The current situation with the club being closed is unfortunate, but thinking positively there will be flying again at some point in the future, so now is as good a time as any to learn about airspace.

Looking at a 1:500,000 airspace chart can be overwhelming, there is a myriad of shapes and colours of different types of airspace to understand. Even experienced pilots over time will start to forget all the rules and regulations, and the lack of knowledge can then limit their flying as they may be avoiding things on the airspace chart which they are perfectly allowed to fly through.

Clearly the introduction of the new Farnborough airspace has a massive effect on cross country flying from Parham. The details of the letter of agreement with Farnborough are (or will be) covered elsewhere, so in this article I will, later on, bring up wider points to assist with understanding our interaction with that airspace.


Starting with learning (or re-learning) about airspace, how do we go about educating ourselves? In my view the best place to start is with the 1:500,000 airspace chart. Just reading through the legend while looking at the relevant areas on the chart is a very educational.


However, while the chart legend is a very good place to start it does not tell the whole story. For detail on what the different types of airspace mean to us, the best place to go is an excellent publication by the CAA called “The Skyway Code version 2”. It is very well written, clear and informative, and is all about General Aviation (GA) flying in the UK. It is worth looking through the whole document as there is much in there which applies to us, and in particular there is a whole section which explains airspace. The Skyway Code version 2 can be downloaded for free from,

https://www.caa.co.uk/General-aviation/Safety-information/The-Skyway-Code

There is also some good advice on the BGA web site under “Members Area” then “Airspace”; and also under the BGA “Laws and Rules” at

https://members.gliding.co.uk/library/bga-requirements-guidance/cross-country-and-airspace-guidance.


I hope some pre-solo pilots will have read this far. The main point they need to understand is that the closest controlled airspace to us is Class A airspace which completely prohibits us from entry. Your instructors must check that you know where that controlled airspace is before you are sent solo.


I would encourage everyone to aim towards their Bronze and Cross-Country Endorsements, and as part of their continued development as a pilot to also go on a Radiotelephony (RT) course to obtain an RT licence. My photo from last year of Brize Norton RAF air base, illustrates that if you understand airspace, and have an RT licence, opportunities are opened.

The next important topic would be Notices To Airmen (NOTAMs), but since I wrote an article on that in the October 2019 issue, I will refer you there. The previous issues of the club magazine are available under “Southdown Soaring Archive” on our website

Understanding Airspace

By Damian le Roux, SGC Airspace Officer

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