TAG Farn­bor­ough’s un­ac­cept­able gold plat­ing

Pilot - - AIRMAIL - John Rus­sell, Brack­nell, Berk­shire

I have heard many re­quests from Farn­bor­ough ATC ask­ing Gen­eral Avi­a­tion air­craft to di­vert from their flight pro­file, to ac­cede to Farn­bor­ough’s sep­a­ra­tion re­quire­ments. Each of th­ese re­quests was made in a po­lite and cour­te­ous way and re­sponded to pos­i­tively by the air­craft. Af­ter the sit­u­a­tion has been re­solved, the GA pi­lot was thanked and he/she replied in a sim­i­lar vein.

Surely this is a good ex­am­ple of how to con­duct hu­man in­ter­ac­tions? A re­quest is made for as­sis­tance, the re­spon­dent is ea­ger to help, the prob­lem is solved mu­tu­ally and the two par­ties sep­a­rate cor­dially.

On the oc­ca­sions when Farn­bor­ough ATC have asked me to de­vi­ate from my flight plan, I have al­ways been happy to do so. I re­garded the ex­tra ef­fort a small price to pay for the free LARS (lo­cal area radar ser­vice) I have en­joyed through­out the UK. TAG Farn­bor­ough say that they re­quire cer­tainty of com­pli­ance, rather than the cur­rent ar­range­ment where a re­fusal may cause a prob­lem. Pro­vid­ing ‘gold plat­ing’, by hav­ing con­trolled airspace that al­lows GA ac­cess only on TAG’S terms, is un­nec­es­sary and un­ac­cept­able. Even their wa­tered-down pro­pos­als will have a tan­gi­ble ef­fect on my­self and many other pi­lots. At least there are signs that the CAA are re­al­is­ing that gold plat­ing is counter-pro­duc­tive. I hope that their new vi­sion can see through th­ese airspace change pro­pos­als and re­ject them in due course.

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