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Channel Spacing and the Eyes of a Falcon


David Smith reports on the new range of 8.33kHz channels for UK airports and airfields


David Smith reports on the new range of 8.33kHz channels for UK airports and airfields, introduces an advanced new system for landing in poor visibility and profiles ATC operations at Leeds Bradford airport.


Although the law on aeronautical communications changed on 1st January 2018, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) chose to implement it in a manner, which provided more flexibility to those struggling to equip their aircraft with 8.33kHz-capable radios.

In summary, for those pilots who need to conduct a flight involving communicating on 8.33kHz-spaced channels, an 8.33kHz-capable radio is compulsory.

However, pilots can continue to fly with just a radio providing 25kHz spacing, if (throughout the entire flight) they only need to communicate on 25kHz frequencies.

This concession will cease on 1 January 2019. By that date, all radios must be 8.33kHz-capable.

The CAA’s activities in connection with this conversion programme are co-financed by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport. CEF Transport supports European innovation in the transport system, in order to improve the use of infrastructure, reduce the environmental impact of transport, enhance the energy efficiency of aircraft and increase their safety.

The frequency changes are detailed in a NATS document of 7th June 2018, which you can find at this URL:


New Combined Vision System

Dassault Aviation reported that it now offers the first combined vision system on a head-up display. The Falcon 8X large-cabin business jet will soon receive certification for a reduced ‘decision-height’ when landing in degraded visibility. This has been made possible by an optional FalconEye combined vision system (CVS).

What this means is that the crews of in-service (and newly-delivered) aircraft will become officially able to use a 100ft vertical minimum when landing at airfields without ground-based navigation aids.

This new capability will expand the number of airports the aircraft can serve in bad weather conditions.

The FalconEye system is the first head-up display (HUD) to blend synthetic terrain imaging with actual thermal and low-light camera images for an enhanced situational awareness.

In 2020, FalconEye is expected to be certified for use in a dual-HUD configuration. In addition to further improving crew situational awareness and coordination, it will provide 'CVS-to-land' capability, allowing pilots to use it, instead of natural vision, until touchdown.

The CVS was developed with Israel’s Elbit Systems and Dassault claims that the FalconEye combined vision system lets pilots see the world like never before. They will know exactly where they are in all conditions of operation, including fog, mist, snow and other severe weather conditions, day or night.

Used separately, enhanced vision systems and synthetic vision systems provide incomplete - albeit useful - information. The thermal imagery in enhanced vision is limited and will not show the approaching terrain in certain weather conditions.

Conversely, the graphical depiction from synthetic vision cannot show runway obstacles such as a wayward aircraft, vehicles or animals. With FalconEye, these dangerous scenarios are immediately evident, allowing the flight crew to make the appropriate avoidance manoeuvres.

Born from military technology, FalconEye is equipped with a fourth-generation multi-sensor camera, which generates some very high-definition images. In synthetic vision system (SVS) mode, the camera displays a 40° horizontal by 30° vertical field of view, with a 1280 x 1024 resolution, one of the widest angles on any HUD, ensuring full coverage of the viewing area with no tunnel vision effects.

Six different sensors present the best images from both the near-visible and infrared spectrums. One, for example, can detect LED runway lighting well before the human eye is able to. Four sensors are given over to the task of light detection during daytime operations. One is dedicated to night conditions and a thermal sensor is used for terrain imaging.

FalconEye’s synthetic video image uses three dedicated worldwide databases uploaded to the HUD computer. Separate terrain, obstacle and navigation databases provide a full view of hindrances as well as of airport and runway data. These are then seamlessly combined into images in the visible spectrum, in a unique and patented way. Dassault Aviation claims that nobody has yet to offer such a dynamic advantage.

This month’s ATC profile outlines the current communications situation at Leeds Bradford Airport.

Last but not least, my photo offering of the month is of a well-worn Red Arrows cockpit.

The Hawk aircraft was in storage at RAF Shawbury, pending overhaul.





Frequencies                             (MHz)                                       Hours of Operation

Leeds Approach/Radar                                134.580                                     H24

Leeds Director                            125.380                                     As directed by ATC

Leeds Tower                              120.305                                     H24         

Leeds Delivery                           121.805                                     Winter: 0600-2200; Summer: 0500-2100;                                                                                                                       Departing aircraft are to make an initial call to Leeds Delivery                                                                                            during hours of operation.


Leeds Information                       118.030


Leeds Fire                                 121.600 (non-ATC)                      Fire vehicles attending aircraft on the ground.

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Navaids                                     ILS CAT II/III on 32, CAT I on 14

                                                LBA NDB 402.5 kHz


Hold                                          LBA NDB


Runways                                   14 – 2250m x 46m

                                                32 – 2250m x 46m


Notes (A-Z)


CAT II/III Operations

Runway 32 is suitable for Category ll/lllb operations by operators whose minima have been accepted by the CAA.


Flying Within 10 nm of the Leeds CTR

Pilots flying within 10nm of Leeds CTR and maintaining a listening watch only on the Leeds Approach frequency may select code 2677. Selection of 2677 does not imply the receipt of an ATC service. Aircraft displaying the code are not expected to contact ATC under normal circumstances. Pilots remain responsible for their own navigation, separation, terrain clearance. They are also expected to remain clear of the Leeds CTR/CTA at all times. When an aircraft ceases to maintain a listening watch or is no longer flying within 10nm of the Leeds CTR, the pilot will deselect transponder code 2677. Aircraft who intend to either transit Leeds CTR or route underneath any portion of the CTA, should still contact Leeds Radar on 134.580MHz for a service and clearance if required.


GA and Business Aviation Handling

Provided on the Southside by Multiflight Ltd (130.650MHz) and on the Northside by Swissport (131.550MHz).


Helicopter Operations

ATC will allocate either a direct approach or a circuit-join, based on the runway in use, dependent on the prevailing traffic conditions. Direct approach helicopters are to approach the aerodrome from the NE or SW, remaining well clear of the approach and climb out to Runway 14/32. Parts of the manoeuvring area can be used for take-off and landing as instructed by ATC.


Procedures for Outbound Aircraft (‘DCT’ indicates ‘Direct’)

Aircraft are to expect a NELSA 3W SID (Standard Instrument Departure) for the following routes when Runway 32 is in use:

Northbound – N601 (NELSA), P18 (DCT -GASKO)

Southbound – L612 (DCT -MCT -DCT -LISTO), N862 via P17 (DCT -BARTN), L8 via P18 (DCT -MCT -DCT LISTO),

M605 (DCT -POL)

Westbound – Y70 (DCT -CROFT), L10 FL 85 - (DCT -CROFT -DCT -WAL)

Aircraft are to expect a POL 2X SID for the following routes when Runway 14 is in use:

Northbound – N601 (POL), P18 (POL)

Southbound – L612 (DCT -MCT -DCT -LISTO), N862 via P17 (POL), L8 via P18 (DCT -MCT -DCT -LISTO),

Westbound – Y70 (POL), L10 FL 85 - (DCT -WAL)


Aircraft departing to aerodromes not connected to the above initial routes will receive individual tactical clearances.


Visual Reference Points (VRP)

For the benefit of pilots on VFR flights who prefer to determine their position by radio navigation aids, rather than by visual pin-points, suitably defined VRPs for Leeds Bradford are:

Dewsbury (DBY)

Eccup Reservoir (ECP)

Harrogate (HGT)

Keighley (KLY)


This article was featured in the August 2018 issue of Radio User

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