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.

The details:

  • The Bath Gap can be requested to be opened for chunks of time (eg. 2, 3, 4, 5 hours)
  • 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!
  • Bristol ATC have a right to decline the request under certain conditions.

How do I activate the Bath Gap?

Having arrived at Leckhampton (or Mere) and the conditions are suitable:

  1. Check on the SW Airspace Notifications Telegram Group whether the Bath Gap is active.
  2. If it is activated, 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
  3. If it is not activated, or you need to extend the activation period, make your request on the SW Airspace Notifications Telegram Group and say what time you want it opened from, and for how long.
  4. Activation will be confirmed on the SW Airspace Notifications Telegram Group by an Avon Airspace Rep.
  5. Tell other pilots on the hill!

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: 5th November, 2019
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