Flying to the UK

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nosedive
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Flying to the UK

Post by nosedive »

Good afternoon boys and girls,
I'm looking for advice on flying to the UK. I've had my licence now for about 18 months and am determined that this year I'm going to make use of it and fly to a destination in the UK.

What I'd like to know is, what paperwork needs to filed for a microlight on a permit and what is the situation regarding customs etc?

Anyone I've asked only says 'ah it's easy, it's easy it's no problem....' which leads me to think that either thet don't properly know what they're doing and have blundered about or genuinely don't know themselves......

I like to know what I'm doing and what proceduresa re to be followed etc so that I can think through my planning etc before committing to anything.

As usual, any and all info appreciated.

...hopefully the weather picks up soon!
Another broken undercarriage........

Pilot
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Post by Pilot »

Nosedive,

I can't comment on the microlight permit part, as I know nothing about that.

On the rest of it...

Firstly, paperwork....

I'm assuming you are leaving from the Republic and going to the UK only, and then returning to the Republic.

What you need is
1. A flight plan
2. A GAR form.

The flight plan, needs to be filed for your flight out of Ireland, and your flight back into Ireland. Internal UK flights don't need a flight plan.

I'm assuming you've used a flight plan before, but if you haven't the CAA in the UK does a good guide on them. See here Don't be surprised when you can't close a flight plan on landing in the UK. They don't have a concept of closing flight plans in the UK, and it isn't an issue. You can try asking ATC (not a radio service (see later)) to send an "arrival message" for you, but there isn't much need. However coming back to Ireland, don't forget to close your flight plan on landing!

The GAR needs to be submitted to both UK customs and UK Special Branch (police force). You can find the latest copy by going to http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ and entering "General Aviation Report" into the search box.

You need to fill this out, and fax to both UK customs & Special branch. (There is no need to send it to immigration for flights between UK & Ireland, as these are within the common travel area. If doing a UK to contential Europe flight, you need to send it to immigration instead of special branch).

Special branch requires 12 hours notice legally (though some polices request 24 hours notice). The fax numbers are shown on the GAR form, but sometimes these are old numbers, and you have the phone them on the phone number (also shown on the form) to get the current fax number. Some special branch forces want you to phone them for a confirmation number (to prove that they have received your fax) but this isn't a legal requirement. North Wales is one example of this.

Notice on the GAR form is required for Special Branch for both your Ireland to UK and UK to Ireland flights.

UK Customs require different notice periods, depending on where you are coming from/going to, and again this is shown on the GAR form. In your case, you need to give them four hours notice (by filing the GAR) of your Ireland to UK flight, and no notice is required of your UK to Ireland flight.

There is one exception to the requirement to file a GAR report to customs/Special Branch. If your airport first airport of arrival in the UK, and last airport leaving the UK is a designated airport, then no notice is required. A list of these airports are shown on the GAR form too. They tend to be the larger airports, which have airline traffic. Be careful, some of these are designated for only customs or only special branch, in which case, the other one still requires notification. If you arrive in the UK via one of these airports, then you don't need to notify your arrival, and if you leave from one of them, then you don't need to notify your departure.

The Irish situation is a little less clear. As it stands, Irish immigration don't care about your Ireland to UK flight, nor your UK to Ireland flight, PROVIDED everyone on board the aircraft is a UK or Irish citizen. If not then you must land at a port of entry.

Customs seem happy enough for you to land at any airport, once you let the airport operater know that you arrived from abroad. This was being reviewed during 2007, and customs promised to keep me informed of any changes, but I haven't heard any more yet, so assume it's still the same.

I hope that helps with the paper work, if you have any questions on it, feel free to ask.

On the practical side, I would say a few things to you.

1. Before your first trip, have a read of the UK CAA issued VFR guide. It guide you a total overview of vfr flight in the uk, and services that are available to you. Unfortunately, I can't find it on the CAA website at the moment...perhaps someone else can find it. If you can't find it, pm me your email address, and I'll email you an old copy....being old won't matter too much...it will give you the basics. But don't be put off...it's not that much different to Ireland.

2. Learn how to do a "Standard overhead join". They aren't used too much in Ireland, but in the UK they are very common.
Here is the CAA's guide to a standard overhead join.

3. The UK RT is slightly more formal.
The gospel here is called CAP413. You can find it here
The most important points to pick up from it are:
A) The correct response to ATC's request to "Pass your message"....you'll find it in CAP413, and you'll use it on almost every single time you contact ATC in the UK.
B) The difference between being told to "contact xxxx (atc unit) on 1xx.xx" and being told to "Freecall xxxx (atc unit) on 1xx.xx".
Contact means that your details have already been passed to the next ATC unit, and you only need to report your call sign to them. Freecall means that your details have not been passed to the next unit, and you'll need to use the full "Pass Your message" call when you call them up.
C) The different forms of air traffic service outside controlled airspace.

In Ireland, we only have a flight information service outside controlled airspace. In the UK there are three different services:
Flight Information Service
Basically, ATC will tell you about any important items that comes to their attention affecting your flight. They may not have any radar, and make no promise about telling you about any traffic...they may not know about traffic. Often units with radar will pass you traffic info on a FIS, but they still make no promise to tell you about everything.

Radar Information Service
Available from radar equipped units, and LARS units (see the VFR guide to see what a LARS is!)
With a RIS, ATC are radar equipped, and promise to tell you about any relevant traffic that they know about. Often ATC will not be able to give you a RIS because of their work load, and will instead offer a FIS.

Radar Advisory Service
Only available to IFR flights.

That's the bare basics of the differences. More can be found in the VFR guide, and on the CAA website, but the above is probably enough for practical purposes.

E. It's also important to know the differences between "Radio", "Information" and air traffic control. These are explained in both the VFR guide, and in CAP413 linked above. But very briefly,
Radio=often unmanned at small uncontrolled aerodromes. If it is manned, the person on the radio may not be able to see outside at all! They can't issue you instructions at all, but can provide info such as QNH, runway in use, where to park, etc.

Information. These can provide you with information when you are in the air, but can't issue instructions. eg. they can tell you there is someone on long final, but they can't tell you to go around...that's your decision. They do however issue instructions when you are on the ground. Basically when your on the ground, treat them like air traffic control...You need clearances for ground movement.

ATC...you always need clearances from when within their airspace.

4. UK airspace can be packed together much tighter than in Ireland. If you are going into fairly dense areas, such as around London, it would be very useful to have a GPS that you are familiar with using, and which has your route loaded. You are also much more likely to see traffic enroute in the UK, than in Ireland...almost guaranteed to spot at least one aircraft on any flight of any length in the UK, and probably much more.

5. Finially, there some some airspaces that you might not be familar with such as MATZ's and ATZ's. They aren't very difficult, and you can read all about them in the VFR guide (you getting the idea that that guide is valuable yet?? :D )

If you want to tell me your planned route when you have it, I can offer further advice specific to your flight.

Don't forget the obvious such as life raft AND life jackets. The Irish sea is very cold at any time of the year, but particularly this time of year! You won't last long in the water with life jackes alone, and you will be extremely hard to see (just your head sticking out of the water). The weather this time of year can be very changable too. Climb as high as you possibly can....better radar and rt coverage, and more time to deal with any potential problem.

Finially, I'd say that if you know all the above, you'll be like an old hand ;) I'm sure plenty of pilots fly to the UK without knowning the correct RT and services etc but you might as well learn the correct way, and at least sound like you know what you are doing ;)

I hope that's of help, and I haven't made too many typos!.....I'm off to bed, and it's too late to proof read!

P

damienair
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Post by damienair »

Wow Pilot,

Thats an excellent answer, it should be made into a sticky. Really excellent answer.

I flew over to the UK last in November. RT as Pilot said is very important, you will be handed around quiet a lot to different services. I have the UK CAA Radio Telephony Licence which was of great help to me. You can down load CAP413 or a good buy is Trevor Thoms RT book 7. It is much easier to read through and will be a good help. A good tip to practicing is to learn off the main responses and practice in the car whilst on your own. Even write down the main responses on a page and keep it with you on your knee pad. Think before you talk.

Spend time practicing filling out flight plans if you are not used to them. Kevin Glynns VFR Flight guide gives good examples on flight plans. The GAR form is OK. Once you get used to looking at them and have them filled in and prepared in plenty of time. Flying to the UK gives a great sense of achievement, the secret is to plan well and if you follow Pilots advise, it will be a very enjoyable trip.

In November I flew with a group of 4 Microlights in a loose diamond formation. We firstly met up in Northern Ireland and filed our Flight Plan from Newtonards to Carlisle. The crossing is only really a few miles, about 15-20 minutes over water. Once half way across the Irish Sea we were passed from Belfast City to Scottish FIS. Scottish dealth with us as one, calling my reg followed by Microlight Formation. We were even buzzed on route by 2 RAF Tornado's about a 1,000ft below. Carlisle were also very helpful. As Pilot said, read up and practice over head joins, they are standard and most airfields expect an over head join. I always carry out an overhead join anyway, it is very safe and gives you a great picture of the activity around you. We then flew off to Fishburn for an excellent weekend , even getting down to the Splash show in the NEC in Birmingham. The flight back was just the reverse.

A group of NMAI members plan on flying over to Popham for the Microlight trade fair in May. If you wish you are welcome to join us, weather permitting of course. If you wish you can PM me offline to discuss.

Enjoy , as with everything in life , it is easy when you are well prepared and know how.

Damien.
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PILOTS are just PLANE people with a special AIR about them

nosedive
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Post by nosedive »

WOW!!! Can't ask for better than that!

I'm really getting into the idea of flying to the UK - I think my flying and confidence are to it but I really need to sharpen up my RT by the sounds of things.

Thanks to Pilot and Damienair for the replies. See you over the Irsih Sea!
Another broken undercarriage........

Pilot
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Post by Pilot »

Thank you.

I'm a bit more awake this morning, and managed to find the CAA VFR guide ;)

You can get it here.

Best of luck with the trip ;) Don't worry too much about the RT....if you pick up the basics that I gave you above you should be ok.....But definately know the "Pass Your Message" bit!

P

michael747
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Post by michael747 »

Surely its not this complucated to fly to Belfast or Enniskillen is it?????
I was thinking of flying up next Monday.

And would anyone be interested in organizing a formation sortie of a few PPL holders to fly from Weston to Wales???? I'd love to do that, but it's always microlight heads that are doing it!!! About 10 planes would be cool!!! Bagsy CAD if if does happen :D
Regards,
M747
:D

Pilot
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Post by Pilot »

Surely its not this complucated to fly to Belfast or Enniskillen is it?????


All the same stuff applies to Enniskillen.

Belfast Ald & City as designated for both special branch and customs so the GAR isn't needed.

P

jonkil
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Post by jonkil »

michael747 wrote:Surely its not this complucated to fly to Belfast or Enniskillen is it?????
I was thinking of flying up next Monday.


Enniskillen is closed Mondays.... call 048 66329000 for PPR.
Its a lovely airport, nice restaurant and very friendly lads there. File the normal flight plan, GAR necessary on first visit, once your on record it is never a problem after that, even on your first visit I can't forsee a problem at all. If you are taking on fuel, a flight plan is mandatory, for customs and excise reasons.
One of the must visit airfields on your trips, also visit us up in Letterkenny if you are in the area, no fuel ...YET.. we are looking at the possibility of having fuel there soon.
Donegal airport, in Carrickfinn is also very welcoming, again a call to Sean up there sorts out everything.

Hope this helps,
Jon

michael747
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Post by michael747 »

That sucks :D
Regards,
M747
:D

tu154
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Post by tu154 »

Flight plan mandatory when you are crossing the FIR boundary. Fuel doesn't come into it.
Friendliest airfield in the UK or Ireland.

damienair
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Post by damienair »

Had lunch there yesterday with JonKil, loads of activity and a nice healthy meal too. It does'nt matter there whether you flew a Lear Jet or a AutoGyro, your a Pilot. Always a great personable pleasant place to visit. Especially during the summer when you can have lunch outside and admire all the beautiful machines spreading carbon footprints all over the Sky.
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Canacourse
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Post by Canacourse »

Ahh.. This brings back memories of my first MATZ penetration. I remember it well as I learnt to fly in the UK and flew around Kent for several years after...

michael747
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Post by michael747 »

Hey,

I just have one more question on this topic :idea:

Is it easy to get MATZ penitration through EG D201 (Aberporth) over the Irish Sea?
I have everything else planned but just cant get my head around the MATZ penitration.

I have read the VFR guide pilot referred to above, and i also tried to figure it out in UK AIP on NATS.

Is it just a matter of checking the NOTAM's the day i plan to go?
And if it's active i wont be given MATZ penitration approval?

Or call the the 15nm's or 5mins before and request entry?????

I plan to fly EIWT - Dalkey Island - Holyhead - EGCK.

Any replies would be greatly appreciated.

:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
Regards,
M747
:D

Pilot
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Post by Pilot »

Michael,

First thing to realise is that it is a danger area, and not a Military ATZ (MATZ).

Second thing to notice, is that according to the AIP is only active Mon-Fri, so if you are flying at the weekends, it is not active unless a notam is issued indicating that it is active.

Third thing to note is that according to the AIP there is a Danger Area Crossing Service Available. This service is available from either Aberporth Information on 119.650 MHz or Swanwick Military on 135.150 MHz.

If the area is active and you want to go through, you call either Aberport or Swanwick and you tell them. Their purpose is to get you across that area if it's safe to do so. The only reason the will not let you across will be because there is a live firing exercise happening too close to the part that you want to cross.

So you're chances of getting a crossing are probably pretty good ;) They wouldn't publish a DACS if they didn't want to help you get across ;)

I'm usually crossing there at weekends, so don't have to worry about it.

If it's a problem, moving in closer to land (which is acually a good idea incase of engine failure) solves much of your problems ;)

P

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Post by Lambada Crazy »

Thanks pilot for your reply!

Ive made my first of many trips over last weekend!

your post was very helpful!

LC
When a flight is proceeding incredibly well, something was forgotten.

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