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  1. #1
    Trainee Pilot Reptile Smile's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
    Bristol, UK
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    Flying under controlled airspace

    Hi all,

    Sorry - I know this is more one for my instructor but I'm not going to see him for a while.

    In a microlight with no transponder, passing underneath Class D (for example) airspace from 4500-10000 (so - say flying at 3000), I suppose one in theory doesn't *have* to ask permission, in that you're not in controlled airspace, but how do ATC know whether you're in or out of Controlled Airspace? I presume out of politeness one should make contact by radio and tell them what you're doing even though you're not in controlled airspace?
    Currently learning to fly with the fabulous Great Western Airsports, and recording my experiences at The Tyranny Of Petty Things

  2. #2
    Co-Pilot Martin Watson's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
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    Thats basically correct. ATC are allowed to assume you are not in their controlled airspace if they can see you as a primary radar return without a squawk - but it may be helpful to talk to them if theyre not too busy.

    The exception to this is when there is a transponder mandatory zone (TMZ) like underneath Stansted's class D. Its uncontrolled class G, but you can only go into it if you are squawking mode S or you have established two way radio contact.
    BMAA 5370

  3. #3
    Captain MadamBreakneck's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Essex UK
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    In the South East, we're almost permanently under controlled airspace, what with heathrow,Stansted, Luton, Southend,etc, and of course the London TMA. We've also got an array of alternative radio services we can be rabbiting away on, whether radar service or not. Just make sure of your horizontal and vertical navigation and stay clear of the controlled airspace. Airspace at 4500ft is easy to stay out of; it gets a bit more challenging when it's lower but as long as you remain aware of the airspace horizontal and vertical limits and stay out of it, you'll be fine.


  4. #4
    Co-Pilot Arielarts's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    Years ago (could be at least 20), our club did a trip around the East Midlands tower and radar approach. Radar operator told us that any unidentified return without height info had to be regarded as an infinite pillar that controlled aircraft were routed clear of. So he politely asked us to report if possible. Don't know if the rules have changed?

  5. #5
    Member unwind-protect's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
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    AerialArts, I think you're correct in Class G. I was talking to a radar controller the other day and he was saying that any return that wasn't "positively identified" needed to be kept a long way (5nm?) from traffic he was controlling. He commented that it seemed bizarre that he had higher separation requirements than for traffic within class D (where, presumably, if you're not talking to them, they assume you're outside the CAS?). But I could easily be wrong...
    Flying a Quantum leap for Microlightkind!

  6. #6
    Training Captain Gentreau's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Budapest, Hungary
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    This all sounds very "big brother"

    In France we fly around all the time under CAS and never talk to anyone.
    Who said you have to have a radio anyway ???
    The three most useless things in aviation:
    • The air above you.
    • The runway behind you.
    • The fuel in the bowser.

    Rule #1: Always tie your aircraft to the largest heaviest object available. The planet Earth meets these requirements and is readily available in all locations.
    Rule #2: The great thing about twin engined aircraft is, if one engine fails, the other engine always has just enough power to get you to the scene of the crash.

    Semper specto in clara parte vitae.


  7. #7
    Captain jjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gentreau View Post
    This all sounds very "big brother"

    In France we fly around all the time under CAS and never talk to anyone.
    Who said you have to have a radio anyway ???
    It's optional, you don't have to speak to anyone. It may be useful for the controller/other aircraft if you do but no one is making you.

    I used to fly about class G, under here, over that, and never speak to anyone. Then flew in a formation with goflygaz to the isle of wight and was listening as he chatted away, despite us being out side of controlled air space. We then got useful information back in return - everyone was a winner.

    From this point i started to speak to controllers if i think it will be of use, i **** up radio calls but they don't seem to care, best one was declaring to coventry that i was passing on the west just outside the boundary of their ATZ (visibility was murky and i could hear traffic locating onto their ILS that i would be crossing). Nice lady came back and told me she thought I may actually be to the to the east of their zone, not the west The traffic on the ILS then confirmed they had visual with me (i could not see them at all) and asked if i could speed up a tad. All worked out well and again everyone gained through communication - much like the rest of life.
    Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
    Winston Churchill

  8. #8
    Co-Pilot dompech's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
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    Just to add to the wonderful mix I regularly fly into Stansteds TMZ without radio to go to Hunsdon and my own field is just inside the Luton zone. It is imperative to obtain PPR from the airfield owners and establish the correct approach procedures before attempting these moves.

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