CAA approves temporary Radio Mandatory Zone for Southend

The RMZ around London Southend Airport will go live on 18 July 2014 and remain in place until a decision is made regarding the airport’s application for controlled airspace.

In its request to the CAA, the airport’s operator suggested the establishment of an RMZ would allow air traffic controllers to provide enhanced traffic information and de-confliction advice to aircraft landing or taking off at Southend.

London Southend Airport, which sits within Class G airspace, has seen an increase in commercial air transport movements during the last two years. The airport completed its consultation on establishing controlled airspace in the vicinity at the end of December 2013 and formally submitted an airspace change proposal in June 2014. The CAA will review the RMZ in spring 2015.

Although an ATC clearance is not required, to gain entry to an RMZ, a pilot must establish two-way communication with air traffic control before entering, they must then remain on frequency while in the zone unless instructed otherwise. The initial call should take the form of the name of the ATC unit being called, aircraft call sign, type of aircraft, position, level and the intentions of the flight. Pilots planning to fly through the Southend RMZ will need to contact Southend on 130.775MHz before entering the zone.

If a pilot is unable to establish two-way radio communication then they should remain clear of the RMZ; except when taking off from a site within the RMZ where communications before getting airborne is not possible. In this case the pilot should comply with any locally agreed procedures and establish two-way communication as soon as possible. Aircraft not fitted with radios can still operate in the RMZ providing the pilot is able to co-ordinate arrangements with Southend ATC prior to departure.

Phil Roberts, Head of Airspace, Air Traffic Management and Aerodromes at the CAA, said: “Radio Mandatory Zones enable air traffic controllers to provide a greater level of traffic information to pilots in a designated piece of airspace. This naturally reduces the risk of airborne conflicts occurring. We agreed with the London Southend Airport proposal that an RMZ would, on a temporary basis, help protect all airspace users and maintain safety levels for commercial operations at the airport - while not introducing an unacceptable burden on private pilots.”

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