An Airspace Infringement (AI) is the unauthorised entry of an aircraft into airspace that requires a clearance to enter. This may be due to the airspace being restricted or closed to facilitate special flying activity or other reasons.
Safety is compromised when an aircraft enters a restricted or closed piece of airspace as there is the potential that a pilot is operating in unsafe proximity to other aircraft or a harmful activity (for example, where live weapons are being fired). Being involved in an AI may also increase air traffic control (ATC) or pilot workload and result in delays to other aircraft.
There are a number of practices which may help you to avoid an AI and compromise safety.
The first tip is to plan your flight properly, by ensuring you are using current airspace charts, familiarise yourself with local airspace and other aeronautical issues, brief yourself on restricted area activities for your planned route (including NOTAM briefings) and consider control area steps along and around your route.
Navigation is another key element of avoiding an AI. Knowing your position accurately is paramount, as well as verifying your position if unexpectedly arriving well ahead of, or after, your anticipated time of arrival. If you are in doubt of your position, ask ATC for assistance.
A working transponder is critical to safe flying. If you are operating VFR in Class G or E airspace, set your transponder to ON/ALT with code 1200 selected or your ATC-assigned code. This will make your aircraft visible to ATC and the Airborne Collision Avoidance Systems in other aircraft.
If you aircraft is able to use the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), it can be used to supplement map reading and other visual techniques (AIP GEN 1.5 contains more information).
Air traffic controllers are also there to help if you are in doubt!
More information on airspace infringements, including local area maps, information sheets on AI’s and other safety information is available on the Airservices Safety Publications page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The most important piece in avoiding an AI is to plan your flight thoroughly!