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Radio phraseology when transitioning a MATZ

Transitioning Leuchars recently and the controller when giving me my clearance said something like "time 1009" (the transmission was not that clear), to which I said to my girlfriend " if that bugger thinks its just after 10 in the morning he needs to buy a decent watch or stay out off the officers mess, its almost 3 in the friggin afternoon and why the hell does he think I need to know the time anyway". Then in dawned on me it was the QNH.

Did I hear him incorrectly with the "time" thing or do the the military use different terms for pressure settings and why?

Farm strip in Angus Scotland

QFE I guess for a MATZ crossing :)

Gloucester UK (EGBJ)

I always find it amazing to hear military controllers 'clearing' civil aircraft through a MATZ and giving instructions about permitted altitudes and routes. As though such a clearance is required.

Always make a point of talking to them as a matter of courtesy, but they would do well to remember that civil aircraft need no permission or clearance to do anything in a MATZ.

I avoided talking to Benson for a bit when their southern stub came in, because their controllers liked to chew up the airwaves giving information about traffic a few thousand feet above intercepting the 9L localiser for Heathrow. They also used to tell the instructors and students to "report ready to commence general handling". I think they've sorted themselves out now.

Did once have Leuchars very firmly instruct me "no further north of your current position" during a transit. While one accepts there is a reason for it and just complies, it does get one thinking "hang on, I don't require your permission to be here and I don't have to do as you say, so please don't behave as though I do".

On the flip side, I'm amazed how many PPLs I hear calling Brize and asking for MATZ transit. The controllers are very patient and never point out that their airspace is a control zone rather than a MATZ.


I think that the situation is somewhat more complicated.

By talking to an Approach frequency (which is effectively what the MATZ frequency is) you are tacitly agreeing to fly according to their instructions, albeit they don't have authority outside the ATZ.

Thus, I think that though you have the right to fly through Leuchars MATZ without talking to them (a stupid idea if I ever did hear one!), if you do talk to them you are obliged to follow their instructions.

Thus, I think, you don't need a clearance, but if you ask for one, you have to follow it.

I am not 100% clear about this, because the law is pretty vague, but that is my understanding.

EGKB Biggin Hill

Back in the mists of time when I was doing my PPL, the qualifying cross country went through the edge of Shawbury MATZ. My instructor warned me not to let them bugger up my plog by sending me miles off course, and just say "unable due requirement to remain VFR" if asked to go on a Cook's Tour by the Matz controller.

Have I used that ruse since? That would be telling!

Barton is my spiritual home.

Isn't it interesting how different people view things. IMHO a MATZ controller is there to help protect me from a close encounter with something travelling a lot faster than I am likely to be able to avoid or possibly even spot. I don't see that as an imposition but as welcome assistance. If idiots like that instructor are teaching students to ignore them because they legally can then all that will happen is they will become CAS and we have enough of that in the UK already thanks.

Gloucester UK (EGBJ)

That MATZ controller has two options; he can give a student pilot vectors around his (UHF) mil helos perhaps leaving said stude confused and way off plotted course and with a problem, or he can vector his mil helos around the stude.

I know which of those is safer!

Barton is my spiritual home.

This is how I see it:

  • It is recommended (but no obligation) to get in touch with the unit when you want to operate inside the MATZ. Get a Traffic Service or similar.

  • There is no need to ask for a MATZ transit once you have established contact. If for safety reasons they can't have you inside they will tell you.

  • MATZ is uncontrolled airspace and not all intentions of all traffic within it are known. Therefore instructions should be seen as advisories. There is no legal obligation to comply, however such instructions should be seen as for your own safety.

According to Cap 413 (Supplement) While it is not mandatory for civilian pilots to establish radio contact with the appropriate military unit when entering a MATZ, if your planned track passes through or near one, it is strongly recommended that you call on the published VHF zone frequency at least 15 miles or 5 minutes flying time before the MATZ boundary, whichever is sooner. You should request MATZ and, if you intend to route through it, ATZ penetration. When crossing a MATZ or Combined MATZ (CMATZ) it is the responsibility of the pilot to ensure that permission is obtained to transit each individual ATZ embedded within it. You may ask the controller to obtain these clearances on your behalf.

Military units use QFE in the circuit area, instrument pattern and, except for a small number of units, for MATZ penetration.


There is no legal obligation to comply, however such instructions should be seen as for your own safety.

hmmm....maybe not as such, but Endangerment is a catch all.

EGKB Biggin Hill
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