View Full Version : Class A airspace in UK for GA

27th Jul 2004, 01:55
Hi guys
About week ago I was flying from Ostend to Sothend on PA28. Weather condition was IMC so we were forced to file an IFR flight plan. During crossing FIR boundary at FL 60 we were transferred to London information. All was as planned but later London Info urged us to stay outside of controlled airspace when we were approaching CLN VOR. Same story as we were returning back from EGMC. With valid IFR flight plan all the way till the Belgium FIR boundary we had to stay outside of controlled airspace.
So my question is, Why we were forced to fly outside class A airspace if we had an IFR flight plan? Is it a normal practice in UK to keep little guys out of A airspace?

Genghis the Engineer
27th Jul 2004, 07:26
Yes - don't take it personally.


27th Jul 2004, 09:03
We plan our flights (corporate heli) to stay mainly outside anything other than Class G and request a Radar Information service from appropriate en route ATC units. We do ask to cross Class D on a fairly routine basis but always have an alternative plan to go around or under.

It is simpler and it gives you more flexibility (ATC can't / won't control you. They don't really want you in their hair in Class A due to workload, especially in the south of the UK). The only exception is obviously where we have to make an instrument approach into an airfield surrounded by Class A, although we normally go in under a SVFR service.

That's just the way it seems to be. :ok:

27th Jul 2004, 22:21
Thanks for explanation guys. It was first time to UK in IFR.

28th Jul 2004, 00:11
If you have an IR that is valid (in a legal sense) for the aircraft you are flying then you can fly in UK Class A airspace. Just tell them that's what you want to do.

Genghis is right though, IFR GA in the UK is relatively unusual - certainly on airways - and so it is normally assumed that a light aircraft won't be able to take an airways clearance.

One other point that shouldn't make a difference but is worth mentioning - London Information may not be manned by an air traffic controller. Like I say, it shouldn't make a difference but .....

28th Jul 2004, 06:29
> IFR GA in the UK is relatively unusual - certainly on airways - and so it is normally assumed that a light aircraft won't be able to take an airways clearance.

What is particularly unusual about it?

I fly in Canada, and have no idea of what goes on "over there" :O


28th Jul 2004, 08:07

I think the problem is that you entered the London FIR outside controlled airspace. Having done so, you'd need a clearance to re-enter controlled airspace. To do so would require the London Information FISO to coordinate with the relevant sectors. That's harder than in many other European countries where the Info controller sits alongside the other ATCC controllers.

If you have an operational need to fly in controlled airspace on such a flight, there is no reason why you should not ask for that. But by default, he'll assume that since you chose to leave controlled airspace, you're content to remain outside.

I've always found LATCC as cooperative as ever in sorting out stuff like this. It's not normal practice to exclude light aircraft from class A, but since most light aircraft do so by choice, it's often assumed as the default.

If you'd crossed the FIR boundary at or above the airway MEA (FL70), you would have been transferred to London Control and been kept within controlled airspace in the normal way.

28th Jul 2004, 18:54
Thanks again guys, I’ve got the “picture”.

28th Jul 2004, 19:04
mstram, it's relatively unusual because not many light aircraft do it and lots of bigger aircraft do. I guess there are many reasons for differences between overe there and over here, the commonly cited ones are that GA is seen to be a more legitimate means of personal travel in North America and getting the requisite qualifications appears to be less arduous also. Oh, and NATS don't control your airways.

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