Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Welcome to our forums

National CAA policies around Europe on busting pilots who bust controlled airspace (and danger areas)

They go after 100% of CAS busts. Even where a corner was clipped for say 1 minute

The CAA’s CAP 1404 is worth a read:


I think this process is generally fair and reasonable.

Last Edited by James_Chan at 26 Apr 11:54

It looks “nice” but for the LTMA at least they don’t currently operate it.

Can people post what their own countries do in terms of persecution / prosecution? We get a lot of posts asking about some complicated airspace in some country… people are clearly concerned about busting it.

And not just CAS. For example what is the current policy about the French nuclear ZITs? It used to be some mixture of €10k fine and/or aircraft confiscation, but I recall from some past threads that nobody could find a reference for it.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I’m not aware of any prosecutions in Norway due to this. You are supposed to write a report, I think? and then you probably will get a call from some dude/dudess for a conversation and that’s it.


alioth wrote:

The Garmin GTX335 at least has a separate ALT and ON setting, which implies you can turn off the altitude reporting.

If I remember correctly, the ALT/ON switch selects between mode C/mode A returns, which mode S transponders do also provide, whereas mode S returns would always include altitude.

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

There was a very short news article in info-pilote a few years years ago, where someone flew through one of a nuclear ZIT near Dieppe. The police/gendarmes didn’t know what to do, so arrested the pilot just to be safe. He was released next morning, and IIRC was facing a 5-figure fine, but I don’t think there was ever any more news. Googling “Un pilote arrêté pour le survol de la centrale nucléaire de Penly” has the same basic facts repeated by different sites (in French).

I’ve found another one from 2016, where the pilot was intercepted by a Rafale and interviewed by police on landing. The police didn’t take it any further, but the DGAC may have done.

And another arrest in 2018.

The first post on Jeunes Ailes forum from 2011 has a letter reminding the pilot to observe the correct height when flying over a ZIT, and the potential fines of €15-45.000 and six to 12 months prison. It looks like the legislation is Article L6232-2 of the code des transport

I believe a Greenpeace demonstrator in a paramoteur dropped smoke bombs then landed in a nuclear power station in 2012 (?), but I can’t find any news articles about it, only them using drones.

EGHP-LFQF-KCLW, United Kingdom

LeSving wrote:

I’m not aware of any prosecutions in Norway due to this. You are supposed to write a report, I think? and then you probably will get a call from some dude/dudess for a conversation and that’s it.

This must depend on level of culpability, no?

Occurrences in the UK vary from “the aircraft was on fire, I had other things to think about” to “Pah! We didn’t need controlled airspace in the 50s, and we don’t need it now, I’m going where I please.” They are dealt with accordingly.

I bet if someone maliciously closed Oslo or Stavanger by flying low passes up and down the runway in a C150 they’d soon be prosecuted!

EGKB Biggin Hill

The way I understand it is if you fess up and write an occurrence report they usually will talk to you and that was it. (Switzerland). If you don’t, then they will come after you. To my knowledge, first offenders are issued a warning, thereafter it gets more pronounced. I don’t know however what the consequences in cases of repeats are.

Certainly switching off the transponder is a no go. First of all it is against the law (Transponders if installed must be on at all time), secondly it is stupid to assume they don’t see you (primary radar) and thirdly it pretty much sais the attitude is such that you don’t simply care. All of that will be considered in a case like this.

The proper way to deal with this would be just culture, if you report it, no penalty, if you try to hide, get prosecuted. Unfortunately some state prosecutors appear to see this in a whole different way.

LSZH, Switzerland

I busted controlled airspace once in my life, Hamburg from below after take off from a small field halfways under C. I was not very familiar with their colorful ICAO charts, misread the heights and it took ma about 2 minutes to realize. Calling tower immediately and apologize was all I did. Never heard of it again. On the opposite I had to pay a fine for busting in the US when my GPS showed I did not. I was very near the airspace border and mil radar insisted I had busted, so no chance for me in front of the judge ‚too near for the radar is equal to bust‘.

Last Edited by Markuus at 26 Apr 14:14

Markuus wrote:

On the opposite I had to pay a fine for busting in the US when my GPS showed I did not.

That’s interesting, I’ve never met anybody who was fined in the US for an unintentional airspace violation, particularly with a judge (!) being involved in FAA business. I’ve busted US airspace once now, for the first time only a few weeks ago. I was quite annoyed at myself as it was a simple arithmetic error in calculating altitude while negotiating either above or below a Class B slot. I was not talking to anybody on the radio, do not have either Mode S or ADS-B Out and nothing happened. Generally when this happens it’s not a bad idea to fly to an uncontrolled airport and land but I did not, and apparently nobody at the local radar facility could be bothered with following me home to my ATC controlled base.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 26 Apr 14:33

for the LTMA at least they don’t currently operate it.

I think they do. Just that parts of the LTMA is full of traffic going into two major London airports that are operating 96-99% planning permission capacity, and four other large London airports that are operating at some 35-80% capacity depending on the time of day. There’s also some IFR GA going to Farnborough, Biggin, Cambridge, Oxford and similar. So any bust in the wrong place at the wrong time is going to potentially have some large knock on effects carrying more severe penalties, and made far worse if they were not already in contact with ATC.

Pilots I know have busted quieter parts for the LTMA that contain London City airport departures and arrivals when London City is closed for half the weekend. Not much follow-up action happens afterwards as not much traffic inside was affected and the situation was quickly resolved because they were already in contact with ATC.

Last Edited by James_Chan at 26 Apr 15:58
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top