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Hawarden RMZ

New procedures for flying at Moel Accre and Moel Famau
– effective 30 March 2017

What
On 30 March 2017, a CAA regulation will come into effect which will require you to forewarn Air Traffic Control at Hawarden Airfield of your plans / intentions to fly at these sites (or from any Clwyd Range hill between them) when your flight plan could result in an XC flight into the RMZ. The regulation does not apply to, or beyond our Penycloddiau sites, since they are well outside the area involved.
Authority
The introduction of this RMZ has the backing of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Official Airmaps will be revised to show the RMZ.
Why
Because of the increasing volume of air traffic into and out of Hawarden Airfield and a steady increase in General Aviation in the region, Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Hawarden is to introduce a Mandatory Radio Zone (RMZ) centred on the airfield. All aircraft using Hawarden or passing through the RMZ will be required to have the ability to communicate by radio with Hawarden ATC. The full extent of the RMZ is illustrated as an appendix to the LoA, which can be viewed on the Club Website.
What’s in it for us
As an interested party whose flying activities could be affected by the introduction of this RMZ, we were invited to take part in consultations and to present our case for continuing to have access into the RMZ when making cross country flights from these two sites. While few such flights have been made over recent years, we did not want to give up the chance to make them as and when opportunities arise in future. Our discussions have resulted in a Letter of Agreement with Hawarden ATC, which will allow us to make XC flights downwind into the RMZ – but we will have to notify Hawarden ATC in advance.
While both our flying sites are outside the RMZ by a couple of kilometres or so, any ridge soaring flight that turns into a downwind XC opportunity will very quickly enter it. (Typical XC routes from these sites are illustrated as an appendix to the LoA). On notifying Hawarden ATC of our plans to fly - and perhaps make an XC? - and on receiving their clearance to do so, ATC will add a message to their Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) which can be accessed by pilots seeking local traffic information for the area. Any aircraft which call ATC will also be told of our activity by AT Controllers. We should not forget that some aircraft might chose to avoid the RMZ by passing around it, in the process perhaps passing close to our sites.
Bearing in mind the fact that the sites are outside the RMZ, the final agreement set out in the LoA is that we must notify Hawarden ATC of any activity which could lead to an XC flight into the zone, but we have the option of not notifying hill soaring activity only. But in the wider sense, we are safer by notifying ATC of whatever we are doing.
Your committee believes that the cost of a phone call or text and a short wait for acknowledgement (while the ATIS is being updated) is a small price to pay for being able to fly in greater safely and if the chance arises, to make XCs from these sites. ‘Greater safety’ because Hawarden ATC will know where we are flying that day and can warn other traffic of our activities, on and downwind of the sites, so they can avoid us.
How will it work?
The full Letter of Agreement and its appendices can be read via the Club Website: find the link on the homepage, but here are paraphrased extracts from the LoA issued by Hawarden to NWHGPC, which set out the notification / acknowledgement procedures.
NWHGPC do not have fixed operational hours and operate two sites which may result in entry to the Hawarden RMZ. These sites are Llandegla (for Moel Accre*) and Moel Famau. These sites will only be used during the hours of daylight. All operational periods of the sites will be notified to Hawarden ATC with at least 30 minutes notice of any planned activity. Site activity that will not result in aircraft accessing the RMZ may be notified to Hawarden ATC using the same telephone and text facilities.§
Prior to commencing any operations, any member or guest of NWHGPC planning to access the RMZ, will ensure that the planned operational period of the site has been communicated to Hawarden ATC by calling 01244 522012, or texting ‘Llandegla / Moel Famau active (dd/mm/yyyy) from (time)’ to 07786 208291. An acknowledgement must be received from Hawarden ATC prior to commencement of activities.
On receipt of such a notification Hawarden ATC will consider relevant sites active together with the typical downwind routings, to be permanently active with VFR traffic.
Members will not normally confirm cessation of activity at either site: Hawarden ATC will record the site(s) and downwind routings as being active until night.
* Llandegla is a reference point already used by Hawarden ATC; please use instead of Moel Accre. § This clause gives the option of not using the notification process if ridge soaring only. If out for the day and hoping for an XC – notify. If out for an hour or two for ridge soaring only, you don’t have to notify - but overall air safety might be improved if you did.

What will we have to do?
With effect from 30th March 2017 -
• Read and understand the processes given above; learn the notification process.
• Save the notification phone and text numbers for Hawarden ATC into your phone (check that your phone is well charged before leaving home!).
• If you are first on site and find all OK for flying, make the call / text. If others are on site before you, ask if anyone has called / texted Hawarden ATC. If they have, there is no need to call again.
• If they have not, or if in doubt, make the call / text - it is better to make more than one call rather than no call!
• Either or both sites can be activated by this process.
• Walk up, get your wing ready, etc., while awaiting acknowledgement on your phone from Hawarden ATC – hopefully within 30 minutes. (A phone call might get a more immediate acknowledgement from Hawarden ATC).
• If blown out at take-off, or becomes so, you do not need to call Hawarden ATC to cancel the activity – it will expire at the end of the day.
• Once acknowledgement is received – enjoy your flying, safe in the knowledge that other air traffic will be aware of your presence and should avoid you; and if you want, go for that XC!

J Hazzard
Club Chairman

25 March 2017