Airspace4All and British Gliding Association (BGA) are working together to help deliver a training and testing regime to facilitate glider pilot access and uptake of the Flight Radio Telephony Operators Licence (FRTOL).

Airspace modernisation necessitates all GA pilots to be able to use VHF communications to integrate safely with the commercial sector and associated ATS. This is an essential component of airspace management and airspace infringement protection; without it, airspace cannot be managed effectively. For the reasons described below, many UK glider pilots do not hold the necessary licence to communicate with ATS units. Airspace4All has therefore partnered with the BGA to help deliver a training and testing regime relevant to gliding operations to facilitate glider pilot access and uptake of the FRTOL.

Almost all UK gliders are equipped with 8.33 VHF Com radios, the community having recently invested between £6m and £7m to enable spectrum to be released for the future expansion of the wider aviation sector. A set of 5 common 8.33 channels are allocated for glider use at airfields and air-to-air and these channels can be utilised without a FRTOL. Because glider pilot training takes place at uncontrolled airfields or sites with no ATS VHF facility, formal RTF skills are not developed during flight training and glider pilots are generally unfamiliar with the procedures and phraseology that are needed to obtain a licence. Historically there has been no clear incentive for glider pilots to obtain a licence and no formal mechanism to train or qualify for the FRTOL, but without one they are not allowed to use ATS channels.

More details are available here.

This is a sub-project of Airspace4All’s project aimed at Regularising Access to Controlled and Regulated Airspace.