Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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#1590473
James Chan wrote:[

Biggin used to have a second (cross) runway.


I didn't realise they'd closed 11/29 as I never go there.
In that case, how come they still have a 2.5nm radius ATZ when they're only entitled to a 2nm radius one? Has anyone told the CAA? :twisted:
Reducing the Biggin ATZ will make a massive (0.5nm) difference to traffic wishing to transit 'Mig Alley' to the south of it whilst it will be easier to sneak past to the north west and avoid the ATZ too :x :wink:
#1590695
JonathanB wrote:Some people here seem to be under the misapprehension that adding another controller to a position would help to alleviate capacity issues, but this simply isn't the case. You can't just split sectors down to smaller and smaller pieces or you suddenly increase the complexity of co-ordinating between tiny sectors in which aircraft are only inside for a short period. This would also increase R/T loading as frequency changes are happening more regularly. There is a balancing act here between sector size, capacity and workload. I would suggest it's not a simple formula.


Perhaps not, but if you have a dedicated desk on one frequency (let's call them 'Zone') to handle transits and another on a different frequency ('Approach'/'Radar') for arrivals and departures then that presumably makes things easier? Or does it not, because they have to talk to each other to get anything done?

What I don't quite understand is how Gatwick can, every single time without fail, fit me in for a crossing overhead their threshold (which presumably involves Director talking to Tower, since I have to talk to both of them) and yet other zones around the country are much less accommodating even though they've much lower volumes of traffic.

That's a geniune question to any of the controllers out there - it isn't sarcasm.
kanga liked this
#1590709
I didn't realise they'd closed 11/29 as I never go there.
In that case, how come they still have a 2.5nm radius ATZ when they're only entitled to a 2nm radius one? Has anyone told the CAA? :twisted:


I think it is because the declared TODA of 03 is 2174 metres and therefore they are entitled to 2.5nm radius. But if it is based on TORA or LDA then Chevron is correct it should be 2nm, but I do not know which of the declared distances is used to determine the ATZ.
#1590719
There is a monthly meeting held at the airport for all users and tenants (the February meeting was today), chaired by Will Curtis (MD) with a number of the airport managers, covering ATC, security, property and safety. The representation from private pilots is light, typically half a dozen or so, today less than that.

Personally I feel that the airport has been upfront about the direction its going in, it might not be what we want to hear, but at the end of the day it needs to be paid for and GA doesn't cover the bills. Its not going to be a budget airport and GA will continued to be welcome for those that are prepared to pay for the services offered.

I fly from both a farm strip and Biggin Hill (since 2001) and there are advantages to both. For example, our aeroplane at the farm strip was recently broken into resulting in us being about £1,000 out of pocket (we got off lightly compared with others), whereas at Biggin Hill we take for granted the 24-hour security. With a mile of tarmac, fire service, ATC, border force, ILS, lighting, its actually good value. That said, I don't particularly enjoy having to orbit 5-6 times downwind because of jet traffic on a 10 mile final, but that tends to only happen when its busy at weekends. The PPR system works well enough, typically a response comes back in 5 minutes, its just a case of remembering to do it!

The issues with controller workload, TCAS alerts, coordination with London, the use of advanced ATM, split frequencies (ground vs tower or approach vs tower) have been explained and discussed at the meetings in some detail.

So I'd strongly encourage those pilots based at Biggin that would like to help shape and influence the future to join the meetings (there is even a buffet lunch provided), although I appreciate that 12:30 on Tuesdays isn't the easiest for people with day jobs.
#1590723
Flying_john wrote:
I didn't realise they'd closed 11/29 as I never go there.
In that case, how come they still have a 2.5nm radius ATZ when they're only entitled to a 2nm radius one? Has anyone told the CAA? :twisted:


I think it is because the declared TODA of 03 is 2174 metres and therefore they are entitled to 2.5nm radius. But if it is based on TORA or LDA then Chevron is correct it should be 2nm, but I do not know which of the declared distances is used to determine the ATZ.

Ref a CAA Policy Statement entitled 'Policy for Establishment and Dimensions of Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ)' dated 17 February 2016.
TODA/TORA/LDA has nothing to do with it, the criteria is based on 'the length of the longest runway'.
An airfield with a runway less than 1850m can have a 2nm radius ATZ; an airfield with a longest runway more than 1850m can have an ATZ of 2.5nm radius.(yes even Heathrow) Dunsfold at 1880m could also have 2.5nm if it were licensed.
A 'special case' was written probably aimed at Biggin because a 2nm ATZ centred on runway 03/21 (1820m) would mean the eastern end of runway 29 would be less than 1.5nm from the outer edge of the ATZ, so the CAA added that where a 2nm ATZ means the end (not threshold) of any other runway would be less than 1.5nm from the ATZ boundary, they can have a 2.5nm radius ATZ. I don't know of any other UK airfields to which this paragraph might apply.
As runway 29 at Biggin is no longer used as a runway, this 'special case' no longer applies, so the airfield should revert to having a 2nm ATZ, which it did originally when the ATZ dimensions were first revised in the '80s.
Last edited by chevvron on Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
#1590748
I flew in to Biggin Hill last summer and it was good value. Something like £30 for landing and weekend parking on the Southern Apron. I wouldn't mind paying a little more. I'll probably still go there occasionally as it's convenient for visiting friends in South London.

It seems odd that they are indicating the light GA will be pushed out, having plenty of resource to support it - the southern apron is vast and hardly used, self serve fuel pumps etc. all of which will have required investment to provide. I can't think there is much call for self serve 100LL outside of the light GA scene!
Spam cans parked on the southern apron aren't going to be visible to the folks riding around in the shiny jets on the main apron, so I can't think there's a genuine 'image' issue.

If the issue is that they don't want lots of circuit bashing, there are places only a few minutes flying time away where that can be done. That was the arrangement for a while at the strip I did my PPL from and it was no big deal.

Someone else suggested they have accepted a lower annual movement limit in return for night flights. I guess if that's the case and you need to cap usage then it makes business sense to sacrifice the smaller/cheaper end of the market. Whether they are close enough to the annual limit to warrant such action I don't know.
#1590766
Flying_john wrote:What I was getting at is that whereas in the Pooleys it says runway length 1802 metres (03/21), the AIP now has 2174 metres of total ruway length. So doesn't the physical runway length of 2174 not put Biggin into the greater than 1850metres category ?

2174 is the TODA for runway 03; TODA for runway 21 is 1803m. Physical runway length as you call it is still 1820m.
TODA (Take off distance) = length of licensed TORA (takeoff run; 1778m for 03 and 1670m for 21) plus clearway where the clearway is a cleared rectangular area at the end of the take off run where an aircraft can make its initial climb. The clearway does not form part of the paved surface.
#1590794
Aha - that makes perfect sense now, I didn't realise it was only the bit between the threshold markings at each end , I thought perhaps they took into account the paved areas at the beginning and end - well you live and learn.

So next time i'm accused by Biggin of FLYING OVER THE VILLAGE I can remind them there ATZ is not the correct size :mrgreen:
kanga liked this
#1590817
chevvron, I wonder if you have lost context again?

The initial letter from Biggin was about difficulties of ATC integrating traffic. Here you are suggesting their ATZ should be reduced even further to 2nm?

Approach Control in Class G is already rather ridiculous.
#1590830
Ref control / class G, yes, I'm sure it won't be long before there is yet another grab for class D airspace in the South, which would be bad for GA, as it could shut off the corridor between Heathrow & Gatwick. Sigh.

Ref some of the other comments. It's a shame that a workable comprise can't be found for the flight schools on the field. I thought there was an agreement for the schools to use Redhill for circuit training, which seems reasonable. Biggin is a good airfield to train at, especially for those people that are looking to pursue a career as a commercial pilot, as they get the experience of dealing with ATC and mixing with commercial traffic, but it is probably not the best place for 10-15 hours of circuits as part of the initial PPL training.

The flip side to all of this, is that if the airfield is not commercially viable, then its prime real estate for house builders. I'd prefer to see the airfield survive with GA retaining access to the facilities offered, accepting that its inevitable that we will have to pay a greater proportion of the costs than we do today and fit in around the jet traffic.
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