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Flying to a waypoint within a MATZ and ATZ.

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Flying to a waypoint within a MATZ and ATZ.

Old 7th Jul 2018, 20:19
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Question Flying to a waypoint within a MATZ and ATZ.

Hopefully I'm coming to the end of the PPL training and I'm about to do a mock skills test.

As part of the NAV test my instructor has asked me to fly to a destination which is both within a MATZ and Military ATZ. I'm also due to fly the route on Sunday when the facility is usually non-operational.

I know that to overfly a MATZ without permission I must fly 3000ft agl and for the ATZ I must fly 2500ft agl.

Thus, I've decided to go super safe and fly this leg of the route at 3500ft on the regional pressure setting which will keep me well above the MATZ and ATZ. I will be on a LARS service before reaching the MATZ and I'm assuming they will be able to give me the regional setting?

If the MATZ is closed then I could fly lower so long as I don't breach the ATZ at surface - 2500ft?

Also, if the MATZ is closed then I'm also thinking it would be sensible to tune to their frequency and use the 'TRAFFIC' call just incase they have any flying or gliding clubs active?
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Old 8th Jul 2018, 09:30
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That's slightly over cautious - you must indeed stay out of the ATZ unless you have permission to enter it, but you can enter the MATZ without permission, although it is universally recommended not to go blatting through with the radio turned off "just because you can".

The only time this made a practical difference to me was once when Lakenheath's crap radio and heavily accented radio operator combined to deliver complete incomprehensibility - I could tell he was talking to me, but could only pick out about one word in five. So instead of asking permission to do things in his MATZ, because I wouldn't have been able to understand the response, I ended up telling him what I was going to do. As far as I was concerned this worked - no fast grey pointy things hit me. As far as he was concerned I didn't cause enough chaos for him to feel it necessary to phone the flying club.

If you're talking to the LARS they can give you the QNH for the MATZ, no need to bother about regional pressure setting - I don't suppose I'm the only one who never uses it, I just use QNHs of airfields along my route.
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Old 8th Jul 2018, 10:42
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An ATZ, whether around a civil or military airfield, goes up to 2,000ft above aerodrome elevation (not agl); a MATZ around a military airfield is up to 3,000ft above aerodrome elevation (once again not agl).
An ATZ is in effect during the hours notified in the AIP, either in the relevant AD section or in the ENR section which contains a list of ATZs for non - licensed airfields and the frequencies for calling them, however there could still be 'out of hours' activity so I would recommend a call on their tower/AFIS/Air Ground frequency.
A MATZ is only in effect when the airfield it surrounds is open for 'operational' flying so it's recommended (ie not compulsory) you make 3 calls on the notified frequency and if no reply, you can assume it is not active however, as you say there may in some cases be recreational flying in progress and if it involves gliding, watch out for the maximum height of winch launching notified on the chart; steel glider cables are very effective at sawing into wings whether metal or wood/fabric.
As Gertrude says, forget RPS and just use the QNH of the LARS unit you are working. If you do use RPS and are flying just below the base of controlled airspace, there is a risk of infringing; I have watched it happen on radar in the days when the RAF didn't use a TMA QNH and several Hercules routed through Midhurst VOR on the Chatham RPS without talking to anyone and infringed controlled airspace causing Gatwick to have to stop departures.
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Old 8th Jul 2018, 16:36
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Surely it's time to withdraw Regional Pressure Setting completely. It dates from decades ago when many aircraft flew non-radio and obtaining local QNH was difficult or impossible. Its use today merely increases the chances of regulated airspace busts (not to mention mis-setting and the consequences thereof).

The QFE setting is another potential source of airspace busts and mis-setting. For a typical VFR flight in benign weather (slack pressure gradient) with destination within 100 nm or so, one could set local QNH on departure and leave the altimeter setting knob untouched for the whole flight. If a MATZ controller specifies a crossing height based on QFE, acknowledge the clearance as given but fly on QNH plus field elevation, rounded up or down to the nearest 100 ft. Likewise for joining the destination pattern.
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Old 8th Jul 2018, 17:35
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Assume I have no mode C. Mil controller "clears" me through the MATZ @ 2500' QFE. I say thanks a lot, but as above, I decide to stay on the QNH which is 12 hPa higher than the QFE value and don't tell the controller. The airfield that I am flying upwind of has a four jet ready for departure and the approach controller, aware of my presence, has applied a climb-out restriction of 2000' QFE to that aircraft. Because I have been stubborn and "don't like flying on QFE", the separation between me and the four jet is now greatly decreased and that pilot, expecting 500' clearance below me, now has the joy of a close encounter of the airprox kind.
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Old 8th Jul 2018, 19:21
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^^^^^^^

You overlooked the 'plus field elevation'. A 12mb difference equates to a field elevation of 330 ft. So transit at 2800 ft QNH complies with the clearance. The field elevation will be shown on the chart so no maths is necessary apart from adding field elevation to QFE cleared height.
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Old 8th Jul 2018, 20:28
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Originally Posted by Discorde View Post
one could set local QNH on departure and leave the altimeter setting knob untouched for the whole flight
Shush! - I know that's what we actually do, in real life, but there might be students reading, and their instructors and examiners might have different expectations!
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Old 9th Jul 2018, 00:06
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Why make such a simple transit so bloody difficult???? Just set the QFE for the few minutes you need it then back to QNH.
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Old 9th Jul 2018, 05:46
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Originally Posted by UV View Post
Why make such a simple transit so bloody difficult???? Just set the QFE for the few minutes you need it then back to QNH.
Because if you’re distracted during high workload conditions you may forget to reset QNH. Or you may mis-set it.

Most countries do not use QFE.

In the not too distant future altimetry will be GPS based and altimeter setting (and mis-setting) will be a thing of the past.

Last edited by Discorde; 9th Jul 2018 at 07:26. Reason: Rewording
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Old 9th Jul 2018, 14:29
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Originally Posted by Discorde View Post


Because if you’re distracted during high workload conditions you may forget to reset QNH. Or you may mis-set it.

Most countries do not use QFE.

In the not too distant future altimetry will be GPS based and altimeter setting (and mis-setting) will be a thing of the past.
The RAF do not use actual QNH except at Odiham and Northolt where both airflelds are under the LTMA, but having said that, Odiham circuit heights are on QFE.
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Old 10th Jul 2018, 11:46
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And your instructor should have covered most of this by now, if you're having to ask questions like these on here I'd be more concerned about the bloke in the RHS! Ask them during your briefing to clarify all of your points.

SND
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Old 10th Jul 2018, 20:57
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As part of the NAV test my instructor has asked me to fly to a destination which is both within a MATZ and Military ATZ. I'm also due to fly the route on Sunday when the facility is usually non-operational.
Why has the Exminer given you advanced notification of the route? Normally about 2 hours is all you should have to stop you asking questions of others.
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Old 10th Jul 2018, 21:29
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Why has the Exminer given you advanced notification of the route? Normally about 2 hours is all you should have to stop you asking questions of others.
Because this is a mock test and only a lesson, although the instructor has unfortunately made it quite unrealistic by giving the route so far ahead of time, as for the real test ultimately part of the test is being able to plan the flight in a reasonable amount of time (i.e. not taking 7 days to plan a one hour nav leg)
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Old 11th Jul 2018, 08:44
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Its impossible to comment on whether the instructor has provided to this student a realistic and reasonable route because we do not know the MATZ (ATZ) concerned. An ATZ is always in place even if the aerodrome concerned is "operationally" closed. This is a big problem at many military airfields where local service clubs etc operate but do so unpublished and conflicts too frequently arise. Local knowledge may give some certainty that no activities take place on particular days but this is not the point. The student must always be encouraged to act with certainty. All ATZ activities are not always published and may not be checked from NOTAMS.

The purpose of a "mock test" must be to assist the student to prepare for their skill test. An examiner will be acting unreasonably should they expect a candidate to route to a point within an ATZ where safety on the day could be in doubt, and with a limited 2 hour period to research. The RAF have long complained that too many pilots assume that military ATZs are closed for all operations even when they are not. Safety must be the first concern and any potential conflicts are best avoided. I would never give a specific enroute turning point to a candidate when safety could not be assured.

Last edited by Fl1ingfrog; 11th Jul 2018 at 09:03. Reason: spelling error
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Old 15th Jul 2018, 15:43
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I thought a military ATZ was active H24 regardless of whether ATC was open?
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Old 16th Jul 2018, 09:00
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Originally Posted by tmmorris View Post
I thought a military ATZ was active H24 regardless of whether ATC was open?

No If you're talking about an ATZ as per the ANO, there's a list at ENR 2.2-1 giving hours of operation of the ATZ for all military airfields apart from Henlow and some other places (eg South Cerney) which apparently don't have one at all.
These are the published hours for the ATZ, not necessarily the same the operational hours of the airfield. If the AIP can't get it right, who can?

Last edited by chevvron; 16th Jul 2018 at 17:30.
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Old 16th Jul 2018, 10:39
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Do not confuse the published operational hours of an aerodrome with the validity periods of the associated ATZ. They are not the same. An ATZ is to be considered in effect whether military or civil and whether the aerodrome is operating within its published hours or it is not. You will not find any legislation or rules defining this.

There are many things established in the good old days requiring only common sense (sometimes called custom and practice). We have a new breed about us that appear to require Sir to make defined rules to abide by. There are no laws/rules that prevent an aerodrome operator, again whether military or civil, from operating in a limited way outside its published hours. If you cannot assure yourself beyond doubt that there is no activity taking place within an ATZ then stay out and avoid.
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