CAA introduces first Radio Mandatory Zone at Blackpool

Date: 20 August 2013

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today announced the introduction of the first Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ) in UK airspace at Blackpool Airport. This temporary airspace change will be put in place to cover the replacement of the airport’s radar and will run from 27 August to 23 September 2013.

A RMZ allows the CAA to provide an airport with increased protection for its flights without the need to introduce new controlled airspace or place unreasonable demands on airspace users. Ordinarily to gain a RMZ an airport or air traffic control unit will need to develop an airspace change proposal that includes consultation with airspace users. However, in this case it is to address a short-term requirement that might otherwise be addressed by a temporary restriction of flying or in some cases a TMZ.

To gain entry to a RMZ a pilot must establish two-way communication with air traffic control before entering the RMZ and then remain on frequency while in the zone unless instructed otherwise*.

Phil Roberts, CAA Head of Airspace, Air Traffic Management & Aerodromes, said: “When taking decisions on airspace requirements we are extremely conscious of making realistic, risk-based judgements based on safety and the demands of airspace users. Radio Mandatory Zones add to the range of options we have including Transponder Mandatory Zones and additional controlled airspace. But, importantly, they provide us with a flexible option to provide extra information to air traffic control without placing an undue burden on pilots. In doing so, they offer a solution in situations where flights need some protection but a TMZ or controlled airspace cannot be justified.”

A chart showing the RMZ is available for download

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Notes to Editors:

*The initial call should take the form of the name of the ATC unit being called, aircraft call sign, type of aircraft, position, level and the intentions of the flight.

If a pilot is unable to establish two-way radio communication then they should remain clear of the RMZ; except when taking off from a site within the RMZ where communications before getting airborne is not possible. In this case the pilot should comply with any locally agreed procedures and establish two-way communication as soon as possible. It may be possible for the pilot to negotiate access prior to the flight taking place if radio contact cannot be established for any reason.

The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.