Flying in England is straightforward, provided you keep your Transition Altitude / Layer / Level wits about you. Unless you have an airplane certified for London City Airport or have the special permissions required for Northolt, be prepared for a one to two hour drive into London from surrounding airports. London Heathrow is an option but the slot system typically restricts general aviation to 6 a.m. or between 9 and 10 p.m. and the fees are very expensive.
From Professional Pilot, Sept 2009
There is no national policy on clearing immigration/customs, the procedure varies by airport.
Arriving without a passport has generated fines of £2000 and in July of 2009 a G550 was turned away because one passenger arrived without a passport.
Your passengers will be asked to fill out a UK Border Agency Landing Card, which you can get in advance and have filled out prior to arrival. Crew are not required to fill these out unless staying longer than a week.
When London Control asks you "What services are you requesting?" they are asking about air traffic services. You can find these described in the "CAP 774 UK Flight Information Services" book, summarized here:
[UK Flight Information Services, Chapter 2]
- A Basic Service is an ATS provided for the purpose of giving advice and information useful for the safe and efficient conduct of flights. This may include weather information, changes of serviceability of facilities, conditions at aerodromes, general airspace activity information, and any other information likely to affect safety. The avoidance of other traffic is solely the pilot’s responsibility.
- Basic Service relies on the pilot avoiding other traffic, unaided by controllers/ FISOs. It is essential that a pilot receiving this ATS remains alert to the fact that, unlike a Traffic Service and a Deconfliction Service, the provider of a Basic Service is not required to monitor the flight.
[UK Flight Information Services, Chapter 2]
- Given that the provider of a Basic Service is not required to monitor the flight, pilots should not expect any form of traffic information from a controller/FISO. A pilot who considers that he requires a regular flow of specific traffic information shall request a Traffic Service.
- However, where a controller/FISO has information that indicates that there is aerial activity in a particular location that may affect a flight, in so far as it is practical, they should provide traffic information in general terms to assist with the pilot’s situational awareness. This will not normally be updated by the controller/FISO unless the situation has changed markedly, or the pilot requests an update.
[UK Flight Information Services, Chapter 2]
- Deconfliction is not provided under a Basic Service. If a pilot requires deconfliction advice outside controlled airspace, Deconfliction Service shall be requested. A controller shall make all reasonable endeavours to accommodate this request as soon as practicable.
[UK Flight Information Services, Chapter 5]
- A Procedural Service is an ATS where, in addition to the provisions of a Basic Service, the controller provides restrictions, instructions, and approach clearances, which if complied with, shall achieve deconfliction minima against other aircraft participating in the Procedural Service. Neither traffic information nor deconfliction advice can be passed with respect to unknown traffic.
- A Procedural Service does not require information derived from an ATS surveillance system. Therefore, due to the ability for autonomous flight in Class G airspace, pilots in receipt of a Procedural Service should be aware of the high likelihood of encountering conflicting traffic without warnings being provided by ATC.
- Pilots flying in the vicinity of aerodromes, ATS routes, or navigational aids where it is known that a Procedural Service is provided, are strongly encouraged to attempt to establish RTF contact with the notified ATS provider.
[Jeppesen United Kingdom Rules and Procedures]
- Datalink services are available are available in domestic airspace and are distinct from Oceanic CPDLC procedures. CPDLC services are available from FL285 and above and will be provided at FL195 and above where possible within the London and Scottish FIR/UIR. Aircraft transiting the Manchester TMA from London TMA below FL285 will maintain a logon with EGPX but will not receive CPDLC service. The use of CPDLC is not mandatory and is conducted at the discretion of ATC and the pilots concerned. Where urgent or time critical communications are required voice shall be used. Voice read-back is not required for any CPDLC instruction. In cases were uncertainty arises as a result of a data link message, communication shall revert to voice.
- Establishment of a CPDLC connection through the initiation of a logon is a pre requisite for receiving CPDLC service. Prior to initiating the logon, the flight crew should verify the correctness of the logon information associated with the flight plan.
- The Data Authority address for London ACC is EGTT. The Data Authority address for Scottish ACC is EGPX.
- CPDLC log on shall be established in sufficient time to ensure that the aircraft is communicating with the appropriate Data Authority.
- For flights departing aerodromes in the United Kingdom LOGON may also be conducted by aircraft on the ground where coverage exists.
- Flights transiting both London and Scottish ACC using CPDLC, the change of CDA to NDA will be initiated by the controller and will be automatically transferred seamlessly to the operator.
- When entering the next ATSU’s airspace, the flight crew should confirm the successful transfer from the Current Data Authority to the Next Data Authority by observing the change in the active centre indication provided by the aircraft system. Crews should be aware that they need to keep the CDA and the frequency aligned.
London Area Airports:
Farnborough — there’s nothing wrong with the airport that a good bulldozer can’t fix. The takeoff distances can be restrictive for some aircraft departing back to the United States.
London City — best location but you can’t go there. The 5.5° glide path exceeds FAA aircraft restrictions.
Luton — about an hour’s drive (or two depending on traffic) northwest of the city, but one of the easier airports to get into and out of.
Northolt — great location but you will need some political pull to get permission. What was easy at the 89th is not so easy in the corporate world.
Stansted — about an hour’s drive (or two depending on traffic) northeast of the city, but one of the easier airports to get into and out of.
Farnborough Tower: 011 44 1252 526 017
TAG Farnborough is at the north apron and quite often Gulfstreams are lined up along Delta taxiway, also known as the Delta Ramp.
You have to land no earlier than the displayed threshold, the ILS is mandatory, and the glide slope is 3.5° If you place the 3.5° HUD glide path line on the displaced threshold AND the flight path vector there too, you should be able to keep the aim point steady until the flare cue comes into view.
Why such a long displaced threshold? Because there are nice pubs on either end of the runway. The Runway Data lesson uses Farnborough as an example, you can learn more there.
The Swan Inn
Farnborough is probably your best option for getting close to the city, but there are limited hours and the TORA of the runway is too short for some aircraft. Fortunately, the G-450 and GV have no such problems with 6,562' of pavement:
The runway itself is fine: PCN 75.
Airport hours are limited, customs PPR, Fire 6.
And be careful not to attempt a normal visit during the annual airshow (usually in July).
The approach is best made by placing the flight path vector right on the displaced threshold:
While you are there, you might as well visit the Hogs Back Brewery: http://www.hogsback.co.uk
London City (EGLC):
Often requested, but beyond N-number certification limits because of the glide path required.
Can you fly into London City in an N-Numbered airplane? Probably not. I've heard a DA-900 secured an approval but I don't know that for a fact. This can be confusing because some aircraft manufacturers list a specific limit and others seem to ignore the subject. Here is my take:
- AC 25-7C is the go to source about approval for steep approaches, specifically paragraph 233. That paragraph refers to 14 CFR 25.119 and 125, but those don’t really spell out any limits. The AC itself says 3 degrees is the “standard approach angle” but it doesn’t give a limit other than to hint that 4.5 and greater is steep. The best hint it gives is that an angle of 4.5° or greater must be listed in the AFM as a limit.
- So if no limit is given, I believe, that means you are limited to less than a 4.5° glide path.
London Luton (EGGW):
Runway 08/26 7087' Asphalt PCN 75/R/D/X/T
Fire 8 (Fire 9 on request)
Speed restrictions: 250 kts or less crossing Speed Limit Point or 3 minutes before holding facility, 220 kts from holding facility to intermediate approach phase, 180 kts on base or closing heading to ILS, 160 - 180 kts when first established on ILS, 160 kts until 4 DME.
In the event of lost comm after instructions to leave LOREL, ABBOT, ASKEY, or CASEY with the intention of a radar assisted approach, proceed to LUT, hold for 5 minutes, descend in the holding pattern to 2000' QNH, and commence an ILS/NDB approach.
Do not vacate runway using Taxiway C unless authorized by ATC.
Request start-up only when immediately ready to do so.
250 kts maximum below 10,000 feet, unless cleared otherwise.
On receipt of line-up clearance, pilots should commence taxi as soon as preceding aircraft has commenced takeoff roll or passed holding point.
Video: EGGW Runway 08.
Video: EGGW Runway 26.
If you are bringing your clubs, the Hanbury Manor has a great course. If you are staying there, just down the street is The Sow and Pigs, Country Pub and Dining.
London Northolt (EGWU / NHT):
["Dealing With the New Rules of Worldwide Documentation," Professional Pilot, July 2013] Joint use civil/military airports not only take longer from a permit perspective, but often involve unique documentation. When landing at a joint use military airfield in the UK — such as NHT (RAF Northolt, London, England) — operators must provide evidence of a Crown Indemnity Waiver. This is a special rider on your insurance policy to cover any liability issues that may arise while at the airfield.
England / Great Britain / The United Kingdom
Let's get this straight. . .
England is a country that is a part of the United Kingdom. There has not been a "government of England" since 1707 when it joined Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Great Britain can refer to the island itself or politically to the political union of England, Scotland, and Wales. It can include the Isle of Wight, Anglesey, and others, but not the Isle of Man.
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state—the Republic of Ireland.
What About . . . ?
Canada? Australia? Others?
The "Commonwealth of Nations" are a collection of countries that share Queen Elizabeth II as their constitutional monarch with varying relationships and levels of fealty. It is a mess. The current countries of the realm are:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- Papua Ne Guinea
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Solomon Islands
- The United Kingdom
Advisory Circular 25-7C, Flight Test Guide for Certification of Transport Category Airplanes, 10/16/12, U.S. Department of Transportation
UK Flight Information Services, Civil Aviation Authority, 4 February 2015