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UK CAS transit "application" by email - how crazy is this?

Peter wrote:


AA, name a country which uses flight plans for clearances, in VFR.

Not for clearances as such, but if you file a VFR flight plan in the Isle of Man, when you call up Ronaldsway Radar they will have your details and give you your transit clearance without having to repeat them again. They seem to get VFR flight plans and generate the flight strip.

Andreas IOM

Yes, exactly, but that works because

  • the destination always gets the FP; no additional addressing required
  • you still make the radio contact to get the clearance
  • the tower has somebody in there with a brain who doesn’t sit on his ar5e and pretend that flight plans (which pop up on a screen in front of him) don’t concern him
  • you are landing there anyway so it is all a fait accompli

If you filed a VFR FP from say EGKA to EIWT with EGNS (IOM) as a waypoint, EGNS won’t get a copy of it unless you explicitly address it, and then presumably my points 1-3 above will again come into operation.

Some European countries distribute all FPs to every ATC unit, transparently. Well, it is “accessible” on request; I would think that if you file LFAT-LFBZ via LFBH (let’s disregard the fact that using an airport as a waypoint is not legal under ICAO, so perhaps via some navaid there) then the LFBH ATCO can type in your reg when you call him up for CAS transit and see your FP. If you did that in the UK, he would not be able to retrieve it directly (unless there was an SAR action, etc). Actually I am pretty sure all FPs can be retrieved via the AFTN but it’s a different process to what UK ATC has access to in normal procedures, and you can’t just get it by entering the reg.

There has been a vast amount of debate about this in years past because e.g. when electronic FP filing first arrived, the French AIP asked for specific addressing, but when this was implemented (e.g. by EuroFPL) the French system complained because everybody got it delivered twice – because their system was already transparently distributing every FP It’s a good system if used correctly. You get a nice “known traffic” environment which is good for both service level and national security. The UK doesn’t have it because of the “amateur versus professional” user airspace separation, which is alleviated by the extensive Class G and the IMCR but anything above that involves banging the head against a brick wall.

Of course asking for an email to somehow support a CAS transit is completely nuts. You still might not get it if they are busy. I reckon this is a gesture by somebody who wants to make a stand on something, and probably doesn’t fly a plane.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

IMHO a much more sensible way to do this would be to use the existing flight plan system, which has been in place since for ever, is international and well understood, and which is supported by popular tablet apps (in the UK, SD and EVFR). Then if you wanted a transit of say the Solent CAS (via SAM VOR, at EGHI) you would just file the FP and add EGHIZTZX or EGHIZPZX or whatever, and you are done. NATS would still have to write some code, to parse the FP, compute the ETA for SAM, and present it to the ATC desk. Doing this by email is just nuts, and I confidently predict a takeup somewhere south of -273.16C

Well, yes, that was exactly what I proposed. To which you replied:

Peter wrote:

Nobody uses flight plans for anything to do with CAS clearances – unless you are on a Eurocontrol IFR flight which has to be mostly in CAS.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Peter wrote:

Yes, exactly, but that works because

the destination always gets the FP; no additional addressing required

Actually, it happens when I’m going from Andreas and Ronaldsway’s class D airspace is to be transited (not landing at Ronaldsway – e.g. going straight from Andreas to Gloucestershire which will require a transit). And yes, it did surprise me when they had all my details from the flight plan!

Andreas IOM

Actually, it happens when I’m going from Andreas and Ronaldsway’s class D airspace is to be transited (not landing at Ronaldsway – e.g. going straight from Andreas to Gloucestershire which will require a transit). And yes, it did surprise me when they had all my details from the flight plan!

They are probably set up to get a copy. Loads of airports get that. For example Farnborough get copies of everything addressed to Blackbushe which is next door (or some such; you get my drift). Outside the UK, LDSP gets LDSB’s. LEMG get LEAX’s. It’s probably really common, because smaller airports are not on the AFTN and the stuff gets faxed across (no kidding, though I reckon it is emailed nowadays). No idea where it is configured.

Well, yes, that was exactly what I proposed.

You wrote

“So why don’t they use the established flight plan system to do this like everyone else?”

which implies that “everyone else” uses the FP system for CAS transits, which is not the case

We agree; it’s only grammar

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Call me cynical, but I believe the system is a trial and within a month or two they will call it successful, ensure that it becomes mandatory for all Class D transits. By having to fill this form without a guarantee of gaining access to CAS, they are hoping to raise a barrier to having GA traffic calling up and hoping for a transit – after all, if the transit is refused, we complain. If the pilot didn’t file the form – sorry, next time file for transit and I might be able to accommodate you….

Think about it, if you have to file yet another form, would you, especially as you have no guarantee that your transit will be granted? Or would you just plan to fly OCAS?

Peter wrote:

let’s disregard the fact that using an airport as a waypoint is not legal under ICAO, so perhaps via some navaid there

Hu? I was taught for a VFR flightplan, you can put whatever in there, even names of villages and hamlets, “but please don’t put hamlets unknown to the controllers and SAR personnel, you are making their life more difficult”. And specifically, the Belgian (Belgocontrol) “narrow route” NOTAM briefing system recognises a route from ELLX to LFQA of “DCT LFQB DCT” just fine.

ELLX

lionel wrote:

Hu? I was taught for a VFR flightplan, you can put whatever in there, even names of villages and hamlets, “but please don’t put hamlets unknown to the controllers and SAR personnel, you are making their life more difficult”. And specifically, the Belgian (Belgocontrol) “narrow route” NOTAM briefing system recognises a route from ELLX to LFQA of “DCT LFQB DCT” just fine.

Yes and no. Under ICAO standards the same rules hold for both VFR and IFR flight plans — i.e. you can only have navaids, 5-letter name codes, lat-long coordinates and ATS route names in the route part. Thus airports are not legal as waypoints.

However, many countries relax this and let you write — as you say — “whatever you want in there”, but other countries (e.g. Sweden) enforce the ICAO format. I would guess that depends to a large extent of VFR whether flight plans are handled manually or by the ATS computers.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Steve6443 wrote:

Think about it, if you have to file yet another form, would you, especially as you have no guarantee that your transit will be granted? Or would you just plan to fly OCAS?

It will only be a matter of time before the likes of Skydemon et al incorporate the notification process into their software as with GARs and flight plans. They could also include plan B option planning.

I agree that making use of flight plans would be the most straight forward way of doing this if it has to be done at all. It should be very simple for submitted plans to be analysed automatically and then addressed to anyone who might have an interest in the flight. Perhaps it is wishful thinking that if the trial is successful it might lead to a more joined up system.

Last Edited by S57 at 13 Jun 21:47
S57
United Kingdom

Frequently on a sightseeing flight I might transit across two or three Class D airspace areas without even knowing for sure that I’m going to do so, prior to taking off. In between I’m talking to nobody, and have no flight plan (I haven’t filed a flight plan in about 12 years). This idea really plumbs the depths of silliness, except from the point of view of ATC, who quite obviously intends to discourage people from calling up and asking.

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