Permissions from airport

Some of you will be aware that my local area is in an FRZ, it’s never been a problem and I have got to know the guys in the tower quite well. They’re always helpful and have never yet denied a flight, the worst they’ve done is ask me to reduce max height when they’ve had a lot of helicopters about for sight seeing tours. Recently I needed to go to three different sites on the same day, all they asked me to do is call them on arrival at site then again when finished and before heading to the next one.
Yesterday however I needed permission to fly above a bowling green, so I sent my request off via email stating I would only be in the air long enough to grab a couple of shots and then back down to earth. As usual the reply was very polite, but asked exactly what time, and at what height. Further down the email was a note saying the tower was not able to approve or deny flights. So after some emailing back and forth I was told that

"Hi Darren,

It’s a bone of contention at the moment. The CAA have issued very clear instructions that only ATC and FISO operated towers can grant permission, A/G operators (i.e. us) should not be doing that. However, since we don’t have an alternative arrangement in place, the answer you get may depend on who you speak to in the tower.


Is this a recent change? I am sure I have read somewhere that the tower can give permission? If they can’t, then who can? Why call someone 100 miles away who doesn’t know the area I want to fly? Doesn’t make sense to me.

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It’s an unusual one. I would have expected permission would need to come from whichever airfield the FRZ was attached to, so they can inform aircraft landing and taking off accordingly.

It may be that the tower concerned doesn’t provide a radar or flight information service to passing aircraft though.

Where specifically is the FRZ?

Perth, it’s Scotlands largest/busiest commercial airport.

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This table is from the CAA website. So their position at least seems to be that the aerodrome operator is able to grant the permissions needed.

The only differentiation is that the permission needs to come from the operations office (or what could also be called Flight Planning) as opposed to the tower.

Still should be Perth in any case…

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only ATC and FISO operated towers can grant permission,

As I recollect …(CAA ruels etc alter)…The people you spoke to are are people not fully CAA licenced as say Heathrow, Gatwick and other large airports are…These people only are
responsible to a certain degree (radio and circuit safety) for aircraft ops into and out of their airfield and not for other airspace ops…

Hi, you’ve posted an intersting question! And you’ve got me rifling through my ops manual etc… Essentially if ATC cannot give you premission if must be sought from the relevant FIS although perhaps contacting a NATS and asking a FISO for clarification may be better than taking it from me!

My Ops Manual states:

3.4 Pre-Notification
If the flight is within Controlled Airspace (A, C, D or E), the controlling ATCU must be identified during operational planning. If the flight is within a Flight Restriction Zone of a protected aerodrome or protected space site, permission must be obtained from ATC, FIS or the operator of the protected space site, in advance. Operations within a Flight Restriction Zone, including protected space sites, will be conducted in accordance with Articles 94A, 94B and 94BA of the ANO.

I took my PfCO with Heliguy and this is from their course documentation:

I’d be really interested in knowing what the authorities decide on and finger’s crossed they choose sensible over bureaucracy. Either way, good luck!

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