Author Topic: Reasons to avoid using EC  (Read 979 times)


Reasons to avoid using EC
« on: August 21, 2020, 05:42:24 pm »
This thread has been forked from the Saving VRS Options at this point:,1897.msg20306.html#msg20306

We were discussing the reasons why not everyone carries EC.

There are some negative outcomes for doing so, and with the rewards dropping off, whether we like or not, the current vibe is that peole are considering removing their transponders.

This article provides a back drop:

Hi Steve,

I had previously read Peter's article and have to admit to having mixed feelings about it. Whereas nothing can condone the way in which the CAA automatically assume you are guilty and can effectively ground you if you deign to take them to task, I do have my suspicions that not all infringers are as innocent as they claim. The technique by which the CAA judge us is certainly far too 'agricultural', especially given the tolerances allowable for altitude but I also think far too few pilots are willing to get on the radio and talk to the people they are getting close to. I have no snags in calling up the airspace operator and getting a traffic service. That way he has me identified and can, therefore reduce his separation on 'known' traffic AND he is very likely to let me know if he is getting nervous about my position/altitude.....which may stop me infringing in the first place. Like many, I also have the ubiquitous moving map but, it would seem, many of the actual infringers do not. I'm not being a girly swot when I say that I don't push the limits for getting close to airspace unless I'm talking to ATC and that involves using my transponder, until they enter the 21st Century and get start using ADSB. I don't see transponders in the way that Peter does but I am certainly no apologist for the CAA, who are going to (a)have to alter the way they prosecute and (b)should be overseen by a higher authority, instead of being able to do as they wish.

For what it's worth, I don't see the problem going away when ADSB is in use, especially if mandated. ATC will be then be able to see all, with no ability for the pilot to turn it off and if they choose to use GPS altitude to decide we've busted airspace then I reckon we're on a greater hiding to nothing because that seems to be a LOT less accurate and reliable than the Mode C return.

Yeah, maybe a subject for a separate thread  ;D

My point is that the infringers are not necessarily claiming to be innocent, but are complaining about disproportionate response, especially when the inquiry is retrospective, with no disruption to other air traffic. Sometimes they are in contact with ATC, in very complicated bits of airspace, and infringe whilst waiting for a permission.

Listening to the radio and being given a zone transit "not above 1,500ft" when sat in someone else's aircraft has me making a mental note not to bother with the same to cross the Thames Estuary in a two stroke.

You have been lucky in getting a traffic service without snags as often when listening to Farnborough LARS in their area I hear "Traffic service declined due to controller workload" and unfortunately that traffic service only includes transponders as far as I'm aware.

I use the radio all the time but in a way where I'm not obliged to use it when trying to concentrate on other stuff. 4/5 years ago, a ten transponder bulk buy was possible on another forum. You wouldn't get that now, I don't think.

I'm confident in Kent that if you mentioned a transponder bulk buy now, you'd get the offer of two or three second hand transponders...

GPS altitude is very accurate now, but if certified, you're probably tied to GPS. All the uncertified stuff is now GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/Beidou receiving, and some instruments like the Syride Sys'Evo can auto set QNH offset on the baro sensor using GNSS systems in a couple of minutes after boot up.

If the CAA want to run airspace on GNSS, we'll fly to that.

If they mandate ADS-B then they'll need to be sure there's enough bandwidth. If you look at Skyways thermal and flight tracing then it could be that a good flying days with sailplanes, HG & PG could really have some areas of the sky lit up...

I think it depends on what you want from EC. I'd like to know and decide for myself, rather than having to fly a fixed course with reporting points and sometimes being told "no service". When there is no service and I don't need a transit then I have a £1,200 paperweight telling tales on me. OTOH, transits are pretty much guaranteed at quiet times.

I tend to keep a long way out of the way of controlled airspace, even with an FRTOL and a moving map display. It's not what enjoyable flying is for me.

Whilst I don't condone infringements, a coupe of primary return pings won't end up with a difficult phone conversation, whereas the transponder, with less than accurate altitude it could be argued, gets you done...