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Crossing International FIR Regions- Flight Plans?


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Following on from a thread on another part of this forum- looking at the requirement of a flight plan for any aircraft crossing an international FIR. (Thread at -http://www.paramotorclub.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8127)

Northern Ireland has an international FIR boundary -shared with the Republic of Ireland, this raises a few questions-

See map below-


Border Northern Ireland and Republic shown in yellow

International FIR region boundary shown in red- Note the FIR boundaries don't follow the land boundaries- there are parts of Ireland within the UK FIR (South Fermanagh), and parts of the UK within the Irish FIR (eg.North Monaghan).

With regards to the FIR- can a PPG pilot cross into the areas marked 'A' without filing a flight plan?- technically you are still in Northern Ireland, but you are crossing an International FIR boundary...

An Irish Exemption certificate is required to fly within the Republic of Ireland, we'd assume this applies to the land border- although not clear from any Irish Aviation Authority sources. Can a PPG pilot fly from Northern Ireland to the areas marked 'B'.... You are crossing an international border, but within the same FIR region (UK)?

Food for thought!! Hopefully the CAA can shed some light on this.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Response from the CAA as follows-

I have been passed your query regarding the requirement to file a flight plan when crossing an international boundary. Unlike many states in Europe our FIR boundaries do not follow our national borders, largely because of our island status. For the most part the boundary is, of course, over the sea but this is not the case between the Scottish FIR and Shannon. Consequently, in the UK we consider international borders, as referred to in the ICAO requirements for the filing of a flight plan, as our FIR boundaries and this is reflected in Rule of the Air 17(4). Therefore to answer your specific questions:

1. You cannot cross into the areas marked ‘A’ on the map you included which are on the Shannon side of the FIR boundary – if you want to do this then you will need to file a flight plan in accordance with Rule 17(4) referred to above.

2. I believe that the Exemption certificate you refer to applies to the land border so, as long as you have one, you can fly in those areas marked ‘B’ on the Scottish side of the FIR boundary without filing an ATC flight plan.

I hope this answers your query adequately but if you have any more questions please feel free to contact me direct.

Best regards,

Anthony Stevens

Controlled Airspace Section

Directorate of Airspace Policy

Definitley worth keeping in mind if planning any flights near the FIR boundary or the border regions.

Note that 'crossing the FIR boundary without a flightplan' is the point here.... if your flight is totally within the regions marked 'A' then I would assume that you are OK. This could effect pilots flying in South Down, Fermanagh and just north of Derry/Londonderry...

Crossing the border into the regions marked 'B' is OK as long as you have the IAA exemption.....


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