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Landing at closed aerodromes

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Landing at closed aerodromes

Old 31st Dec 2014, 12:14
  #21 (permalink)  
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Subject to insurance you do not need a licensed aerodrome for training anymore as has already been stated.

However re fire cover organisations and instructors have a duty of care. If, God forbid, there was serious injury or fatality and it was proved that no fire cover was the reason you might be subject to litigation.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 12:57
  #22 (permalink)  
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So, summary of what ended up happening.

Seems that Connington was indeed closed, and that means you can't land there (except in emergency etc). Sywell (actually, Northampton Sywell, nice long asphalt runway) was open, but operating as unlicensed. This would have been fine to land at, but the CFI said there would be much less training benefit from it, so cancelled today's lesson.

Apparently, blind calls on the published frequency, treating it as an uncontrolled field is the way to go.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 13:37
  #23 (permalink)  
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Difficult to see what the difference in training benefit would be!

If anything, it would be useful learning how to self-announce and deal with having no air-ground radio service.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 14:17
  #24 (permalink)  
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Difficult to see what the difference in training benefit would be!
This is the attitude that lead to the CAA requirement for all Flight Training to be conducted from licensed aerodromes, which offer a level of safety for flights involving unlicensed pilots. The Licensing requirement for training has been removed but replaced with personal responsibility for the instructor authorising such a flight to ensure that the airfield remains suitable for an unqualified pilot. If its closed, there is no guarantee of any safety services and it is not suitable.

I went to a number of farm strips during my PPL training, and they most certainly didn't have a fire service!
If the CAA had realised that you probably would not have obtained a licence. If you logged it and claimed the hours, that is a false declaration which is an offence.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 14:55
  #25 (permalink)  
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On your first point, I could not disagree more. Are you seriously saying that a student should not visit any unlicensed airfields during training? That is just ridiculous. It would benefit all students to visit a variety of airfields during their training. We're not talking about a solo land away here.

Your second point is difficult to accept. I'd be really interested to see you come up with a citation for that.

Last edited by stevelup; 31st Dec 2014 at 15:34.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 15:26
  #26 (permalink)  
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Depends which country he did his license in Whopity.

I certainly landed at many fields with no on site fire cover during PPL some solo.

In fact at night I landed at a field when I was the only person on site.

There will be thousands of US trained pilots who have done exactly the same.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 16:10
  #27 (permalink)  

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There are some countries where you are only permitted to land or take of from an "approved" airfield, and with the owner's or operator's permission (or combinations of the above). I understand that France is one, and therefore that there are very few "farm strips" in France.

In the UK, I can use my back garden as a runway and land and take off from there, as long as it's safe (captain's responsibility to confirm that). I'm sure the expert CFIs will know precise details, but my understanding is that for a student pilot, it's up to the instructor to decide if it's safe or not.
Permission from the landowner or his "agent" is still needed, or it's "trespass".
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 17:11
  #28 (permalink)  
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It was in the UK, we had permission, and my instructor was very familiar with the sites.

I thought they were valuable trips from a learning point of view and I enjoyed them. It's very difficult to see how anyone could object to this...
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 19:08
  #29 (permalink)  
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Doesn't the CLOSED bit just refer to whether the main gate is open or locked shut
Negative. If the A/D operator has decided no operations are allowed - and that is up to the operator to decide, argue whatever and however much you will - then no operations are allowed, full stop.

As so often, Step Turn has neatly summed it all up.
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 21:35
  #30 (permalink)  
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Doesn't the CLOSED bit just refer to whether the main gate is open or locked shut, and that the office building is closed?

The runway should remain serviceable
English humour right?

The aerodrome operator is morally if not also legally responsible for preventing the use of the runway if it is not "serviceable". Any number of reasons could be the cause, but closing property you own, is the privilege of ownership, and must be respected by everyone else.

As the pilot, you are at least honour bound to assume that the entire aerodrome is closed, when "closed" is associated with it, unless the closure is more specific to be only the club house, parking lot or the loo.

I own my runway, and I sometimes close it (with "X's") when it is too soft. Also typical in Canada is the statement: "Limited winter maintenance". This should be interpreted as "the owner does not mind of you land, but assure that the runway conditions meet your expectation, 'cause there is no assurance. So, if you don't know, treat it as closed.

It's great for students, or any pilot for that matter, to fly from grass, and the more opportunities the better. But, that does not translate to "I'm gonna land, 'cause I see a runway in front of me". Assure you have whatever permission may be appropriate for the aerodrome.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 01:55
  #31 (permalink)  
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In the Uk closed means whatever the airfield owner wants it to mean - it can mean totaly closed, it can mean that if you are a mate of the owner you can get permission or maybe if your dad has just died he might do the same, it may even mean closed to anyone axcept based aircraft - the thing is that you need the land owners permision, if you can get that then it does not matter what the NOTAMS say, chances are that unless there are exceptional circumstances closed means closed - but that does not make it as hard and fast as some have stated
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 04:18
  #32 (permalink)  
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If and when you decide to fly in other countries just be aware that "closed" may mean something else altogether.

I have seen strips close because they are under water, had ditches dug across them, had electric fences across so the sheep or cattle can graze, have motor racing events on them , etc etc etc!

I would be really careful landing on a "closed" strip without contacting the operator/owner.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 08:34
  #33 (permalink)  
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Now I'm starting to become confused.

It seems that the meaning of Closed" wrt airfields in the UK might be also a bit like calling "Ready" at the holding point. On more than one occasion I've heard foreign crews mainly with English accents calling "Fully Ready". WTF? Either you're ready or you're not.

To me an airfield's either closed or it's not. How can it be closed when some people are still using it? Should there be a "Fully Closed" option as well?

I like the way we do it over here.

There's public and private. Prior permission is required to land at a private airfield whereas it's not required at a public field. Both types can be licensed or unlicensed, or for that matter controlled or uncontrolled,

There's licensed or unlicensed. Licensed means the T/O and landing distances and the approach/departure fans etc have been surveyed by appropriately qualified people. Licensed fields are in the AIP whereas unlicensed are generally not in the AIP. ATO ops generally require a licensed field, the main exception being part 135 ops. Licensed does not infer provision of ATC or RFS.

There's controlled and uncontrolled. When a tower goes off watch the airport stays open but becomes uncontrolled. ATO's can be carried out with or without ATC though once traffic levels and or seat capacity thresholds are exceeded ATC must be in attendance.

RFS services are only required for RPT services and in some instances are only available for arrivals and departures.

When an airport is closed, it is closed, no ifs, buts, or maybes. The closure may be permanent, or may be temporary, due to surface conditions, (flooding etc), or seasonal e.g. haymaking, lambing season etc.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 09:43
  #34 (permalink)  
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Rule 40 of the Rules of the Air:

40 An aircraft shall not taxi on the apron or the manoeuvring area of an aerodrome without the permission of either:
(a) the person in charge of the aerodrome; or
(b) the air traffic control unit or aerodrome flight information service unit notified as being on watch at the aerodrome.

The manoeuvring area includes the runway.

If an airfield is closed (or open for that matter) it is an offence to land or take off without the permission of the person in charge (or if open, the person in charge or atc/fiso).

I have defended a couple of pilots recently who were charged with this offence. Fortunately they were found not guilty after trials but not before they had been put to not insignificant time and expense.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 09:54
  #35 (permalink)  

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That's why I always phone first and never assume I can land somewhere. Much easier to get permission than go to court.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 10:38
  #36 (permalink)  
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The ANO specifies Aerodrome requirements for Training
Aerodromes – use for purposes of flying instruction and testing
(1) The operator of an aerodrome which is not a licensed aerodrome must not permit an aircraft flying or intended to fly for a purpose specified in paragraph (3) to take off from or land at the aerodrome unless satisfied on reasonable grounds that the aerodrome has adequate facilities for the safe conduct of such flights.

(2) The commander of an aircraft must not take off from or land at an aerodrome which is not a licensed aerodrome on a flight for a purpose specifi ed in paragraph (3) unless satisfied on reasonable grounds that the aerodrome has adequate facilities for the safe conduct of such flights.

(3) A flight is for a purpose specified in this paragraph if it is for the purpose of—

(a) instruction in flying given to any person for the purpose of becoming qualified for the grant of a pilot’s licence or the inclusion of an aircraft rating, a night rating or a night qualifi cation in a licence
A Closure notice is a fair indication that the operator is not satisfied in accordance with Para (1) Therefore; a Commander, should not take off or land there.

CAP 793 provides guidance on safe practices at unlicenced aerodromes and form an acceptable standard to which authorising instructors should adhere.

Prior to the relaxation of the rules, the ANO specifically stated that flights for the purpose of training for a licence or rating were confined to Licensed Aerodromes. Whilst flights into farm strips had "training value" they could not be logged as part of the experience required for the issue of a licence. The licence application form carries the following Notice:

It is an offence under Article 231 of the Air Navigation Order 2009 to make, with intent to deceive, any false representation for the purpose of procuring the grant, issue, renewal or variation of any certificate, licence, approval,
permission or other document. This offence is punishable on summary conviction by a fine up to £5000, and on conviction on indictment with an unlimited fine or up to two years imprisonment or both.
Anyone who has made a licence application based on the use of aerodromes where training was illegal could be subject to prosecution under the Act!
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 11:10
  #37 (permalink)  
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Perhaps some background may be useful. I fly out of EGSC, which has full ATC. I suspect that the reason to go to Sywell and Connington was that they also feature in the QXC routings, and I don't have much (read: any) experience of AFIS or A/G fields yet.

The club also does farm strip courses, so I don't think there's a reluctance to land at uncontrolled airfields Just got to finish my revision for my Nav, Met and Comms exams now, then solo nav...
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 12:55
  #38 (permalink)  
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At controlled airports it is possible for the ATC to be closed (for the night, usually) and the airport open, as uncontrolled. If so, the pilot's investigation of landing permission will make this evident. However, an ATC airport can also be closed, and there are a few in the Toronto area like that. They close every night for neighbourhood noise - only air ambulance operations.

You simply must inquire, and comply....
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 14:46
  #39 (permalink)  
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We used to have a really daft rule that required light aircraft instruction to use licenced aerodromes, although microlight instruction didn't. After years of absolutely no difference in training fatalities between the two, the rule was finally removed for light aircraft training, and within a year a large number of training airfields had got rid of their licences and saved a lot of money and effort
This has been a two edged sword.
Training organisations have also begun to decamp from licensed airfields (which need to remain licensed for public transport flights) in order to save money by moving to unlicensed fields. This can threaten the viability of existing licensed fields and we are already losing enough airfields without making matters worse.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 15:15
  #40 (permalink)  
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I'm not sure I see it quite the same way Mike.

All airfields are businesses, and to stay successful need to provide a service which the customers want at a price that's acceptable.

All flying schools need to be at an airfield.

If a flying school decides that airfield B meets its needs better than airfield A, then it's absolutely right that it moves.

Airfield A then can either improve service and value for money, or decide it doesn't want that customer. It's simple as that, and it's like this that services and prices improve in a free market.

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