The CIX VFR Club
Club Events - New Forest Mystery
Who was the Passenger?
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The CIX VFR Club
Club Events - New Forest Mystery
Who was the Passenger? Briefing by: Richard Sinclair & Peter Dodds.
  Briefing Wednesday 26h March 2008  
Summary An aircraft disappears from Solent Radar somewhere in the New Forest area. We have to locate it before the rescue services, as we are especially interested in something, or someone, on board. We need to avoid drawing attention to ourselves as much as possible.

An aircraft has disappeared from Solent Radar on a flight from Bournemouth to Southampton. This was allegedly a test flight after routine maintenance with a return flight filed for later that day. In his booking out call to Bournemouth ATC, the pilot indicated that he intended to fly directly to Southampton Airport, that there was only one person on board and fuel endurance was 3 hours. However, we have been informed that there were two people on board. So who is the other person?

The aircraft departed Bournemouth from runway 08 and turned to a heading of about 060° at a radar indicated altitude of 700 feet Bournemouth QNH.  The pilot called Solent Radar shortly after take off, requesting entry into the Southampton CTR at Totton VRP. This was granted, with the further instruction that the aircraft remain below 1500 feet Solent QNH and report entering the Southampton zone at Totton. The pilot read the instruction back correctly.  No further radio communication was received from the aircraft which was last observed on Solent radar at about the halfway point between the two airports, about 10nm from Bournemouth and slightly north of the direct track.

Eyewitness reports from people in the village of Lyndhurst describe hearing an aircraft with "intermittent" engine sounds in the vicinity of Pikeshill. A gardener at the nearby hospital described an aircraft flying very low over"The big house". He did not remember hearing any engine sound.


Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to find the mystery passenger. Try not to draw attention to yourself as you overfly the area, and avoid being seen by other aircraft if possible.

You must be aware of and avoid the class D restricted air space in the New Forest area. The Bournemouth and Southampton zones extend to eight miles from each airfield covering surface to 2000 ft. Both airfield zones and the area between them are restricted from 2000 ft to FL 55 (5500 ft with QNH set to 1013mb or 29.92 inches). You must therefore remain at least 8 nm from each airfield, and stay below 2000 ft.

Your choice of aircraft, either fixed wing or rotary wing is up to you.  Choose the best tool for the job, but as always, you are advised to choose a type which you have plenty of experience of flying.

Pre-Flight Download and install the scenery for FS9 or FSX as necessary.  The downloads include the folder structure required for the scenery with full instructions for installation. However, the scenery (bgl) files themselves (i.e. the aircraft and crew) will not be available for download until advised on the Club Forum, so that there can be no attempts to locate the aircraft before the day of the event. When the bgls are released it will simply be a matter of putting them in the correct folder, adding the scenery area in the Scenery Library in FS9 or FSX and (FS9 only) restarting FS to activate it.
Event Rules Maximum Realism should be selected in FS if possible, subject to hardware constrraints, and "Unlimited Fuel" should be unticked.
You must avoid controlled and/or restricted airspace.
You must not use the Pause key.
Start Time Well - the sooner we find the aircraft the better!
Results When you find what you're looking for, make notes, and continue your flight as planned. Try not to give any indication that you have found something. After landing, report your findings to Peter Dodds by PM. He will want to know the details of what you found and where you found it.
Departure Point and Duration You might do well to avoid attracting attention to your flight by avoiding using either Bournemouth or Southampton. Old Sarum or Compton Abbas may make good start points. It is your choice. Endurance will depend on how quickly the aircraft is found, but full tanks are recommended if possible, bearing in mind weight and balance.
Radio Follow the normal rules for radio communication in uncontrolled airspace in the vicinity of controlled airspace, but do not give any indication to ATC, either on the radio or in your flight plan that you are searching for something. Simply advise "general handling" in the New Forest area.
Weather ...or not Don't attempt this sortie if you are not experienced enough to fly in the conditions pertaining on the day. There will be a number of aircraft also looking, and you are surrounded by controlled airspace.  Keeping good situational awareness will be paramount.
Routing Overview As required. It is recommended that you fly a rectangular grid pattern to cover all the affected area. Remember that other aircraft could be doing the same.  One possibility is for members to agree, perhaps at a briefing on TeamSpeak, to divide the area up between them.
Flight Plan It is expected, but not essential that the departure and destination airfields will be the same for your Vatsim flight plan. Airfield charts and information for UK are available from the AIS web site. You need to register, but it's free.
You should refer to the VFR Guide Supplements Map for the area published by the CAA. This clearly shows areas of Controlled Airspace which should be avoided.
Don't forget to include information for your alternate destination, in case you need to divert.
Radio Discipline Take care not to let our Teamspeak chat cut across ATC. Stop any conversation immediately the R/T comes alive, then continue if "he wasn't talking to us". This is difficult because when transmitting on Teamspeak you can't hear the R/T. So be brief on Teamspeak, and be aware that ATC might be trying to get through. If anyone hears an R/T message which seems to be being ignored, just say "ATC is calling G-CIXN" if you have identified the callsign, or "ATC is calling us" which is a cue for everyone to be quiet on Teamspeak until ATC call again (which they will). Remember too that if asked to "Stand By" by ATC, you do not reply - not even "Roger", but simply wait until you are called again.
Remember also that there are several different ATC frequencies in use, and you may not be able to hear when communications are taking place. Make sure you have set and know how to use a Teamspeak mute switch.
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