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Class E airspace & gliders.

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Class E airspace & gliders.

Old 8th Dec 2016, 08:19
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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US airspace is NOT THE SAME AS EUROPE!

RAT 5 admits to being an ATPL in 738 Boeings and other aircraft. He is very familiar with the heavy traffic flying through 23? (how many! ?) different countries with different rules over the continent of Europe: gliders are involved in this mix, and so far, glider pilots who are trained to LOOKOUT LOOKOUT LOOKOUT (from their first flight) seem to be able to dodge the spamcans.

Silvaire does not go into detail in his profile, but in his post on this thread says that the American system works fine; does not require Mode S for separation.

Well, I have flown extensively (1,800 hours in gliders, 1,300 in power & IR) in the US of A and Britain, and a few excursions over France, Spain but never so far Germany or Poland....

The US of A has no problem with gliders colliding with power of any kind because there ARE VERY FEW GLIDERS FLYING IN THE United States! and most of these pilots are even older than me! ...so self preservation is ingrained. Not only are there very few gliders actively flown in the US...their training glider - the Schweizer - is a tin pig, mainly valued because you can tie it down outside and it will survive. I don't know what sort of training glider they use these days, perhaps someone from California can tell me...whatever, I bet it is NOT made in the US.

Anyway, relative to the cost of Avgas in the UK, its cheap cheap in the US, so when I went over there to visit family, the economy and the huge distances involved and the many many airports that charge no landing fees, inspired me to fly power over there - and gliders in the UK and Europe.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 09:10
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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As an airline pilot who is also a light aircraft pilot and has flown gliders in the past I would hope I am qualified to comment.
Whilst I will keep a decent lookout in VMC many will not, nowadays some of them have done virtually no flying outside CAS, add into this that you are flying an aircraft that is probably travelling at over 200kts and does not have the best visibility in the world it can be quite hard to see other traffic, then add in that manouvering to stay clear of cloud is not so easy as you have an aircraft full of passengers who get concerned if the aircraft is doing a lot of manouvering and it all gets a lot harder than some think.
It may be everyones responsibility, but if the glider (and light aircraft) pilots do not want additional airspace restrictions then they need to do all they can to ensure they do not come into conflict including the use of r/t and anti collision aids.
For anyone that cannot find an appropriate frequency to call on,in the UK give London/Scottish etc Info a call, I am sure they will dig it out for you.

Last edited by foxmoth; 8th Dec 2016 at 09:14. Reason: Sp
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 09:45
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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I would worry about the risk to GA pilots increasing by allowing Commercial pilots to fly in their airspace. According to a recent study (LSE, the EC, EUROCONTROL AND Future Sky Safety), 58% of European Commercial pilots have flown whilst fatigued.

Think I would rather keep the well rested, slow moving aircraft separated from the bleary eyed fast moving types until the Commission and EASA sort out the FTL rules.

Last edited by darkbarly; 8th Dec 2016 at 09:46. Reason: Typo
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 09:59
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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First of all my apologies for wrongly accusing the management of UK airspace .

I quite concur with @foxmoth: it is up to everybody to do all they can to ensure safety; and while we may trust the commercial operators to put in a big effort, not the same can be said for all recreational pilots/owners/operators.

I am afraid that, with all respect, I cannot agree with the pro-Flarm point of view:
* Flarm gives a false sense of security: seeing a lot of traffic easily tricks one into believing one sees all traffic. That will never be the case;
* Flarm is not certified and if it were, it would become as expensive as a "real" transponder;

I do however much like the phrase "I use my eyes, aided by the Flarm" And also I agree that the risk for mid-airs is much higher with small aircraft, powered or not.

What would help is the creation of a "mini"-transponder with much less electrical consumption, by reducing either the transmitter power or the frequency of transmissions. Even better, creating a "low power" mode in standard mode-S transponders, but that might be difficult technically.

Worst of all, there seem to be a type or school of pilots who, even if their plane carries a transponder, do not switch it on - and the same type never calls FIS, when flying OCAS. The one near-miss I lived was with such a guy - I checked his plane later, disguised as a spotter, it had a full Garmin suite. The first thing we should try is to get rid of that mindset among our community.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 10:42
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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The original discussion is about class E airspace where airlines (usually LoCos) who have moved into secondary airports are mixing with light aircraft with no transponders and often no radio. Confusion reigns and it is ony a matter of time before the airmiss reports become a nasty collision. Gliders are part of the problem and have been reported circling in thermals on the approach path quite legally.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 10:49
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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I am not a glider pilot but I have flown passenger jets into many airports across Europe and, in particular, into Germany, including Frankfurt-Hahn, Memmingen and many others.

There is no doubt that, but for the size of the 737 and its use of bright landing lights which made it visible to the glider pilot, this incident was a hair's breadth from becoming a disaster similar on the scale of the Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) Flight 182 crash in 1978.

Reading through the opinions of glider pilots who are understandably keen to maintain their freedom of the skies and considering the corresponding lack of political will to effect a change in airspace legislation, I regret that it is inevitable that lives will be lost.

RAT5 is absolutely spot on in his/her analysis of the root of the problem - being the huge growth of commercial jet transport into airspace and airports which used to be the preserve of General Aviation.

It's no good people harping on about historic rights and freedoms or telling busy jet pilots to rely solely on their eyeballs to spot a hard-to-see light aircraft while on the final phase of a commercial flight, when lives are quite clearly at risk.

Last edited by Mikehotel152; 8th Dec 2016 at 11:12.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 10:54
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by The Ancient Geek View Post
The original discussion is about class E airspace where airlines (usually LoCos) who have moved into secondary airports are mixing with light aircraft with no transponders and often no radio. Confusion reigns and it is ony a matter of time before the airmiss reports become a nasty collision. Gliders are part of the problem and have been reported circling in thermals on the approach path quite legally.
In the US though, aren't ALL General Aviation aircraft required to have Mode C transponders as all the airspace is controlled, thereby mitigating the collision threat somewhat. Might be a cost issue in EASA states.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 12:58
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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In the US though, aren't ALL General Aviation aircraft required to have Mode C transponders as all the airspace is controlled, thereby mitigating the collision threat somewhat. Might be a cost issue in EASA states.
Not correct although there are usually mode "C" veils around the busier airports.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 13:55
  #29 (permalink)  
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Should EASA look again at the European rules designed to maintain separation involving commercial aircraft, light aircraft, and gliders?

Most definitely YES.
The world has moved on, rapidly, since the rules were established. They are no longer fit for purpose. GA traffic needs to be absorbed into the system, not precluded. We all want our fun, and safety. At the moment you have low experience pilots in lowly equipped slow a/c mixing it with highly trained well experienced pilots in well equipped hight speed a/c and relying on the slow moving recreational pilot seeing & getting out of the way of the jet. and ATC, the managers of air traffic who are controlling the jet, have no idea the spam can is there.
We've seen similar occurrences in Superbikes and other motor races on the track: the top boys at the front, racing as a pack, catching up to very un-competative back markers. It can cause mayhem, and many have asked the question "why are they on the track at that level?"
They get out of the way, you hope, because some marshal waves a blue flag to tell them of the incoming cavalry charge.
Now there is are situations in the air whereby the slow moving 'back marker' is not being advised that they are entering shark infested waters because they have not switched on their shark sensor bit of kit, nor asked the life-guard if it's safe to enter and where the sharks are. They swim out blind to the threat and hope they can 'see & and avoid' the snapping teeth. Equally the shark gets miffed when it comes upon the minnow unexpectedly and has to pull a 4G serve to avoid banging its sensitive nose.
Needs a serious review PDQ.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 14:13
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Definitely NOT
From the other thread the problems of fitting a transponder in a glider have been highlighted but there is also a question of reliability.

When I flew heavy jets dispatch with an unserviceable transponder was allowed.
Do we ban them too?

I flew a Stemm motor glider with the owner - had terrible reliability problems with the transponder as did a Longeeze guy who worked in the industry.

I was a member of the club which was involved in the mid air with the airbus - we did a deal with the Dgac at Montpellier to climb into controlled airspace with transponders but we had to fit a second battery, had reliability and duration problems.

The best device for general aviation is the flamm system which was developed by the swiss and sold at cost.

What is needed is pilots looking outside and lazy controllers using primary radar.

In ten years of instructing on class A and gliders the worse pilot wrt to look out was a retired KLM DC 10 instructor. Although he had over 20,000 hours he obviously had never learnt to look out.
Unfortunately he had his own aircraft and besides suggesting that he improved his lookout there was nothing I could do.

The best guys wrt lookout were the ex fighter pilots for obvious reasons.

I would image it's far worse nowadays with the reduction in flight training and the reliance on automatics and simulators.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 14:30
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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I quite concur with @foxmoth: it is up to everybody to do all they can to ensure safety; and while we may trust the commercial operators to put in a big effort, not the same can be said for all recreational pilots/owners/operators.
How does the 'big effort' square with filing a flight plan in Class D and higher Class airspace from gate to gate, but voluntarily changing in flight to 'point to point' in Class E to save fuel?

Agreed universal ABSB fitment would make their life safer. If the airlines would put together a fund from their fuel saving to fit my glider with appropriate equipment, they are entirely welcome. Or why not just use the airspace provided for their exclusive use?
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 14:33
  #32 (permalink)  
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Definitely NOT

I would image it's far worse nowadays with the reduction in flight training and the reliance on automatics and simulators.

I agree with many of your comments, and we are of similar generation. Your first comment might be true if the world was as it was many many years ago. Your last comment is more reality, today, and conflicts a little with the first comment.

Remember, this debate is not about implementing a wholesale change, it's about a review. That review may bring about some tweaks, we won't know until it's over. What is for sure; no review = no changes even if tweaks are necessary in todays world.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 14:37
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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One of the major problems is the challenge of fitting certified avionics to GA aircraft. With a '60's or 70's S.E.P GA aircraft available for the cost of a family sedan the cost of fitting 8.33 khz radios , ADS/B, Flarm, extended mode transponders, EPIRB etc in a reasonably integrated unit into the panel simply outstrips the cost of the aircraft.

EASA refuses to accept the FAA certification of equipment with tens or even hundreds of thousands of units fitted in the US, requires massive expenditure for certification in a tiny market and requires over the top installation processes.

I'd fit a complete stack to my little ship if it wasn't for the fact that it would double the investment I have in her.

I fly, I look out, a LOT!
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 14:49
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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I said this on the related private flying thread:-

If gliders and other light traffic not equipped with transponders are allowed to fly unrestricted across the arrival and approach paths of commercial jets, eventually many people will be killled.

At 200-250 kts the mk1 eyeball will not prevent this from happening.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 15:00
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Should that not read "If commercial jets are allowed to fly instrument approaches, often with their heads down, into airfields with uncontolled GA traffic"

Class E airspace was created for airfields with OCCASIONAL commercial traffic, it was never envisaged that low cost airlines would fly regular traffic into them to avoid the high landing fees etc of established airports.

Last edited by The Ancient Geek; 8th Dec 2016 at 15:12.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 15:07
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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No it shouldn't. I'm being a realist.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 15:07
  #37 (permalink)  
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Let's not get caught up on how difficult/expensive it is to fit bits of kit to what a/c. I understand that gliders have inherent problems. I understand that older a/c may not the freq spacing required. OK. What might come out of this review is that more airfields are taken out of class E airspace and given a higher category. The rules for Class E then do not change; but some Class E is upgraded.
10 years ago the LoCo's might have had 5-10 flights a day into a small airfield with only a VOR/NDB. Now there could be 30-40 per day and an ILS and the airspace is still the same. Is that a sound safe idea?

The man with the red flag disappeared as he was run over by a car faster than walking pace. The old codger couldn't afford the gym & personal trainer fees to learn to run faster and no young buck wanted the job; they wanted to drive the car.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 15:33
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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How does the 'big effort' square with filing a flight plan in Class D and higher Class airspace from gate to gate, but voluntarily changing in flight to 'point to point' in Class E to save fuel?

Agreed universal ABSB fitment would make their life safer. If the airlines would put together a fund from their fuel saving to fit my glider with appropriate equipment, they are entirely welcome. Or why not just use the airspace provided for their exclusive use?
I fear that in the face of the money glider pilots will simply get forced out of the skies. GA in the form of much used SEP's will go next unless owners fork out the 20k or so required for an all encompassing collision avoidance system. Heavy metal will simply insist that their benefit to the economy is the greater need and that'll be it.
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 15:42
  #39 (permalink)  
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No need to change airspace classification . Just implement class D around airports that receive commercial traffic, or link the CTR with the class C airspace above in HX.

I fly gliders, GA aircraft mostly in Europe and was a Controller for 35 years.
The collision in Montpelier plus the Ryanair pressure forced the French DGCA to do just that some years ago.. Cost money of course , putting real controllers instead of AFIS agents in small airports , but risks of collisions are mitigated to the max that way .
In Germany where the problem is most . A recent airprox in Mimmingen ,(plus lots of close calls near Ramstein and Hahn over the years ) shows us that it will end up in a collision one day . But basically , like with the UAVs , we are all waiting for one for things to change . Sad.

Blind pew,: time to move to the 21st century : today's Mode S transponders ave very small light weight (400 grams) , use little power and are very reliable . ( like the TRIG 21 for instance : Trig Avionics | TT21) I use one. You can today couple your batteries to a flexible solar panel, power not an issue anymore )

you said :
What is needed is pilots looking outside and lazy controllers using primary radar.
100% with you with looking outside , but Primary radar (where they sill have it) and the lazy controllers will not help in class E, , as radio contact is not mandatory and the primary return of a modern glider is close to nil.

The problem is the heads of people to change habits, not in airspace classification .

Last edited by ATC Watcher; 9th Dec 2016 at 10:48. Reason: correction
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Old 8th Dec 2016, 17:53
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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The US of A has no problem with gliders colliding with power of any kind because there ARE VERY FEW GLIDERS FLYING IN THE United States!
My limited experience in sailplanes in the US includes flights during which I was looking down at approaching airliners from 17,990 ft (in Class E). That happens all the time at the closest glider field to me. They're still using Schweizers as trainers BTW, but the flights I mention were in a Duo Discus owned by a friend.

Its helpful that US VFR Terminal Area charts show typical airliner tracks and altitudes through Class E, approaching terminal area Class B and departing upward into Class A above 18,000 ft. There's a lot of light aircraft in that Class E airspace, most of them talking to nobody on the radio. Good radar coverage and good approach controllers also help, along with Mode C being almost universal around US terminal areas. Those that don't have Mode C need to be careful, but armed with the right information and attitude among all parties there are very few issues. It's really a matter of organization and standardization as much as technology - which makes one wonder why ADS-B is being implemented... That's another story but I think one (very) long term goal is to replace ATC radar and eliminate transponders. That then provides a route for non-electrical aircraft, given the much lower electrical power demand for ADS-B Out.

Last edited by Silvaire1; 8th Dec 2016 at 18:19.
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