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CAA publishes Strip Flying Safety Sense Leaflet

The UK CAA has published a comprehensive guide on flying into and out of unlicensed airstrips.

The guide – part of the CAA’s series of Safety Sense Leaflets – contains valuable information on the art of flying into grass strips and how to identify and mitigate potential hazards.

The guide commences by advising that most strips will not be licensed or certified to any standard and may have hazardous features such as power lines or slopes not normally found at licensed aerodromes. The runway surfaces themselves may be of poor condition, being rutted or uneven, and often considerably shorter than runways at licensed aerodromes, meaning they’re less tolerant to handling errors such as inaccurate flying speeds.

The leaflet identifies 16 categories worthy of consideration before attempting to visit one:

  • Finding a suitable strip
  • Assessing the site
  • Approach challenges
  • Take-off and landing technique
  • Take-off and landing performance
  • Climb performance
  • Engine failures
  • Weather conditions
  • Noise
  • Approaching the strip
  • Rules of the air
  • Use of radio
  • Practicalities
  • International flights
  • Recommend performance factors for take-off
  • Gradient vs rate of climb

In the summary section, the CAA identifies six considerations to bear in mind when planning to visit a strip:

  • Permission – Do you have permission to use the strip?
  • Suitability – Have you satisfied yourself it is safe to operate there with your aircraft and flying experience?
  • Skill level – Is your flying accurate enough and are you suitably competent in the steep approach (if applicable) and short field techniques for your aircraft?
  • Planning – Have you planned your approach and departure profiles, including any special manoeuvres or noise abatement procedures?
  • Weather conditions – Are they suitable on the day, particularly wind speed and direction?
  • Practicalities – Have you considered parking, overnight weather and security at the strip?

The Strip Flying Safety Sense Leaflet (SS12) is available as a free PDF download

Author: FTN Editor

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