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US and RAF pilots 'had mid-air row' over Norfolk

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US and RAF pilots 'had mid-air row' over Norfolk

Old 13th May 2014, 22:01
  #21 (permalink)  
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Cows getting bigger,

If you choose to go A-B outside the protection of an airway through an overland training area, that is class G, why don't you move away from the mil traffic as well rather than expect to plough straight through?

In class G there should be a bit of give and take but too often I've had to stop an exercise due to Civvy traffic refusing to help with deconfliction even when we've tried to move away. What is needed are segregated areas overland for military training but you can imagine the howls of protest from the GA world if that were to happen. So we have an imperfect system that tries to serve both. More understanding of what we are both after would help.

The Hawks aren't "playing" btw but are instead carrying out training exercises that ultimately serve in the protection of this country.
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Old 13th May 2014, 22:58
  #22 (permalink)  
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Mmmm.... airborne argument with the Flight Checkers on their way in to Brize.
Them outside their NOTAM sorting themselves out for their check of the PAR/ILS or whatever.
Us telling them to Foxtrot Oscar as they we heading into a NOTAMed live DZ with troops in the air.
I still can't believe how long it took and how difficult was to get it into their heads that we didn't care if they were 'checking' we would 'discuss on the ground' but in the meanwhile there are live bodies below who don't want to be introduced to their props NOW FOXTROT OSCAR!
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Old 13th May 2014, 23:31
  #23 (permalink)  
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No worries. The controller probably thought you were a RN aircraft and could make it.
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Old 13th May 2014, 23:52
  #24 (permalink)  
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Sounds like a NOTAM doesn't provide the protection I/we/you/they want/require.

Praps these activities should be conducted within an RA(T)?
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Old 14th May 2014, 00:56
  #25 (permalink)  
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In the big scheme of things which has the priority, Tornados practicing whatever they practice at jump height or qualifying/recurrent training of Army parachutists?

Given the number of dropping sorties that have to be postponed either due weather or lack of available aircraft then, on a good day, when dropping is possible, I would have thought the parachuting aircraft had a priority in the training area up there very close to Purple Airspace and maybe that is what needs to be addressed?
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Old 14th May 2014, 04:17
  #26 (permalink)  
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To be fair, however, when half the remaining GR4 fleet is being used for this sortie, you don't want to waste time/gas.
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Old 14th May 2014, 05:04
  #27 (permalink)  
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Big ego's in fast jets, Naaah that never happens.
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Old 14th May 2014, 05:25
  #28 (permalink)  
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Having been posted to Mildenhall twice (6.5 years combined), and having mixed up the airspace on an MC-130H overhead Sculthorpe, and having spent countless hours turning JP8 into the sound of freedom over East Anglia through the years, I feel well qualified to speak to this topic.

I will assume these were HALO airdrops from FL100-140 (which was typical). Low-altitude para shouldn't be an issue with GR4 around Sculthorpe unless they flew right over the DZ below 1000AGL...

Originally Posted by Dominator2
So, the USAF continue to fail to understand how to operate in UK airspace. If their aircrew require protected airspace then the Mildenhall Wing Staff should show them how to book it.
On the contrary; I can assure you that Mildenhall staff and crews understand fully how to properly book UKLFS airspace and issue NOTAMs properly.

I can also assure you that Sculthorpe operations are the virtual default for para and TLZ operations being the only nearby DZ suitable for para.

So to call them proficient in E. Anglia air operations in general and Scuthorpe operations specifically, would be a bit of an understatement as they do both nearly every night.

Originally Posted by orgASMic
I am slightly confused as to why the Herc was working two ATC freqs (London Mil and Marham App). He was presumably talking to his DZ party on abother box as well. The GR4s were on Marham Dir. The two Marham controllers did pass traffic information to each other but IMHO this might have been solved by all talking to the same controller.
Confused by what? Their desire to have the most radio situational awareness? Or their desire to keep all possibly affected parties informed?

An MC-130H (the BBC picture is an MC-130J) would have been operating on all four of their boxes. 2 x VHF, 1 x UHF, and 1 x SATCOM. Typical operation over Sculthorpe would be as follows:
Electronic Warfare Officer: UHF with DZ party
Non-Flying Pilot: VHF with Marham
Non-Flying Pilot: VHF with London Mil (or for low altitude, Norwich Appch when east of Sculthorpe and Marham approaching Sculthorpe as the run-in to Sculthorpe begins out off the coast from east to west)
Electronic Warfare Officer: SATCOM with Mildenhall C2
Not certain how an MC-130J would've had their boxes set up, but it's safe to assume at least DZ (required per USAF regulations), London Mil, and Marham Appch were all at least being monitored.

Consequently, the MC-130 was monitoring all available frequencies and being CONTROLLED by London Mil, obtaining DZ clearance & winds from DZ party and additional traffic from Marham Appch. To do otherwise would be unsafe when you're dropping 200lb retarded meat bombs. The contact with Marham was courtesy...and common sense. Marham do not control Sculthorpe airspace, especially at altitudes above FL100.

Originally Posted by parabellum
In the big scheme of things which has the priority
I think the pink bodies hanging under the chutes with extraordinarily limited maneuverability have the priority, right of way and the right to expect more maneuverable flying things to avoid those subject only to gravity.

I'm certain the airspace was NOTAMed - USAF aren't supposed to drop para w/o it for safety reasons - especially HALO/HAHO. My first question is did the GR4 read the NOTAM? Did the GR4 attempt to avoid that airspace? Or did he mistakenly believe it was just another Herc bumbling around near his field?

However, another potentially significant issue is winds. The winds may cause the release point to be outside of the NOTAM area (typically 3NM diameter centered around the DZ). In the case of a west blowing wind, the MC-130 would've offset closer to Marham. Bearing in mind that actuation altitude is typically 3000-3500MSD, drift effect isn't as large as it is with HAHO, but still may require an offset for the release point that places the aircraft outside of the NOTAM "cylinder" of "protected" airspace. I don't know the met for the day, so can't possibly speak specifically to it, only to add that it may be part of the "confusion" between what the GR4 thought they were properly avoiding and what the MC-130 pilot thought they were 'violating'. At the end of the day, it is the attitude that is troubling...

Finally, there's the not insignificant problem of two people divided by a common language. USAF do not use the term para or stores or TLZ and will say "dee-zee" instead of "dee-zed", "jumpers" instead of "paras", and use myriad other slang terms easily understandable to other USAF zipper suited sun gods, but often gobbledygook to folks from elsewhere. Right, wrong, or just different, if nothing else it can cause a delay in comprehension and getting one's message across and the 'righteous indignation' of one listening to "someone with poor R/T" often comes across as shortness, rudeness, or any number of other undesirable manifestations.

Originally Posted by BEagle
Well, I can certainly understand the MC-130 Aircraft Commander being one very pi$$ed-off teddy over this. Quite rightly. He did everything he could to alert the pointy-heads about his live para-dropping exercise, but they carried on regardless.

And what sort of a dic.khead chooses to indulge in a general handling exercise in a properly-NOTAM'd para-dropping exercise area anyway, even if it isn't a TRA?

ATC should have been more on the ball - but the GR4s were just plain stupid by my reading of this event.
Concur with all. It does come across as a bit of "this is 'my' country, I'll do as I please" - not that the USAF or us yanks would ever do anything of the sort! Further, Sculthorpe is NOTAM for airdrop and landings virtually every night, so it's not something out of the ordinary that might be overlooked.
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Old 14th May 2014, 06:32
  #29 (permalink)  
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US Herk, my point is that it should not be necessary to have 2 ATC freqs on the go (the C2 and DZ freqs are clearly necessary for the task at the time). The 2 controllers might give conflicting instructions if they think they are both providing you with a service. Pick one and let the controller do the necessary liaison with other ATC units.

From the report, it says that Marham was providing a Basic Service (BS) to the Herc and passed traffic information on the GR4 on 2 other tracks. That implies that controller considered that there was a definite risk of collision (rules for a BS) but then he stated that the severity of the incident was negligable, which does not add up. The Herc was also receiving a TS from London Mil; why is there no input from that controller in the report?

As for their NOTAM, as published it only told folks what was going on, it did not say 'keep out'. Some sort of airspace reservation would be better. I would say that a permanent avoid at Sculthorpe activated by NOTAM would be the way ahead.

I speak as an ex London Mil East ATCO who gave regular UK ATC/airspace briefs at Mildenhall and Lakenheath, has been on a LZ/DZ party many times and has been meat-bombed and TALO'd into Sculthorpe on a few occasions.
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Old 14th May 2014, 08:55
  #30 (permalink)  
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Not so certain it's
"this is 'my' country, I'll do as I please" -
More, "I'm a fast jet c0ck that clearly has priority over any other platform flying"
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Old 14th May 2014, 09:06
  #31 (permalink)  
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I'm a fast jet c0ck that clearly has priority over any other platform flying
I guess you didn't quite crack Group 1 then?
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Old 14th May 2014, 10:44
  #32 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by orgASMic
it should not be necessary to have 2 ATC freqs on the go (the C2 and DZ freqs are clearly necessary for the task at the time). The 2 controllers might give conflicting instructions
As I read US Herk, the C130 would have been in contact with Lon Mil and Marham; controlled by only Lon Mil.

Originally Posted by US Herk
the MC-130 was monitoring all available frequencies and being CONTROLLED by London Mil, obtaining DZ clearance & winds from DZ party and additional traffic from Marham Appch.
So Marham APP was "courtesy" and a basic RADAR advisory service. I do note that a tiny bit of Sculthorpe's MATZ overlaps a tiny bit of Marham's MATZ Stub, though.


Sorry squawking 7700, my current 1/250,000 chart was 20 miles away in the aeroplane. I was looking at my old "what shall I do this week" one.

Last edited by GOLF_BRAVO_ZULU; 14th May 2014 at 23:30. Reason: The PS
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Old 14th May 2014, 12:44
  #33 (permalink)  
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I haven't got this years map to hand but on last years, Sculthorpe was marked disused so no MATZ - I flew over it at 1500ft.

Can anyone pull the NOTAM for when this was supposed to have occurred?

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Old 14th May 2014, 14:31
  #34 (permalink)  
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Mike, just curious: any more of those prints available? That's a nice pic.
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Old 14th May 2014, 14:53
  #35 (permalink)  
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From the airprox report , see post 12.

(H5810/13 NOTAMN
Q)EGTT/QWPLW/IV/M /W /000/133/5253N00051E008
A) EGTT B) 1311071100 C) 1311071600
E) PJE AND AIR DROPS WI AREA BOUNDED BY 525430N 0010300E - 524636N 0004430E - 525130N 0003918E - 525930N 0005700E - 525430N 0010300E (SCULTHORPE, NORFOLK). 13-11-0413/AS3 F) SFC G) 13300FT AMSL)
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Old 14th May 2014, 15:59
  #36 (permalink)  
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Unless there was a compelling reason for other aircraft to be in that area, that is a very clear NOTAM and by extension, airmanship makes it a very clear avoid.

I would have slapped one of my students for planning to fly there in the first place and punched him for trying to argue on the R/T on the merits of his technical rights - especially with paras jumping out the door!
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Old 14th May 2014, 17:31
  #37 (permalink)  
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Deliverance, you mis-read my post. We both have the right to be in Class G but I would suggest that, regardless of whether the aircraft are military or civilian, the easiest solution is for the manoeuvring traffic to work around the aircraft that is trying to get somewhere. I've seen the intransigence from both sides - I think we are actually think the same thing, its just we speak in different tongues.

PS. 100 Sqn has been a playground for pilots since the mid 90s.

RIP Chuckles.
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Old 14th May 2014, 17:55
  #38 (permalink)  
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Purple Airspace

Parabellum. Purple airspace is a temporary restriction (IIRC 15 minutes before and 30 minutes after published timings- unless it has changed) - are you saying that on the day and in the area in question there was a Royal Flight in the vicinity - in which case perhaps both parties were in the wrong. Or are you suggesting that Purple Airspace is a permanent fixture - which I do not believe to be the case.
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Old 14th May 2014, 18:08
  #39 (permalink)  
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Call me old fashioned but I think good manners was all that was needed to avoid this unedifying spectacle.
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Old 14th May 2014, 19:28
  #40 (permalink)  
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A hole in the cheese in this incident was that the Herc was not squawking 0033, this has been addressed for future exercises.
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