Southend ATC

Hi all
Just a bit of info for anyone wanting to get permission to fly in the Southend (Essex) FRZ. Previously I have always got permission the same day or the day after I emailed the form to them. Today I emailed the form as usual ( I wanted to fly Sunday) but got this reply. So if you are applying, apply early.

“Good afternoon,
Thank you for your email.
This has now been sent for processing. Please advise, there is a 5-day processing time now for Drone Applications. Once this is complete, we will send this back to you.”

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WTF :scream:

Even the Met Office don’t know what the weather will be doing in five days time, what chance have we got? :roll_eyes:

I hope you asked them, “Why?” :thinking:

Thanks for sharing the heads up Gary @OldGit62 :+1:t2:


I regularly apply for permission to fly in the Coventry FRZ. They have always stated that it will take 6 days to get permission.
I just apply for a week or so at a time, and pick the date depending on weather etc.
I can see how this doesn’t work for all, but I am really grateful that they are very supportive of my requests.


@BudgieUK I regularly get permission from Southend ATC ( I live within the FRZ), but in the past it has always been either the same day or the next day. I have even applied in the morning and had premission to fly in the afternoon, they have been absolutly great. In febuary I got permission granted within a day. But the 5 day thing must be a new policy, not a problem now I know, I’ll sent requests in earlier in future.

Perhaps try a dummy one and see if you get your usual response?

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@OldGit62 Might be worth adding how you apply in case anyone wishes to fly there.

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Personally for any request I always pick at least one backup day leaving the time fairly wide as well.

Never had an issue doing this, however I always state that I am being vague due to potential weather changes.

@DroneGeek To apply for permission to fly in the Southend FRZ you need to email ATC to get a form, fill it in and email it back. They then email you the permission “in principle”. On the day of the flight you just phone them quoting the permission number and they check with the tower and say if it is OK for you to fly. Then when you are finished you phone them to tell them. Their email address is:

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@OzoneVibe I fly over a new housing estate that is being built, documenting the progress. Usually once or twice a month. I have put applications in at least a dozen times and always have quick responses, and never had any rejected. If the weather is iffy I just select a whole week as the date then if there is a good day it’s just a case of phoning them before and after the flight.

My comment was really to @BudgieUK to see if he got a different experience were he to apply again following your experience.

To request permission to fly in Coventry FRZ, you fill in an online form here:

It says that it will take 6-days, and when entering the date required, you pick the date from a calendar. Dates that are less than 6-days from todays date are greyed out, so it’s not possible to enter a date that is less than 6 days away.
Very occasionally, I have received permission within a day or so, but it is for an event that has to be at least 6-days away.
As I live in the FRZ, I frequently have a range of dates booked, and just fly on the dates I can.

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My oversight - I’d missed that you were referring to Coventry.

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I used to do this but now I just request an unlock via the DJI Flysafe website and it usually gets granted immediately. I applied for a custom unlock highlighting the area I want to fly in and it was granted for the next 6 months (assuming it is a DJI drone you are flying of course).

Unlocking via the DJI flysafe website only unlockes your drone, it doesn’t give you permission to fly in a FRZ. That can only be given by the relevant ATC.

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@BudgieUK That actually sounds a better/easier way of doing it. I have to fill in a form and email it to ATC, then they process it and send me an email. I keep a copy of the form with my details filled in, so I only have to enter time, location, and dates. I’ll be booking well in advance in future. :grinning:

Gary, I hope you don’t mind me asking but I am heading out to the Southend ATC area from London in a few weeks.
How easy was it to get your permission and what email address did you use. I searched online and on their website but it must be hidden somewhere.
Thanks KR Anil

@JediKnight You can email them to ask for a drone application form. Or phone them on 01702 538420
It’s 4 pages, but 2 are info: You only need to fill in the 3rd page, and email it back to them. They then send it back again with page 4 filled in. Then it’s just a case of phoning them when you are on site ready to go for final confirmation.(usually takes 2-5 minutes) Then phone again when your finished. They are very friendly to deal with. I’d put the application in at least a week before.

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Thanks very much for the information. Very helpful. Also loved the church footage on your YouTube.

Law of unintended consequences might kick in here.

Forcing a long time delay with uncertain weather could well mean more people applying for multiple dates or even keeping it “open” just in case.
Might well dramatically increase the number of applications they get, most of which never get used.

@gnirtS In the past I have put in an application for 4pm - 8pm for 7 days. That way I could get the drone up when it wasn’t raining or blowing a gale.
I have also applied for more than one area on the same day.

I think the main reason for the 6 days in advance is the airport has recently got a lot more air traffic since Easyjet has returned. Also both the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain squadron are going to be based there for the summer air shows.