Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

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By Hazel C
#1788544
So it'll likely be Biggin to Lydd to Southend and back, via Margate to make up the miles

Just reading some of the more recent comments on SD regarding Southend, it sounds like you get a free frisking with every visit!


Hi Nero,

Having flown into Southend twice now, heres some advice. Lovely friendly tower, good to newbies. However, bear in mind that they do have Easyjets there and tend to like you to get on with it. I was given a straight in approach number one to an airbus! If yo come into Sarfend via the south, then the pier and Dartford bridge are good way points.

Study the plate first. I managed to taxi past the EasyJet ramps! Be prepared and know your marshalling signals as you will be marshalled to the GA parking. Dont forget your yellow gilet as there is a long walk to the pilots entry building. The people there are lovely, no frisking on either occasion. Although this could be down to the fact that I am actually an Essex Girl and grew up about 5 miles down the road from Sarfend airport, speak the local lingo and got talking about the schools we went to!

As to Avgas, make sure you are fuelled with as much as you can take for your round trip - or make sure you go when BBMF are not there. I arrived after BBMF had just landed and they had guzzled all the avgas! Luckily I had enough for both ways, and am incredibly BBMF friendly, so forgave them :lol:

Hope this helps, and enjoy Sarfend if you go there.....make sure you ahev a Rossis Ice Cream :wink:
By ChrisRowland
#1788549
The last few days Benson has been NOTAMED closed. The MATZ is inactive but the ATZ is still in place.

Call Benson on 120.900 but don't be surprised if you don't get a reply. Broadcast your intentions and carry on.

There is no legal requirement for a civilian aircraft to call to get permission to enter a MATZ. Good practice though, If you are learning then very good practice and they will clear you through.

Looking at that route I'd go straight over Benson above the ATZ but through the MATZ. Call but don't expect or rely on a reply. After that directly over EGTK above their ATZ but with their frequency and listening squawk. They may call and you can negotiate a level that suits you and them. Then set up an arrival at Enstone. Call, but don't expect a reply.
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By Nero
#1788551
Hazel C wrote:enjoy Sarfend if you go there.....make sure you have a Rossis Ice Cream :wink:


Haha thanks for this. Shame, I mean good news about the lack of frisking!

It will likely be this route according to my instructor and I look forward to it. Mixing with the big boys with my Student prefix. They'll love hearing that

I've studied the plate, watched the Flying Reporter fly there and I know the landmarks of the Thames estuary and North Kent very well. So that's three big ticks

I do need to brush up on marshaling but, sad yet true, there's a bit of it in xplane that I was using during lockdown

There'd be no trouble switching into my natural sarf London accent but I don't normally venture into Essex. I'll just ask them if they saw Arsenal's ludicrous display last night...
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By Nero
#1788553
ChrisRowland wrote: After that directly over EGTK above their ATZ but with their frequency and listening squawk.


Thats a good point there. I hadn't looked at Oxford's plate but there it is, they would like you listening and squawking

Pilots operating in the vicinity of Oxford Airport and maintaining a listening watch only on Oxford App freq 125•090 are encouraged to select SSR code 4517


So I guess it's good practice to check every plate of every aerodrome you may pass near?

What does "vacinity" actually mean?

If I was talking to Oxford AAIA, Brize Radar or London Information at the time, I'd have to ask to switch to Oxford Approach just to listen and squawk, right?

Appreciate this route would take me right over them so makes more sense to definitely talk to them but what in the above I mean if you were passing abeam them at some distance
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By Rob P
#1788567
The point of a listening squawk (Frequency Monitoring Code) is that you DON'T talk to them.

One thing to remember is that directly above an airfield, once at a level greater than any overhead join (usually circuit height plus a thousand feet) there is unlikely be any traffic belonging to that airfield. Joining traffic will have descended before getting there, departing traffic will be heading off on route.

You'll find when asking for transits inside airspace the controllers will most readily grant routes that cross their active runway at right angles.

Vicinity? Your interpretation. If I'm planning a route in the UK the first thing you look for in comms is the LARS units. They have radar, they can give you a traffic service. Even under a basic service they are likely to call significant traffic - but don't bank on it.

London Information is not a LARS unit, there is very little of benefit to you to be talking to them unless you want "information". What's the latest METAR for Glasgow? Are the Southend ranges active? If you don't need that sort of help, leave them in peace.

So, if you aren't getting a LARS service, and there's no more significant unit closer then tune to the frequency, put on the listening squawk and just listen out for your call sign. You are doing exactly what they want. If you are going to infringe or bump into anyone they'll give you a shout (probably)

Aircraft don't fly by radio. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.

You have my sympathy. I can recall being at your stage and fretting that I'd never understand who I needed to talk to. It comes with experience, but in the UK if you aren't in controlled airspace, Class D and above, you don't have to talk to anyone. Outside the crowded South East you can spend happy hours in blissful radio silence chatting to your passengers.

Rob P

Note: If anything above contradicts what your instructor tells you, he is right and I am wrong - while you are his student. Instructors will suggest you talk to all manner of people like London Info. This is to give you radio practice, not because you'll get any other benefit from it.

Rob P
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By Rob P
#1788571
We all were :D

None of us were born SkyGods despite what we pretend.

Some of us are still trying to reach that status :lol:

Rob P
Hazel C liked this
#1788608
Nero wrote:Mixing with the big boys with my Student prefix. They'll love hearing that


I don't know if you were aware of the history, but the Student prefix was actually introduced after this fatal accident at Southend:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/542304d140f0b61342000ba3/Cessna_F150L__G-BABB_07-07.pdf

Safety Recommendation 2007-050

The Civil Aviation Authority should instigate the use of a suitable prefix, for use in civil radiotelephony, to signify a student pilot, flying solo.

Safety Recommendation 2007-051

The Civil Aviation Authority should amend the Manual of Air Traffic Services Part 1 and the Radio Telephony Manual (CAP413) to emphasise to controllers that pilots identifying themselves as students have limited ability, which must be taken into consideration when issuing instructions.
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By Hazel C
#1788709
[quoteThere'd be no trouble switching into my natural sarf London accent but I don't normally venture into Essex. I'll just ask them if they saw Arsenal's ludicrous display last night... ][/quote]

Hahah, but as we all know London Accents are NOTHING like Essex accents... :lol: We're a good bunch in Essex really, despite what TOWIE may suggest....

Very helpful and very reassuring to hear you were once the same :)


As Rob says, we all were, some of us worse than others :wink: It took me 5 years to train and I never thought i'd get that blue book. But it came eventually, so stick with it, you'll look back in a few years and think "Why did I ever find such and such so difficult..." ...then you'll be onto taildraggers...... :D
By AlanC
#1788730
Rob P wrote:One thing to remember is that directly above an airfield, once at a level greater than any overhead join (usually circuit height plus a thousand feet) there is unlikely be any traffic belonging to that airfield. Joining traffic will have descended before getting there, departing traffic will be heading off on route.


Oxford (and Gloucester) being exceptions to this with the amount of instrument training traffic that can be holding for a while - I've been in the hold there fairly recently at FL70 and shuttling down one by one... Well worth giving them a call before routing through the overhead, otherwise they will call you a little later than ideal, ie once it's clear your track is a beeline through the overhead rather than merely nearby. The listening squawk is, I think, of more use there for traffic transiting with 10nm or so of the airfield but remaining outside the lateral confines of the ATZ, since it allows a bit more discussion about the instrument approaches.

As has previously been discussed, a VFR transiting aircraft may well have right of way over an aircraft on the approach, but that requires the instrument training aircraft to see and realise!
By ChrisRowland
#1789193
What I found on the one occasion that Oxford called my listening squawk was that there was plenty of time. They had a couple of people in the hold and we agreed an altitude at which I could pass without upsetting them, or me.

Transiting 10 nm Norh of them at 3000 ft would have put me through the middle of their ILS.
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By Nero
#1789338
That's all been very useful insight into what may happen and what may be best to do over different locations away from my home field. Thanks all

Not long back from my lesson. Usual jaunt to Lydd from Biggin Hill. Very, very hazy! Took off in 5-6km visibility

Which struck me. This is legal. But I don't particularly like this. I definitely won't be flying in this in the immediate hours post-PPL!

At least it gave me an appreciation of personal minima and what I'd be happy with as a new pilot.

Lot clearer down at Lydd and we did some cirtuis which all went very well. All sorts of different things going on with traffic in the circuit, someone practicing RNAV approaches from the 'wrong' way (i.e. heading towards me as I'm landing). So I had late calls, orbits, hold down winds.

Which is all great! Ticks all the boxes that they want me to have exposure to before first solo.

The instructor actually said I'd have been solo today if we'd been at a farm strip. So fingers crossed the stars will align for my first solo next lesson in two weeks time!!

~ Scott
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By Hazel C
#1789619
Yay! Fantastic news, definitely a good sign if you instructor is thinking given the right conditions you can go solo!

Always good to experience unusual or challenging conditions with your instructor first :D
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