Solent squawk trial
Solent controlled area was the most infringed in 2015, so a listening squawk trial is running between 1 August and 16 October
The CAA says that the number of UK controlled airspace infringements is rising year-on-year, and currently circa 1,000 per annum, with an airspace infringement on average once every five daylight hours. The Authority has been working closely with several airports, their Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPS), and UK flying organisations to introduce new mitigations. It says, ‘Infringements of controlled airspace are a serious aviation risk which results in a reduction of controlled airspace efficiency by: a) Increasing the workload of air traffic controllers and complexity of the controlling task; b) Increasing the workload of IFR pilots at critical stages of flight; and c) Increasing air traffic management and airport delays.’
The CAA believes the use of listening squawks (Frequency Monitoring Codes) has played a key role in helping to mitigate some of the risks from such infractions, and it is sponsoring a Collaborative Airspace Trial covering Southampton Control Zone (CTR) and Solent Control Areas (CTA) — one of the most infringed areas, with 125 cases in 2015 — between the ANSP and pilots.
The trial is one of several infringement mitigation and prevention measures sponsored by the CAA to try and change pilots’ behaviour before considerating structural additions to the airspace such as introducingtion transponder and/or radio mandatory zones. Success will be measured by a reduction in the number of airspace infringements of the Southampton CTR and Solent CTA whilst having as minimal an impact as possible on commercial and GA aircraft operation within the designated area. ‘There is no obligation to partipate,’ says the CAA, ‘but we will take participation into account for any aircraft involved in an infringement during the trial.’
Between 1 August and 16 October 2016, the basis of the trial is that, within the Class G airspace depicted in the chart, pilots of all aircraft are expected, as a minimum, to:
a) In radio/transponder-equipped aircraft, select listening squawk 0011 and Mode C (ALT) (if equipped), and listen-out on 120.225 MHZ.
b) Radio-only-equipped aircraft should call Solent Radar on 120.225 MHZ stating only callsign, position and altitude. No additional details are required unless requested. Acknowledgment of this call does not amount to the provision of a Basic Service but pilots are to report leaving the frequency so Solent Radar can maintain accurate traffic awareness.
c) In non-radio/non-transponder-equipped aircraft pilots should operate as normal and plan to remain clear of controlled airspace unless previously negotiated with ATC.