A flying display by the Red Arrows, ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday 30 June, had to be halted when a light aircraft entered the temporary restricted airspace put in place to protect the display team.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is now investigating the incident.
Temporary airspace restrictions RA(T) are always the subject of a NOTAM, which every pilot is obliged to check as part of their pre flight planning routine. As well as the Reds having a specific RA(T) in place for their display, a separate restriction existed over Silverstone protecting the Grand Prix itself.
The CAA today issued a call to all general aviation pilots to thoroughly check NOTAMs and, if possible, use a pre flight planning website before every flight. The plea was backed by all the major GA member associations.
Geoff Weighell, Chief Executive of the British Microlight Aircraft Association, said: “With the ease of access to the internet to obtain NOTAMs, and tools like SkyDemon Light to help pilots prepare for flight, an infringement of Red Arrows airspace just should not happen. We encourage all pilots to take a responsible and professional approach to all aspects of their flight and flight planning.”
The CAA receives around 800 reports of aircraft infringing RA(T)s, controlled airspace or Danger Areas every year. The Airspace & Safety Initiative is currently engaged in a major education campaign to raise awareness of the risks involved.
As well as being the subject of NOTAMs, RA(T)s, are also listed on the NATS website as ‘Mauve’ Aeronautical Information Circulars. The list includes the full Red Arrows display programme with geographical co-ordinates, http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/public/index.php%3Foption=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=162&Itemid=59.html