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National CAA policies around Europe on busting pilots who bust controlled airspace

It is indeed odd that you introduce a “new” regime to “prosecute” infringements, at yet apparently do absolutely nothing to address the other areas that might help reduce infringements in the first place.

Even some sort of better joined up ATC around the SE hotspots where I suspect the vast majority of infringements occur would help, and a reasonable level of ATC support, rather than the usual “due to controller workload .. .. ..”

How about get rid of RPS?

That must be 7% of all busts shorted in an instant

Not just RPS (regional pressure setting) but also flight levels below FL180, and QFE. Make it normal practise to use the QNH of the airspace owner for the airspace you’re flying under or over, and make it clear which chunk of airspace needs which QFE. Get rid of Ofcom’s outrageous charges for ground based airband transmitters so that ATIS can be transmitted at more power than what a newbie foundation radio amateur can use.

Even NATS acknowledges that a common causal factor in busts is the maddening smorgasbord of different kinds of altimeter settings we are expected to use:

Last Edited by alioth at 19 Jul 17:54
Andreas IOM

And this is the bit I just don’t seem to be able to understand. If the CAA were actually committed to reducing infringements they should be looking at addressing these flaws.

To me the pressure settings are the same sort of situation as GPS

My thought process goes like this:

1. Ok, that is the official methodology/system that we are supposed to use.

2. Analysing it, I believe it’s a crap system and to do X would be better.

3. I will use X and balls to what they say. They do not know best.

Hence I navigate with GPS rather than a compass and stopwatch, and I fly on QNH below the transition level and never use a QFE or RPS.

I don’t claim greater experience than the regulator/system, but I do claim better critical reasoning skills.


May I suggest Fuji that is not going to fix anything. Currently, at a stretch, you can fly around the London area while getting a radar service from Farnborough East / West / whatever, and maybe Southend, and even Solent.

So, on a good day, you could have a service all the way round.

But touch any CAS and you are buggered. The fact you have been in contact with a radar controller every second of the way and he has formally verified your altitude beforehand, means absolutely zilch, nothing, nowt, not a shred, and you get sent down the new CAA “infringer processing pipeline”.

As has been written numerous times already by non-UK pilots, the main problem in the UK is that ATC serving CAS is mostly not serving traffic OCAS*, so any infringement, no matter how small, sets off utter panic inside the CAS. The 3000ft/5000ft add-on (which only the UK does) then amplifies the panic really nicely, turning loads of these events into losses of separation, with drastic implications for the pilot, and lots of hassle for ATC.

What is needed is an integrated radar service for each TMA which creates a known-traffic environment (France gets close to this) in the whole area, combined with a relaxed attitude to people nipping corners of CAS (the whole of Europe does that). I think Langen in Germany does this too, offering approach radar with “radar FIS”.

The UK is unlikely to ever do this because the ATSOCAS topic is deeply stuck in funding politics. And the UK loves its manic “safety” culture which provides nice livelihoods for so many people who (and whose unions, etc) will never relax anything.

In the meantime the new CAA policy will badly damage GA, while driving much of it to non-txp flying, putting off foreign visitors, etc…

* one exception to this is Solent (EGHI) which provides a service outside their Class D but they will still MOR you and you will still get sent down to Gasco (I know of actual cases) if you do it without a formal clearance

BTW, the CAA’s chief enforcer has just posted on FB: “there are infringing pilots who have had to attend the AIAC [Gasco] as they have declined the on-line test as they can’t operate or don’t own a computer.”

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter, I hear what you’re saying.

So what would you do or recommend as the next steps forward, out of interest?

Do you hope or expect readers here to do something specific about this?

Last Edited by James_Chan at 19 Jul 20:17

I fly on QNH below the transition level

On low pressure days you may risk infringing CAS with a floor using a Flight Level.

Conversely, if on a FL on a high pressure day you may infringe CAS with a floor using altitude. This last mainly a problem when IFR above the transition level and OCAS.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

The Vagabond doesn’t do much flying on flight levels, nor low pressure days ;-)

But neither of those issues are solved by using QFE or RPS, are they? To me those issues are a matter of being aware of the transition level (another thing the UK doesn’t exactly make simple!) and making sure you’re on top of the altimetry situation if you’re close to it.

Last Edited by Graham at 19 Jul 20:40

Peter wrote:

In the meantime the new CAA policy will badly damage GA, …, putting off foreign visitors, etc…

I don’t find that very likely. Foreign visitors are in effect immune to the CAA enforcement actions. Unless the CAA manages to have a foreign infringer arrested on the spot and prosecuted, they have to make an enforcement request to the authority in the country of license issue which will likely have a quite different view.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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