Aeronca Alan wrote:At the moment, Cardiff ATC in effect, and rightly or wrongly (it's academic), separate VFR traffic from IFR traffic. I don't see what the difference will be if I am in receipt of a SVFR clearance. Is there a difference?
I'm guessing that what you're referring to here is the routine practice in the UK of ATC units in Class D providing vertical separation of 1000ft between IFR traffic and VFR traffic that's below it. It's not in any rules but it's standard practice. But what they do not and cannot do is separate IFR and VFR traffic horizontally - i.e. by a specified distance. All they do is provide traffic information to both parties and issue a clearance limit to the VFR traffic to ensure there is always some horizontal distance between them.
The difference with an SVFR clearance is that ATC must provide minimum 3nm horizontal separation between IFR and SVFR traffic. The separation can't be vertical because SVFR clearances are always "not above xxxx ft" so the traffic could be at any level below that.
So on a SVFR clearance, if you're crossing the airport, or indeed departing from/arriving at it, there has to be a minimum 6nm gap between IFR inbounds/outbounds to allow your transit. In practice it has to be significantly more than that because it's a dynamic situation with inbounds closing on the airport at around 3nm/min. The result will be SVFR traffic orbiting 3nm away for as long as it takes for a gap to emerge, then a frantic rush to get across to 3nm the other side of the runway. For a typical light aircraft that will take a minimum of 4 minutes - much more if you're given the crossing clearance when you're at the back side of an orbit and you're crossing against a headwind. ATC at many locations will quickly conclude that the controller workload in managing this is unacceptable and they will simply stop issuing SVFR clearances.
You have until Friday to submit your response to the CAA. I hope as many of you as possible will submit.