Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By David Wood
#1796333
Flyingfemme wrote:But I had no hard proof of what I had submitted - only a receipt number, which could have been anything.


I've rather given up with the various 'easy' ways to do it. Nowadays (well, prior to lock-down) I fill in the excel-based sheet and just email it to the Border Force. That way I know it's done and it's easy to be able to show that it's done.

Mind you, in at least 50% of cases in the last 5 years or so I have still had to go through the following pantomine upon landing:

Tower, "Welcome back. Please phone Border Force urgently"
Me, "OK"
Border Force (by phone), "We see that you've just flown in from [wherever]. Why haven't you sent us a GAR?"
Me, "I did"
Border Force, "Well, we didn't get it"
Me, "Well, I was emailed to you at [whatever] time."
Border Force, after a pause, "Ah yes, here it is. Sorry."

It's literally the same conversation. They are always perfectly friendly and civil and I guess they have a lot to do, but each time I've had the impression of someone leafing through an over-flowing in-tray covered in coffee cups.
#1796338
That's my current preferred option. If I know the local Border Force team they get a copy as well as NCU. At least I have a proper record of what I filed and when. I miss the days when they would come out, have a cuppa and stamp our forms outbound!
#1796664
Flyingfemme wrote:...... I miss the days when they would come out, have a cuppa and stamp our forms outbound!


In those good old days, at Bristol they would arrive with the Duty Free that you'd ordered too!
#1796674
With it being like this now, wait until they have finally taken back control.

:roll:
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By OXF-OPS
#1796678
Interesting thread - we'd recommend, sadly, the belt & braces approach - i.e. fill in the GAR form, MS Word or MS Excel version, save file and/or scan as PDF too, then e-mail both the original file and scanned PDF to both the GAR Guidance notes-recommended portals/addressees AND, CRITICALLY, the airport Operations desk you are flying into and certainly well within the requisite time-frames. DO NOT think that being under 12 hours for say the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland etc. is not a big deal. It's hassle and burdensome, but until the online system is fool-proof (obviously use if you can), stick with above.
#1796679
No. I use an old WORd template that was produced by a member of this illustrious forum...quite a few years ago. It is still accepted by everyone I have sent it to, including the Irish agency.
#1796682
It is strange how experience varies. I finally rationalised my overblown collection of flying software this year.

Last year, I used Garmin Pilot for IFR flying, Skydemon for VFR flying and RocketRoute for flight plan filing, IFR route finding and GAR filing. A really expensive setup. When Foreflight implemented graphical NOTAMs and various other improvements to its VFR side. I made the jump and ditched Rocket Route and Garmin Pilot.

I am now route planning and flight plan filing (both VFR and IFR) with Foreflight, and I use the government web-based tool for GAR filing.

After a couple of cock-ups (user error) trying to get the tool to remember my aircraft and commonly transported passengers, I haven't looked back. On a recent trip into Belgium, I was told that they are integrating their GENDEC filing tool with the UK tool so that shortly it will be possible to file there too via our gateway. The Dutch are already happy with a printout/PDF of a UK GAR filing.

I am sure that there will always be commercial tools that do more, sooner - but the government tool is free and it works even it isn't the slickest bit of programming ever to grace the internet.
Last edited by 2Donkeys on Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ibra liked this
#1796694
OXF-OPS wrote:...AND, CRITICALLY, the airport Operations desk you are flying into...


Sorry, have to disagree there. The airport has no right to see a GAR and no part of the process as documented contains any suggestion that it must or should receive a copy. If we're nitpicking then the airport having sight of it (with the detailed personal information it contains) creates a data protection issue.

The immigration paperwork is purely a matter between the pilot/operator and the relevant authorities - it is nothing to do with the airport. I don't doubt that the airport having a copy might help the Police and Border Force figure out what's going on, but that's their problem.


2Donkeys wrote:I am sure that there will always be commercial tools that do more, sooner - but the government tool is free and it works even it isn't the slickest bit of programming ever to grace the internet.


As it should be. If the government places an administrative requirement like this on citizens then it should provide a means of compliance. It would be unreasonable to require citizens to purchase commercial services in order to comply.
2Donkeys, Dusty_B liked this
By OXF-OPS
#1796708
defcribed wrote:
OXF-OPS wrote:...AND, CRITICALLY, the airport Operations desk you are flying into...


Sorry, have to disagree there. The airport has no right to see a GAR and no part of the process as documented contains any suggestion that it must or should receive a copy. If we're nitpicking then the airport having sight of it (with the detailed personal information it contains) creates a data protection issue.

The immigration paperwork is purely a matter between the pilot/operator and the relevant authorities - it is nothing to do with the airport. I don't doubt that the airport having a copy might help the Police and Border Force figure out what's going on, but that's their problem.



You are correct that the official written GAR guidance does not say 'copy to your destination airport', but we see every GAR for every international aircraft coming in here, our Border Force/Police liaison channels expect us to see them, they ask us to ask the operators/pilot's for them when an intl. flight plan has been filed, or a handling request, PPR etc. lodged. If we haven't seen one, we chase by default - it's a red flag. It is an anomaly in the 'system', but we absolutely expect to have copies of GARs, every time and Border Force expect us to as well. We follow GDPR regs of course.
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By defcribed
#1796713
OXF-OPS wrote:You are correct that the official written GAR guidance does not say 'copy to your destination airport', but we see every GAR for every international aircraft coming in here, our Border Force/Police liaison channels expect us to see them, they ask us to ask the operators/pilot's for them when an intl. flight plan has been filed, or a handling request, PPR etc. lodged. If we haven't seen one, we chase by default - it's a red flag. It is an anomaly in the 'system', but we absolutely expect to have copies of GARs, every time and Border Force expect us to as well. We follow GDPR regs of course.


I've never sent a GAR to an airport (Oxford or elsewhere) and never been chased for one by an airport. If I was chased, I would politely decline to provide it and if pressed on the matter explain why.

It's not an anomaly, it's just nothing to do with the airport. The airport's management and staff have no role in the GAR process whatsoever. The airport doesn't get a copy in the same way as the pilot's dentist doesn't get a copy. Your liaison channels expect it of you because it makes their lives easier and saves them keeping tabs on the comings and goings at Oxford. You're basically doing part of their job for them.

I don't doubt that this might be the simplest way for you to do business. Presumably the Police and Border Force can make your lives difficult if they want to and compliance with their request is the prudent thing to do. But please don't tell people that it's how the system is supposed to work and that sending a copy to the airport is a requirement. It quite clearly is not.

A slight shame to read this because Oxford is such a cracking airport from a light GA perspective.
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By chevvron
#1796717
defcribed wrote:I've never sent a GAR to an airport (Oxford or elsewhere) and never been chased for one by an airport. If I was chased, I would politely decline to provide it and if pressed on the matter explain why.

It's not an anomaly, it's just nothing to do with the airport. The airport's management and staff have no role in the GAR process whatsoever. The airport doesn't get a copy in the same way as the pilot's dentist doesn't get a copy. Your liaison channels expect it of you because it makes their lives easier and saves them keeping tabs on the comings and goings at Oxford. You're basically doing part of their job for them.

I don't doubt that this might be the simplest way for you to do business. Presumably the Police and Border Force can make your lives difficult if they want to and compliance with their request is the prudent thing to do. But please don't tell people that it's how the system is supposed to work and that sending a copy to the airport is a requirement. It quite clearly is not.

A slight shame to read this because Oxford is such a cracking airport from a light GA perspective.

True it's not policy now; they want you to send the via NCU, (and assume a GAR had been filed) but when I started at Fairoaks in 2008, it definitely was the policy at least for the local BF office at Farnborough that the operator sent us the GAR and we were expected to forward it to UKBF, HMRC and ( if required) SB.
I've read a report from Sywell the the Luton UKBF office used to operate this system too.
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By Flyingfemme
#1796721
I don't generally send a copy to the airport. We used to do it at Staverton when Border Force had a presence there and the lovely briefing ladies would walk a copy into their office! Now Border Force have their own email and we send direct.
For foreign airports with handling agents, the handlers generally require a copy so they have pilot/pax IDs for formalities, which they arrange. TBH it's easier than trying to get to grips with yet another system that I will not use very often.
I'm giving the government site another go this morning because I want another pilot to file his own GARs.......will report back in due course.
User avatar
By James Chan
#1796724
I have never been asked by an aerodrome for the GAR form. Similarly I have never submitted one directly to any aerodrome either.

I can see where it could be helpful for them to have a copy as they can ring enforcement if they notice anything suspicious.

If this is going to be the case then the electronic GAR system needs to be amended so that, where UKBF policy permits/expects and there are assurances around GDPR etc, it is automatically distributed to the aerodrome's relevant department. As submitting things electronically should not need to involve manually submitting it twice.

Also, an aerodrome may refuse permission to land if they believe the required paperwork is not in place.
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