I moved to the UK several years now but still don’t understand everything about airspace regs here.
I really want to explore the west coast of Wales by air this week, and fly into LLanbedr in particular. However, I see from the VFR charts that parts of Wales are covered by “Danger” areas and most of the country is covered by “Military Training Areas”. I also understand that just NE of LLanbedr is the famous Mach Loop where military aircraft fly through certain valleys at very high speed and very low altitude.
Is it always possible to fly into the MTAs? If not, where can I find info on whether they are active or not? What are the rules about flying into MTAs and into UK Danger Areas. Who do I coordinate with once in the air.
Sorry to be dense about all this. I knew how to do this in Switzerland where I was based before, but not here in the UK.
Thank you in advance!
For the low high energy flying, called LFA see here,
Anything else on DA, I tend to cross while opening my eyes if I like it on weekends usually the British Army sleeps on weekends but don’t tell our invaders (obviously I check the phone numbers, the mil frequencies and with London FIS or DAIS or DACS, see on the back of the map or AIP/Notams but sometimes you can’t get on top of it after all efforts, so I just assume it is “cold” and get in, worst case I will get shot without feeling it , just avoid small ones like Shoebryness danger things are concentrated there and I saw some live stuff while on final to Southend, exciting ! but big DA ones in the Channel the risk is small )
I don’t have a lot of experience to call on but as I understand it from my PPL training…
Any area identified on the chart should be described further on the chart legend or in the AIP.
Do you mean AIAA (Area of Intense Aerial Activity) when you say MTA or Military Training Area? This simply denotes an area where a lot of military stuff may be going on. The one covering Llanbdr is called Valley AIAA and is only active on weekdays and then only between 2000 and 6000 feet. There is nothing to say you can’t just fly into it at any time. The idea is to make you aware you need to be more careful and suggest you may want to speak to Valley Radar to get a Basic or Traffic service. If you speak to them they can advise you of anything going on and either ask (not tell) you to route around ‘hot’ areas or route their flights around you.
Danger Areas (DA) are generally places where things can hurt you that don’t involve other planes just flying around. Think missile firing ranges or similar. They may be always active, regularly active or active only when NOTAM’d. London Info FIS can tell you activity status or you can call a phone number associated with each danger area for more info (maybe if you want to plan a flight in advance). Some DA’s (or groups of them) have specific frequencies to call for crossing them. Skydemon is great for Danger Areas as it shows you red or green for known active or not and also give days/times of activity. There is debate on whether it is legal to fly through them or not. My understanding is that it is not specifically illegal to enter an active DA (as it would be for restricted or prohibited area) but rather you can be prosecuted for endangering an aircraft (your own).
Personally I avoid all danger areas, restricted areas, etc.
Some Ds are legally ok to penetrate but you have to look up the relevant byelaw and this is a can of worms. Also the CAA chart shows some DAs bigger than the byelaw definition…
The AIAAa (areas of intense aerial activity) are not legally an issue to penetrate but try to get a radio contact from the unit shown on the chart
Nowadays the CAA operates a zero tolerance policy with a 2 year timeout. If you look here you can see they bust plenty of people for Ds and Rs etc too. So you have to be damn careful, with all CAS and ATZs especially as these are 100% required (on the ATCO, as a condition of employment i.e. no discretion allowed anymore) to be MORd. “Up norff” this is not much of a problem but living in the south east, and with a couple of (very brief) busts in the bag and not out of the 2 year timeout until June 2021, I have stopped flying anywhere near the 2500ft LTMA, especially with passengers (momentary distraction is the main reason for brief busts). Veeery long thread here.
I would not rely on any app to tell you DA activity because they rely on parsing notams which is always a bit dodgy. Call up FIS (London Info etc) or the relevant unit to check. And I record all audio nowadays
I dont think anyone has mentioned that one advantage of a basic service is you can ask if a particular danger area is cold, often they will know, or, if they dont, give you the comms on which to obtain confirmation. This is a pretty good route because there will be a record of your comms and the information you receive will be current. From a pre-departure planning perspective usually a number is given to call to establish if the DA is active, and usually the nearest airfield will also be a good source of information as they are dealing with such enquiries regularly.
I would say dont be put off crossing danger areas, but do make certain that you have established whether they are active or not before doing so. If you are unsure, many are very small and it is just as easy to route around. There are larger danger areas that will add significantly to your en route time and it is well worth establishing before you depart if they will be active.
To state the obvious also make certain you are clear on the vertical limits as often it is possible to route over, or even, sometimes under.
If you look here you can see they bust plenty of people for Ds and Rs etc too.
From my understanding, you cannot be “busted” for flying into a danger area, as that is always legal (but may be dangerous anyways, hence the name), only for flying into a restricted area. Of course this may be different in the UK.
In Germany, the standard practice is to enquire with FIS, this often seems to be the bulk of all radio calls on FIS (“is restricted area XXX active?”)
you cannot be “busted” for flying into a danger area, as that is always legal (but may be dangerous anyways, hence the name), only for flying into a restricted area. Of course this may be different in the UK.
The UK is different (because the UK has to be different)
They use R and P area for things like prison, nuclear plant, royal residence.
For dangerous area that are restricted they use D with a “statutory instrument” (i.e. law made by a Secretary of State and not parliament). On the map, these area are marked with a star (*D123)
If you surf adsbexchange.com, you can see how and where air forces train in europe.
Wales is busy almost every weekday. Right now, there is a Hawk at 6000ft :)
It is typical that in Europe and the UK in particular, this question is not straightforward.