UK AIRSPACE Introduction

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1 UK AIRSPACE Introduction The UK has now adopted the ICAO system for naming of airspace types from A to G. However in the UK there is at present no Class C airspace. Classes A to E are called Controlled airspace, Classes F and G, uncontrolled airspace. The airspace is summarised in the diagram below:

2 Controlled Airspace Class A Airspace VFR flight is not permitted in Class A airspace, but in a CTR (Control Zone) Special VFR flight is permitted. Thus for all Class A airspace other than in Control Zones, flight must be conducted under IFR and the pilot in command must have a valid instrument rating (not IMC rating). An ATC service is provided to all traffic in this airspace, and all flights are separated from each other. A flight plan must be filed, and a clearance obtained from ATC. The clearance and any other ATC instructions must be followed. Two-way communications are required. Class A airspace forms: The London Control Zone (CTR) around London Heathrow Airport and the Channel Islands Control Zone (CTR) The TMAs (Terminal Control Areas) around London and Manchester All of the UK airway system up to FL245 except those airways lying within the Belfast CTR/TMA and the Scottish TMA. The CTAs of Daventry, Cotswold & Worthing Class B Airspace, but due to its altitude it is of little practical concern to light aircraft. An ATC service is provided to all traffic in this airspace, and all flights are separated from each other. A flight plan must be filed, and a clearance obtained from ATC. The clearance and any other ATC instructions must be followed. Two-way communications are required. In the UK, all Class B airspace forms the UIR (Upper Flight Information Region) which extends from FL245-FL660. Class C Airspace No airspace in the UK is currently designated as Class C, however in Ireland, USA and other countries, much of the controlled airspace is Class C.

3 Class D Airspace An ATC service is provided to all traffic in this airspace, and IFR flights are separated from each other. Information on conflicting VFR flights is provided by ATC to IFR traffic. Information is provided to VFR flights about other VFR and IFR flights, to enable pilots to effect their own separation. A flight plan must be filed (although this may usually be done by passing flight details over the radio before entering), and a clearance obtained from ATC. The clearance and any other ATC instructions must be followed. Two-way communications are required. Class D airspace is established in the form of CTRs and CTAs around the larger airfields in the UK, such as Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Brize Norton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Gatwick, Luton, London Stansted, Newcastle, Solent and Tees-side. Class E Airspace An ATC service is provided to all IFR traffic and communicating VFR traffic in this airspace. All IFR flights are separated from each other. Information on conflicting VFR flights is provided by ATC to IFR traffic. ATC separation not provided to VFR traffic. Traffic information is provided on request to VFR flights about other VFR and IFR flights, to enable pilots to effect their own separation. For IFR flights a flight plan must be filed (although this may usually be done by passing flight details over the radio before entering), and a clearance obtained from ATC. The clearance and any other ATC instructions must be followed. For VFR flights, there are no requirements, but pilots are encouraged to contact ATC and comply with instructions. Two-way communications are required for IFR flights only Very little Class E airspace is established in the UK. These areas are the Belfast TCA, the Scottish TMA and a small part of the Tees-side CTR.

4 Uncontrolled Airspace Class F Airspace An Air Traffic Services (ATS) service is provided to participating IFR traffic and to communicating VFR traffic as appropriate in this airspace. Participating IFR flights are separated from each other. For participating IFR flights a flight plan must be filed (although this may usually be done by passing flight details over the radio before entering), and a clearance obtained from ATC. The clearance and any other ATC instructions must be followed. For VFR flights, there are no requirements. However if a pilot wishes to use the airspace under VFR he should file a flight plan. He will then receive an advisory service. Two-way communications are required for participating IFR flights only Class F airspace is established in the UK in the form of Advisory Routes (ADRs). These are similar to airways, having a width of 10Nm. They are established in areas where traffic levels are not high enough to warrant an airway, but where regular scheduled services still operate (eg Scottish Highlands). Class G Airspace An Air Traffic Services (ATS) service is provided to traffic as appropriate in this airspace. This usually means a flight information service only. No traffic separation is normally provided. However some ATC units are able to provide a separation between known traffic in Class G airspace. No communications are required in the open FIR (eg outside Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZs). Class G airspace forms the remainder of the UK airspace, including many (ATZs) and Military Aerodrome Traffic Zones (MATZs). Class G airspace also forms the airspace above FL660.

5 Control Zones (CTRs) A control zone (CTR) is an area of controlled airspace extending from the surface to a notified upper altitude or flight level. They are usually established around busier airfields, and can be of Class A, D or E Control Areas (CTAs) A control area (CTA) is an area of controlled airspace extending upwards from a notified lower altitude or flight level to a notified upper level. They are usually established around and above busier airfields, and can be of Class A, D or E. The main CTAs are the airway system (Class A), the CTAs of Daventry, Worthing and Cotswold (Class A), the CTAs of smaller airfields such as Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Isle of Man, Gatwick etc (Class D), and the CTAs of Belfast and Scottish (Class E). Two types of CTA have special names: Airways An airway is in fact a Control Area (CTA) in the shape of a corridor along which IFR flights proceed. They are nearly always of Class A airspace, and are straight lines, usually between two radio-navigation aids or waypoints. They are 10Nm in width and extend from a notified lower level to a notified upper level or FL245. They are named using a letter and a number, for example B1 (Bravo One) or G715 (Golf Seven One Five). Where an airway enters a TMA, CTR or CTA that is not Class A, then the airway adopts the class of airspace of that area (Belfast & Scottish CTR/TMAs). Above FL245 they become upper airways and their name will be prefixed by a U. For example UA25 (Upper Alfa Two Five). Upper airways are always Class B airspace.

6 Terminal Control Areas (TMAs) These CTAs used to be called Terminal Manoeuvring Areas, hence the abbreviation. They are formed around the busiest airfields in the UK where many airways meet and much IFR traffic is climbing and descending to and from the main airports. At present in the UK there are 4 TMAs: London (Class A from 6000 to FL245) Manchester (Class A) Belfast (Class E) Scottish (Class E up to 6000, Class D above) Other types of airspace are: Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZs) An ATZ is an area of airspace that is established around most UK civil and military airfields. They extend from the surface to an altitude of 2000 above aerodrome level (aal). They are centred on the mid-point of the longest runway and have a radius of either 2 or 2.5 Nm. If the longest runway is 1850m or less in length, then the radius is 2 Nm, over 1850m then 2.5 Nm. If the end of any runway is less than 1.5 Nm from the edge of the ATZ, then its radius is usually extended to 2.5 Nm. An ATZ is not allocated a particular class of airspace, they simply adopt the same airspace as that around them. Thus the ATZ for London Heathrow would be Class A and that for Blackbushe or Redhill would be Class G. Rule of the Air 39 states that An aircraft shall not fly, take off or land within the ATZ of an aerodrome... unless the commander of the aircraft has obtained the permission of the ATC unit at the aerodrome... or flight information unit... or air/ground unit at that aerodrome to enable the flight to be conducted with safety. Thus although the ATZ may be in Class G airspace and as such be uncontrolled, permission is still required to operate within.

7 Military Aerodrome Traffic Zones (MATZs) A MATZ is an area of airspace that is established around most UK military airfields. They extend from the surface to an altitude of 3000 above aerodrome level (aal). They are centred on the mid-point of the longest runway and have a radius of either 5 Nm. The MATZ may have one or more stubs projecting from the circular area extending from altitude 1000 aal to 3000 aal extending out to 10Nm and of width 4 Nm and aligned with a runway final approach path. A MATZ is not allocated a particular class of airspace, it simply adopts the same airspace as that around it, usually Class G. Inside the MATZ is an ATZ. MATZs rarely operate 24 hours a day, but the ATZ within is usually active 24 hrs. Although it is not compulsory to ask permission before entering a MATZ, permission must always be sought before entering the ATZ inside.

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