View Full Version : Benson MATZ transit advice
17th Jul 2003, 19:06
I'll be flying from Cardiff to Sarfend next week, and am pondering best route to take around/through Benson MATZ.
i) Route south of the MATZ (easiest but furthest)
ii) Squeeze over MATZ but below London TMA (cloud permitting)
iii) Get transit clearance and route over airfield (preferred)
Could any ppruner with local knowledge advise how likely am I to get zone transit clearance?
17th Jul 2003, 19:12
Benson are usually closed at the weekend. You don't say which day of the week you're going - if it's the weekend give them a call but don't expect a reply, and you're free to fly through the MATZ but not the ATZ.
I don't often fly during the week, but when I do I've never had any problems crossing their MATZ. I'd go for option 3.
17th Jul 2003, 19:53
A friend of a friend is an ATCO at Benson. Option 3. Look out for low-flying helicopters.
Factoid: They have the highest number of MATZ penetrations in the UK...apparently.
17th Jul 2003, 20:03
Thanks for the advice FFF, I'll be flying Tuesday so I suppose Benson will be active.
I think I'll plan for the MATZ transit, with a standbye southern route as a backup.
18th Jul 2003, 06:27
At risk of stating the blindingly obvious, plan for and request a routing directly over the main runway. Very simple reasons - all their traffic is at it's lowest there and you'll be the least nuisance.
Having said that, you have got 1500ft between the top of the MATZ and the lowest point of the TMA so that's the least-effort option for all concerned cloud permitting, which it probably will.
18th Jul 2003, 18:03
FFF - have to diagree with you about usually being closed at weekends.
UAS flying, police helicopter, RAF Benson flying club and the odd mil helicopter all fly from Benson. UAS ops depend on the time of year and if they are flying then ATC will be open.
My advice is:
1.Call Benson zone first. If using Brize then they will know (but they have been known to get it wrong).
2.If no reply call Benson Tower.
3.If no reply transmit blind and fly right over the top...If anyone else is around they will be doing the same. Given their task, the police helicopter has to be up and away very quickly so keep your ears open.
It's a great place to fly from...and with the chimneys of Didcot near by almost impossible not to find. Watch out to not mistake Chalgrove ( Martin-Baker) for Benson but the hangars at Benson give this one away.
Hope this helps.
P.S. If coming from Cardiff watch out for the Fairford restrictions this weekend.
18th Jul 2003, 22:12
M9 -on initial call (assuming Brize haven't handed you over) give full call sign and ask for FIS and MATZ penetration -straight away the controller will realize what you want.
However, some years ago I called up Cardiff with a flight level when routing from Shobdon to White Waltham, (prob about FL60) and was handed over from Cardiff, to Filton, to Brize, to Benson -wonderfull!! Try it if wx permits.
Thrifty van Rental
18th Jul 2003, 22:51
Benson are nice guys. I still know a few people there. You will get your MATZ transit without any problem if you call them in reasonable time.
I am told that strictly, a transit clearance is not required for MATZ in the UK because a MATZ is not controlled airspace. It is only the ATZ that you must avoid. Calling for a transit is a matter of good airmanship.
18th Jul 2003, 22:55
Gijoe - I think we're talking about separate things. I agree the airfield is open at weekends, but the MATZ isn't. That's why you can penetrate the MATZ, but not the ATZ, without talking to anyone (although you must attempt to contact Benson Zone to be sure the MATZ is closed).
Having said that, calling an airfield's frequency if you're flying over it, as you suggest, even if you're above the ATZ, is a good idea, even if not absolutely necessary. Can't say I've ever called Benson Tower when I've been flying through their MATZ, but it certainly doesn't do any harm. Might follow your advice and do it myself next time I go that way :ok:
18th Jul 2003, 22:55
Guess I was lucky in having an instructor who insisted I draw a straight line on a map and if it went thru a MATZ or Zone, so what, ask for transit.
Also learnt to negotiate a SVFR early on, so this holds no fear!!
Don't worry, just fly!!
19th Jul 2003, 00:17
FFF - fair answer. Confusion solved.
You are right in that quite often the tower is manned but zone is not. Departing ac remain on tower until at the edge of the zone and call whoever they want next. Tower will often give FIS so it would still be worth calling them if going over the top.
21st Jul 2003, 17:23
Just catching up on some reading, June 2003 GASIL to be precise and came across this in an article on VFR IN CONTRIOLLED AIRSPACE:
'....flight in controlled airspace requires accurate flying, understanding, anticipation and clear thinking. It also requires confidence in using the radio and talking to controllers, which only comes with practise........If you do not have the confidence, we suggest you find an instructor who can guide you appropriately and give you that confidence'
Alos look at page 8 on MATZ.
21st Jul 2003, 18:59
Thanks for all the advice guys, as usual Pprune comes up trumps!
Had intended to use Brize; presumably they'll pass details to Benson which should smooth things along.
The Wx looks to be set fair for Tuesday too :D :D
21st Jul 2003, 23:16
Assume they ask you to 'Freecall'. It's a bonus if they hand you over.
Remember, if you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and ME.