The closing of Manston Airport has triggered a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) review of its airspace. Two Transponder Mandatory Zones (TMZs) are defined around the London Array and Thanet wind farms. These enabled Manston airport to safely manage the effects of the wind farms on its radar systems.
Pilots flying through a TMZ must ensure their aircraft SSR transponders are operating. This is to ensure that their aircraft will be picked up by Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) because Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR) may be affected by the wind farm. The establishment of TMZs is a recognized method of mitigating the effects of wind farms on PSR. It is quite a rare form of mitigation which is normally a part of a more complex mitigation scheme.
Over recent years Southend Airport has got busier and has installed its own new radar systems. The Southend PSR is affected by the London Array wind development – meaning that its radar operations benefit from the existence of the London Array TMZ.
The CAA has reviewed the requirements for the two Manston TMZs. It has decided that the London Array TMZ will remain but be re-assigned to Southend. The Thanet TMZ is to be suspended for the time being and will be reviewed in future.
Pager Power offers radar operators and airports a number of services and online tools to enable them to understand the extent to which a wind farm will affect their operations. This means that an airport can be sure about the likely impact of a proposed wind farm on its operations. You can read the CAA information notice here.