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The important trip: Gloucestershire (EGBJ) to Kassel (EDVK)

Finally the stars seem to align themselves in the right way. It appears that over the upcoming weekend I will take delivery of N521CD, a Cirrus SR22TN G3 with Avidyne R9. There is still a small chance for another delay of one more week but I feel that it is time for some pre-planning.

I just got off the phone with the staff at the EDVK GAT. They tell me that I don’t have to do anything in advance when coming in from a non-Schengen country like the UK. They will see my flight plan and will call Bundespolizei (federal police) to come and check my passport once I arrive. I read the publication about the UK GAR and it appears that for leaving the UK it is not necessary to send in anything to the UK Border Force.

To get some idea of the potential IFR routing I did a dry-run on autorouter for this Sunday. To minimize the over water portion I set BNE as fly-by waypoint. That gives me:

EGBJ N0167F100 MALBY L9 KONAN/N0179F180 L607 KOK DCT NIK L179 SORAT/N0175F160 L179 ROMIN/N0172F140 L179 DIBIR DCT BAM/N0171F130 DCT ARNOP/N0168F110 Z858 NUDGO/N0164F080 Z858 ESADU/N0163F070 Z858 ROSUX EDVK

The beginning of it looks like this:

From reading here I understand that I definitely need to talk to London Control to obtain my real IFR clearance to enter CAS. I will have a day or maybe two to get accustomed to UK flying and UK IFR flying before I depart for Germany. Still I would like to take the opportunity and collect a few hints from you nice folks here.

Frequent travels around Europe

I will have a day or maybe two to get accustomed to UK flying and UK IFR flying before I depart for Germany.

Forget about that IFR flying in the UK is really 95 percent equal to flying IFR elsewhere.

Instead of “GO AHEAD” the contoller will say “PASS YOUR MESSAGE” and around London you will mainly fly on radar headings with frequency change instructions like “Nxyzzy REPORT YOUR HEADING TO LONDON CONTROL ON 123.456”. My tip: Write down all radar frequencies and (if you have one or can borrow one) carry a handheld radio, because lost com procedures in this environment are somewhat demanding. Better don’t lose communications in the first place!

Departing places like EGBJ into uncontrolled airspace (is it really uncontrolled around Gloucestershire?) you will get a squawk and initial climbout instructions from the tower together with a radar frequency. Upon first contact, the radar controller will ask you what service you expect from him/her. Say “DECONFLICTION SERVICE” and all will be fine. If they don’t give you radar headings or some direct-to waypoint right from the start just follow your flight-planned route. At some point you will get cleared into controlled airspace and from then on, everything will be just like everywhere else. Whether or not you will get a “proper” IFR clearance to your filed destination depends on factors that I never cared to understand. Sometimes you get it, other times they vector you through/around London and then dump you to Brussels Control who assume that you know where you will be going…

Have fun with your new aircraft and many happy landings!
Max

Last Edited by what_next at 22 Mar 12:39
EDDS - Stuttgart

Congratulation Stephan!

My advice would be to make sure that before you depart on that flight which takes you right into the London TMA shortly after departure, you are well aquainted with that particular aircraft and with the ATC lingo in the UK.

I cannot agree much with what Max say here:

IFR flying in the UK is really 95 percent equal to flying IFR elsewhere.

It may all be very easy for you and me, but it’s certainly not true for any less experienced pilot. It is my experience that pilots from Germany are at first quite overwhelmed by all those minor and major differences. In particular that constant “in-and-out-of-controlled-airspace” thing and the change of mindset that is required each time. Consider that the “German” private pilot does only know the “ATC will tell you and sort it all out for you” side of IFR flying (i.e. within controlled airspace all the time).

That “pass you message” thing is really the smallest of all details and almost totally irrelevant, yet keeps being repateated as the most fundamental difference.

And yes, it’s all uncontrolled airspace around Gloucester airport.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 22 Mar 13:00
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

In particular that constant “in-and-out-of-controlled-airspace” thing and the change of mindset that is required each time. Consider that the “German” private pilot does only know the “ATC will tell you and sort it all out for you” side of IFR flying (i.e. within controlled airspace all the time).

I don’t see (and never saw) much of a difference there between UK and continental Europe. Especially Germany which at typical light type IFR flight levels is mostly class “E”. This airspace is populated with VFR flyers that are not under radar control and that are not even required to squawk everywhere. Flying IFR in German E airspace is see-and-be-seen just like uncontrolled fling in the UK. People tend to forget that.

EDDS - Stuttgart

Yes, but there are still very big differences between flying IFR in Echo and in Golf. Indeed much bigger than between say flying in Echo and Delta.
The uncontrolled vs. uncontrolled airspace distinction is very important.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Departing places like EGBJ into uncontrolled airspace (is it really uncontrolled around Gloucestershire?) you will get a squawk and initial climbout instructions from the tower together with a radar frequency. Upon first contact, the radar controller will ask you what service you expect from him/her. Say “DECONFLICTION SERVICE” and all will be fine.

That sounds like you are not referring to London Control but some other unit. I’m thinking of Peter saying over and over again that only London Control provides IFR clearances and without talking to them I will not be allowed to enter CAS. On the planned route I will quickly climb into an airway, which is CAS and requires a clearance.

I assume unless the radar frequency EGBJ tower gives me is London Control I need to ask for them or call them myself as soon as possible. Am I right?

Frequent travels around Europe

EGBJ N0167F100 MALBY L9 KONAN/N0179F180 L607 KOK DCT NIK L179 SORAT/N0175F160 L179 ROMIN/N0172F140 L179 DIBIR DCT BAM/N0171F130 DCT ARNOP/N0168F110 Z858 NUDGO/N0164F080 Z858 ESADU/N0163F070 Z858 ROSUX EDVK

These are quite some level changes ! Do you really need those or do you want to stay as high as possible for as long as possible ?

EBZW EBST

That sounds like you are not referring to London Control but some other unit. I’m thinking of Peter saying over and over again that only London Control provides IFR clearances and without talking to them I will not be allowed to enter CAS. On the planned route I will quickly climb into an airway, which is CAS and requires a clearance.

You should be given the next frequency before take off. My experience (from Cambridge EGSC, which is also in uncontrolled airspace) is that one is given a clearance such as,

“Climb initial altitude, (say 3000’ on airport QNH) on track (typically first waypoint on FPL). When instructed contact (radar frequency) on 123.456. Squawk 1234”

Depending on the amount of local traffic, you can get handed off quickly – I’ve been about 1000’ at Cambridge. The first radar controller need not be London Control. Out of Cambridge it’s Stansted Director. The radar controller will ask you to ident and then give a clearance such as “climb FL 070 heading 100, cleared to enter controlled airspace in the climb” And you’re on your way :)

TJ
Cambridge EGSC

One thing to remember when given your initial clearance on the ground is that it can include “remain outside controlled airspace” instead of “climb to…” You must repeat that, and then of course you must stay outside controlled airspace until cleared to enter. I know in theory you could get something like this in other countries but I only ever get it in the UK.

EGTF, LFTF

As there is a number of firsts in this little adventure I will use my first GoPro with adaptor to capture ATC from the headset. It will be a few interesting days. I will report back :-)

Frequent travels around Europe
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