You have a legal and moral duty to ensure that your flight can be made safely. Even if you only plan some ridge soaring at your local site, you should be aware of any local airspace restrictions and take steps to avoid infringing them. If you plan to fly cross-country you should be familiar with Air Law and understand airspace types and restrictions as they apply to our kind of aircraft.
Airspace is changed as civil airports grow, military aerodromes are abandoned, airways are raised or lowered and other changes occur. The CAA replaces charts as required, and this can be as often as within twelve months of the previous issue. You should therefore check at least annually to make sure you are using the most up-to-date issue/software.
You also need to check NOTAMs before flying, probably the night before. The authority for NOTAMS is the National Air Traffic Service Aeronautical Information Service (NATS AIS). But you may find their website hard to navigate and the text based data difficult to decipher, and prefer the more graphic displays provided by NOTAM Info and SkyDemon.
NOTAMs now include Royal Flights, Red Arrows activity and other Temporary Restricted Airspace (RA(T)).
Once you are aware of what others are doing, you should inform them of your plans. This is normally best done using the Civil Aircraft Notification Procedure (CANP).
Competition organisers can apply for their own NOTAM by completing a simple form on the CAA website at least 48 hours in advance, or by midday Friday for activity on a Monday.
Last updated: 22 May 2023