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Biggin Hill EGKB Approach

Hi,

I have been in EGKB recently. I was there a few times before with my Arrow (always IFR) and therefore flew the ILS 21, sometimes with a circle to land Rwy 03. But now this was the first time with a turbo prop (Silver Eagle) and 3 PAX. I have to say I find the approach quite dangerous with a fast a/c.

They vectored me west of Alkin and then in a 90 degree towards the final course (heading 300 if I remember correctly) and a descent to 1800 ft which is the GP intercept at DME 4.0. So far so good but this is quite close to the rwy and quite low as well.

They then told me that I was entering uncontrolled airspace which led me to think what that means for me. This while kicking the gears out and setting the flaps and throttling from 120 to 100 KIAS. I then got the intercept heading of 240. All with A/P in HDG/APPR mode, that is, it captures the localizer with this heading. And all in 1800 ft which is quite low… Anyway while thinking I was overshooting the localizer and was waiting that it will recapture the localizer but that wasn’t the case because of the big angle to the localizer course since I got the intercept heading quite late. The A/P then started slowly to turn left to recapture. Meanwhile the controller texted me full that I was too low and whether I see the runway. It was VMC so I saw the terrain but not the runway. But the next problem was that I was getting too slow (70 KIAS) so I kicked the throttle in. Then finally I saw the runway, told it to the controller who recleared me for 21 (actually should do a circle to land on 03), and landed. Pffffff

What happened was that I was totally behind my a/c because the events were coming in a speed I wasn’t able to handle. On the leg towards the localizer the controller spent time to tell me that I’m in uncontrolled airspace and I spent time to think about the implications which then led to a late 240 heading and my overshoot which the a/p wasn’t able to correct that close to the rwy which still was not in sight. But the biggest mistake was that I did not spent a single thought on a go around because I was in VMC and felt save.

Next time in EGKB I will be more careful. I will request the procedure and will prepare for a go around as the first option and the land as the second. I find this approach to rwy 21 quite dangerous with 90 degree turns so close to the runway and in 1800 ft. Here in Germany we usually have a 10 nm / 3000 ft IF.

Here is the approach plate. I can’t see where the uncontrolled and controlled airspace are in the plate. Does it mean I have to use the enroute charts?

![](https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BX-ITWCIgAALfFT.png:medium)

EDXQ

Put this down to experience, learn from it and forget it.

I would always ignore any ATC information such as whether I am outside controlled airspace, it doesnt affect the flight. However it sounds like it distracted you at the vital time because an intercept from 240 should not be an issue. This procedure is used by jets at much higher speed.

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

And we have all been guilty of trying to save an approach, but if you are off localiser, below glideslope and clearly behind as evidenced by getting very slow – go around. Flying the plane has to come first.

UK has busy airspace, some airports in tricky locations vis-a-vis control zones and some quirky procedures but then so does Germany – EDFE for example.

EGTK Oxford

Hi Muelli,

I’m based at biggin and fly this procedure a couple of times a month. It is true that the intercept leg can be very short under vectors – but it’s not much better on the full procedure. The problem is that most of the time the airspace to the north is busy with London city arrivals and departures, so there’s no space for a longer intercept leg.

Leaving controlled airspace while IFR in the UK is a non-event – even in this relatively busy choke point – radar controllers WILL look after you.

As Neil says, this is probably one to learn from and move on. The procedure is routinely flown by 737s without major issues.

A different q: there were rumours of a GPS approach to runway 03 – does anyone know if this will happen?

EGEO

The more basic thing here is that when flying

  • to/from an airport in Class G, or
  • to/from an airport which is unmanned

one’s enroute IFR clearance is either effectively terminated or not yet collected so one needs to be familiar with the controlled airspace structure.

That means, in theory, carrying and studying the VFR charts for the area.

Flying to Biggin is like flying anywhere else and if everything goes straight you don’t need to know you are OCAS but if say you break off from the approach, go around, whatever, you need to know that the base of Class A is 2500ft and you can’t climb back up into that (and Biggin can’t clear you; only Thames Radar can; they are the radar controllers for Biggin) even if you have just descended down through it. There is also the various other airspace there e.g. Gatwick.

You get the same in e.g. France, departing St Yan LFLN on a weekend. Nobody in the tower. Eurocontrol filed IFR flight, sure, but you need the VFR maps etc until you manage to get the IFR clearance from some controller.

Same if departing from Biggin. Jepps publish SIDs but they are in Class G and you still need to be aware you don’t have any clearance to climb up into Class A whose base is 2500ft. This is a wider issue in the UK anyway. I have been in situations where I was flying for 30 mins, post-departure, before I could get the IFR clearance. Sometimes, if going south, I was in French airspace before I got it, and then I just got told to call up the French

In all these situations, leaving CAS effectively terminates your IFR clearance and you are on your own.

The only way to solve this is to put all airports with instrument approaches into CAS which is active at least during the airport opening hours It’s a money issue – CAS = ATC = money (LOTS of money, for radar ATC desks).

I last flew the Biggin ILS a few weeks ago (OVC003, too) and from memory go vectored onto the LOC about 7nm out, which is OK.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

> Same if departing from Biggin. Jepps publish SIDs but they are in Class G and you still need to be aware you don’t have any clearance to climb up into Class A whose base is 2500ft. This is a wider issue in the UK anyway. I have been in situations where I was flying for 30 mins, post-departure, before I could get the IFR clearance. Sometimes, if going south, I was in French airspace before I got it, and then I just got told to call up the French.

I never get that out of Oxford, they always arrange the clearance on the ground and hand me over. Why doesn’t Biggin?

EGTK Oxford

I never get that out of Oxford, they always arrange the clearance on the ground and hand me over. Why doesn’t Biggin?

It does – as does Shoreham (nowadays) and supposedly every other Class G ATC airport, and actually AFIS airports are also supposed to do it.

But the clearance to enter CAS doesn’t actually exist until you are cleared by London Control, Thames Radar (in Biggin’s case) or some other radar controller.

Biggin’s clearance will be a squawk, dep track, climb 2400ft or so (or “remain OCAS”), and the radar controller’s frequency.

AFAIK nobody in the UK can issue a procedural clearance which alone entitles you to climb into CAS.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Biggin’s clearance will be a squawk, dep track, climb 2400ft or so (or “remain OCAS”), and the radar controller’s frequency.

AFAIK nobody in the UK can issue a procedural clearance which alone entitles you to climb into CAS.

Strictly speaking, this is true – but many controllers will pass on clearances from other units. For example, Biggin will normally clear aircraft to 3000ft before handing them off to Thames Radar. On the go around (which I’ve only flown once at Biggin) I was also offered a climb into controlled airspace.

In my view, the only time you need to know what is controlled or uncontrolled is if you lose radio contact. Even then, no’one is going to criticise you for following the procedure – even if it does take you back into controlled airspace.

EGEO

Sometimes Oxford has Radar in which case they will often climb me into CAS, but I have had Oxford tower pass on a clearance from London Control ie LC clears XYZ to enter controlled airspace on track KENET level at FL80. Now I will almost always be handed over before I actually enter CAS but still I have been given the clearance by a non-radar controller.

EGTK Oxford

I fly in and out of Biggin occasionally and the vectors vary from making it easy and establish well out to being taken through the localiser twice first and kept high followed by a “turn left/right heading xxx to intercept you have x miles to touchdown is this sufficient?” which results in sometimes awkward approaches. I must say that the controllers are good, its just a complex traffic environment.

Being out of controlled airspace, as said above, doesn’t really affect you.

With regard to the SIDs, I might be slightly misunderstanding things but I can say that Biggin approach can and DOES clear you into the LTMA (often when passing overhead BIG, “climb altitude 3000”). Also ignoring Biggin for the moment, but while departed airfields that are outside CAS, I have been given many times before, “London/Scottish clears you to enter CAS FL90 on track XXXXX” etc.

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