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UK CAA exemptions to SERA cloud clearances in airspace >= class D

The exemptions that allow clear of cloud below 3000 feet and 140 knots that the CAA have from SERA expire today – when the exemptions were put in place it was said to be temporary while the CAA formulates the final and permanent set of exemptions.

However, I’ve seen nothing new from the CAA. Anyone got an inside line into what’s happening? It’s quite important for those of us in the northern UK – for instance, even on a really nice day, there’s usually a FEW layer at EGNS at 1200 feet, meaning to comply with the letter of SERA there will be probably less than 10 days a year you can legally fly VFR there (in reality, I suspect everyone will just ignore it and continue on as they had before, which isn’t really very satisfactory)

Andreas IOM

Thanks. My Google-Fu wasn’t strong enough apparently to find that document!

Andreas IOM

I don’t understand why an exemption is needed. Does D go to the ground also outside the control zone?

The elephant is the circulation

Yes, it usually does, and most UK airports with class D airspace have enormous amounts of class D to the surface. Generally it’s not a problem (at least in the north) to get a clearance through it. Half of the Isle of Man is covered in class D to the surface, their controlled airspace is enormous. But even it it weren’t, it would still be a problem if you ever needed to go into EGNS because there’s almost always some sort of cloud layer between 1200 and 1500 feet here regardless of how nice the weather is. Flying circuits at 500 feet to remain 1000 feet below a SCT layer doesn’t strike me as particularly safe (or courteous to the neighbours).

See below, the shaded area is class D to the surface.

It would be a particular problem for us as the only place we can get avgas is EGNS and they won’t dispense it in jerrycans, so we have no option but to fly in and top off the tanks. Now if they were to strictly enforce the SERA rules, there would be very few days a year we could get fuel and meet the cloud clearance requirements (and this would be true even if the class D was only a 2.5nm radius from the airfield centre).

Last Edited by alioth at 04 Aug 10:49
Andreas IOM

I once asked an ATC why in UK we don’t have “inverse wedding cakes” instead of big strech of Class D, the offcial answer was that keeps twins flying in one engine inside airspace (also to deal with any non mode C), it is debatable how much of that is true as 1/ they have A320s not B747s/A380s, 2/ how many actually flew on one engine and 3/ can be acheived by layers of piece of cake

(his off the record answer was: we are not connected to the airways route bases unlike city/heathrow….so big chunck of D airspace to make sure those few 1000’ft in class G are ok-ish)

Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

Ibra wrote:

it is debatable how much of that is true as

The best counterargument is, I think, that once you are in a low-performance OEI position, then the additional risks of flying in uncontrolled airspace will add very little to the total risk of CAT ops.

It is already accepted that OEI aircraft may follow contingency routes defined by the operator without clearance. (Because ATC wouldn’t know about these routes.)

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

alioth wrote:

So, unless something changes, you will require a positive clearance to enter the LLR

This bit is not logical.
But rules are not always logical.

I think something get misinterpreted in the discussion between LAC and MAnchester ATC or the text wasn’t proof-read correctly.

There is no reason to change the current arrangements when the conditions are VMC according to SERA.

Nympsfield, United Kingdom

I really can’t get my head around this. The SERA rule is ridiculous when applied to the UK construct of airspace.
When you may want 1000 ft vertically from cloud is in uncontrolled airspace when someone unannounced could pop out of it.
In the UK we’re nearly always on ‘Radar Control’
when in class D. So what’s the likelyhood of surprises.

United Kingdom

I believe you wanted to say “the UK construct of airspace is ridiculous, especially when taking into account the SERA rule”…

EPKP - Kraków, Poland
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