As a PUT who is learning near Shawbury can I ask whether it is best practice to ask for basic or traffic service from a MATZ?
You need to understand who and what does what. A MATZ is an area of airspace which is marked on a chart and normally associated with a military aerodrome. It's an ATSU (Air Traffic Services Unit) that provides ATSOCAS (Air Traffic Services Outside Controlled Airspace). In some cases, like Shawbury or Lakenheath, they'll be associated with a military aerodrome (at least in name).
If the ATSU has radar it can give you the full range of ATSOCAS and generally I'll go for traffic service. A basic service is useful only if you need a bit weather info or to get the local QNH or whatever, a traffic service will alert you to some of the traffic round and about, a deconfliction service will get you vectored all over the sky avoiding traffic that is unlikely to be a factor.
May I ask a differnent question, related but still slightly OT: If, for example on a weekend, I want to cross an ATZ (lying within a MATZ), call up the relevant controller and don't get a reply, can I assume the military aifield is not active? Can I then cross the ATZ?
Unless....you are flying at the aerodrome. In that instance you are not in contact with anyone yet you are inside the ATZ. I am thinking of examples like doing circuits at a military aerodrome during the weekend, but I suppose in that instance you have already booked in prior to the end of ATC for the weekend and have permission to be there even though the tower is shut.
Bepy pilot wrote:I would advise calling or at least listening in on the Tower frequencies of the airbase you are passing at the weekends when the approach you would usually call for MATZ transit is closed. Air force bases are often busy with club traffic, gliders and para-drops at the weekend and a very quiet MATZ is no guarantee that no one is around. Unfortunately the tower frequencies do not appear on the chart and a copy of Pooley's or a SkyDemon PLOG is probably required.
I believe in the case of Boscombe Down, they either use, or monitor the approach/radar frequency on the weekend for the Grobs and such. You can speak to them on it sometimes if they're doing circuit training - though that stays within the ATZ.
peterh337 wrote:On a related topic, can anyone explain why some mil units have such bad radios?
It's a little while since I have talked to Benson but they were the worst I have come across down here.
You mean since Lyneham closed?
For an ATZ:
Rule 45 states that an aircraft shall not fly, take-off or land within the ATZ of an aerodrome unless the commander of that aircraft has obtained the permission of the air traffic control unit at the aerodrome or – where there is no air traffic control unit – has obtained from the aerodrome flight information unit at the aerodrome, information to enable the flight within the zone to be conducted with safety or – where there is no air traffic control unit nor aerodrome flight information service unit – has obtained information from the air/ground radio station at that aerodrome to enable the flight to be conducted with safety.
What if there is no A/G person on the "G" part of it, and communication is Air to Air?