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Airspace in Australia


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Ok, so I was reading another thread and discussions on VFR lanes like Victor One, which would be great for many places along the coast so that RAAus can transit safer areas rather than tiger country at low levels.

 

Coffs would take a bit more of a head scratch but that's what engineers are good at.

Maybe instead of reinventing the wheel, we could just copy the US FAA Airspace System like Dick Smith tried to do a few years back, then this discussion wouldn't be happening... Class E Airspace over the top of most airports, ATC focused where they are really needed, in the circuit and immediate vicinity of an airport, and stress free and flexible flying for everyone.

 

Of course a lot of people were against Dick's changes, because they assumed he was in it for his own gain, or jealousy, I don't really know... but I don't see it that way. To me, it is clear he just wants the best aviation system, and if it is great for him, that is cool, but we also would get the exact same benefits. Why would it be a problem for our airspace to be logical and make sense rather than having things that are unique to us and only add to the stress rather than make for a good user friendly experience?

 

Honestly, I think if we were to copy the US System (and also get the XM Satellite Weather and traffic to increase situational awareness), we could be the best in the world for Aviation. We live in a huge country where most places are spread out, there isn't anywhere better that I can think of...

 

I've done some flying in Canada, which as far as I know is similar if not the same rules as the USA, and its a world of difference. I was in one of the busiest areas, and ATC are friendly, they work in with the pilots rather than pilots working in with them as is done here. There was never a 'clearance unavailable at this time, remain outside CTA' or anything to that effect, it was always 'remain west of this location, and this is the other traffic'. It was friendly, and welcoming, and that was IN Controlled Airspace.

 

For those who are unfamiliar with the US Airspace, here is some light reading: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airspace_class_(United_States)

 

And for a comparison, Australian Airspace:

 

http://www.recreationalflying.com/tutorials/navigation/airspace.html

 

(Notice the difference? Class C becomes a roadblock in Australia, where as in the USA you can go right over the top. Safely.)

 

It works in the USA, why wouldn't it work here?

 

 

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I haven't read the regs but NZ works in a similar way to the US. There are victor lanes around all the major airports & you can get clearance over the top by just asking. I did that when the Americas Cup was on in Auckland & there were over 50 helicopters tearing around the harbour & in the victor lanes in addition to the normally busy VFR traffic on both east and west lanes. I just called up ATC & said I didn't want to mix it with all the blowflies down low & there was no problem. We were cleared to 9,500 feet & it was great watching 747s & other heavy transport landing & taking off way below. It was GA of course & transponder mandatory.

 

 

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I haven't read the regs but NZ works in a similar way to the US. There are victor lanes around all the major airports & you can get clearance over the top by just asking. I did that when the Americas Cup was on in Auckland & there were over 50 helicopters tearing around the harbour & in the victor lanes in addition to the normally busy VFR traffic on both east and west lanes. I just called up ATC & said I didn't want to mix it with all the blowflies down low & there was no problem. We were cleared to 9,500 feet & it was great watching 747s & other heavy transport landing & taking off way below. It was GA of course & transponder mandatory.

If you are trained and endorsed to enter controlled airspace, I think you find most ATC will be able to offer the same service.

 

Class E doesn't work, look at Avalon and the near misses when that first started. It's not even a busy airport. It's controlled airspace for a reason, to protect the APP/DEP paths of RPT aircraft. The best way forward is to get the regs changed to allow RA-AUS into controlled airspace (start with just Class D as a trial maybe), and train the members who want it.

 

 

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Ok hit me with it people. Why is there no a coastal vfr coffs harbour. And why can't there be one. There is not that much traffic there. Even if it was for certain times of the day it would be really helpful.

 

And same for williamtown. Going via tiger country is just nonsense.

 

 

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Ok hit me with it people. Why is there no a coastal vfr coffs harbour. And why can't there be one. There is not that much traffic there. Even if it was for certain times of the day it would be really helpful. And same for williamtown. Going via tiger country is just nonsense.

I agree with you 100%, it is very obvious that the Coastal is safer, the crazy part is there is a VFR lane along Sydney coastline Victor One and Sydney airport is busier and bigger planes than Coffs or Newcastle.

I think Airservices Just want to hang on and continue their charges, I wouldn't think they really care as their income comes from more commercial activity.

 

 

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Ok hit me with it people. Why is there no a coastal vfr coffs harbour. And why can't there be one. There is not that much traffic there. Even if it was for certain times of the day it would be really helpful. And same for williamtown. Going via tiger country is just nonsense.

Have you had troubles travelling coastal Chocolate? In class D at Coffs I would have thought the Tower wouldn't have an issue since we don't have to separate IFR and VFR in class D. After tower hours it's G down there so fill your boots... The only real issue is in the class C steps South of Coffs since there are Terrain clearance issues.

 

 

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Because coastal at coff passes straight through final/upwind.

 

Duty of care still exists and atc couldn't just fire an IFR jet into an ultralight traveling up the coast. Victor 1 is outside controlled airspace, roughly you'll need a route 7nm from the end of the threshold, depending on the approaches that may need to extend to allow for circling areas.

 

 

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Who honestly thinks Victor 1 is a safe route,?I've done it once ,but it is anything but "safe" a mile off shore at 500"!.

 

This debate goes on and on,,,,,there is nothing stopping anyone from getting a CTA endorsement,,,get a PPL and a class2 med and go for your life,,,,if you can't get either of those then choose to fly where where you safely can,,,some may not like it but that's the rules as it stands. I don't know about the US system whether you can go into a CTA without a medical or not ,it is a lot more relaxed there although I hadn't flown in CTA while there

 

 

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Because coastal at coff passes straight through final/upwind.Duty of care still exists and atc couldn't just fire an IFR jet into an ultralight traveling up the coast.

The very important point is that when the controller is not there in reverts to a CTAF , eg lunchtime . Also I have a PPL and know the Coffs and Willy transit routine as I was based in Coffs a few years. When aircraft are coming from the north to land the controller will ask north bound to stay outside the harbour island. There is no secondary radar at Coffs, so it relies on pilots giving a accurate position, hence you are giving reporting points.

 

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You will never get a VFR lane through a military area where fast jets are based. Never (in my opinion). Having come from military aviation many years ago, I can fully understand why.

 

Well there is a VFR lane but it is inland and in a valley which gets effected by weather especially wind.

 

The coastal route is much safer and because I have a current PPL I use it.

 

Willys transit coastal lane is fun with opposing traffic at the same height and is exciting when a large aircraft is in the opposite direction. The Gold Coast is the most practical transit lane with 500ft northbound and 1000ft southbound, this is the best transit lane and works very well even with a lot of traffic.

 

I believe in the interest of safety that RAA pilots should when trained be allowed transit rights (not full access) to controlled airspace at certain locations. I have stated this before on this site and am concerned about safety on this issue for good reason. With transit at Coffs and Willy also south coast locations which I am not really familiar with.

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The point I'm trying to makes is you can't make access okay in only a vfr route. If you are safe and trained enough to be allowed that close to a controlled airport then why not just give full CTA access.

 

 

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I know this thread is old, but thought I'd fire it up again. Has anyone considered there is another RAAO who's pilot are permitted to operate in controlled airspace, both D and C. Their pilots hold a certificate issued by the RAAO, they self certify their medical and operate in class D regularly, without the same restrictions as RAAus, from Camden - no GA licence or class 2 medical. The RAAO is Gliding Australia (Gliding Federation of Australia), an interesting double standard.

 

 

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I know this thread is old, but thought I'd fire it up again. Has anyone considered there is another RAAO who's pilot are permitted to operate in controlled airspace, both D and C. Their pilots hold a certificate issued by the RAAO, they self certify their medical and operate in class D regularly, without the same restrictions as RAAus, from Camden - no GA licence or class 2 medical. The RAAO is Gliding Australia (Gliding Federation of Australia), an interesting double standard.

The club structure of GFA weeds out cowboys. Much harder to do stupid things without getting a talking to.

 

 

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That's not really a good safety brief (If someone does something stupid, we will see them and talk to them). Maybe I'm just getting crusty but that kind of thing is a bit rough. And does that mean then that RAAus doesn't get CTA privilege because we are a bunch of unregulated cowboys?

 

 

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The club structure of GFA weeds out cowboys. Much harder to do stupid things without getting a talking to.

Are you saying CASA is denying RAAus RPC holders access to class D airspace on the basis of them being "cowboys"?

I would have said it is a legacy of the days of Skycraft Scouts etc and the incompatibility of mixing with GA aircraft.

 

Existing rules allow an RAAus pilot to come and go from airports like Albury, mixing with RPT, when the Tower is closed but not when it's open. How does that stack up from a safety perspective, which is CASA's purpose in life.

 

 

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Easily the best answer is not dodgy Ultralight lanes but access to the currently GA only VFR Lanes. For this to work RAAus pilots need the right aircraft with the right engine and avionics and CASA to allow us to train for a Controlled Airspace access. It would be a simple and readily achievable endorsement. Its available with the RPL and it should be available with the RPC - after all they are "equivalent".

 

That's what I'll be pushing.

 

 

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You could, but why go to the expense? The Sydney basin only has The Oaks available for FTFs, should The Oaks become unavailable where would RAAus aircraft operate near Sydney? Wedderburn is not friendly from a terrain perspective and they don't allow any commercial ops there. Camden is class D, an FTF can operate from there with a load of restrictions, but as soon as the pilot gains their RPC they are no longer allowed to fly solo without going the RPL route. By contrast, the gliding clubs operate in class D at Camden without the same restrictions imposed on RAAus pilots. The gliding guys have a certificate (not a licence) and self certify medicals - ie the same as RAAus pilots. In fact, an RAAus pilot can join Gliding Australia and do a powered glider conversion with Gliding Australia's equivalent to an FTF, then fly solo / carry pax in a motor glider at Camden in Class D without needing a class 2 medical, GA licence and ARF.

 

 

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The original rules of ANO95:10 prevented Scouts etc from flying near airports. The cowboys came along with the AUF. It was the blowins with the 'hey we're legal now attitude'. In their overweight machines.

 

 

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Surely it is not just my area but non hemispherical above 5000' and not on area freq. for example. Some education needed, I realise not applicable to everybody, but some glaring gaps need to to filled I would suggest. Attitude of 'some' is a big chain to drag when current privileges are being abused.

 

 

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If you have an RPC, why couldn't you get an RPL, do the training for CTA and go at it?

Or, why not offer CTA training, testing and endorsement to the few in RAAus that would find it useful.

As you would know, to convert to an RPL is not a trivial or inexpensive exercise. Then, of course, there is the Clayton's Drivers Licence medical that was invented by the mostly despised AvMed nutters. A Class II would be my only option and that is also a very expensive and time consuming exercise and prove nothing other than some more bureaucrats have a steady job producing nothing of value.

 

As the USA moves to a simpler, more realistic and balanced risk medical, CASA headed in the opposite direction. Another classic version of "more safety is better than less". Sounds right but it isn't if there isn't the logical risk management evidence to support it. Not having a CTA endorsement available, RAAus pilots are forced into unsafe corridors like the notorious Ultralight Lane west of Willy or the Tiger Country West of Coffs and Coolangatta. Or some "brave" RAAus pilots bluff their way through CTA and may do it safely enough but at great risk if anything goes wrong. Not something I would ever do or advise.

 

 

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Easily the best answer is not dodgy Ultralight lanes but access to the currently GA only VFR Lanes. For this to work RAAus pilots need the right aircraft with the right engine and avionics and CASA to allow us to train for a Controlled Airspace access. It would be a simple and readily achievable endorsement. Its available with the RPL and it should be available with the RPC - after all they are "equivalent".That's what I'll be pushing.

There seems to be some confusion with VFR Lanes/Routes in CTA. it's just a route marked on a chart which aircraft can be told to track via. It's not like Victor 1 (which is OCTA), you still need a clearance, ATC may still need to separate you from other aircraft, and if I new a RA-AUS aircraft could only legally fly in CTA via the Route, I would never give them a clearance in, way to restrictive. It is a mistake for RA-AUS to even attempt to "gain access" to VFR routes only. Either try get CTA access (with no increased medical requirements) or don't bother wasting time on it.

 

 

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Rhys, I understand the differences and was just comparing, e.g., the safety of the VFR route over the top of Williamtown compared with the Ultralight Lane. Chalk and Cheese. There is a half-way CTA that would be transit rather than full on access. Having experienced CTA for the first time a week or so back flying into Tamworth I achieved a new level of appreciation for how extra safe it is to have a professional maintaining separation rather than the very sub-standard "see & avoid". If you put it to a worksafe examiner at a factory investigating a serious injury and the safety system was "see & avoid", you'd go to gaol. How CASA thinks it is OK escapes me completely. Seeing something that looks like a mosquito with a closing speed of say 300 kph and avoiding it is highly and unreasonably optimistic. In my view, only TCAS type technology is an arguably realistic means of separation while outside controlled airspace.

 

 

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I may be a bit out of touch here, but I am struggling to understand how CASA is even using the whole different medical standards argument as a justification for keeping RA-AUS pilots out of controlled airspace. My understanding is the argument is that they pose a greater danger to people on the ground due to the supposedly lower medical standard, but as aircraft fly over highly populated areas OCTA this whole line of argument just seems ridiculous.

 

I suspect the main barrier is a lot of the GA (and CASA) community still look at RA as a lower form of aviation that can't be trusted doing "real flying". That will be the hardest part to overcome. If the RPL and pilot certificate a truly equivalent then it makes sense that RAA pilots should be able to get CTA/CTR endorsements as per the RPL. Making this actually happen will not be easy though.

 

 

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