Wednesday, 19 August 2009

ATC and 'pretend' clearances

OK, you are flying along minding your own business. Somewhere between your present position and your destination is a chunk of tiered, Class D, controlled airspace. You call up the relevant unit and make your request. In return you're given a squawk, the QNH and a Basic service. You are also asked to remain outside controlled airspace. So far so good.

Plan A is to continue on track, Plan B to remain on track and continue below the airspace or Plan C to turn east to avoid the airspace.

A couple of miles before the boundary you get a call, "G-ABCD cleared on a direct track to XXXX (where X = your destination), remain below 1,500' on a QNH of 1018."

The trouble is the controlled airspace starts at 1,500', so below that altitude you are outside controlled airspace - so what are you being cleared through? I would much prefer, "Unable to offer transit, please remain below controlled airspace which starts at 1,500', QNH 1018," to a pretend clearance that has the potential for confusion.

Any UK ATC out there?

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