Top 10

Top 10 Tips on how NOT to infringe Channel Islands Controlled Airspace

(Adapted from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Airspace Working Groups Top Ten Tips on “How not to Infringe”)

1. Navigation is a skill, and needs to be practised regularly, both planning a flight and conducting it.
Safety Sense Leaflet 5 (available on the CAA website and in the LASORS publication) contains good advice on VFR navigation, but it only works if you read and apply it!

2. If you plan a route through Channel Islands Controlled Airspace, remember that a crossing clearance may not always be possible and consider that route as your ‘secondary’ plan. Your primary plan should avoid Channel Islands Airspace – and don’t forget to make your overall time and fuel calculations using the longer, primary route! If inbound to a Channel Islands Airfield please consider using notified standard routes as your “Primary Route”. A “Direct to” clearance is not always possible!

3. Where possible, avoid planning to fly close to the controlled airspace boundaries. If you do need to do so, be very careful. A small navigational error or distraction of any sort can lead to an infringement – and it doesn’t take much to ruin your day! This can be especially prevalent if you are instructed to remain outside of Controlled Airspace or extend your routing along the eastern boundary close to the Cap de la Hague and Flamanville Restricted Areas.

4. Pilot workload rises rapidly in less than ideal weather – and so do infringements. If the weather starts to deteriorate, consider your options early and if necessary divert or turn back in good time. Know you Weather MINIMA for VFR or SVFR flight in Class D Airspace..

5. If you wish to enter or transit controlled airspace, think about what you need to ask for in advance and call the appropriate Jersey Air Traffic Control (ATC) Sector at least ten nautical miles or five minutes flying time from the airspace boundary. As a general rule – low level traffic (below 3000ft) requesting entry clearance to the Channel Island Control Zone (CTR) from the BREST FIR should call Jersey “Approach” on 120.305MHz. If you are inbound from the UK FIR – generally you would contact Jersey “Control” on 125.205Mhz; however, if the Zone sector is split you may be transferred to 120.450MHz (Jersey Radar)
Please remember that it is the PILOT’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain an Entry Clearance into Controlled Airspace. If you are receiving an Air Traffic service outside of controlled airspace from any other unit it remains the pilot’s responsibility to contact Jersey Air Traffic Control in a timely manner – the Air Traffic Unit providing you with the service outside of controlled airspace may not be in a position to prompt you, transfer you or obtain an entry clearance on your behalf.

6. Thinking before you press the transmit switch and using the correct radio phraseology helps ATC to help you – and sounds more professional!

7. Be aware that ATC may be busy when you call them – just because the frequency doesn’t sound busy doesn’t mean that the controller isn’t busy on another frequency or on landlines.

8. Remember – the instruction ‘Standby’ means just that; it is not an ATC clearance and not even a precursor to a clearance. The controller is probably busy so continue to plan to fly around or hold outside Channel Islands Airspace. Only fly into Channel Islands Airspace if the controller issues a crossing/entry clearance.

9. Your planned route into controlled airspace may appear simple on your chart but the traffic patterns within that airspace may make it unrealistic in practice. Be prepared to follow the standard routes outlined on this website and get familiar with the location and names of the Visual Reference Points (VRP) if your clearance does not exactly match your planned route there is a reason for it. Air Traffic Control clearance will allow you to transit safely.

10. Don’t be afraid to call ATC and/or use the transponder when lost or uncertain of your position or unsure of any clearance Issued – overcoming your embarrassment may prevent an infringement which may in turn prevent an Airprox (or worse).