Three more Olympics warm-up events announced

Date: 18 April 2012

Building on the success of the first File a Flight Plan Day in November 2011 three further events, aimed at preparing UK airspace users and service providers for the major changes being introduced during the Olympics, have been announced today. Included is a test of the full Atlas Control flight planning and air traffic control system on Friday 13 July.

The first two events take place over the weekend of 5/6 May 2012 and comprise File a Flight Plan Day 2 and Squawk a Circuit Weekend.

This second flight planning event will run on similar lines to the previous successful trial but, additionally, will use the actual systems that will process and respond to plans during the Games.

The event will allow pilots to file a flight plan and familiarise themselves with the process that will be in place from 14th July to 15th August 2012, so that they can continue to fly with the minimum of disruption. It will also give Atlas Control (the military unit providing the air traffic control and flight planning facilities) the opportunity to test the flight plan arrangements that will be in place over the Olympic period. You can help by filing a flight plan even if you do not intend or cannot for any reason fly the route.

Full details on how to take part in the event are available in the download section of the ASI Olympics website

Over the same weekend a Squawk a Circuit event will also take place. This will enable airfields situated within the Restricted Zone (R112) to trial the exemption system that allows continuation training, such as circuit flying or display practice by aircraft within three nautical miles of the airfield without complying with the Restricted Zone requirements.

Airfields wishing to take part in the event will need to pre-register via a form on the ASI Olympics website. They will then be able to contact Atlas Control over the weekend of 5/6 May to gain a daily squawk code for the airfield. The trial will also allow Atlas Control to gauge the uptake of the exemptions and test the process for providing squawk codes.

To use these circuit exemptions during the Olympic period airfields will have to register their details in advance using the website link by 1 July 2012. By taking part in the trial this process is completed and no further input by the airfield is required prior to the Olympic airspace restrictions being enforced.

The third and final Olympics warm-up exercise will allow Atlas Control and airspace users affected by the security restrictions to test the full spectrum of services that will be used during the Olympics period for a day, without the actual airspace restrictions, and therefore the need to enforce them, being in place.

On Friday 13 July, the day before the security restrictions come into force, the full Atlas Control Function, including the flight plan service, will be fully functioning.

For all those involved to get the most out of the exercise, and gain assurance of the future success of the system, airspace users are strongly encouraged to treat the warm-up exercise day as if the airspace restrictions were in place.

Therefore for a flight that will use the Restricted Zone airspace pilots should file a flight plan to seek an acceptance code before flight and then contact Atlas Control at the appropriate stage during the flight.

Air Commodore Gary Waterfall, RAF Air Officer Combat Intelligence, Surveillance, Target, Acquisition and Reconnaissance, said: “The opportunity on 13th July to exercise as much of the Air Security Plan as possible will be an important step before the full airspace restrictions come into force a day later. The Ministry of Defence continues to work in collaboration with a number of Government agencies to ensure we play our part in the conduct of a safe, successful and enjoyable Olympic Games for all to enjoy. I urge all users of the air to help us to help them enjoy the freedom of the skies with the minimum of restriction throughout the period by providing timely and relevant information regarding movements and the honouring of airspace restrictions.”

Full details of the day are available on the ASI Olympics website. To help ensure that the Olympics restrictions work as smoothly as possible Atlas Control may contact a selection of airspace users that fly in the Atlas airspace on Friday 13 July to seek feedback and share information on the event. This will occur post flight.

Phil Roberts, CAA Assistant Director of Airspace Policy, said: “All those involved, and particularly the GA associations and community at large, have been undertaking excellent work to ensure that we are as prepared as possible for the major changes that the Government’s Olympics airspace restrictions will bring. These final three warm up exercises, particularly the event on 13 July, will be vital elements of that work and we encourage as many pilots as possible to take part. As a PPL myself I’ll be filing a flight plan on 5/6 May as part of my contribution to these important preparations.”

For further information please contact the CAA Corporate Communications team on 020 7453 6030 or press.office@caa.co.uk

For the latest information on Olympics airspace issues visit www.airspacesafety.com and subscribe to the ASI twitter feed at twitter.com/airspacesafety

Notes to Editors:

The Airspace & Safety Initiative (ASI) is a joint CAA, NATS, AOA, GA and MoD effort to investigate and tackle the major safety risks in UK airspace.