Archive for August, 2010

Club members flying at Nigg, Class D – NOTAM/Weather Limits Etc.

Monday, August 16th, 2010

ESP club members can fly at Nigg (and some of our other sites within the Aberdeen CTR which is Class D Airspace down to ground level, with clearance generally up to 200ft PROVIDED that the conditions at Dyce are good enough to allow ATC to issue a SVFR (Special Visual Flight Rules) clearance, which in essence lets our PG pilots fly without needing to maintain radio contact with the control tower.

Nigg Class D

In the case of flying at Brimmond Hill, which is within the ATZ (Class D) at least one pilot MUST be in direct contact with ATC i.e that pilot MUST hold a FRTO and be carrying a Type Approved, Licenced Airband Radio, if flying with other (non-radio) member the pilot in contact with ATC MUST be able to instruct all other paraglider to land promptly when instructed by ATC (I.e. using ‘box two’ R/T on 118.675mHz, the club Freq, or by use of an audio ‘land’ warning like say an AirHorn)

For new members the basic procedure is to phone/text Murray on 0783-11-22-480 (you can also Email ClassD@ESPclub.org) giving the requested OPENING (& CLOSING) time

 NOTE you MUST state as to if times you are requesting ‘Zulu’ OR if times you give are ‘Local’, as in the summer the error in giving the wrong reference is one hour! Closing time can also be given as end of Aviation Daylight (30 mins after official sun down aat the Airfield)

ATC also requires to know how many gliders the clearance is for, if this includes non-members they MUST be flying legally i.e NO USE OF ILLEGAL 2m RADIOS Etc! As Class D clearance can NOT be given for illegal flying!

Due to the limits imposed on a SVFR, ATC MUST be able to use a single point of contact to close the clearance at short notice FOR ALL PARAGLIDERS FLYING, this happens a few times per year when the weather (normally cloud base heights) drops below certain limits.

Sample METAR/TAF/NOTAM

This week we also had a rare case of the change in the classification of the ‘Class D’! Alan Coffin had sent a request text to Murray requesting that Nigg be activated for two hours, till 1900 (local) and was able to start flying as soon as the request had been approved by ATC, with the conditions changing towards the end of the SVFR in fact this day flying ended (text sent) and Murray phoned ATC to close the Class D, as on checking earlier the METAR/TAF on SkyBookGA (BlackBerry access) Murray had noted that Aberdeen CTR was ‘NOTAMED’ for one hour (from 2000 to 2100) to CHANGE TO CLASS A AIRSPACE….. The change to Class A (NO VFR permitted) was due to a Royal Flight, so it is not just weather conditions which can result in ATC requiring us to not/stop paragliding, and on occasions this can be at short notice! One other occasion I experienced was when flying in the Leuchars MATZ, on ‘7/11’ when the whole of the UK Airspace was shut down

 Murray Hay

PS If other (NON-members) pilots are added to the Class D clearance, the clearance CAN ONLY REMAIN ACTIVE WHILE at least one ESPclub member is present.