(Note: this procedure is under review by the BHPA Sites Officer. If you experience any problems or wish to comment then he would be delighted to hear from you.)
In addition to checking Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) for restrictions and warnings, you should submit a CANP to warn other pilots of your intentions. This is particularly important if flying Monday - Friday.
The procedure is primarily designed to warn military low flying aircraft of our activity, but in 2014 the system was expanded, and CANPs are now published as NOTAMs. This allows civilian as well as military pilots to see where we are likely to be. Unfortunately, the translation from CANP to NOTAM has been problematic (we are described as parachutists and our published operating height can be misleading). We are in negotiations with the CAA to resolve these issues.
The procedure itself is very simple. You should aim to submit your notification to the military Low Flying Booking Cell (LFBC) by 8.00pm the evening before. This lead-in time is essential to get your notification published in time. You probably won't know exactly where you are going the night before so it is permissible to nominate 2-3 sites at the same time. Notifications made after this time may still be accepted, but there is no guarantee that they will reach other pilots in time.
All notifications now generate a WARNING of 2nm radius. Other pilots may still decide to fly through the NOTAM but they should be aware of your activity.
The phone numbers for LFBC are 0800 515544 or 01489 612287, but their preference is to receive an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively we are developing a utility: CANP for free flyers which automatically generates an email. This is still under development and we welcome your comments.
If phoning/emailing you should provide the following details:
By way of acknowledgement you will be given a unique reference number to confirm that your notification has been processed. You can double check that your NOTAM is on display the following morning.
The LFBC is manned Monday to Thursday 7.00am - 11.00pm and Friday 7.00am - 5.00pm. It is acknowledged that the CANP therefore doesn't really work for flying Saturday - Monday am.
Strictly speaking you should only submit a notification if you expect 5 or more pilots to be present. However, since the NOTAM will be published for all to see, and especially if you also publish your intentions on social media, our advice is that in most cases you can be confident that another 4 pilots will turn up.
You may receive a request from LFBC to cancel a notification if it is no longer required. You should politely decline this request - other pilots may have assumed that they are covered by your NOTAM.
Since your CANP is published as a warning, other aircraft are within their rights to fly through it. This is perfectly reasonable if there is no activity and they proceed with caution. However, if you feel that an 'incursion' is unwise, bordering on reckless, you should report the details to the LFBC so that they can investigate the circumstances.
The personnel manning the LFBC are a helpful bunch whose sole aim is keeping us all safe. If your flying situation doesn't exactly match the criteria above it is still worth giving them a call for advice - they might still be able to do something to help.
Page last updated: 31 January 2020