View Full Version : London Lands End Sector closure

14th Apr 2001, 04:20
Be interested to hear some comments on the current situation in London. From today the Lands End sector is effectively closed with further amounts of traffic being re-routed into French and Irish airspace. This has built up over several months, first with westbound restrictions from French airspace, then with levels removed from Oceanic tracks with landfalls towards LND, then two eastbound routes suspended, and now almost all routes gone.

Is this all purely to do with Radar coverage or is there more to it?

And, more importantly, how is this going to affect the introduction of RVSM into London next Thursday?

Tango Route
14th Apr 2001, 05:03
Radar 1:

I take it that this is a manning-level problem? Not good news, methinks.

How's this going to affect people like myself, who route thru LND north-to-south and vice-versa, most days?

14th Apr 2001, 05:13
I should have added that the latest restrictions are only in force up to 8am local time daily, though there is the potential for this to develop further in the westbound flow.

After 8am the normal routes bar UR116 and UR40 are available.

Tango Route, if you're flying during the night or morning, I imagine your only alternatives are to go east or west of LND, either oceanic through OMOKO or LASNO and through Irish airspace, or UA25 way.

14th Apr 2001, 12:08
As I understand it, the restrictions (which are in force to differing levels H24) are due to the loss of radar cover now that Burrington radar head has been switched off. The heads at Clee Hill and Great Dun Fell are so far away as to make lower levels below cover. I understand that negotiations are in force to allow the use of Jersey radar for separation rather than just planning purposes as it is now. This should make the situation a bit easier, but will still be using SSR only.

All this due to the cost cutting mentality which dictated that Burrington was too expensive to maintain. Did anybody consider the financial cost of lost revenue caused by these sort of restrictions in this very busy sector? Probably not!

There are also of course the concerns D&D have regarding low level cover west of A25 for SAR if Yeovilton or Culdrose are shut. But the bean counters don't worry about that.

RVSM: Well if you can fit more aircraft in at the higher levels which ARE visible to radar then that will be better, won't it?!! ;)

"Take-off is optional, Landing is mandatory"

14th Apr 2001, 14:39
The Burrington radar is still turning and burning, although it has been SSR-only for many months. There have been significant problems with reliability since then, and this has focussed attention on the lack of back-up cover in the south-west approaches. For many months there have been restrictions on certain routes, as detailed above, but these have now been augmented because our regulators have decreed that the reliabilty of the power supply to the Burrington site does not meet the required standard. Work is in-hand to meet the new requirements, and will hopefully be complete by early May (foot-and-mouth restrictions in Devon permitting!!!). Meanwhile, in order to allow for safe operations should the Burrington service fail unexpectedly in the meantime, the largely north/south routes are closed during the hours of the peak eastbound oceanic flow (0001 to 0700 utc) to allow maximum throughput with minimum conflictions. At other times of day the routes are re-opened, but with greatly-reduced sector capacity. At all times our minumum permitted radar separation in the sector becomes 10nm, instead of the previous 5nm (or 8nm in certain circumstances).

It is ironic that, due to recent upgrades, the current situation with the Burrington power supply is in fact better than it has been at any time since the radar was first introduced back in the 1970s. Some may think it also an uncanny co-incidence that the regulator has suddenly grown "teeth" in the first few days since PPP.....

15th Apr 2001, 05:20
Just testing