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Controlled AIrspace infractions


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Food for thought? Love it or hate it restricted and controlled/reserved airspace is something we all have to live with on our little island. It has been growing since we first took wings of any sort. Some of us live near or underneath it, others never need consider it because they only fly locally and live in the sticks. But...

It is clear that concern amongst our airspace administrators is growing about PPG/PG controlled airspace (CAS) infractions, perhaps we could include notified restricted/danger areas and other forms of reserved airspace like ATZs etc. for the sake of completeness.

The first thing to appreciate about this problem is that it happens all the time, many different types of GA traffic are involved and it is growing as traffic and airspace reservation increases.

PPG/PG may be seen as greater potential risk as the level of awareness (training/qualification/licensing) is perceived to be well below that of conventional GA. The additional complication that may also compound concerns is that PPG/PG traffic produce very poor or non existent radar returns making a controllers job of assisting avoidance very difficult.

Ways to avoid becoming a statistic if you are flying anywhere near controlled airspace.

Thorough pre-flight planning and use of your current 'Airmap' to appreciate where your proposed flight could take you, and where uncertainty of your position may put you at risk.

Developing an appreciation of where the wind may take you should it be stronger than you anticipate.

Plan your flights and navigation exercises to remain well clear of potential problem areas.

Ensure that you understand the vertical dimensions of the airspace that you may fly near. The published base of airspace is defined by an altitude, ensure that you have an accurate altimeter and are aware of the current QNH when you fly. Give yourself a margin, don't run close to the base of CAS. It is human to err, leave a margin...

Some may say, "I have a right to be here, I WILL fly as I please and fly as close as I wish to CAS boundaries." That's fine, just make sure that your navigation is spot on and be prepared to answer for it if it isn't. Expect to encounter those that live within those places, they may or may not see or anticipate your presence.

If you are flying near CAS and become unsure of your position, consider landing in a suitable field and establishing it accurately. If you have penetrated CAS and are now within it, do not take off. Take a cab and get well clear before considering flight again. You might just have gone undetected or not caused any problems. What you do next I leave to your conscience.

Should you be unfortunate or even foolish you will probably find the authorities stern but understanding if no safety issues have occurred or traffic was diverted. They prefer to educate and assist rather than bark and resort to the courts. The best bet is to read and learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the problem with forethought and planning.


As a very new PPL in the '70s I ended up overhead a large airport in the north of England, I peed off at high speed and did exactly as I advise above. Having established my position I took off and landed at my destination.... then picked up the phone. The conversation with Manchester ATC was illuminating and thankfully not too unpleasant.

"The superior pilot uses his superior skill to avoid situations that might require him to use it."

You can probably think of other ways of achieving the same, chat about them so that we can all learn from them. I have dashed these down quickly as I am about to dash out of the door to fly...

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Great post Norman.

I think that if / when PPG becomes a regulated form of aviation that it will be becasue of Airspace 'issues' of one form or another.

Each and every one of us needs to be well on top of our nav skills in the air, Get an up to date map, learn or be taught how to read it.

Please don't be the one who fk's it up for us all!


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We still need an Airspace and Regulations Member guys.

You don't need to be an expert in the field, just interested enough to do a little research. I can get you around to visit ATC units all over the country; get you chatting to controllers and airspace managers. I can also put you in touch with some nice guys at the CAA who would be very helpful on the regs side. They really want to help and assist.

We need a couple of volunteers prepared to form a small team. Interested?


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