UK Aeronautical Information Services

NATS Swanwick, Room 3115

Sopwith Way,

Southampton, SO31 7AY

01489 887462

01912 032329 (Distribution)


AIC for United Kingdom

Aeronautical Information Service


Y 052/2020

Effective 30 JUL 2020


This Circular explains the procedure for notifying the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Ofcom and Safety and Airspace Regulation Group and Airspace Regulation (Utilisation) of any unusual aerial activity, hereafter Activity, by civil aircraft that may require airspace co-ordination and notification to other airspace users. There are many types of Activity but most of them fall into one of these categories:
  1. A concentration of aircraft that is significantly greater than normal, eg: a Rally or Fly-in;

  2. Activities that may require the issue of a Permission or an Exemption from the provisions of the Air Navigation Order or Rules of the Air and Air Traffic Control Regulations, eg: low flying near assemblies of people, the dropping of articles or parachutists, or balloon or kite flying;

  3. Air Shows, Air Displays, Air Races and other competitions, aerial surveys and avoidance of ground events and hazards;

  4. Activities requiring the establishment of a temporary Air Traffic Service (ATS) or Air Ground Communication Service (AGCS) Unit which, depending on the size and complexity of the event may require approval.

Note: The CAA's requirements and recommendations to Aerodrome Operators, Providers and Organisers for the establishment of a temporary ATS or AGCS Unit are published in CAP 403 (Flying Displays and Special Events); CAP 670 (Air Traffic Services – Safety Requirements) and CAP 1251 (Air Traffic Controller – Licensing) and in the case of the provision of a Flight Information Service in CAP 1032 (Aerodrome Flight Information Service Officer Licensing) and CAP 797 (Flight Information Service Officer Manual).

An Activity may constitute a hazard if pilots of non-participating aircraft are not aware that it is taking place. Consequently, an appropriate measure of airspace co-ordination and general notification by Airspace Regulation (Utilisation) is necessary. Moreover, some Activities may only be carried out if a Permission or an Exemption has been issued by the CAA prior to the event.
All event or display organisers who wish to arrange Activities are required to give prior notice directly to the CAA and to the Airspace Regulation (Utilisation) via the form found under the General Aviation section of the CAA website ‘How to apply for a Flying Display or Special Event Permission’.
The information on the completed form is used to ensure that:
  1. Adequate time is available for those Activities requiring issue of Permissions or Exemptions under the civil aviation legislation to receive thorough consideration;

  2. a temporary aerodrome license is issued in appropriate cases;

  3. the Airspace Regulation (Utilisation) is able to complete the necessary co-ordination of the Activity in the interests of flight safety and achieve the most efficient utilisation of airspace by all airspace users;

  4. the Activity is notified to other airspace users through the NOTAM system and/or the issue of an Airspace Co-ordination Notice when this is appropriate.

The length of notice required by the CAA and Airspace Regulation (Utilisation) depends primarily on whether the intended Activity is to take place at a licensed aerodrome or site. The following table indicates the minimum period of notice:
Activity Notice
1 A Licensed aerodrome or a site where a temporary aerodrome licence is required60 days
2 An aerodrome or site when an aerodrome licence is not necessary42 days
5.1 If an Activity is intended to attract more than 100 aircraft it is essential that proposals are discussed with the CAA - Airspace, Air Traffic Management and Aerodromes (AAA) ) department prior to any firm arrangements being made. These discussions must be initiated in order to allow at least 60 days from submission of the application to the date of the Activity. If the organiser has any doubt on the level or type of ATS, or AGCS that should be provided, he/she is strongly recommended to contact the relevant ATM Principal Inspector for guidance using the email address below:

5.2 If it is intended to establish a temporary ATS or AGCS Unit, at an event, it is essential that organisers refer to the document ATS Safety Requirements CAP 670 ( which contains comprehensive information and requirements for the establishment of such a unit.
5.2.1 A provider of Air Traffic Control must be nominated and he/she is required to apply to Ofcom ( using form OfW586a (Aeronautical Ground Station Radio licence application form) a minimum of 60 days in advance of the event for unit approval. A copy of the proposed Manual of Air Traffic Services (MATS Part 2) should be submitted as soon as possible but no later than 60 days before the event. The format of the MATS Part 2 is laid out in CAP 670.
5.2.2 Established ATS Units intending to hold a Flying Display or Special Event are required to notify CAA-AAA if the event requires changes to approved procedures or facilities (including Ground Station Callsigns) at that Unit.
5.2.3 Copies of Form OfW586a which also may be used for the application for a temporary VHF frequency are available from the Ofcom website.
5.3 Display organisers and pilots are advised that, although every effort will be made to deal with late notification forms, no guarantee can be given that they will be processed in time for the event. Late notification may mean that Airspace Regulation (Utilisation) is unable to complete the necessary airspace co-ordination and notification in time. Late notice may also mean that the event will not receive a Permission or an Exemption, or that Air Navigation Order approval of a temporary ATS or AGCS Unit is not given.
Event or display organisers should note that whenever military aircraft participate in a civil aviation event, the Ministry of Defence requires the organiser to complete a special questionnaire which is separate from, and additional to, the notification required by the Authority. Event organisers will receive copies of the military questionnaire from the MOD when the military participation is confirmed and they will be required to return completed questionnaires direct to the AUS.This Circular is issued for information, guidance and necessary action.
Published by NATS on behalf of the CAA. Printed and distributed by Tangent Direct, Cheltenham, Glos. GL50 2JA.