General Aviation

Published on March 24th, 2019 | by Mark Dwyer


Radio Mandatory Zones established at Sligo, Waterford & Newcastle

The IAA have issued a new Aeronautical Notice establishing Radio Mandatory Zones (RMZ) at Sligo, Waterford and Newcastle Aerodromes. Rules of the Air Notice R.07 published on 8th March now mandates the use of a radio in Class G airspace when an Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) is provided and within 10NM of Sligo and Waterford (i.e. within the footprint of the existing CTR but when there is no Air Traffic Controller on duty). In addition, Aeronautical Notice R.04 was also amended on 8th March to make both of these areas Transponder Mandatory Zones (TMZ) when an AFIS is provided. It’s disappointing to see that both of these notices have been published without any consultation with the wider General Aviation community. These requirements appear to be a little over the top for a number of reasons;

  • There are no commercial air services at either airport
  • Neither the Tower at Sligo or Waterford have the ability to monitor transponding traffic
  • The airspace remains designated as Class G so a clearance is not required
  • A FISO is unable to issue a clearance to an aircraft in flight
  • The Mode Charlie readout from any transponding traffic is unlikely to have been verified

By comparison, you can operate within 8 miles of the centreline at Heathrow Airport in class G airspace without the requirement to use a radio or transponder!

A screenshot from SkyDemon showing the distance from the centreline of runway 27R at Heathrow to the edge of Class D controlled airspace.

The aerodrome traffic zone (ATZ) at Newcastle Aerodrome, Co. Wicklow has also been designated an RMZ (but not a TMZ). The ATZ at Newcastle is designated as 1.5NM from the aerodrome reference point up to 1500ft AGL. At least this requirement makes sense due to the amount of movements that take place at the aerodrome, most likely a multiple of Sligo and Waterford combined. It should be noted that the “stubs” on the extended centrelines to the approaches at both Sligo and Waterford remain part of the Shannon CTA and are therefore always designated Class C airspace.

VFR flights operating in parts of Class G airspace and IFR flights operating in parts of Class G airspace designated as a RMZ shall maintain continuous air-ground voice communication watch and establish two-way communication, as necessary, on the appropriate communication channel, unless in compliance with alternative provisions prescribed for that particular airspace by the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP).

Before entering a radio mandatory zone, an initial call containing the designation of the station being called, call sign, type of aircraft, position, level, the intentions of the flight, shall be made by pilots on the appropriate communication channel. For example, “Newcastle, Echo India Alpha Bravo Charlie, Cessna 150, 5 miles north of the field, altitude 1400ft to transit through the overhead”.

Hopefully prior to the next revision of these notices, the IAA will consult with the wider General Aviation community on the impact of airspace and rules of the air changes.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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