RAF launches Low-Level Common frequency trial

A year-long trial of a VHF Low-Level Common frequency has been launched by the RAF with the support of the CAA.

The ‘VHF LL Common’ trial starts today, 1 June 2021, on VHF frequency 130.490.

The aim is to reduce the risk of mid-air collision between aircraft operating at or below 2,000ft Above Ground Level. It is available for use by all aircrew, military and civilian, operating in the UK Low Flying System.

“With an increasing trend of Airprox between military and civilian users in the Low Flying System, the CAA is supporting a military-led trial of a VHF Low-Level (LL) Common frequency to be used across the UK so members of the GA community can be better integrated with other users of low level airspace and to help build situational awareness for all users,” said a CAA statement.

“In 2015, a similar trial was carried out in Scotland, which proved to be very successful.”

low level flying
“Did anyone hear his radio call?” Top photo: C130 on the Mach Loop. Photo: Penk Chen

CAA advice is that pilots should use VHF LL Common when not in receipt of a Lower Airspace Radar Service (LARS) or other Air Traffic Service. Pilots should make Blind Calls on the Low Level Common Frequency as shown below.

To prevent clutter on the air the frequency must not be used as a chat frequency and transmissions should be accurate, clear and concise.

Transmission Timing:

  • When safe and suitable to do so
  • When entering/exiting the Low Flying System
  • At turning points or significant heading changes
  • Approaching well-known and recognisable physical features
  • Any time it is considered beneficial to the safety of the aircraft

Blind Call Content:

  • Aircraft callsign
  • Aircraft type (and number, in the case of formations)
  • Position in relation to reference points immediately identifiable to other pilots (using cardinal or inter-cardinal directions)
  • Height
  • Heading
  • Next significant reference point

Example transmissions:

“G-ABCD, Cessna 152, 8 miles North East of Inverness, 1200 feet, heading south towards Aviemore”

“G-HELO, R22 Helicopter, 5 miles SE Kendal, 1000 feet, heading East, towards Ripon”

The CAA is asking for feedback on the trial on this email address: lowlevelfrequencytrial@caa.co.uk

More info

Comments

  1. Being a microlight pilot and spending a lot of time flying low level, this sounds like a great idea.

  2. Why has it taken 40+ years to implement such an obvious, simple but clear system?

    There must be many pilots/navs who have considered a similar approach (sorry, a play on words).

    I sincerely hope the trial is successful.

    Fly safe – stay safe.

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