<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to Pilot Magazine today click here

Brize Norton/London-Oxford airspace: a battle we cannot afford to lose

PUBLISHED: 15:34 22 February 2018

Pilot Airspace Update: Brize Norton/London-Oxford ACP

Pilot Airspace Update: Brize Norton/London-Oxford ACP


Consultations launched by Osprey CSL on behalf of RAF Brize Norton and London-Oxford Airport outline what could represent one of the most devastating blows to light aviation ever seen in the already congested airspace of southern England

By Steve Slater, CEO, LAA

The combined Brize Norton/London-Oxford (Kidlington) Airspace Change Proposal would increase the existing area of controlled airspace almost threefold-a scale which is totally disproportionate to even the most optimistic calculation of air traffic movements for the two airfields.

UK airspace policy, as laid down by the Department for Transport and the CAA, says that restricted airspace must be fully justified: this proposal runs contrary to that. Worse, the proposal is poorly designed, giving no recognition to flights outside the controlled airspace and taking no account of prominent ground features used by light aircraft for visual navigation, such as the M40 motorway and the giant runway at Upper Heyford. In addition, the twelve extra segments of controlled airspace have bases at seven different heights-making it a prime target for

Dangerous pinch points

North of Oxford, the proposed controlled airspace would extend to Barford St John, just south of Banbury. This creates a pronounced pinch point, meaning traffic which cannot, or chooses not to enter the Class D airspace will route within one mile of Hinton in the Hedges, which is both a busy GA airfield and a very active parachute drop zone. According to London-Oxford, this northward extension is required to accommodate procedural approaches to its Runway 19 (although few such approaches are made), thereby justifying blocking east-west traffic from a heavily-used swathe of airspace north of Oxford, and restricting and excluding those operating from Weston on the Green, Shotteswell, Bicester, Hinton and Enstone, as well as several private airfields in the area.

The combined proposed Class D airspace will disrupt both N-S and E-W traffic The combined proposed Class D airspace will disrupt both N-S and E-W traffic

It will also impact airfield utilisation at Chiltern Park, Turweston, Sywell, Wellesbourne and further afield, as en-route traffic will almost certainly be affected.

Out to the west, the proposed Brize Norton Class D airspace will extend beyond Kemble, creating a significant impediment to north-south traffic. This, combined with Farnborough’s Airspace Change Proposal (ACP), is likely to create even more pinch points and, at worst, an impenetrable barrier to VFR navigation.

Here again, the evidence that Brize Norton’s procedural training requirements for aircraft such as the Hercules, Globemaster, Atlas and Voyager justify the scale of the proposed airspace is tenuous: in the whole of December 2017 only 27 training sorties were flown, and the busiest day in January saw just nine sorties flown. The majority of this training can now be done in simulators — at a lower cost to the environment and the taxpayer.

The gliding community will be most heavily penalised by both ACPs. Lasham, Nympsfield and Aston Down-three of the largest, and most ambitious clubs in terms of cross-country gliding, in the country-are struggling to see how many of their ‘goal’ flights could be achieved. Sites close to the newly-restricted airspace, such as Bicester, Enstone and Shenington, will have to restrict their training flights, while locations such as Weston on the Green may potentially have to close.

Rushed through

Initial scoping discussions began in 2014 but the official consultation documents were not published until 15 December 2017. It is tempting to speculate that this was to ‘beat’ the deadline of 2 January 2018 when new airspace change consultation rules came into force, demanding greater transparency.

Those reviewing the proposals have complained that several of the published diagrams appear distorted, giving an inaccurate impression of the scale of the proposed airspace. (The Brize website does acknowledge this and has republished several of them, and Brize also points out that, under Military Aviation Authority rules, it is not required to consult on airspace change but has done so as its proposed changes impact London-Oxford, hence the combined bid.)

Have your say

The closing date for the consultation is Thursday 5 April and the more people and organisations who respond the better. The General Aviation Alliance is sending a formal letter of objection to the two consultations, and is also in discussion with both the CAA and the Department for Transport.

To respond, either complete the consultation response proforma at http://www.oxfordairport.co.uk/the-airport/public-consultation-2/ or write an e-mail direct to London-Oxford Airport at consultation@londonoxfordairport.com The RAF doesn’t appear to have an online form, but you can e-mail them at rafbrizenortonconsultation@ospreycsl.co.uk.

Alternatively, you can send a letter relating to each consultation to London-Oxford Airport Consultation Response (or RAF Brize Norton Consultation response) at Osprey Consulting Services Ltd, Suite 10, The Hub, Fowler Avenue, Farnborough Business Park, GU14 7JP.

If you wish to express your personal concerns to the Airspace Regulator, you can do this at airspace.policy@caa.co.uk or write to Airspace Regulator (Coordination), Airspace ATM and Aerodromes, Safety and Airspace Regulation Group, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE.

This is an edited version of the article that appears in the Spring 2018 issue of Pilot magazine and first appeared in the February edition of Light Aviation, journal of the Light Aircraft Association


Follow Pilot Mag on Facebook and Twitter


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Pilot visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Pilot staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Pilot account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Features

Wed, 11:58

Seeking to become a commercial pilot can be a calculated risk – especially if you take the modular route – so what are the current employment prospects like? We asked some of the leading professional flight training providers for their views and tips. Compiled by Judith Austin

Read more
Tue, 16:08

Signing up to learn all the get-out-of-trouble tricks they don’t teach in flying school. Words Kat Thurston Tiefenthal

Read more
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Keep your diary clear, these aviation events will have your March sorted

Read more
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Custodian and enthusiastic pilot Peter Teichman paints the picture of acquiring, operating and restoring Hangar 11’s Curtiss P-40, now with a new owner in the USA

Read more
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Consultations launched by Osprey CSL on behalf of RAF Brize Norton and London-Oxford Airport outline what could represent one of the most devastating blows to light aviation ever seen in the already congested airspace of southern England

Read more
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Advice for inhibiting and storing an aircraft that remains inactive during the winter months. Words Bob Grimstead

Read more
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Fighting fires from the air is an extreme form of aviation – and not for the faint-hearted. By F George Johnson CS

Read more
Thursday, February 8, 2018

How air-brained are you? Test your general aviation knowledge on matters including safety, history, training or anything related to flying!

Read more
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

We round up where vintage aircraft have been appearing this year. Words by Peter R March with a little help from Pilot Magazine readers

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

You can’t plan for all contingencies but recognising that things often take longer than planned is a good place to start. By Ray Wilkinson

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most Read

Subscribe or buy Pilot Magazine