CAA approves new Transponder Mandatory Zones for offshore windfarms.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has approved the establishment of Transponder Mandatory Zones (TMZ) to cover two new major offshore wind turbine developments.
Infratil Kent Airport Limited, the owner of Manston airport, requested the TMZs to cover the London Array and Thanet Offshore windfarms off the Kent coast. The decision to approve the TMZs has been taken to maintain a safe operational environment. The wind turbines will have a maximum blade tip height in excess of 500 feet and will be visible to the airport’s primary surveillance radar.
The TMZs, designated London Array TMZ and Thanet TMZ, will form part of a programme to reduce the impact of wind turbine-generated radar clutter. Without these measures the two windfarms would, when fully operational, collectively create radar difficulties that would impact upon Manston air traffic control (ATC) unit’s ability to differentiate between aircraft and wind turbines on radar. There is currently no technical solution available to overcome the impact of primary radar clutter caused by wind turbines.
In line with CAA requirements, a full public consultation was conducted on behalf of Infratil as part of its proposal. In approving the new airspace design, the CAA said that its primary duty to maintain a high standard of safety in the provision of air traffic services had been met. Environmental considerations were also taken into account.
Aircraft fitted with transponders will not require ATC permission to access the London Array and Thanet TMZs. Flights within either TMZ by aircraft without serviceable transponder equipment will be subject to specific ATC approval.
The TMZs will become permanently active from 17 November 2011 and will extend vertically from the surface to the base of controlled airspace (the Clacton Control Area).
Aeronautical Information Circular
Details of the revised airspace are contained in AIC: Y 82/2011 . A chart shows the new airspace :-
The chart is available for download.
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