The Bath Gap
The Avon HG & PG Club has developed very good relations with Bristol Airport Air Traffic Control (ATC) who are keen to allow us fair and flexible use of their airspace whenever possible. We have two agreements with them, covering use of the so-called "Bath Gap", and Ubley, situated on the northern side of the Mendip Hills only 5 miles from Bristol Airport and within Bristol Airport's CTZ.
Bristol CTA-6 (the shaded area centred over Bath) extends from 3500' (asl) to FL105, however the bottom 1000' (ie. 3500-4500' asl), known as the Bath Gap, can be used by gliders, HGs and PGs (flying under VMC) if it has been "activated".
Please note that the Bath Gap now excludes an area known as the "Doynton fillet" at the northwest of the area so we have to remain below 3,500′ asl here.
From 1st April 2010 the procedure for opening or activating the Bath Gap will change making it easier for all concerned.
- The Bath Gap can be requested to be opened for chunks of time (eg. 2, 3, 4, 5 hours)
- It can be extended by calling one of the five appointed Avon Club reps (see below) who will make the request to Bristol ATC
- It can be activated no earlier than two hours prior to the ETA of the first glider at the boundary of the Bath Gap
- Gliders operating within the Bath Gap are to operate in accordance with VFR at all times (ie. 1000' below cloud, 1500m horizontally)
- Please be realistic when requesting activation - ie. if cloudbase is only 3500' then don't open it! If you're the only person on the hill then think twice before requesting it be activated - if it's a good day there'll be others there too!
How do I activate the Bath Gap?
Having arrived at Leckhampton (or Mere):
- Phone the Gliding Activity Status message line (01275 473820) to check whether the Bath Gap is active, or check in the "SW XC Airspace" Telegram group.
- If yes, note the activation end time. If this isn't sufficient to allow you to cross the Gap in time go to step 3 and request the opening time be extended
- If no, contact one of the five Avon Club reps, via phone, text, or via the "SW XC Airspace" Telegram Group and tell them what time you want the BG active from and for how long. They will phone Bristol ATC and request the Bath Gap be activated (or extended)
- They will text you back to confirm activation, and they will also confirm on the "SW XC Airspace" Telegram Group.
- If you haven't heard anything after 5 minutes try calling the Gliding Activity Status message line again to see if the message has been updated.
- Tell other pilots on the hill!
Avon HG & PG Club reps
NB. Please don't always call the same person!
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Tim Pentreath has reproduced this information in a handy credit card sized crib sheet so you can print it out and keep it in your wallet or flight-deck. Download it here.
This page last updated: 2nd March, 2015
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