Blackbushe: week 1 of new Farnborough Airspace

Blackbushe Airport is right on the edge of the new Farnborough controlled airspace which came into effect on 27 February. So, in the first week since it started to bite, how has the airport coped? Here’s Blackbushe’s own report: 

Traffic Volumes
We’ve handled 481 movements this week, which is above average for the time of year. We’re about 10% down on last year, but we had some very poor weather this year, and it was gloriously sunny in the same week last year! Overall no reason for concern.

Clearances
We’ve had lots of experience delivering clearances on both Runway 25 and Runway 07.

Following feedback from those who’ve been receiving them, we’ve made the standard VFR clearances available on our Aerodrome Information page, and the Class D FAQs page. We’ve also produced a cheat sheet for your knee-board to assist you in reading back the clearance. Download yours now!

Infringements
We’ve had four infringements of the CTR reported to us. All of these have been very small infringements at the end of the downwind leg for Runway 25 as pictured below.

None have been in a congested circuit and have been primarily down to familiarisation with the turning point at Hawley Lake.

For the avoidance of doubt, base turns should be made inside Hawley Lake, as the lake itself lies mostly outside of the ATZ. We are aware the lake is not shown on SkyDemon.

Blackbushe Airport circuits

What happens with infringements?
When an infringement is reported to us, we will contact the pilot right away. We have produced a short one page questionnaire to understand what led to the infringement and which of our briefing materials had been used.

Likewise, NATS has an online questionnaire. It is useful for pilots to complete these for two reasons:

  1. We want to identify as quickly as possible if there any immediate actions we need to take, and rectify any problems.
  2. The answers will be provided alongside the MOR filing which demonstrates the infringement has already been investigated, (although you’ll most likely still be asked for a response by the CAA).

We have been assured that all infringements are being considered in the light of new airspace that pilots, AFISOs, and ATCOs are all still becoming familiar with.

Squawks
It became apparent that some aircraft were not setting their Squawk to 7010 when rejoining Blackbushe. We had a few calls from Farnborough to ask us to request aircraft to squawk 7010.

This isn’t explicit in our rules either, which focus on squawks for departures. However, the expectation is to set 7010 when rejoining for circuits or landing. The rules will be updated to make this explicit.

Therefore, for the immediate future, FISOs will now include the Squawk in the aerodrome information when departing or rejoining. Remember, our FISOs can’t see your squawk so when you hear this, they aren’t pointing out that yours is set incorrectly, they are just reminding you to check. Hopefully in a few weeks this will become second nature.

Other feedback
We’ve spoken to several of the pilots following their flights to get feedback which has been very positive. Please do remember to feedback your experiences. We now have a weekly conference call with Farnborough and maintain daily communications as issues arise. We would rather sort any issues immediately.

Tell your friends!
We’re aware of negativity surrounding the airspace implementation and understand why pilots may be hesitant.

But please, if you’ve had a good experience of Blackbushe and the Farnborough CAS, tell your friends, put it on social media etc – we could do with your help!

Remember we have FAQs and Briefing Materials here.

Farnborough controlled airspace

 

Comments

  1. Fly in regularly to pick up fuel and do circuits. New system works much better with all flights (3)since the introduction given direct routing once identified by Farnborough, I appreciate this is due to the excellent work by the ATC at Blackbushe, many thanks

  2. sorry to hear a loss of freedom.
    as a pilot of 25 years I will not be coming to your airfield.
    It was on my list of places to go, but no longer.
    A erosion of free space to fly is very bad for all.

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