The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that the UK’s Class F airspace is to change. This follows the recommendations of an ICAO audit, changes to European legislation under the Single European Rules of the Air and a subsequent review of national airspace arrangements, which included a consultation with the aviation community.
Class F airspace has been established for many years in the UK Flight Information Regions (FIR) in the form of Advisory Routes (ADRs). These ADRs will be replaced either by Class E ‘airways’, which will be designated as Transponder Mandatory Zones (TMZs), or returned to Class G airspace. However, the dimensions of the new Class E airways will not necessarily mirror the exact dimensions of the ADRs they replace, the CAA pointed out. In addition to some revised base and upper levels, the new airways also include extra airspace in the vicinity of the Aberdeen CTR/CTA.
Although Class E is controlled airspace, in which an air traffic control service is provided to IFR aircraft only, VFR aircraft may also operate within it and do not require a ‘clearance’ or need to be in contact with ATC, they will, however, require a functioning Mode S SSR transponder. VFR aircraft operating without a transponder can access the airspace, but must first establish two-way radio contact with air traffic control before entering. VFR flights that request an air traffic service will be assisted with either a Basic or a Traffic Service, subject to the operational capacity of the air traffic unit. Additional procedures are to be introduced to accommodate gliding activity through airway N560 between the Scottish TMA northern boundary and Inverness.
Details of the changes, which come into force on 13 November 2014, are now available on the AIS website, www.nats-uk.ead-it.com.
As the changes will have the greatest impact upon the Scottish FIR, the CAA has arranged for the next edition of 1:500,000 Aeronautical Chart ‘Scotland’ to be published on 13 November 2014, instead of the original scheduled publication date of 26 June 2015. Other affected VFR charts will be amended according to the chart publishing schedule which can also be found at www.nats-uk.ead-it.com.
The CAA’s decision concerning the replacement of Class F was published on 8 August 2014. The document includes a map showing the main revised airspace arrangements.