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MODE S TRANSPONDER IN GERMANY

WE PLAN TO ATTEND THE AERO 2014 AT FRIEDRICHSHAFEN EDNY THIS APRIL. THE PLAN IS TO FLY VFR AND ENTER THE GERMAN AIRSPACE FRO SLZBURG AUSTRAIA. WE ARE EQUIPPED WITH MODE C TRANSPONDER
WILL WE BE ABLE TO FLY VFR A ONE TIME FLIGHT WITH NO MODE S IN GERMAN AIRSPACE
WHAT WOULD YOU GUYS RECOMMEND

In Germany you are fine (VFR) without Mode S if you stay outside class C/D airspace and below 3500 ft AGL/5000 ft MSL.

However, there are also a few transponder mandatory zones (TMZ), and Friedrichshafen is one of them. I don’t know if they will allow exceptions because of the Aero.

In summer 2011, before I installed a Mode S transponder in my aircraft, I asked for permission to cross Friedrichshafen with Mode C. They wouldn’t allow it, so I had to make a detour through Vorarlberg.

LOAN Wiener Neustadt Ost, Austria

In summer 2011, before I installed a Mode S transponder in my aircraft, I asked for permission to cross Friedrichshafen with Mode C. They wouldn’t allow it

…which, by the way, is pretty insane. Shame on them.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

I don’t think you will get an official permission to fly to EDNY with your Mode C transponder. However, I am sure there are many crews doing just that (mainly from the UK) and nobody seems to mind. For ATC, Mode-S is not important, all they need is Mode C.

I have never heard on the radio “XYZ I can not see your Mode S signal, can you check?” but I have heard dozens of times “XYZ I only get a Mode A signal from you, can you check your Mode C”? This suggests that German ATC really care about Mode C only.

Yes, but the account of blueline seems to suggest that they are unnecessarily hardlining on that. Sometimes, it’s better to refrain from asking…

In UK, they operate the TMZs in a sensible way, i.e. if you don’t have Mode-S, you merely have to remain in VHF contact throughout, that’s it.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

I’m 99% sure they cannot read out Mode S with their Friedrichshafen ground radar. The TMZ is there to allow airliners to manage through the class E on departure and arrival without being scared of hitting GA aircraft. A TCAS does not benefit from Mode S, it is happy with Mode C.

A lot of flying with only Mode C transponders is going in Germany. If you don’t raise the issue, there shouldn’t be any problems. It’s like with DME. You cannot legally fly IFR in German airspace (no matter which country your aircraft is from) without DME and yet it is happening all the time. A large percentage of the N-reg Cirrus fleet is without DME. If you advice ATC that you do not have a DME, they will not let you fly so you don’t do that.

Not trying to encourage anyone to ignore German rules of the air…

I only know Salzburg Radar CAN read Mode S. And don’t ask how I found out ;-))

Quite a few can read Mode S and even ADS-B.

Friedrichshafen has a TMZ and it is since quite a while that they mandate Mode S and refuse entry to anyone who had no mode S. I recall having to circumnatigate that TMZ while going to Memmingen for my night training. Once I had the Trigg installed, no more problem at all.

I’d say also Munich and Langen can read and display mode S, otherwise it would be difficult for them to identify any airplane flying with the 7000 Squawk by registration, which is what they regularly do. I got “identified” quite a few times even from their FIS but also from Munich Radar while flying in their airspace and rarely had to put a Mode A/C Squawk in.

So in all probability, yes, you need Mode S to fly to the Aero.

LSZH, Switzerland

Well, I had once Munich Radar complaining that they could not see my mode S and asked me to take action. I was at 6500ft on my way between LKLT and EBST and decided to go below 5000ft. I have a GTX328 that I got checked by a Belgian ATC some days later and by a service station. Both confirmed that my transponder was perfectly working (mode S included).

Ukraine

No matter if it worked or not… this

I had once Munich Radar complaining that they could not see my mode S and asked me to take action

is once again evidence of a complete overreaction by the german ATC (since you quote 6500 feet, OCAS actually FL65 in Germany, I assume you were VFR and talking to FIS). They apply the regs by the letter without any common sense it seems. My appreciation of the german FIS is shrinking day by day…

If you were in class D or C (and thus talking to Radar) then my sympathy for that action is only marginally higher.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany
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