Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#1632333
I took my first jaunt across the Channel on Friday and found 2 things that were slightly awkward to deal with that I'd like to understand how to make better for next time.

1. Opening a flight plan

I'm based at Sandown IOW, which is a very nice place by the way, should you ever fancy a short journey across some water :)

The air/ground radio there doesn't have the facilities to open a flight plan, so I decided I'd ask London Information to deal with it for me ... and my word, that place is nothing short of a jungle! I have no idea how they cope with the load, let alone the poor quality and poor reception of the radio of half the users on there, the controller must be some sort of super human!

Sooooo, in similar situations what does everyone else do?

I think next time I'm going to get Solent Radar to do it for me. If I do that do I need to add them to the 'Address' section of the Flight Plan, or is that only necessary for the destinations that you're actually visiting. Ie can they just open it on the 'system' without actually needing to receive the flightplan prior.

Also, if I don't open it, is that a problem? So far as concerns crossing an international boundary, i assume the flightplan being in existence and them having it, without a departure time isn't sufficient?

2. Danger crossing service

After I'd opened my flight plan, I then switched to Plymouth Military to get a crossing service for D036 ... who weren't there :? So I then switched back to London {the jungle} and asked them, to be told that the danger area wasn't listed as active...

Again, what do people normally do in this situation? Am I better off simply phoning Plymouth before I leave, or will they not answer the phone either?

Col :)
#1632341
Yes, you do need to activate your flight plan for it to have any effect. London Info is the best option for you. Remember that they are covering a large part of the country and have the benefit of a network of receivers. This is how they can hear aircraft in the Midlands that you cannot.

Plymouth Military are still on summer hols - it is NOTAMed. Again London Info are your first point of call for a DACS.

I have telephoned Plymouth Mil twice and both times got the impression that a random person was walking past the phone and answered. They had no idea what I was talking about (requesting status of a DA). On the RT they have all the info at their finger tips and very helpful.
#1632343
Yes, phone Plymouth Mil. If flying on a weekend there's no problem in calling them on the Friday to check their plans the confirm on the day. Most are weekdays only anyway - see chart/AIP/SkyDemon.

Opening your flight plan with London Info is the most trouble free way, I think - but as you say, sometimes a bit of patience is needed (on both sides of the RT link...)

There's a one page GA guide from the MOD on the cross Channel Danger Areas; I'll see if I can dig out a link in a bit, unless somebody beats me to it.
#1632352
Part of your problem is that Sandown is so close to the Channel and the Danger areas.
You are only just airborne and you need to activate your flightplan and cross the danger areas within a few minutes of getting airborne. Departing from further north, we have more time to get this sorted out.

1) you can’t legally open your flightplan until you are airborne.
2) you can’t rely on getting a phone call to London Mil.
3) you need to be practical and consider flying around the island for a few minutes after takeoff, whilst you sort out your flightplan and find out which danger areas are active and update your route accordingly.
#1632376
zhastaph wrote:I think next time I'm going to get Solent Radar to do it for me. If I do that do I need to add them to the 'Address' section of the Flight Plan, or is that only necessary for the destinations that you're actually visiting. Ie can they just open it on the 'system' without actually needing to receive the flightplan prior.

Also, if I don't open it, is that a problem? So far as concerns crossing an international boundary, i assume the flightplan being in existence and them having it, without a departure time isn't sufficient?


Solent Radar wont do it so you would end up calling London Info and having to be patient.

I would not cross the international boundary before activating the flight plan. There is a chance it could have been lost or cancelled even if your method of submitting the flight plan indicates it went in ok.
#1632390
Simple answer. Get up earlier.

A departure around 0700 local will get you into France at 0900 local and London Info are blissfully quiet at that time.

Rob P
#1632445
Tall_Guy_In_a_PA28 wrote:I have telephoned Plymouth Mil twice and both times got the impression that a random person was walking past the phone and answered. They had no idea what I was talking about (requesting status of a DA). On the RT they have all the info at their finger tips and very helpful.

Air Danger areas are often referred to by a totally different nomenclature by the average pongo/fish-head. :roll:
I remember my supervisor at Farnborough phoning our local Army DA telephone number and asking 'is D133 active' and they didn't know what he was on about; had he asked if the Deepcut/Pirbright ranges were active he would have got an intelligent response. :thumleft:
#1672296
Plymouth Military will be able to pass you up to date information on frequency once you are airborne and approve your crossing, activity dependant. The activation times of the Danger Areas are all published in the AIP and Notamed outside of these times when required. Plymouth Military Radar hold the Danger Area Crossing Service 0800-1700 Mon-Thur and 0800-1400 Fri. Outside of these times the DACS is held by Swanwick Military. London Info provide DAAIS H24, again all published in the AIP.
Calling the published phone number will get you through to the operations department who operate H24.
The type activity taking place within the danger areas changes constantly and sometimes at short notice, so even if you do call on the phone to get and idea of what is happening inside the danger areas, it does not constitute a crossing clearance. You should always call the DACS or DAAIS unit once airborne to gain a clearance to transit.
GeorgeJLA liked this
#1672774
Rob it's not as easy as just getting up earlier ( I wish! ) when your airfield planning permission won't let you take off that early.

Some times we have relocated the day before to get around that problem only to end up with the aircraft sitting outside at another airfield and having it weathered in for days :cry: