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  1. #1
    Wannabe Pilot southern_flyer's Avatar
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    Which frequency?

    I'm interested to see recommendations/guidance on the following situation. Although I'm doing my QXC (and will ask my instructor for his view), I'm also interested more generally to see what others do and whether there is a difference of opinion.

    The scenario:

    I am doing the flight planning for my QXC, which will take me very close to the edge of the Gatwick TMA en-route to Rochester from the South Coast. My turning point is outside of the airspace horizontally, so I'll be coming skirting the edge by a few miles.

    Approaching I'm curious to know what frequency you would be consider using out of the following (and based on having just one radio and not having a dual-frequency option) - this is based on approaching the Eastern edge of the TMA near Redhill:

    A) Do you set 7012 on the transponder and listen to Gatwick?
    B) Do you switch and contact Redhill?
    C) Do you request a basic service from Farnborough?

    It isn't clear for me which of these is the best option, though I'm erring for (B) - am I wrong?

    My logic for (A) is that a light aircraft heading directly towards Gatwick airspace might catch the eye of a controller and so by listening to Gatwick at least it's a reassurance (to them) that I know what I'm doing and that my heading close to their space isn't an accident.

    My logic for (B) is that I'm going to underneath the lower limit for the Gatwick TMA and so I'm simply not going to be in conflict with heavy traffic. I WILL, however, be in potential conflict with Redhill traffic in the same space and so it makes sense to be speaking to the airfield where the biggest actual risk exists.

    My logic for (C) is really based on a compromise between (A) and (B), but reflecting on it now I'm not sure how useful it would be as Farnborough wouldn't/couldn't deconflict against Redhill traffic, and just because I am receiving a basic service doesn't mean Gatwick wouldn't think I'm a conflict either. That said, I'm not landing at Redhill or entering their ATZ.

    It feels like none of these are really that suitable, but that (B) is the one most likely to keep me from dying, so I would choose that for pragmatic reasons. Am I sensible to do so?


  2. #2
    Co-Pilot Martin Watson's Avatar
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    None of the above.

    I mean talk to nobody. Concentrate on your navigation (making sure you route well away from controlled airspace) and your lookout.
    Martin
    BMAA 5370
    Fixed wing instruction, examinations and revalidations in Norfolk.


  3. #3
    Captain MadamBreakneck's Avatar
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    I agree with Martin,

    Plan your route such that an error in navigation doesn't risk you busting Gatwick. Choose suitable line features to follow and obvious, large, unique and easily recognisable waypoints. If you're concerned you might bust Gatwick, then don't go; but if you want to be a good guy then put out the listening squawk but don't speak unless spoken to. If your transponder has mode S, they'll know your call-sign.

    Concentrate on lookout and navigation and enjoy the flight... if you do realise you may be a bit lost near controlled airspace, the guys at D&D are always willing to help out.

    That's what I'd do, anyhow. Do let us know what your instructor advises you - I'd be interested to know (always willing to learn).



    Back to just bimbling in the TST.

    No longer instructing - just pontificating..
    and now a Tai Chi instructor


  4. #4
    Captain Randombloke's Avatar
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    If you're flying to Rochester from the South Coast keep it easy, stay to the East & South of the big TV mast near Heathfield (actually at Cross in Hand) then use Bewl Bridge reservoir to keep you out of the 2,500 TMZ, then fly between Marden and Staplehurst to avoid Headcorn.

    After the last step, once over the next small ridge, there will be a chalk cliff outcrop more or less to the North and that's spitting distance to Rochester.

    Tune into Rochester well ahead so you can get circuit direction, QFE and runway in use written down ready for your read back. just be sure to listen when you call in case they have changed since the last radio exchange.
    Steve U.
    PG, HG & microlights
    "Weekend bimbler, day to day car driver & genuinely undeserving Southern oik who has never done anything of any worth"


  5. #5
    Wannabe Pilot southern_flyer's Avatar
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    Sorry everyone - probably I should have made myself clear. This is my dual QXC and I'm being deliberately told to navigate via Cowden station, to test my navigation and planning abilities and to deliberately bring the Class A issue into play (at this point the base of the airspace is 1500ft), so remaining low avoids the conflict.

    The issue I'm trying to establish is what is best to squawk and listen.

    From departure on the South Coast my home frequency will quickly be irrelevant, so I could switch to LARs, although by the time the home frequency isn't that useful I'll be 'in the Gatwick or Redhill area'.

    I could ignore both and ask a basic service Farnborough until I approach Rochester, but then I'll be in an area just to the East of Redhill, not on Redhill frequency, where most of the traffic will be. Some traffic will be following the line to report at Edenbridge station VRP.

    So, on the basis that this is the route I'm being assessed on, how would you handle the frequencies?


  6. #6
    Co-Pilot Martin Watson's Avatar
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    I'm confused. If it's a dual flight, it's a training flight not a QXC and you are not being assessed - you are being trained in navigation techniques.
    The use of the radio and transponder are not part of the microlight syllabus and your flying instructor should be responsible for this aspect of the flight (sure you may make the actual radio calls, but under his guidance). Use of the radio is not navigation.
    The training and testing for the FRTOL, the radio licence, is completely separate.
    I'd suggest you clarify with your instructor exactly what is being asked of you, and why.

    Edit to add: you asked about the cross country flights before I recall. Something is getting you in a middle about all this. The way this part of the training for the nppl--m works is very different to what happens in GA licence training - is your instructor a GA instructor now teaching on microlights by any chance?
    Last edited by Martin Watson; 20-03-19 at 21:03 PM.
    Martin
    BMAA 5370
    Fixed wing instruction, examinations and revalidations in Norfolk.


  7. #7
    Captain MadamBreakneck's Avatar
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    Hi Southern (Deanland) Flyer.
    The South Coast is a lot of countryside. If I'm not mistaken, you are actually planning a flight from Deanland to Rochester via Cowden Station.

    As Martin has written, radio and especially negotiating controlled airspace is supplemental to the microlight syllabus and you might want to question it given you've described yourself as of limited budget. You could actually get a microlight licence without even having the practical navigation component included ("With Operational Limitations": see BMAA web site) which would allow you to fly a microlight, within those limitations, as pilot in command on your own authority and even carry passengers. You can then arrange to get the limitations removed at a later date of your choosing when you feel ready. OK, if you need radio to operate out of Deanland, the law requires you to have a FRTOL if you are using the radio on your own authority as a qualified pilot; but that is separate from the NPPL(M).

    Now, if I were planning a flight such as the one you've described, and for some reason I can't avoid flying close to class D (class A starts at 2500' over your chosen route), then I'd plan very carefully with plenty of ground features (eg Uckfield on your left, then Crowborough on the right, then pick up the railway where it crosses the A264. If I had a transponder, I'd use the Gatwick frequency to listen on and squawk their code with altitude selected and mode S if available and stay below about 1300' on the Gatwick QNH. I wouldn't talk to anybody unless spoken to first.

    On the other hand, flying my TST along that route, I'd probably aim for 1300' on Gatwick QNH and listen to Gatwick in case they express dissatisfaction with unknown traffic near where I think I am. In reality, though, I'd stay out from under the low class D and speak to nobody.

    As I wrote before: "Do let us know what your instructor advises you - I'd be interested to know (always willing to learn)".

    Joan

    PS Forget about Redhill, it's miles out of your way

    PPS. please be careful about phrasing your questions or you may find answers become less forthcoming. It takes a long time to type a reasonably full answer and it's rather disappointing to find that the question was poorly worded so the typed answer didn't address the actual problem.




    Back to just bimbling in the TST.

    No longer instructing - just pontificating..
    and now a Tai Chi instructor

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  9. #8
    Captain Randombloke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southern_flyer View Post
    Sorry everyone - probably I should have made myself clear. This is my dual QXC and I'm being deliberately told to navigate via Cowden station, to test my navigation and planning abilities and to deliberately bring the Class A issue into play (at this point the base of the airspace is 1500ft), so remaining low avoids the conflict.
    Going via Cowden to go to Rochester doesn't test planning abilities, because it's not a good plan in the first place.

    However, if he insists, then choose a Gatwick listening squawk, set the radio, set that code, then knock yourself out. Any infringement will be your instructor in court or explaining to the CAA. I'd love to read the report where it was suggested that a student be made to fly an indirect and complicated route when a much easier, shorter alternative existed.

    Quote Originally Posted by southern_flyer View Post
    The issue I'm trying to establish is what is best to squawk and listen.
    I'd choose Gatwick if I was forced to take the route you outline, as that's what I'd be most at risk of infringing, otherwise, sensible planning says you'd look at my route above, if you are going to stay below 2,500ft all the way you can fly directly over the mast in question.

    Listening squawks procedure here:

    https://airspacesafety.com/listening-squawks/

    Actual frequencies here:

    https://airspacesafety.com/wp-conten...S_2AUG2018.pdf
    Steve U.
    PG, HG & microlights
    "Weekend bimbler, day to day car driver & genuinely undeserving Southern oik who has never done anything of any worth"


  10. #9
    Co-Pilot D-Flyer's Avatar
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    Not suggesting one or the other - thatís for your instructor, but it might be useful to note - when you get a squawk from Farnborough, itíll be a number in a particular range (so for Fboro West itíll be 4 and then three other numbers, Fboro East uses a different first number). By virtue of that squawk, when Gatwick see you on their radar, theyíll know youíre talking to Farnborough, and can get hold of you that way if they have to. Iíve often flown over the north of Gatwick from Blackbushe to Rochester, past Redhill, and stay on Farnborough all the way (theyíll pass you from West to East or vice versa as they need to). Hope that helps!


  11. #10
    Co-Pilot willjohnh's Avatar
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    Maybe the answer he/she is looking for is "I wouldn't go that route in the first place, for these reasons. Here's a better plan".
    "I thought you were supposed to be flying this thing, not pleasuring it."
    - Paul Gallagher


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