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ATSOCAS

Old 14th Nov 2014, 10:22
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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TAD

Erm... I think MJ flies a modern commercial twin turbo prop and is mandated to both talk and squawk.

Moli
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 10:29
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Day job perhaps.Weekends?
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 11:39
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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LTP,

I too have a very good idea of the airfield involved given the description by the OP. (Release level being the biggest give away).

Now once again, if I guessed your destination right, I would invariably have been offering you to the large military radar unit located just on your right as you leave CAS.
In this case you would have been wrong to do so. It is obvious that the destination airfield had radar manned (they do not always), therefore the procedure, as per MATS part 2, is to hand the aircraft to them. In the event of this particular destination airfield having radar unmanned (they still have some staffing issues), then the London controller is to first offer the traffic to the military airfield, but they often refuse to work it if they have nothing to effect.

BTW, they often refuse to work it even if they have traffic to effect if their traffic is on a Basic or Traffic service, thinking quite correctly, but totally unhelpfully, that as their own traffic is not expecting avoidance vectors, it is perfectly acceptable to have another aircraft, on an IFR flight plan, fly towards it.

The real issue is the lack of CAS for an airfield that wants to be a bigger player in commercial aviation (something that is echoed by many airfields)
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 12:27
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps when you are flying your old crate,not talking or squawking,give a thought that you might just be causing problems to the Class G airfield you are looking at.
Brilliant if that is the case, then they can report that the rules are a load of bollocks.

Hopefully the RAF prat that designed them has left the CAA, They can then get together a working group of ATCO's who also hold a mixture of licenses from PPL through to ATPL with instructors in there as well.

Something sensible can be created which none UK pilots have a clue how it works. Hint call the normal ICAO FIS a FIS. It can be based on flight rules and use the idea that aircraft that can see each other will avoid each other.

Then put this current utter abortion of a system out of its misery.

Then maybe the number of airprox's will reduce to previous levels.

The old heap is about right.

But the mandate to squawk and talk for a commercial TP is just the same as a SEP light aircraft in the various flavours of controlled airspace. Ie if we are VFR or IFR in class G we have no requirement to talk to anyone. BUt duty of care and arse covering with pax onboard means we will. Empty is a different ball game.

Last edited by mad_jock; 14th Nov 2014 at 12:59.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 13:03
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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MJ,
Just curious but do you fly for an operator that uses Class G,when they could fly in Class A,D,E....With passengers?
Load of Bollocks Service....Has a certain ring to it!! Describes a lot of my radar vectoring.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 13:22
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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yep when I was working in the UK, in fact 4 different operators.

As you well know you just have to look at the east coast routes up to ABZ to know that many aircraft do it everyday. Direct from St Abbs to ABZ instead of going to talla and up the airway.

And yes to get an aircraft back to maintenance with a departure slot which would have taken us over duty hours the company has request we take the plane back VFR/IFR through class G. As do some much bigger aircraft in the south. I have been on frequency when a 747 was doing the same thing both of us on London Info.

Also as well if your bring an aircraft back from the continent if you go via the airways system you will end up zigzagging all the way up the UK and getting vectored around the shop to get you out the way of London then East Mids/BHX then you will screw with Man in and out bounds. London FIR boundary ask to go north with London Mil in class G and your straight up the east coast to St Abbs, briefly speaking to the Geordies onto Scottish mil and onto Scottish for P600. Takes 20% off your flight time. I am pretty sure the airways/terminal controllers are more than happy our slow heap isn't getting in the way.

And far from being dangerous there is nobody out there at FL170-FL190 in class G. The only thing you might get is a request to help with a DnD exercise to piss off all the yanks off on 121.5.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 17:27
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Correlating an increase in airprox because of the introduction of DS/TS/BS is the same as finding a correlation between the rate of snowfall in Scotland and the location of diamonds in South Africa. It's a co-incidence. There are too many variables that you can't account for - improved reporting system in the MOD, improved safety culture, industry seeing airprox reports as a means of gathering evidence to justify airspace change, improved education from CAA/UKAB etc about reporting etc etc). Just because you've changed the name of something (and that is effectively ALL we did) then you can't say that it caused an increase in airprox. We did change anything fundamental about the ATS themselves; therefore, they haven't caused an increase in the number of airprox. I've heard this line touted before and there is no, I repeat no, evidence or analysis to support it.

As far as being an ATCO qualified in the last 15 years and their familiarity with a cockpit is concerned, albeit it was 17 years ago I qualified as an ATCO, how about adding an SEP FI and glider pilot to your list grab you? I also know of another 2 ATCOs who are CPL holders and FIs

Agree that the UK's version of FIS is different to that of the rest of Europe and, IMHO, the reason for that is we're trying to use Class G for a purpose that it's not intended for. Providing 'separated' or 'deconflicted' flight for IFR flights in uncontrolled airspace. Consequently, I agree with a lot of you again, we're trying to provide 'control' in an 'uncontrolled' environment. The consultation o n ATSOCAS in 2008/9was clear, GA and the MOD wanted ICAO FIS - give us traffic information and help us miss stuff when we ask you for it. The commercial operators wanted to be separated by 5nm and 5000 ft from all non-participating traffic in Class G because, parly, of the financial burden associated with operating within CAS. Someone somewhere decided to try and please both camps so we've got what we have today.

The problem that we have is how do you completely revolutionise the system so that it meets the challenges of today? Stop flying for a week while we re-set everything? Don't think so. Consequently, we're left with tinkering round the edges and doing one bit at a time.

If it helps, people in the right places do know that there are problems and what the right solutions could be. But can we please think before uttering the kind of garbage mentioned earlier that the change in 2009 caused more airprox?
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 18:44
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Its not garbage.

You have an event and the statistics change immediately after that event.

Burying your head in the sand doesn't change that fact. It just smacks of management uttering in the face of fact.

And I operate in class G in the rest of Europe and we don't have this rubbish.

Someone was an utter fanny and has decreased safety through out the whole of the UK in class G.

And for a growing number of pilots ATSOCAS is something we won't participate in because adds nothing to our safety.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 19:26
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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MJ
How can you hand on heart say that ATSOCAS (as of yesterday now defunct now called UK FIS) adds nothing to a pilots safety? If you are referring to BS, I whole heartedly agree but DS & TS surely aid safety by increasing the pilots SA at the very least?

As for airprox reporting, in recent years there has been an enormous culture change in the reporting of incidents. Whereas before ATCOs could exercise judgement and often a quick phone call after would set all parties straight, now we are mandated to report all manner of incidents to ensure they are recorded tracked and trends highlighted.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 20:02
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Well said Moli.

MJ, I'm showing my hand more than I'd like but it is garbage because I've been involved in the analysis to determine whether there's any truth in the matter, alongside reviewing a host of other aspects of operations in Class G related ATS. The reporting statistics didn't change immediately after the introduction of UK FIS in 2009. I can't put my hand to the report right now (because my non-typing hand is holding hobgoblin, not a work laptop as it's Friday night) but there is no correlation with the introduction in 2009.

As Moli says, there has been a huge push in both the civilian and military aviation communities to report on aviation safety matters to improve safety for everyone and we are now in a position where the gliding community are actively reporting airprox and discussing the utility of RT - the key here being that we ATCOs need to realise that asking them to operate "not below x thousand feet" is wasted effort.

Class G in the UK in its current guise can work (despite the fact that my personal opinion is that it is a fudge that should and could be improved upon) but it requires everyone operating within it to have the same level of understanding of their differing roles and responsibilities. Training is the key.

From what I've said, I think MJ that you can tell that I'm not burying my head in the sand and that things need to change but telling yourself that the problems we experience in Class G in the UK aren't replicated elsewhere in Europe is a little naive. It may be exacerbated in part by density/complexity in parts of the country but the problems are not unique. And I'm also interested to know how you have measured safety in Class G airspace and determined that safety has reduced? What statistics have you used, what have you used for your start/end point of analysis, how have you corrected for all of the changes introduced through FLARM, TCAS, STCA, availability of LARS, changes introduced to traffic information phraseology to improve its accuracy, increase in recreational GA traffic levels, GPS based navigation, local operator engagement in joint civil/military user groups, incident reporting etc etc?
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 20:13
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Well for the majority of GA VFR traffic those services are unobtainable for a variety of reasons. All they can get is a Basic and the only time any attention is paid to them is when the control kicks in and they are moved out the way of the big shiny machine.

DC the only time it has ever been given to me is when I have been in the works machine. And note the given I hadn't asked for it nor wanted it as it was CAVOK I had asked for a TS. But the 3 GA lights still got actively moved out the way even though I reported them in sight.

IFR in IMC more often than not only a basic service is available. Its only when you interfere with something else you will be upgrade moved and then dumped again. Unless you are a CAT arrival forget it. Which I why the airprox for DC have reduced in my opinion because no bugger ever gets it apart from a select few.

Regional airports are only interested in the inbound traffic if your anyone else, zero interest, zero service and radio 5 contains more SA.

Lest face it a traffic service is only an attempt at providing a radar service you still on your tod the same as basic.

But as been shown in this thread as soon as something goes wrong the bleating starts about how ATSOCAS ATCO has no responsibility and its up to the pilot to maintain separation and the pilot should do this and do that.

But god help that pilot if they refuse a suggestion under any of the services. Bad airmanship, danger to every air space user accusations will be pointed at the pilot. If the pilot is clued up enough to tell them to go poke it and quotes the regs. Then the wining starts about what the rules are and its the only way we can provide a safe expeditious service to CAT aircraft etc etc.

And them some units have the cheek to start quoting there MATZ part 2 as some sort of legal document that applys to pilots and it should be taken as some form of bylaws that apply to the airspace that the unit works.

The whole thing is a joke, and its interpretation between different units means that most pilots don't have a clue what they are going to get, it even depends which shift is on in a unit. What they are meant to do, if they are going to get into an argument when they want to just fly unmolested from A to B.

Radio 5 stops all this nonsense. You know exactly what service your getting. You know exactly what rules you are operating under. There is zero chance of having discussions and arguments. And you flight is an altogether more pleasant experience. And to boot the airpox data indicates you have less chance of having an airprox.

If CAT wants a controlled environment they can pay for it. Trying to turn uncontrolled airspace into pseudo controlled airspace is never going to work because of the basic rules of said airspace. Pilots have a right of veto from using the service and they are using it. Bullying them by using terms like bad airmanship etc isn't washing.

But no doubt it will take a flaming wreck of a 737 or A320 with a microlight sucked into one of the donk's before this shite will get put to bed. The poor sods that were driving the CAT will go to their maker believing they had some form of protection in class G because they were on a Deconfliction service when that have sod all. The microlight won't have a clue as usual. And it will be 3-4 years of people arguing the toss about radar sensitivity's, what some RT manual says, and what good airmanship says the pilot should have be speaking to the approach controller. What ever happens its not going to make more pilots speak to a useless service.

You can bleat as much as you like and use "should" "airmanship" etc. If there is nothing in it for the pilot and getting a service is a huge ballache and you get nothing in return they won't use it as is their right in class G.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 21:26
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Mad Jock......and here was me thinking you enjoyed talking to me even if I only gave you a BS.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 22:13
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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I do mate, and you are a cracking man to have on box one for if we have to stick her down somewhere and for getting WX passing ETA's etc. You provided a service which is appreciated.

But realistically I have no expectations that you can keep me away from harm with separation from other traffic, and neither will you try and move me in G.

ATSOCAS providers from regional airports give me absolutely nothing but grief and bollocks. They are only talking to me for their benefit. If I don't get in the way of their CAT inbounds or outbounds I get absolutely nothing in the way of a functional safety service apart from being able to shout mayday and that can just as well be done on 121.5.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 22:33
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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I think that MJ may have hit the nail on the head. The original concept of ATSOCAS was to ensure consistent service provision between all ATS providers. Part of the problem is that this doesn't appear to be happening. I know that ATS provision is common across some of the Class G ATS providers, but this doesn't appear to be a level playing field. That's wrong.

MJ also hints towards the funding model for UK ATS in Class G airspace. Aside from the protection of their own aerodrome's IFR traffic, what real imperative is there for civilian ATS providers to provide the UK FIS to transiting traffic, irrespective of the flight conditions of that traffic? Sadly none, which means that the user stops trying to use it, as MJ highlights.

MJ, I only hope that if the CAA runs a consultation on this issue within the next few years, you choose to comment on it to ensure that these thoughts and experiences are captured.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 23:08
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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whowhenwhy

Thanks for that considered reply.

Its actually a bit of fresh air not being treated as a "clueless" pilot that just doesn't understand the intricacy's of modern day ATS.

The service is a consistent shite one in my experience apart to be honest from the old hand grumpy sounding auld fart ATCO's that provide something usefull, but I suspect they are operating outside unit policy.

There is a real danger because CAT pilots who normally don't operate in that environment don't have a clue how much risk exposure they are accepting with the services. Encorebaby is not unique.

I now work mainly outside the UK, but my operator now has banned all but two of us from going to pick up/drop off aircraft in the UK in class G. Everytime they send a none UK pilot to an airport outside controlled airspace there has been an incident and some form of MOR to be resolved.

Is this really the way UK ATC should be that operators have to ban none UK pilots from operating there for safety reasons?

To be honest the old hand ILS to ILS CAS UK pilots are just as much ignorant as the foreigners unless they fly lights in their spare time.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 23:43
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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But the fundamental concept of the method of service is what is completely throwing the whole system out.

You have to have something which starts out on the definition of the difference between IFR and VFR and the concept of see and avoid separation.

Any thing which doesn't base its foundations on these basic concepts which are know and understood by every pilot world wide is doomed to failure and a reduction in air safety.

The whole thing needs started again on a fresh bit of paper. The mil types should be banned from anything to do with it. And for gods sake get some international input into the mix. If it confuses the hell out of other countries ATCO's it sure as hell will confuse the hell out of the pilots.
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Old 15th Nov 2014, 00:18
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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The basic situation in Class G , without blaming professional pilots , private pilots , military pilots , procedural ATCOS or Radar ATCOS, is that Class G & the attempt to provide any sort of competent ATC service within it, IS dangerous.
This is so because in this day & age "see & be seen" is an anachronism. It was fine in the 30s & 50s; even in the 60s & 70s, when there were fewer high performance a/c about & pilots had a reasonable chance of seeing other a/c. Nowadays, this simply is not the case. Giving traffic information cannot guarantee avoidance of collisions. It was given by Coventry ATC to both a/c involved in a fatal collision . It did not work !
There is often too much traffic about for the ATCO to accurately assess just what he has to do & do it ; even if he gets his assessment & actions broadly correct he cannot know what unknown traffic is doing, or going to do; & very often he cannot identify which aircraft is which on radar to do anything effective in the first place.
In short, he has NO CONTROL over the situation he finds himself in. And CONTROL is precisely what he needs to be able to do anything effective.
So, if he has no control over a situation , how can he do anything positive about it ?
Take Coventry. Almost totally in Class G , with the exception of a small portion of Birmingham's Class D to the North & West & over the airfield. Aircraft bound to & from NW & SE in the DTY area between East Midlands & Birmingham CAS & below LACC's CAS ( & there is an awful lot of it at times); some of which call for a RDR service & others which don't. Some of the a/c in the vicinity call on frequency others don't. Some have SSR others don't. Some comply with ATC requests others don't. The radio freq., nevertheless, swamped with a/c & ATC transmissions.
Please tell me how the ATCO is going to be able to deliver a 100% effective & safe service in that situation.
In short, he can't.
I've seen it at first hand & tried to deliver what is considered to be a safe service. I was largely unable to do so. I don't mind admitting it.
I grew up & worked for 37 years in Class A. To my mind, that is the ONLY type of ATC (emphasis on "CONTROL" & safety) service that should be provided. Because, if you want 100 % safe ATCS that IS the ONLY airspace within which it can be guaranteed (if the ATCO doesn't make a mistake).
One in which the ATCO knows which a/c is which, the pilot has to be in r/t contact & has to do what ATC tell him, ATC knows what the pilot is doing & that he will comply with instructions etc.
I am a PPL, also. I never felt over controlled in Class A & when I questioned other local PPLS in Jersey, they never felt over controlled either. They said that Class A made them feel safe. &, based on my experience at Coventry, so they should have done !
I have vectored 737s for the ILS on 25 at BE skilfully, & with luck, at times, avoiding unknown a/c outside CAS by the required margins only to have to issue emergency avoiding action to them when they were in descent on the ILS within 7nm of touchdown because a microlight (or what might have been a microlight) suddenly popped up in the vicinity of Wolvey ( about half a mile to a mile west of the 25 ILS path) without calling me. & the CRIMINAL aspect of this is that THEY WEREN'T REQUIRED TO CALL ME !, or to do anything which I might have asked them to do !
On occasion, having given the 737 avoiding action (sometimes against spurious traffic which was, in reality, not there !), I was faced with the situation of having nowhere to go with the 737 where I could apply the appropriate separation from other unknown traffic, which had previously not been in confliction with it (before it turned off the ILS).
How can anyone expect ATC to provide a safe service in that situation ? How can the ATCO do it ?
Any attempt to provide "separation" in Class G is threatened by all these types of scenarios. It CANNOT be done with anything like a guarantee of success being given, or with a 100% success rate being achieved !
Get real & embrace this FACT.
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Old 15th Nov 2014, 00:45
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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But to get anything else means the airspace isn't class G.

Maybe a better solution should be a risk assessment of the suitability for 50 plus pax aircraft to be operating into these Class G airports at all.

Lest face it the only reason they are is to reduce costs. So they are willing to take an increased risk for a lower landing and handling fee.

If ATS can't give a safe service stop pretending you can, trying to fudge the basic premise of class G airspace is never going to work.

And to add I also believe that CAT pilots should have further training and also a rating similar to the LVO rating to be able to operate into them commercially. Although this wouldn't initially help as the UK services are so far away from any known international standard most European pilots still won't have a clue what's going on. But at least they would know that they have no real protection.

Last edited by mad_jock; 15th Nov 2014 at 01:06.
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Old 15th Nov 2014, 07:03
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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MJ

You operate within Class G as both a GA aviator, I assume usually under VFR, and also as a CAT pilot under IFR with fare paying pax.

Blank(ish) piece of paper, What would you advocate that can realistically be achieved to afford you the safety you require for your CAT IFR ops whilst facilitating aviation in class G that wants to operate with freedom to manoeuvre in what is uncontrolled airspace?

This is genuine question as I feel the present services in Class G are just about okay but I am always open to learn how they can realistically be improved.

What I do feel very strongly is, that there is insufficient capacity/coverage in the UK to accommodate the majority of Class G airspace customers and that some ATCOs don't apply the services as they should to offer the best service available. The original post demonstrates part of my point; if the post is accurate the pilot had TS imposed on him (SSR or not, he should have been asked what TOS) and then once he came into conflict with ac at the same level, (its not clear if the radar vector given introduced that conflict or not) the ATCOs responsibilities under duty of care mean he should have offered some sort of alternative plan to mitigate the risk of collision (that doesn't mean applying standard separation just making sure they don't meet). However, for his part the pilot admits to flying in thick IMC and he should have requested DS as TS relies on see and avoid which you obviously cannot do in IMC.
Another aspect that I feel is perhaps not being applied as best it could, far too many ATCOs when asked for a TS say too busy have a BS. When ATCOs are busy and asked for a TS/DS very few take the option of giving the service that has actually requested and limiting the service due to workload and or traffic density..... as a result of that more and more light GA is saying thanks but no thanks to BS as they perceive it gives them nothing and going on route which helps no-one. When I say it helps no one I completely get why it happens as I do it myself with some ATSUs.

I guess I am saying that I believe the services as laid down on a piece of paper are fit, however a lack of ATSUs to provide that service (the biggest problem IMHO) and a lack of application on both sides lead to a lot of pilots unhappy with the present setup.

Moli
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Old 15th Nov 2014, 09:08
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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mad jock

I completely agree with you. High performance commercial,private or military, a/c have no business being in Class G airspace.
ATC must accept & admit that it cannot perform the service to which it is committed, & withdraw it; & NATS / CAA must withdraw the fiction which is perpetrated about the ATSOCAS requirement to perform a radar service which can never be totally safe or effective, or properly provided.
The choice is to withdraw Class G & have CAS everywhere; or, to leave it as Class G for the use of certain classes of air traffic only. Anything else is a fudge & is not sustainable.
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