Temporary reduction of opening hours for UK Low Flying Coordination (LFC)
Due to restrictions on personnel numbers imposed by COVID19 measures, the opening hours of UK Low Flying Coordination (LFC) have been reduced.
From the 15 March 2021 LFC will only be manned Monday to Thursday 7.00am - 8.00pm and Friday 7.00am - 3.00pm. The reduced hours will be in place until further notice.
NB. CANPs must be submitted before closing time to ensure publication. Please note LFC also have a new email address (see below).
In addition to checking Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) for restrictions and warnings, you should submit a CANP to warn other pilots of your intentions. This is particularly important if flying Monday - Friday.
The procedure is primarily designed to warn military low flying aircraft of our activity, but in 2014 the system was expanded, and CANPs are now published as NOTAMs. This allows civilian as well as military pilots to see where we are likely to be. Unfortunately, the translation from CANP to NOTAM has been problematic (we are described as parachutists and our published operating height can be misleading). We are in negotiations with the CAA to resolve these issues.
Reorganisation of the RAF's low flying coordination system has seen the Low Flying Operations Flight (LFOF) become a part of the new Military Airspace Management Cell (MAMC), and CANP bookings are now handled by Low Flying Coordination (LFC).
The procedure itself is very simple. You should aim to submit your notification to Low Flying Coordination (LFC) by 8.00pm Monday - Thursday and 3.00pm on Friday. This lead-in time is essential to get your notification published in time. You probably won't know exactly where you are going the day before so it is permissible to nominate 2-3 sites at the same time. Notifications made after this time may still be accepted, but there is no guarantee that they will reach other pilots in time.
All notifications now generate a WARNING of 2nm radius. Other pilots may still decide to fly through the NOTAM but they should be aware of your activity.
You can request a NOTAM via CANP (Civil Aircraft Notification Procedure) online using the CANP for free fliers app, or by phone or e-mail. The latter can be a slow and cumbersome process, whilst the app is simplicity itself. The app has a built in database of flying site names and their respective OS grid references, which makes submitting a CANP request via the app much easier than by phone or email. Providing the site you wish to fly is in the app's sites database.
For further information about the CANP for Fliers app and how to add more sites to its database, please visit our CANP for free fliers app page.
If you prefer to submit a CANP via phone or email, you can contact the LFC by phone on 0800 515544 or 01489 443100, or by email at Swkemail@example.com. But the LFC preference is an email rather than a phone call.
If phoning/emailing you should provide the following details:
Which ever way you choose to submit your request for a NOTAM, you will receive an acknowledgement which will include a unique reference number to confirm that your notification has been processed. You can double check that your NOTAM is on display the following morning.
The LFC is manned Monday to Thursday 7.00am - 8.00pm and Friday 7.00am - 3.00pm. It is acknowledged that CANP therefore doesn't really work for flying Saturday - Monday am.
Strictly speaking you should only submit a notification if you expect 5 or more pilots to be present. However, since the NOTAM will be published for all to see, and especially if you also publish your intentions on social media, our advice is that in most cases you can be confident that another 4 pilots will turn up.
You may receive a request from LFC to cancel a notification if it is no longer required. You should politely decline this request - other pilots may have assumed that they are covered by your NOTAM.
Since your CANP is published as a warning, other aircraft are within their rights to fly through it. This is perfectly reasonable if there is no activity and they proceed with caution. However, if you feel that an 'incursion' is unwise, bordering on reckless, you should report the details to the LFC so that they can investigate the circumstances.
The personnel manning the LFC are a helpful bunch whose sole aim is keeping us all safe. If your flying situation doesn't exactly match the criteria above it is still worth giving them a call for advice - they might still be able to do something to help.
Why is it important to request a NOTAM via CANP?
On the basis that a picture is worth a 1,000 words, this screen shot from Martin Harris's video of a of a Hawk jet flying through a gaggle of paragliders at Westbury/Bratton Camp in January 2018 should be enough to convince you just how important it is to request a NOTAM via CANP.
The airprox report that followed categorised the degree of risk as the highest available, and found that a contributory factor was that "The Hawk pilot did not know that the Bratton Camp paragliding site was active."
A full report of this incident is available on the UK Airprox Board website.
Last updated: 08 March 2021