Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#356456
A while ago I read a topic where members were discussing various theories as to the rationale behind the classification of our airspace. I promised I'd get a definitive answer and get back to members. Unfortunately it tool longer than expected and I can't find the original topic. So apologies for posting this as a new topic. Here is the answer I received from our fantastic Senior ATC here in Jersey.

The simple answer as to while we have Class A airspace is that back in the 80's we had more traffic than Gatwick!.....bet that surprises you. Anyway, things are different now and moves are afoot to change the classification.


Brief History

The United Kingdom Government signed the Chicago Convention on behalf of
Jersey - this has been confirmed by the Foreign Office in UK.

The Channel Islands Communications Zone was a radio communications area
from the period 1935-1939. Its shape and area were different and
smaller from the present Channel Islands Control Zone.

The Channel Islands Control Zone was established as a CTR under the ICAO
provisions in 1947 which were finalised at European and Mediterranean
Regional Air Navigation Planning Meetings (EUM-RAN). At that stage the
CICZ lay across the Gloucester, London, Paris and Brest FIRs up to a
height of 3,250 feet. The second EUM-RAN meeting clarified the shape of
the CICZ and set a height of 3,250 feet. This was subsequently approved
when the EUM-RAN plans were approved by ICAO when it came into existence
after the PICAO phase before 1948.

As faster piston, turbo-prop and jet aircraft came on the scene, the
height of the Channel Islands Control Zone was raised from 3250 to 5000
feet in the 1950s, then to 11,000 feet and , lastly to 20,000 feet in
1965.

The Channel Islands Control Zone is defined legally in a Memorandum of
Understanding between the French and British Governments. This
Memorandum of Understanding gives life to the Channel Islands Control
Zone when Jersey Airport is open i.e. on a daily basis from 0515 until
Airport close. Jersey may open the Zone by notifying Brest and London
for things such as ambulance flights or if Guernsey or Alderney Airports
need to remain open.

Notwithstanding all the foregoing, when the Channel Islands Control Zone
is not operational overnight then the airspace ceases to be CICZ
airspace (Class A) and reverts to being Class E airspace in the London
FIR and the Brest FIR.

The Jersey Zone used to handle a large amount of civilian commercial
traffic and, as a consequence, the whole area was designated Rule 21
Airspace. This was later changed to Class A Airspace. Back in the late
1970s and certainly up to middle of the 1980s, we used to handle more
traffic than Gatwick. We used to delight in telephoning Gatwick on a
Saturday evening to discover that they had handled say, 534 air
transport movements and we had handled 573 in the same period of time.
Sadly, those days are gone now and for a long time we have given
consideration to changing the Classification of the airspace below 3,000
feet to facilitate GA aircraft more easily
#356464
Bridget wrote: Anyway, things are different now and moves are afoot to change the classification.


Yay! :thumleft:

Thanks for taking the time to research and post that, Bridget (and SATCO Jersey). Who'd have thought it?

A fascinating bit of history. Imagine - a "Gloucester FIR". :shock: What other FIRs were there, that make up what's now EGTT, I wonder?
By Bridget
#356470
It was my pleasure Dave W. I'm passionate about our beautiful island and wanted to set the record straight and dispel some of the myths propounded on the previous thread. I'm always trying to encourage forumites to visit us. We're a very friendly bunch at the aeroclub.
User avatar
By derekf
#356471
Keep spreadikng the word Bridget - I suspect we'll get a few visitors during tennerfest time :thumleft:
By Bridget
#356474
Hope so......by they way only one more written exam to go.....Airplane Technical - a little bit tricky as while the boys at De La Salle were learning the Otto cycle I was at the Convent, learning to crochet a lace cover for a sugar bowl.....and a very long scarf (we were into Doctor Who at the time)
User avatar
By Keef
#356478
Go for it, Bridget, and thanks for the information!

I've braved the Class A a few times, and found the ATC folks nothing but friendly. In fact, M and I are overdue another visit. When the trusty steed gets back from Marrakech and from its 50 hour/Mode S and intercom upgrade...
By Bridget
#356482
They are very friendly and the best thing anyone can do is to say "I don't understand" when they are confused. It might not be perfect R/T but it's better than pretending to understand. I spent 3 hours in the Tower a few weeks back and was amazed at the number of pilots say "Wilco" or whatever and then by their actions show they really did not understand or hear correctly what was asked of them. I find learning in the zone to be very comforting as they are there to look after us (this is what the SATCO said to me).
User avatar
By flybymike
#356513
An interesting post Bridget. Many thanks for reasearching it for us.
I can't help wondering though, how Jersey managed to convert their rule 21 airspace into Class A airspace, whilst other airports previously also classified as rule 21 (eg Manchester) managed only a class D classification when the new ICAO codes were introduced!
Mike
User avatar
By Peter Pan
#356516
Thanks Bridget - very interesting info. Jersey ATC have been nothing but helpful in manouvering me across the channel! I've always been surprised that it is SVFR when I can bimble through Manc airspace in class D (ok well not bimble :shock: )

PP
User avatar
By Pitts2112
#356535
Bridget wrote:It was my pleasure Dave W. I'm passionate about our beautiful island and wanted to set the record straight and dispel some of the myths propounded on the previous thread. I'm always trying to encourage forumites to visit us. We're a very friendly bunch at the aeroclub.


You're on, Bridget! In fact, I and a few mates are coming your way this coming weekend. I hope you've got enough grass to park up 9 Pitts Specials for a couple of nights!

Any recommendations on good pubs/restaurants that shouldn't be missed?

Pitts2112
User avatar
By dublinpilot
#356721
Thanks Bridget.

I'd asked the same question on another site some time ago, and never got a real answer.....just speculation and theories. It's nice to see a proper answer!

One thing concerns me though...

Sadly, those days are gone now and for a long time we have given
consideration to changing the Classification of the airspace below 3,000
feet to facilitate GA aircraft more easily


I don't know how others feel, but as a GA pilot, I'd certainly see that as more of a restriction than as a facilitation.

Let me explain.

The trip across to the Channel Islands involves a long water crossing. Being in a single engined aircraft I like to go across as high as possible.....certainly above 5000ft. This is currently possible in the class A airspace on a Special VFR clearance. If all airspace below 3000ft was down graded to class B, C or D, and the airspace above 3000ft was to remain class A, then the the class A airspace would be a CTA or a TMA. Unfortunately a SVFR clearance is only available in a CTR, and not in a CTA or TMA.

If effect all VFR traffic would be forced to cross the water below 3000ft. Hardly an improvement on the current situation.

dp
User avatar
By flybymike
#356831
Thats a good point DP. On the other hand, a reclassification would remove the ten kilometre visibility restriction for SVFR
By johnm
#356832
Lets hope it's done soon then I can file IFR to Alderney with my trusty IMC :shock: