UK air navigation service provider NATS is set to introduce an online pre-notification tool for all general aviation (GA) flights crossing Class D controlled airspace within the London area.

The tool will allow pilots to submit their notification on the portal at least 60 minutes before their proposed crossing time.

It will enable NATS controllers to prepare for their arrival by assisting pilots with their requests and allowing them to use the airspace more efficiently.

The tool was developed in response to a controller survey as part of a wider Airspace Users Portal. It will host all non-standard flight requests in one location later in the year, including those for balloon tethering, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and GA aircraft.

“The tool will provide pilots with the option to submit their notification on the portal at least 60 minutes before their proposed crossing time.”

NATS terminal control safety improvement specialist Tammy Storrow said: “Under the current system for general aviation pilots wishing to transit into controlled airspace, the air traffic controller responsible has no prior knowledge of the request and therefore has little opportunity to formulate a potential plan for the crossing.

“Pre-notification is especially important in today’s busy airspace where complex air traffic scenarios can develop rapidly. The new tool will enable our ATC units to see the requests well in advance and plan ahead, which will benefit everyone involved.”

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The pre-notification tool will be available from 1 January.