield. I kitesurf quite regularly on this beach and the area is heavily used by kite buggys and boards when its windy. Most of the kites used are on 27 metre lines and the biggest ones have surface areas of 16m2+. ATC at the airfield never have any problems or complaints against us flying kites down there and its been going on for years.

So......I've thought about paramotoring down there and not flying any higher than 15ft above the sand, I don't think anybody would care as its no more intrusive than the kites. However, if the 'powers that be' found out that somebody was paramotoring down there and objected to it what would be the repercussions?

Cheers, Joe.

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If you are in there airspace you have just described the fastest way of getting your equipment taken from you never to be seen again.


Also, beach = people = no no


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There is another way of looking at this.

The airfields already have the default "ATZ" around them - which I hope you will recall reaches to 2,000' above the airfield elevation and extends to a radius of either 2 or 21/2 nautical miles radius of the aerodrome elevation. Remember that flight within the ATZ of an aerodrome *does* require the permission of the handling agency for that airspace.


Surrounding the ATZ at military airports is the additional airspace referred to as the "MATZ" - the Military Air Traffic Zone.


The dimensions of the MATZ are somewhat higher and usually reach 3,000' above airfield elevation and extend to a radius of 5 nautical miles, though there are a few exceptions to this standard. There is often an extension corridor, known as the "stub" which is aligned with the major runway(s) - this could be at one, or both ends. These stubs usually continue from the edge of the 5 mile circle for an additional 5 miles though, once again, there are a few exceptions. The end of the stubs, are therefore, usually ten nautical miles from the airfield. The corridor is 4 miles wide (two miles either side of the runway center-line) and although the top of the stub is level at 3,000' above airfield elevation, the base of the stub angles downwards from 3,000' above airfield elevation at the ten mile end to 1,000' above airfield elevation where it joins the five mile radius circle.

Now, back to your question Fuel9M

If you are outside the ATZ but still inside the MATZ you can legally fly there. What other commentators are discussing is perhaps the wisdom of being there given the levels of activity at military airfields. The truth is, that at the moment most military airfields other than those attached directly to the efforts overseas are not massively busy.

I would suggest you look carefully at where you are actually wanting to fly then give the controllers a call at the airfield in question, they won't bite your head off. Remember, OUTSIDE the ATZ you have a legal right to fly even if you are within the MATZ. You will invariably find the RAF willing to help you out if to do so means that they are working with someone who is going to talk to them and fly the trip they have briefed on the telephone. Looking at your situation, if you remained below 800' agl I doubt that they would be that concerned. Talking to them gives you peace of mind and it gives them prior knowledge. Remember the forces live within a community and they are mindful that they need to accommodate legitimate requests.

Afterthought - when you kitesurf, do you regularly see military traffic transit through your area at below 1000? That should give you an idea of the level of request for co-operation that you might be submitting.

One further consideration.... Remember the low flying rules.....

'500' away from person, vessel, vehicle or structure.' Restricting yourself to 15' above the sand to remain clear of what may or may not fly over is not healthy imho. Paramotor fliers need to be more aware of this rule and adhere to it unless they are genuinely taking off or landing when the rule is waived. These rules are there for a very obvious purpose, the comfort and safety of the general public.

At best if you annoy someone sufficiently these days you can end up starring on your own little movie and watching the replay in a courtroom. What I am saying here is we generally need to be more aware of the potential nuisance we may cause and take active steps to reduce it. Yes, I know you had that in mind Fuel9L and I hope it doesn't sound like I am preaching....

Hope that helps... :lol:

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A MATZ is typically ten NAUTICAL miles in diameter, plus any stubs that are configured on approach and departure lines. This would place your beach, at 5 STATUTE miles, well within the MATZ. You might conceivably obtain permission from the ATC agency to fly, as there are examples of airfields that lie within MATZ's (eg Sherburn in Elmett within the Church Fenton MATZ) but I'd of thought another location would be best. At very least, you would need airband comms.


Norman is of course correct in that you are not obliged to have permission as long as you are outside the ATZ but within the MATZ. I would consider it grossely poor airmanship if you were to proceed without talking to the controller. Fast jets and paramotors do not mix well, and in the event you had entered a MATZ without clearance and were involved in an incident, would not bode well for your flying future.


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Sorry Phil, I agree that airband comms would help, but if you agree a profile with the RAF and fly it, you have a right to be there and would cause no nuisance, particularly below 800' beating up and down the beach and its environs.

MATZ and airfield vicinities are used generally to launch and recover the jets. Low flying and aeros are done either within low flying routes, designated areas (AIAA) or ranges. Talking to the controller on the day will ensure that you are both briefed and that any aircraft within your vicinity is aware of your presence. Paradoxically more so because you are just within or proximate to a MATZ.

Many things are legal but unwise. Some days (with ATC authorization) it will be fine to fly past the tower at 500' because they are quiet, others it would be unwise to get airborne even close to a MATZ due to an Exercise. The wisdom of what you propose will be illuminated by the telephone conversation that you have on the day. You may decide not to fly every day, but why not fly when there is no reason not to?

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Seen my edit to last post Norm, we obviously have too much time on our hands right now (too windy to fly) :)

Agreed that you could phone through an intended flight plan, but then you would be expected to adhere to it. Airband comms would make life so much easier.

PS batteries now arrived and fitted to the Xponder pelicase. Just enough room to fit in a hard drive video recorder too, to be wired to bullet cam(s).

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Kites can be flown to 60m AGL (200ft) in class G and F but not permitted within an ATZ without permission from the tower (duty controller).

An ATZ (controlled airspace requiring permission from the tower to enter) is either 4 Nm or 5Nm in diameter centred on the longest runway, a cylinder 2000 ft (600m) high. If it is an RAF base it is likely to have a MATZ around the ATZ 10Nm diameter and 3000ft high (often with stubs in line with the runway {boxes from 1500ft to 3000ft, 2.5Nm wide and 4 Nm long}). This is an advisory zone which may be entered but fast jets and paramotors are not good airspace fellows so I reckon keep away. To enter you need to contact the tower on the "penetration frequency" specified for that MATZ (see your airmap).

Flying around at 15 feet IMHO is not a Good Idea on a paramotor, mostly you will survive but you are flying in the most dangerous zone for us, a height from which collapse recovery is "unsurvivable" without serious injury, so it is "russian roulette"?

Flying a paramotor amongst kite buggy/surfers, or in their proximity, requires an agility that paramotors do not have. They turn on a sixpence we need larger coins.

Flying amongst people on a beach...... In Japan two years ago a very pretty young lady lost half her face to a paramotor prop on a beach location. I feel that was quite rude of the pilot.

Sand is very abrasive on the wing coating and salt crystals grow within the fabric and line sheaths if you get it damp from salty water; salt crystals are sharp edged.

Sand in bearings is very abrasive and salt corrodes alluminium very quickly.

Just some points to bear in mind when assessing a flying site.......................... :oops::cry::idea::P


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Yes, too much time with the wind blowing as it is, just about to poke off and get busy again.

I made and take your point about airband comms. Most of our brethren don't yet seem to use airband so I biased my response towards the most likely case. Someone who is 'airband aware' generally doesn't need too much guidance around the MATZ issue as it is encompassed by the RT license training.

Transponder - Can't wait to hear how it all works... got the pix and the installation looks great. When they miniturize the wretched things they will be mobile phone or perhaps PDA size.

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Transponder - Can't wait to hear how it all works... got the pix and the installation looks great. When they miniaturize the wretched things they will be mobile phone or perhaps PDA size.

Trouble is, that with such a small market, there is no great incentive for a company to do so much required development :(

My complete installation comes in at just over 3 kg, so not particularly light. The Pelicase on it's own is probably over a Kilo though, so a natty carbon fibre case would help, or dispense with the case and just fit it all into cutouts in the under seat foam.

Just started a serious diet this week, so hopefully I'll lose rather more than the weight of my avionics stack so I can maintain or even improve ROC. Starting at 117kg there is plenty of scope :roll:

Please forgive thread hijack, but the use of transponders may well influence permissions being granted to enter zones, so kind of relevant.

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There are two sides of me here in conflict, on the one hand I can see the value of transponders in a multitude of situations and look forward to the day when we carry encoding altimeters feeding miniaturized Mode S transponders. On the other one of the attractions, perhaps the main pulling power of the sport for me is the freedom from just this kind of added complexity.

I guess it's a balancing act.


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Thanks everyone for input and advice. I will probably give up on the idea of flying at said beach (West Sands, St Andrews, Scotland). If I was to fly there it would be very early morning or late evening when the place is virtually void of people and objects. I wouldn't have been paramotoring there in the presence of power kites as they need stronger winds (hence I wouldnt be flying a ppg). The kite 'zone' must lie within the MATZ thus the reason we have no complaints from the airfield when kiting down there.

I reckon that if I contacted ATC and asked nicely then they would possibly accomodate my request to fly there - within strict boundaries. Thinking on it now this doesnt really appeal to me as it would be low level and the beach is only around a mile long so it would prob feel quite restrictive. Also, like a few of you said, its a bit dodgy to be buzzing around low level for prolonged periods of time. I'll just save myself the grief and fly at the other beach where I have more freedom!

Francis77, I know sand can be harmful to both motor and wing so my friend and I endeavour to fly from grassy fields and avoid the actual beach - we just fly over it.

Cheers, Joe

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