Licensed Airfields and PPR
U.K. Pilots having PPR issues at airfields
Airfields pay a heavy price in terms of compliance to become licensed. Public licensed airfields are open to the public for public transport whilst private licensed airfields are used for private charter. However, some of them are proving to be unwelcoming to visiting aircraft.
Our view is that Licensed airfields should accept PPR requests in the air (for example 10 minutes away). It’s accepted that airfield staff may wish to check that an incoming pilot is aware of the noise abatement approaches, airfield procedures and the latest NOTAMs.
It’s also accepted that staff may decline a landing request eg if the pilot is unaware of either the noise abatement, the NOTAMs or the procedures.
There are around 100 licensed airfields in the U.K. and almost all provide fuelling service.
If a pilot requires a refuel then these airfields should, in general, be available for landing.
Helipaddy is aware of a number of licensed airfields that are now requiring PPR via online forms. They won’t accept an email, or a phone call or an RT request, thereby making it impossible to divert in for fuel.
By insisting on online form filling, the airfield has de facto made it impossible to land for fuel unless the pilot has pre-planned the fuel stop and has internet access.
Helipaddy questioned one airfield who has taken this position since early 2023. Their response was that the airfield may have events on, may have changed their procedures or may be under repair.
However, Helipaddy found that the PPR form asked questions that were not relevant to these factors eg “persons on board” and “final destination”.
Why would they have embarked on a form-filling exercise? Would they have planning issues and wish to discourage aviators from flying in?
In general, the information that most airfields need is the aircraft registration and type (and occasionally the name of the pilot), all of which would be easy to provide over the radio when inbound.
When we asked Helipaddy pilots about this bureaucratic trend, we were met with universal agreement that it was at best unsporting and and worst probably not allowed.
It seems fairly likely that the licensing authority is unaware of these blockages. They were unable to comment – due to workload.