Glasgow 2014: Pilots warned of ‘lethal force’

PRIVATE pilots have been warned to stay out of restricted airspace over Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games or risk facing “lethal force” from military aircraft.

Typhoon jets could be scrambled to intercept aircraft. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Typhoon jets could be scrambled to intercept aircraft. Picture: Ian Rutherford

A prohibited zone will be in force over the city from 13 July to 6 August, covering the main games venues. All aircraft will be excluded from the area except for those piloted by the emergency services and the BBC, the event’s official broadcaster.

A wider restricted zone, stretching from Dumbarton to Cumbernauld and Kilmarnock, will be in force over the same period. Pilots within the zone have to notify air traffic control at least two hours before take-off.

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There will also be restrictions in place during the cycling time trials at Muirhead, the triathlon events at Strathclyde Country Park, the diving competition at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, and the shooting competition at the Barry Buddon range near Dundee.

The changes will mainly affect pilots of private aircraft, including helicopters. Commercial passenger flights will not be affected.

Information being circulated to pilots provides instructions if they are intercepted by military helicopters or Typhoon jets.

Military helicopters will display a “Follow Me” sign, and pilots will be ordered to rock their wings, turn away from Glasgow and follow the helicopter. Pilots should follow the same procedure if intercepted by a Typhoon.

Instructions issued to pilots conclude: “As a last resort, if an aircraft is intercepted, or fails to comply with these procedures or with the directions of the military aircraft, it may be considered a threat to security which may result in the use of lethal force.”

UK transport minister Robert Goodwill said the restrictions were based on a scaled-down versions of those imposed for the London Olympics two years ago.

He said: “All the regulations have been designed to allow aviation business to continue as usual so far as possible, while ensuring the safety and security of the Commonwealth Games.

“We do not expect any airports within the restricted airspace will need to close as a result of the planned measures, and there should be no impact on scheduled air services that will be vital to competitors, officials and spectators.

“The [UK] Government’s paramount objective is the delivery of a safe and secure 2014 Commonwealth Games for all, and the airspace restrictions will help to provide this whilst minimising the impact on the aviation community, so far as possible.

“However, the government reserves the right to implement additional airspace security measures should the need arise.”

The Ministry of Defence said it had no plans for missile launchers being based on blocks of flats, like during the Olympics.

It said Police Scotland, which is in charge of security on the ground, would request additional assistance of the military if it was required.