A twelve-week consultation period for an airspace change proposal near RAF Waddington began on 7 September 2022. The airspace change identification is ACP-2019-18, and its intention is to enable the operation of a large Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS), Protector RG Mk1, when it comes into service at RAF Waddington. In addition, owing to the scheduled closure of their current operating base at RAF Scampton, there is also a requirement for the RAF Aerobatic Team (RAFAT) to access airspace over RAF Waddington to conduct flying display activity. The Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) combines the requirements for both of these activities into one.
The proposal, however, has not been particularly well received by the local GA flying community, since there is another ACP in the area at RAF Syerston (see ‘Notes’ in the June 2022 edition of Pilot).
The Statement of Need of the proposal says: ‘There is a requirement for a large Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) to operate out of RAF Waddington from the mid-2020s. Pursuit of an ACP optimises an approach, in terms of efficiency and safety, for RPAS to operate from and to RAF Waddington. Furthermore, this approach will support the safe integration of the RPAS into the national airspace structures, given the anticipated performance of on-board systems and the surrounding airspace classification… [In addition] there is an emerging requirement for the RAF Aerobatic Team to conduct display flying activity over RAF Waddington from early 2023 following the Team’s relocation from RAF Scampton in late 2022. Integration of this requirement within the Protector ACP is considered the safest operating model.”
Overall, with the current proposals, the RAF is seeking restricted airspace over Waddington for both the Protector and the Red Arrows, over Syerston
(so that the Synchro Pair can practice) and to retain, at least temporarily, R313 over Scampton as well.
In accordance with UK regulations this consultation will be undertaken through electronic communication. Details of the consultation and how to provide feedback can be found by searching on Google.com the expression “ACP-2019-18”.