The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today confirmed that a temporary Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ) will be put in place around London Southend Airport. The RMZ, which was requested by the airport operator, will go live on 18 July 2014 and will remain in place until a decision is made regarding the airport’s application for controlled airspace. The CAA will review the RMZ in spring 2015.
In its request to the CAA, the airport suggested the establishment of an RMZ would allow air traffic controllers to provide enhanced traffic information and de-confliction advice to aircraft landing or taking off at Southend. This will augment the safety measures employed by existing air traffic control procedures.
London Southend Airport, which sits within Class G airspace, has seen a significant increase in commercial air transport movements in the last two years. The airport completed its consultation on establishing controlled airspace in the vicinity at the end of December 2013 and formally submitted an airspace change proposal in June 2014.
Although an ATC clearance is not required, to gain entry to an RMZ, a pilot must establish two-way communication with air traffic control before entering, they must then remain on frequency while in the zone unless instructed otherwise*. Pilots planning to fly through the Southend RMZ will need to contact Southend on 130.775MHz before entering the zone. Aircraft not fitted with radios can still operate in the RMZ providing the pilot is able to co-ordinate arrangements with Southend ATC prior to departure.
Phil Roberts, Head of Airspace, Air Traffic Management and Aerodromes at the CAA, said: “Radio Mandatory Zones enable air traffic controllers to provide a greater level of traffic information to pilots in a designated piece of airspace. This naturally reduces the risk of airborne conflicts occurring. We agreed with the London Southend Airport proposal that an RMZ would, on a temporary basis, help protect all airspace users and maintain safety levels for commercial operations at the airport - while not introducing an unacceptable burden on private pilots.” Chart of Southend RMZ
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*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.