Transits across Stansted

A brief post to relate a good experience I had last weekend – myself and another pilot from the aero club decided to fly out to Stapleford and back. The straight line route to get there goes straight through London Stansted’s airspace, so our planned routes had appropriate ‘dog legs’ around it, as there is no guarantee of getting permission to transit.

There isn’t any harm in asking however, so while en route on each flight (there and back) we called up Essex Radar (the ATC service which controls that airspace) and asked for a zone transit. Surprisingly, we got one in both cases. The first time we were cleared at not above 2000 feet, and once visual with Stansted were instructed to route to the left of the runway 22 threshold. The other pilot was flying this leg, so this allowed me to snap a number of photos of Stansted and some departing traffic:

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On the return, we were told we might have to orbit somewhere for a couple of inbounds to get in, but we were still given the transit, this time at not above 1500 feet, with an initial instruction to route towards Stansted itself. As we got closer, we were instructed to make one orbit, and upon completion were asked if we were visual with an inbound 737 – these are quite hard to miss:


After confirming, we were then instructed to route behind it and resume our own navigation to Cambridge, which we promptly did. Although a fairly short trip, it’s not often you get to see a major international airport from above (as even when flying in and out as a passenger in a commercial aircraft, you don’t normally have the forwards / backwards view, just a limited side one),┬áso it was certainly a memorable one!