Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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User avatar
By defcribed
#1647170
EDIT: Mods, I accidentally put this in non-aviation - can you move it please? Sorry!

I know that when people talk about getting zone transits Bristol often comes up as a particularly challenging example.

My usual response is that if you sound competent and request something sensible in good time then you'll probably get through, followed by adding that I've never been refused a transit.

Last Saturday I flew in that general area and thought I'd test the perceived difficulty of Bristol.

I asked for a simple south to north transit overhead the field at right angles to the runway in use, and the controller could not have been less helpful. First response after I requested the transit was to tell me that they don't provide LARS, to which I replied I know that I want a zone transit. She told me to standby and remain OCAS, then came back to say that a transit wasn't possible in a sort of tone that suggested I shouldn't be asking. I also heard her refuse one other aircraft. I listened to both Radar and Director and they were simply handling about one CAT arrival every 5-10 minutes, taking them down from the airways into the CTA and then the CTR before handing over to Tower.

Yes yes yes, I know that I can't be sure of other factors affecting the controllers decision. I know I can't possibly understand because I'm not a controller, and I know they're all brilliant professionals who never have a bad day and never get pushed around by the commercial agenda their management might have. But it is surprising.

If Gatwick can do it then why can't Bristol? Sounds like an 'exclude extraneous aircraft' policy to me, and perhaps they need reminding of the responsibilities that go with having Class D airspace delegated to them.
Last edited by defcribed on Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By PaulB
#1647171
So can this be reported anywhere?
User avatar
By Dave W
#1647203
Moved as requested. On a practical note, it is always better to contact the Mods, or an individual Mod, directly either by PM or the "Report post" function rather than to make a comment within a post which we may or may not see.
User avatar
By James Chan
#1647206
The arrivals / departures board gives a good idea as to when the airport is at its busiest with scheduled flights: https://www.bristolairport.co.uk/arriva ... s/arrivals. This excludes unscheduled movements such as GA.

But I suggest having a conversation with the controller/unit on the phone afterwards and ask what was going on and, if you still feel you've been unreasonably denied a transit, then you can file a FCS 1521 form so that the CAA can investigate: https://apply.caa.co.uk/CAAPortal/servl ... =fcs1521v2

There's VFR-transitable airspace from the ground up to FL105 and even more for IFR so am surprised every level was occupied.
Last edited by James Chan on Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By GolfHotel
#1647209
The culture at Bristol seems to have changed. They used to be pretty good about transits. Now as you say the first thing they as is we don't do LARS, usually with a tone to the voice.

Having said that the last time I tried, going to the rally, I was immediately given the requested transit. So its certainly not all bad, by a long way.

One of the things I like about ATC abroad is they don't seem to need to say RCCA as the first thing they ask. I was refused a transit at Bournmouth last week. So just for his information I advised I would be routing stony cross to Beaulie at 1700ft. I didn't as for a service but he gave me a code and "cleared me" not above 2000ft. I do understand why they do it, but it also pi55es me off. Guess on that I should chill out a bit.
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By Talkdownman
#1647217
GolfHotel wrote:say RCCA as the first thing they ask. I was refused a transit at Bournmouth last week. So just for his information I advised I would be routing stony cross to Beaulie at 1700ft. I didn't as for a service but he gave me a code and "cleared me" not above 2000ft. I do understand why they do it, but it also pi55es me off. Guess on that I should chill out a bit.

It's because UK GA pilots cannot be trusted to remain outside controlled airspace... :bom:
Ben K, Hawkwind liked this
User avatar
By Mikey
#1647219
I would make a point of asking the reason for refusal. Having to come up with an excuse might be a deterrent for them to refuse you next time.

Although I expect they'll just say "controller workload".
User avatar
By joe-fbs
#1647221
There is a system for reporting refusals. I have felt the need to use it once. I happened to be talking to a mate who moves in that world and he knew of my report. It was one of only about three in the last year so either: we are all getting transits (I usually do); we cannot be bothered to report refusals; or no-one knows about the system.
User avatar
By gasman
#1647223
Returning from the Saucats Fly-in in September I transited to the East of Bristol zone.
I selected the listening squawk and was appalled at what I heard over a 10 minute period:

A student pilot on a solo cross-country exercise requested a basic service - he was lamblasted and told abruptly that Bristol do not offer any service OCAS.

Three requests for zone transit were met by “I’m far too busy to accept transits, remain OCAS”.

A aircraft orbiting at the Clifton bridge was chastised for drifting into cas - the pilot replied that he was awaiting zone entry to return to the field, had been told to orbit and had clearly been forgotten.

Bristol did not seem particulary busy at he time .

When I landed I Googled Bristol ATS and was not suprised to learn that they are a NATS unit.
Last edited by gasman on Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Dave W
#1647226
@gasman, that's disappointing to hear. In the LARS days I engaged with them frequently and my memories are over-ridingly positive.

The controllers were typically friendly gusting very friendly, proactive and generally helpful. I wonder what has changed to result in attitudes such as those you describe? I've heard similar stories from other sources, although for balance I have also heard of more positive engagements like those in the "old days".
User avatar
By PaulB
#1647228
Their job is presumably to protect the traffic that drops out of airways to them. Presumably the easiest way to do this is to not allow any other traffic in. Clearly, any transit or provision of any service OCAS is going to be additional workload for them and also potentially a risk.

Is the airspace theirs to manage as they like or are there rules or conventions on how airspace should be made available to all traffic?
By jacekowski
#1647230
PaulB wrote:Is the airspace theirs to manage as they like or are there rules or conventions on how airspace should be made available to all traffic?


One of the requirements for an airport to have class D is that they do not refuse transits without a very good reason.
Last edited by jacekowski on Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rob P, Flying_john liked this
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