RAF Brize Norton is pleased to announce that the Airspace Change Proposal Consultation Feedback Report is now available on the RAF Brize Norton Web-Site. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the Public Consultation; the information gleaned from the responses has been invaluable in better understanding wider concerns. While the majority of responses objected to the proposed design, the feedback responses have provided invaluable constructive suggestions, which we have examined closely to determine how we may modify the airspace design to better meet the needs of the General Aviation community to safeguard both their safety and ours.
The airspace surrounding RAF Brize Norton has changed little over the last 40 years despite the evolving needs and changing characteristics of the modern fleets of aircraft that are now in use. Flight safety for all is our top priority and despite a number of initiatives to the way we do business under continual improvement principles, including reducing approach speeds, flying club engagement and the first military aerodrome to introduce a listening Squawk, the need for change remained.
A study was conducted in 2011 to fully understand what measures could be undertaken to reduce the risk of a mid-air collision in uncontrolled airspace around RAF Brize Norton to as low as reasonably practical. The risk was high, therefore, something had to be done to safeguard everyone concerned.
It was decided that a change to the design of the controlled airspace surrounding RAF Brize Norton was needed, not just to cater for the needs of the modern aircraft fleets but also to connect us to the UK’s airways network. We also needed to plan for the future, so we also embraced the European directive to develop Global Navigation Satellite System guided procedures.
The impact of such changes on both the General Aviation and non-aviation communities has remained foremost in our planning assumptions. Our highest priority is safety for all. We understand the impact of increasing the volume of controlled airspace on the General Aviation community. This proposed airspace aims to provide an additional layer to ensure the risk of a mid-air collision in uncontrolled airspace around RAF Brize Norton is reduced to as low as reasonably practical for all users of the airspace. Consequently, we remain committed to facilitating access to all airspace users via our Zone Crossing Service. By doing so, pilots can also benefit from the increased safety that a known traffic environment provides.
If, however, pilots wish to route around the Brize Norton Control Zone, we aim to minimise any choke points. We strongly believe that alongside crossing the zone there are many options to route around the zone in a safe and expedient manner. These airspace users have over the years continued to enjoy the benefits of the increase in volume of uncontrolled airspace in the local area, created when the MOD handed back the Controlled Airspace that surrounded RAF Lyneham, the airspace above RAF Hullavington, RAF Upper Heyford and RAF Abingdon, freeing up previous choke points and offering additional and varied routes for General Aviators around and through Brize Norton’s airspace.
The Brize Norton Airspace Change Proposal is not driven by an intention to increase civilian movements. We have, and we continue to have, exceptional working relationships with local aerodromes, such as Gloucester Staverton, Kemble Cotswold and Oxford Airports, adding value to their operations, by providing radar services to their arrivals and departure customers in addition to doing everything we can to assist them in their own safety initiatives.
Regardless of the outcome of our proposal to the CAA, RAF Brize Norton remains committed to engaging with the local community and building on the relationships we have with local aerodromes, flying clubs and the wider General Aviation community. Together, we can keep the airspace above Oxfordshire safe and available for the enjoyment of everyone.