Polite discussion about EASA, the CAA, the ANO and the delights of aviation regulation.
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#1525477
I was idly reading SI2017/02 as recently published by the CAA when I spotted that is notification that SERA is being implemented in CAP493 (aka MATS Part 1) with effect from 24th April 2017. In particular, the wording of Section 2, Chapter 1, para 6A.2 reads:

SI2017/02 wrote:6A.2 Except for helicopters using a “Police”, “Helimed” or “Rescue” callsign, ATC shall not issue any further VFR clearances to aircraft wishing to operate in accordance with VFR to or from an aerodrome, or enter the aerodrome traffic zone, or aerodrome traffic circuit, of an aerodrome within Class D airspace when the official meteorological report at that aerodrome indicates, by day or night, a ground visibility less than 5 km and / or a cloud ceiling less than 1500 ft (SERA.5005(b)(1)&(2)).
[snip]
Note 2: UK General Exemption ORS4 No. 1195 enables the pilot in command of an aircraft to transit Class D airspace in accordance with VFR by day, remaining clear of cloud with surface in sight and an indicated airspeed of 140 kt or less, with a flight visibility of 5 km or for helicopters, a flight visibility of 1500 m.


Note that ORS4 No. 1195 only provides an exemption for aircraft wishing to transit the Class D airspace outside of the ATZ and circuit pattern under SERA5005(a). It does NOT provide an exemption to aircraft wishing to take-off, land or fly within an ATZ under SERA5005(b)!

ORS4 No. 1195 wrote:1. The Civil Aviation Authority [snip] exempts any aircraft being flown within the UK at or below 3,000 feet above mean sea level and within Class D airspace from the requirements of SERA.5001 (VMC visibility and distance from cloud minima) Table S5-1 and SERA.5005(a) (visual flight rules) [snip] when it is flying in accordance with the conditions in paragraph 2.
[snip]
Explanatory Notes:
1) This exemption does not include exemption from the requirements of SERA.5005(b) (Visual Flight Rules).


SERA wrote:SERA.5005 Visual Flight Rules (pages 40-41)
(a) Except when operating as a special VFR flight, VFR flights shall be conducted so that the aircraft is flown in conditions of visibility and distance from clouds equal to or greater than those specified in Table S5-1.
(b) Except when a special VFR clearance is obtained from an air traffic control unit, VFR flights shall not take off or land at an aerodrome within a control zone, or enter the aerodrome traffic zone or aerodrome traffic circuit when the reported meteorological conditions at that aerodrome are below the following minima:
(1) the ceiling is less than 450 m (1 500 ft); or
(2) the ground visibility is less than 5 km.


If I've read this correctly, it means that with effect from 24th April 2017 (i.e. about 5 weeks away), airfields whose ATZ intersects Class D airspace such as Redhill, Denham, White Waltham, Derby, Gamston, Netherthorpe, Sandtoft, Barton, and probably others I've not spotted will be unusable for take-off or landing if the cloudbase is below 1500' or the visibility on the ground is less the 5km without a Special VFR clearance, and that SVFR clearance can only come from the Class-D ATC, not the tower at the field you want to actually land at.

Can someone please tell me how I've misread this?
#1525573
Is there a formal Sera definition of the word within? Quite a few dictionaries seem to say "enclosed by the boundaries of something". So an atz like WW would not be within Heathrow zone by that definition as the atz itself is not enclosed by it.
#1525711
I'm not sure I follow you, Paul. Last time I checked, all runways were inside the ATZ...

If I'm reading correctly (and that's the question I originally asked), under CAP493 as of 24th April 2017 it will be illegal to fly VFR with a cloudbase under 1,500' in Class D airspace for the purposes of taking off, landing or flying a circuit (transits are OK). Let's assume we're at White Waltham where the eastern half of the ATZ is actually inside the London CTR which is Class-D airspace (AD 2-EGLL-1 section 2.17). This means that the final approach for runways 21, 25 and 29 are all inside the London CTR, so you wouldn't be allowed to fly a VFR approach with a cloudbase below 1500' - SVFR might be an option if Heathrow clear it since it's their Class-D that you're flying through. You could make an approach to runways 03, 07 and 11, however a go-around would leave you flying "in the aerodrome traffic circuit" in VFR in the CTR which is also a no-no. If that wasn't enough, AD 2-EGLM-1 section 2.17 states that the whole of the Waltham ATZ is Class-D anyway, so the rules may apply to all runways anyway. I think this would mean that there is no runway at White Waltham available to a VFR flight when the cloudbase is below 1500' - but I'm desperately hoping someone can prove me wrong.
#1529985
Something else to think about here.

When the reported meteorological conditions at aerodromes in Class D airspace reduce below a ground visibility 5 km and / or a cloud ceiling 1500 ft, both by day or night, ATC shall advise pilots of aircraft intending to operate under VFR to or from such aerodromes, and request the pilot to specify the type of clearance required
. my bold.

Does "reported meteorological conditions" mean that each aerodrome within Class D now needs a Met Observer? Or will an "unofficial observation from the tower" suffice?

Also how, for example, is Heathrow (the controlling authority for the EGLL CTR) going to know what the met ob is at, say, Fairoaks, so that they can continue with the blanket VFR entry allowed currently?

EASA is quite prescriptive in these matters, so I'm assuming (never a good idea) that a "proper" met ob is needed.

Also, what constitutes an "aerodrome?" In my dim and distant memory I seem to recall that an aerodrome is any landing site. Does this not cover helicopter landing sites then? How do they get a met ob?

Lots of questions I know, but CAA don't seem to have made this any clearer.

BEX
#1529993
Nothing there says Met conditions have to be reported at any and every airfield or landing strip or helicopter landing ground. But if they are reported (e.g. Northolt metar within Heathrow zone) then anyone going there is asked to specify entry clearance
#1530024
Ahh, but what about this

6A.2 Except for helicopters using a “Police”, “Helimed” or “Rescue” callsign, ATC shall not issue any further VFR clearances to aircraft wishing to operate in accordance with VFR to or from an aerodrome, or enter the aerodrome traffic zone, or aerodrome traffic circuit, of an aerodrome within Class D airspace when the official meteorological report at that aerodrome indicates, by day or night, a ground visibility less than 5 km and / or a cloud ceiling less than 1500 ft (SERA.5005(b)(1)&(2)).
[snip]


The way I read it, no met observation, no VFR clearance. If Heathrow don't know what the "official met ob" is, then they can't issue a clearance. This would affect all the agreements to allow VFR flight in the EGLL CTR to / from places like Fairoaks.

?
BEX
#1530065
But surely that particular quote just says "poor official report at the airfield for take off/landing itself, no vfr" yet my answer was for strips, helicopter pads, aerodromes, etc, not issuing official reports.
#1530074
So, if there's no "official met report" then that's ok, ATC can issue VFR clearances to enter, land at, and depart any aerodrome in Class D. ?

If this is the case then it would suggest that not having an "official met report" is a good thing, as it enables ATC to issue a VFR clearance into Class D to land / depart regardless of the weather.?

Not sure what EASA define as an aerodrome, but as I said, I seem to recall that this could be any landing site

BEX
#1530084
BEX wrote:..
Not sure what EASA define as an aerodrome, but as I said, I seem to recall that this could be any landing site

BEX


IIRC from my (BoT) Air Law exam (last one I took in UK!), it is 'any body of land or water .. set aside for the taking-off or alighting of aircraft'

So a farm strip sometimes used for grazing (or cricket), or an area of a Loch not marked off with buoys and also used for waterskiing, is not an aerodrome
#1530093
Well done! :thumright:
I can't find anything from EASA but from the CAA's CAP168

AERODROME
A defined area on land or water (including any buildings, installations and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure or surface movement of aircraft.


For me, I think the big change is that for ATC to issue a VFR clearance into or out of Class D, for any aircraft intending to land or take off at any aerodrome within that Class D (could be anywhere, see above), ATC need an official met report at that "aerodrome"

This isn't the same as the aerodrome that is nominally in control of the Class D. To me it implies that the met ob is required from the aerodrome that the aircraft is intending to land at.... which could be almost impossible as the aerodrome could be any almost piece of land (see definition)

BEX
#1530283
BEX wrote:
For me, I think the big change is that for ATC to issue a VFR clearance into or out of Class D, for any aircraft intending to land or take off at any aerodrome within that Class D (could be anywhere, see above), ATC need an official met report at that "aerodrome"

BEX

I don't know whether that is true. But it's certainly not a conclusion to be drawn from your earlier quotation. That states that a clearance shall not be given when weather report is for less than EASA baseline. It makes no mention of any other possibility, e.g. absence of weather report. Why conclude something which is not there?