Southend & EasyJet Ops

EasyJet operations from Southend began during the first week in April with three Airbus A-319s operating about 70 departures and 70 arrivals per week. Southend has installed radar and SSR and it would be sensible to give them a call if you are flying locally or passing through their area. There is no new controlled airspace so these aircraft will be operating in Class G on arrival and departure but you can make the area safer by just letting them know you are there. This map shows the approaches and departures from Southend. Although routing will depend on clearance into CAS, departures are likely to follow the blue lines on the chart and arrivals the brown dashed lines. The final approaches on the runway centrelines are marked on the VFR charts and are an area you may want to take particular care in.  As ever the first wave of the day is likely to leave Southend before 0800 local and return around 1000.  Depart again before 1100, returning and leaving again between 1530 and 1700 and finally returning after dark. So there are some specifically busy windows during the day; mid morning and mid to late afternoon. To help you, easyJet aircraft will minimise the time spent in Class G airspace by holding on the ground until they expect to be given a clearance to enter controlled airspace and they will limit their speed to 220 kts in Class G. If they are held below CAS they will maintain altitude 3000ft. Arrivals will stay in CAS as long as possible but they will have to descend before reaching final, either for an ILS or visual approach. And they have helpfully painted their aircraft bright orange so they are easier for you to see. They want to stay clear of us so let’s help them by talking to Southend whenever we are in that corner of the country. They are waiting for your call on 130.775 ….. Give them a try. Source: Light Aircraft...
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Diamond Jubilee Flypast

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has approved a request from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to impose a Temporary Airspace Restriction around a large military flypast over Windsor on Saturday 19 May 2012 to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The flypast will comprise two separate aircraft formations – nine Typhoon fighter jets open the event, followed later by a large mixed formation which will include two formations of Tucano and Hawk aircraft; The Red Arrows; and aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. In all there will be a total of 85 aircraft taking part in the flypasts. Two Temporary Airspace Restrictions or RA(T)s will be in force from 09:30 to 11:30 hours (UTC) and from 09:50 to 11:50 hours (UTC) on 19 May and affect a broad corridor of airspace from the South Coast to west London, corresponding to the route the formation will fly to reach Windsor, and then to the north and northwest of Windsor to facilitate the dispersal of the aircraft. The RA(T) can be viewed and downloaded from this chart. The CAA said the RA(T)s would be necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft involved in the formation as well as that of other airspace users. The MoD will be carrying out practice runs over the west coast of North Wales between 10:00 and 12:00 on 15 and 16 May. Impact On Fairoaks Part of the RA(T) consists of Area C which is located immediately south of the Fairoaks ATZ and is active from 09:30 to 11:30 UTC. It extends from SFC-2500 AMSL and will result in all operations from Fairoaks being subject to clearance from Swanwick Military. Recent discussions with the CAA Airspace Utilisation Section have indicated that such a clearance is extremely unlikely and as a result, unless there is any further change, the airfield management has little choice but to temporarily close the ATZ to traffic for the period 09:30 – 11:30 UTC on Saturday 19 May. Operations will still be running as normal either side of these times. Extra pre-flight planning should be taken by those intending to depart Fairoaks before the 09:30 UTC closure, to ensure their planned route does not pass through any of the RA(T) which stretches south of Fairoaks towards Goodwood and also north of the Heathrow CTR towards Oxford. Full information on the flypast is available from the following Aeronautical Information Circulars. AIC M 041/2012: “Restriction of...
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Spitfire Rebuilt At Biggin Hill

The Mk1 Supermarine Spitfire, one of just three still in airworthy condition, has been completely rebuilt at Biggin Hill airfield following an investment of nearly 8 years and £3 million. The aircraft had originally been submerged in a North Yorkshire river after it’s pilot, then 20 year-old Howard Squire, bailed out in 1940 following an accident during a training exercise. When the water level fell during the drought of 1976, the wreckage was then discovered and ended up in the hands of a North Yorkshire collector. Peter Monk, a former commercial pilot who runs The Spitfire Company at Biggin Hill, came across the legendary fighter in 2004 when he exchanged it for a truckload of Avro Lancaster bomber parts. Mr Monk explains, ‘I was on the search for Spitfire parts, so I went to see this chap in Yorkshire. He mentioned he had some wreckage in store and I was taken aback by how much there was of it. There was the fuselage, engine, propeller and a third of each wing. There was more than enough to start a restoration.’ Joined by a team of around 30 dedicated restorers, Peter Monk was kept on to supervise the restoration. ‘The whole point was to use as many original parts as possible,’ he says. ‘It would have been easy to get these parts made new, but I would rather get in the car and drive 100 miles if an original part exists. It’s a testament to how good they were in the first place – that so much effort was put into the original parts.’ During the restoration, the Spitfire was brought by Texan businessman Dan Friedkin. The purchase makes Dan (46) in conjunction with his billionaire farther, Tom, the owner of two airworthy Mk1s – the final one being owned by the Queen. The aircrafts original pilot, Howard Squire – who was shot down near Calais in February 1941 and spent more than four years as a PoW – was reunited with the plane two years ago, months before his death at the age of 90. Pilot Paul Bonhomme had the honour of flying the aircraft on 9 March 2012 after its restoration and describes the experience. ‘Flying it is a bit nerve-racking as you are taking a priceless piece of history into the air. It’s like driving down the High Street in a Ford Model T. But it flies...
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Laser Attacks On The Rise

With Liverpool John Lennon airport alone reporting 93 incidents in the last 12 months, the shining of lasers into the flight decks of aircraft on final approach is alarmingly on the increase. Schemes have been redoubled in an attempt to catch the offenders which have been warned by the police to expect the full force of the law as a result of endangering passengers lives. With the offence being illegal in the UK since 2010, there have already been several successful prosecutions – for which the maximum possible sentence is 5 years imprisonment. One of the main contributory factors to the increase is the low cost and wide availability of the lasers, available from as little £8 and easily obtainable in shops or online. A spokesman from BALPA (British Airline Pilots Association) said: “Pilots can easily be temporarily blinded by laser attacks. Being blinded or dazzled by these incredibly bright lasers puts everyone’s life on board that aircraft at risk. People who do this maliciously are playing Russian roulette with people’s lives. The police are taking this matter more and more seriously, but we would like to see custodial sentences being the norm. A longer term way of dealing with this problem is by having stronger regulation over the sale, import and licensing of strong laser devices which BALPA supports.” If subject to a laser attack, flight crews are to report the incident to ATC and also file an MOR (Mandatory Occurrence Report) after flight. The CAA has also released a self-assessment tool for flight crew to determine the likelihood of having sustained eye damage following a laser attack. The Aviation Laser Exposure Self-Assessment (ALESA) card is available online from the...
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Customs Withdrawn From Many French Airfields

The French government is withdrawing Customs from dozens of smaller airfields, which will have a major impact on GA flights from the UK because Britain has never signed up to the Schengen Agreement allowing free travel across European borders. Some Swiss pilots will also be affected. A list of airfields from which Customs has been withdrawn has been confirmed by Emmanuel Davidson of AOPA France. They are Meaux-Esbly, Pontoise, Toussus Le Noble, Valenciennes-Denaine, Nancy-Essen, Pontarlier, Reims-Champagne, Saint-Yan, Vesoul-Frotey, Courcheval, Megeve, Roanne-Renaison, Valence-Chabeuil, Gap-Tallard, Albi-le-Sequestre, Cahors-Lalbenque, Castres-Mazamet, Bourges, Dieppe-St-Aubin, Granville, Morlaix-Ploujean and Quimper-Plughaffen. Customs will not be available even on 24 hours notice. Airfields which have been earmarked to have Customs facilities removed by summer 2012 include Amiens-Glisy, Abbeville, Calais, Montbeliard-Courcelles, Besancon-La-Veze, Colmar-Houssen, Nevers-Fourchambault, Epinal-Mirecourt, Auxerre-Branches, Vichy-Charmeil, Annemasse, Le Castellet, Agen-La Garenne, Lannion, Laval-Entrammes, Rouen-Vallee de Seine, Orleans-St Denis de Hotel. Emmanuel Davidson says the decisions has been taken by the French finance ministry, which is responsible for customs. “Although we cannot understand the reasoning behind the decision, it makes things very difficult for many pilots either based in France or for foreign pilots coming or going to a country which has not signed the Schengen treaty,” he says. For pilots wishing to use Toussus le Noble (LFPN), for instance, it means that they cannot clear Customs if they are arriving or departing from the UK or the Channel Islands. Toussus is a business and general aviation airport. Many business jets are based there. The only airports in the Paris area with Customs available are now Lognes (750 meters hard runway), not IFR, not usable at night; Charles De Gaulles International (not accessible to GA); Orly International (not accessible to GA); Paris le Bourget (not accessible VFR, €500 in landing and mandatory handling charges. “A pilot coming back from Guernsey to Toussus needs to clear customs either in Dinard, Deauville or Cherbourg, where Customs closes at 1900 at the latest. Therefore it is impossible to spend the week-end in Guernsey without leaving early in order to clear Customs. Your week end is going to be cut short. The Finance Ministry is deaf to any argument presented by airfield management, AOPA, or even the DGAC.” While Switzerland has signed the Schengen Treaty it has no customs treaty with France. Therefore, the interpretation of French customs is that people may circulate freely, but in the case of general aviation, pilots, their passengers, luggage and goods...
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