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Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:45 pm
by ManniK
I see much excitement about LARS. Just in case someone needs a bit info on this. It's still a good service as it was ages ago despite many closures. Ok, a few gaps in the country side. But with modern tech the stations can fill that in. Assuming you climbed, get in touch with Swanwick if you really need help. They don't openly admit it, but they can look further down and will help. LARS units usually cover up to 10000ft and have a theoretical range of 30NM around the station.
Below a link to the latest LARS units (all VHF) as of today. I hope it connects.
On the eAIP go to 6-Enroute and download page 6-11 LARS.
Fly safe.
https://www.aurora.nats.co.uk/htmlAIP/Publications/2021-03-25-AIRAC/html/index-en-GB.html

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:58 pm
by riverrock
When chatting to Prestwick controllers a few years ago, as they could fill in quite a big gap, they said the money provided wouldn't be enough to make it viable for them. They often only staff "Prestwick Radar" when they are expecting inbound / outbound aircraft - instead the tower controller covers the frequency, and the display in the tower isn't clear enough to provide a consistent radar based service.

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:54 am
by chevvron
ManniK wrote:I see much excitement about LARS. Just in case someone needs a bit info on this. It's still a good service as it was ages ago despite many closures. Ok, a few gaps in the country side. But with modern tech the stations can fill that in. Assuming you climbed, get in touch with Swanwick if you really need help. They don't openly admit it, but they can look further down and will help. LARS units usually cover up to 10000ft and have a theoretical range of 30NM around the station.
Below a link to the latest LARS units (all VHF) as of today. I hope it connects.
On the eAIP go to 6-Enroute and download page 6-11 LARS.
Fly safe.
https://www.aurora.nats.co.uk/htmlAIP/Publications/2021-03-25-AIRAC/html/index-en-GB.html

I read somewhere in the AIP that Swanwick will not provide services in Class G airspace below FL70 and if you need a service call your neaest LARS unit (if it's open :twisted: ).
Farnborough LARS sectors can use several radars that were originally intended for medium/high level IFR traffic but with Debden and Pease Pottage being sited on high ground, the low level coverage is excellent; I always used Debden 23cm rather than the Stansted 10cm when doing LARS North because of its superior low coverage.
Bovingdon 23cm didn't come on line until after I retired so don't know what that's like.

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:55 am
by chevvron
riverrock wrote:When chatting to Prestwick controllers a few years ago, as they could fill in quite a big gap, they said the money provided wouldn't be enough to make it viable for them. They often only staff "Prestwick Radar" when they are expecting inbound / outbound aircraft - instead the tower controller covers the frequency, and the display in the tower isn't clear enough to provide a consistent radar based service.

It's important to remember that LARS funding from NATS ERL sources is a fixed sum every year split between all LARS units so that if a 'new' LARS unit started operatng, the money to all the other ones would be reduced.
When I last did LARS, the money provided to each civil LARS unit wouldn't even pay for a single controller.
I doubt if the CAA would allow the tower controller to provide LARS when providing ADV/ADI; the concession as far as I'm aware is only to allow minimum staffing for your own arrivals and departures in 'light traffic' conditions and prior to this, tower controllers were specifically banned from providing any type of surveillance based service.

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:46 pm
by rikur_
chevvron wrote:
I doubt if the CAA would allow the tower controller to provide LARS when providing ADV/ADI; the concession as far as I'm aware is only to allow minimum staffing for your own arrivals and departures in 'light traffic' conditions and prior to this, tower controllers were specifically banned from providing any type of surveillance based service.

I'd better not mention a LARS unit that's been providing radar in the tower during Covid then. :wink:

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:38 pm
by AlanM
rikur_ wrote:
chevvron wrote:
I doubt if the CAA would allow the tower controller to provide LARS when providing ADV/ADI; the concession as far as I'm aware is only to allow minimum staffing for your own arrivals and departures in 'light traffic' conditions and prior to this, tower controllers were specifically banned from providing any type of surveillance based service.

I'd better not mention a LARS unit that's been providing radar in the tower during Covid then. :wink:


Radar In the Tower happens at a lot of UK units (Bristol and others) - Providing an APPROACH service to that runway is different to LARS of course.

Do tell. Happy to be proven wrong!

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:17 pm
by rikur_
@AlanM I might be misunderstanding the detail on this.
Are we saying that if a LARS unit operates a combined tower/approach position from the VCR (which is what I understand is meant by 'radar in the tower') that they can't provide a LARS service?
If so, that leads to the pedantry of what is a 'LARS service' in this context? Is it the use of radar? And therefore a basic service would be allowed, but not traffic/decon?

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:33 pm
by AlanM
It is not quite pedantry. A LARS unit is defined. Look at Farnborough Approach and Farnborough LARS - different roles entirely and listed as such. If you are saying that an approach control unit as listed in the AIP is providing you with a radar service in lower levels then that is different. That said, the procedures for airports that I have worked with recently had very clear, published rules for operating using radar in the tower. Max number of aircraft, traffic expectations etc. You cannot control the number of aircraft freecalling on LARS frequencies - hence it not (AIUI) being allowed.

It prevents me from doing the TCL (Terminal Control) function of 125.205 with Jersey Tower 119.455. It is possible for us to bring in Approach 120.305 with Tower 119.455. Guernsey have this ability because they do not have the TCL endorsement in use.

Again, if you know of a LARS unit and a tower combined I would be interested to know of where and how.

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:54 pm
by rikur_
Thanks @AlanM that's helpful.

The unit I experienced this at goes by the callsign of 'xxxx radar', albeit is listed in the AIP as being an APP, RADAR, and LARS all on the same frequency. It is not a dedicated LARS service (albeit sometimes when they are busy, they split approach from radar, and effectively create a dedicated radar/LARS position).
At the times I've had the 'radar in the tower' service during Covid, there were 3 - 4 aircraft on frequency, including ground movements. I'm fairly sure I only requested a basic service, albeit was given aspects of a radar service. I was operating in the vicinity of the ATZ / approach but OCAS.

That's where my pedant question comes from - it that a LARS service? or just a service in the vicinity of an airport? I'd request and expect similar from any approach unit regardless of whether they are listed as a LARS provider.

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:02 pm
by AlanM
@rikur_ - OK - I see your point. Most radar controllers can offer a radar service Outside of CAS - often out to 40nm but that doesn’t need to be from a LARS unit of course (oddly we cannot).

I still find it hard ti see how having a LARS frequency bandboxed with a Tower frequency is permitted. I am not saying you are wrong by the way!

PS which LARS unit (I guess one without a CTR) is offering that Tower & LARS service?

Re: LARS Units Closure

PostPosted:Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:39 am
by riverrock
From the outside, a tower controller offering a radar based service to aircraft outside controlled airspace will look and sound the same as a dedicated LARS controller. You don't ask for a LARS but a traffic service.