Aileron - March 2011

A collection of updates from Derick Gunning:

The Airspace for the Olympics: (see http://olympics.airspacesafety.com/)

A vast restricted area stretching from the south of Gatwick to the north of Luton, west of Farnborough and east of Southend is to be imposed on VFR flights for fully two months covering the two weeks of the Olympic Games next year. It envelops Fowlmere as well as Duxford...

I am interested to see that part of the “2012 Olympic Airspace Restrictions” include 'Unpowered Gliders' and that they must a) File a flight plan - and follow it and b) Receive an ATC service and comply with ATC instructions.... It would appear that a new generation of glider must be about to enter production as my personal experience is that it is quite difficult to adhere to any kind of 'plan' and if ATC ask you to 'climb' or instruct you to 'descend' in a glider chaos is likely to ensue!

The restrictions are badly drafted and will likely cause more confusion. Last year, NATS became 'overloaded' simply attempting to cope with flight plans for aircraft returning from the Duxford Airshow. They were unable to accommodate faxed flight plans (12) on the Saturday and a member of their staff stated they simply could not accommodate the volume of foreign pilots. Confusion arose and several aircraft arrived here unannounced and one even filed a plan, did not depart and simply filed again the next day with no one noticing apart from us after the event. I raised this issue with NATS but nobody was interested. My point is, how do the instigators of these restrictions expect NATS/ATC to cope with the busiest period of the year (13th July - 12th Sept 2012) with everyone filing plans and attempting to activate them, acquiring the 'reference number' and of course communicating their intentions/deviations etc.

Any GA pilot knows the workload on a sunny Sunday in SE England can often lead to it being better to 'monitor' a frequency rather than overcome the difficulty of making contact with ATC. If we are all made to communicate I cannot imagine how any perceived 'threat' can be reduced. In fact surely the opposite will prevail due to the confusion. How much more sensible it would be to simply be asked to acquire a dedicated 'squawk' for any flight within the TMA. Those with Mode 'S' already display enhanced details anyway and the code could be allocated with pilots details (licence number and phone?) and 'closed' by the pilot after landing. One could even ask a dedicated frequency to be 'monitored' so that contact could be made if required.

Rant over (for now!), onto other things...

On a happier note the new SE charts are in, the sun shone last weekend and lots of you have been flying!

May I gently remind everyone that we 'share' our frequency with Lee on Solent who also have runway 25/07 so please prefix all calls with 'Fowlmere Radio'. On a similar subject please also remember when departing Rwy07 to call Duxford Information prior to departure and REMAIN on their frequency until exiting their ATZ. You can of course 'listen out' on Fowlmere frequency by simply pressing 'C2' on audio panel with Fowlmere in Comm2 if you wish. Anyone uncertain of this please ask.

There is a new 'Tug' in hangar which has been purchased by private owners. Please do not touch it! It is blue and electrically propelled.

On Final:

Please check your licence and medical for validity. Remember your JAR Licence requires renewal every 5 years!

Christine is now a Grandma!

Happy Landings!  Derick