View Full Version : Recomissioning an NDB.
Say again s l o w l y
15th Mar 2004, 10:40
How would one go about getting an NDB recomissioned?
The aid in question is currently off-line, but doesn't need much to get it functional again.
Would the aid need to be inspected? If so who by? Do the CAA need to get involved? Are there any good nav aid engineers, or would a standard sparky be O.K. We probably won't be using the aid for (official) procedural approaches, does this make a difference?
I really don't know a huge amount about this sort of thing and have had the task foisted upon me, so any help at all would be very welcome.
Thanks in advance.
16th Mar 2004, 07:07
Most regulatory authorities have their own ideas but I think you'll be better off asking them directly. Regardless of the whatever might be needed to re-commission it, you might want to think about the possible effect on an official navaid that might be operating nearby on the same, or a similar, frequency. That might just make it a flight safety issue.
Reading between the lines of what you say, I take it that you're planning to use it for "unofficial" approaches. This is a very silly idea for any number of reasons - not the least of which is that you might be creating a safety hazard for aircraft using OFFICIAL approaches.
I really think you need to talk to the CAA, to find out what they think about this whole plan. If it was in this country (ie the country I'm in), you would most certainly not get approval to use it for anything that does not contribute to the official airways system.
Say again s l o w l y
16th Mar 2004, 07:59
The aid has been in use until fairly recently, so there shouldn't be any problems with freqency.
There won't be any 'unofficial' instrument approaches of any kind. I may knock up a holding pattern to use with my students, but it would only be used in VMC and by myself just to allow a bit more freedom to practise.
Relying on any aid that hasn't been properly certificated is an idiotic idea in IMC, but I've seen many people using 'unofficial' GPS approaches in all sorts of conditions. Needless to say they have had a damn good kicking when I've caught up with them. So don't worry about the aid being used for any dodgy purpose!
17th Mar 2004, 07:18
Sounds like the NDB might not need a formal commissioning, but I'm not the one to advise you on that, as I'm not with the UK CAA. I recommend that you have a chat with their navaid experts anyway, from the point of view of using it for holding pattern practice with your students.
As a personal observation, I'd have thought that any half-way decent flight simulator program on a computer would teach your students as much as they need to know about holding patterns more cheaply. It mightn't give a real feel for the stick and rudder side of things but it will teach scan and orientation.
Anyway, I still think that a chat with the CAA will be useful in formalising anything that needs formalising. They'll even be able to tell you whether or not you need anyone with specialist experience to perform the commissioning. If there's been no changes to the antenna or power system, I don't think that they'll require a flight check as part of the commissioning process.
Say again s l o w l y
17th Mar 2004, 08:27
I always like to teach the basics on a flight sim, so that at least they can get an idea of what happens to the needles at a more reasonable cost to the student. However no sim can truly replicate what happens for real.
I'll try the CAA and see what they say. I don't think it will need a formal recommissioning, since the only reason it is off-line is that a fuse went in the power supply and the previous owners wouldn't pay to get it repaired. A matter of just a few pounds really.
18th Mar 2004, 07:03
If it formed any part of the airways system, prior to blowing a fuse, there may be a Notam about the navaid being U/S. This might mean that the CAA will need to know that it's going to be returned to service. In any event, by the sound of it, you probably won't need to go thru a formal recommissioning process.
Best of luck anyway.
The CAA are indeed the best people to ask. They are the ones who will give you authorisation to transmit on the appropriate frequency and appropriate power with an appropriate ident.
Without the above, you can't turn it on.
If this NDB is in it's original site then things should be fairly simple. If you have moved the beacon then the CAA will have to ensure that the DOC is appropriate.
As for the actual comissioning process once you have CAA approval to switch it on, there are no flight test requirements for NDBs in the UK. Only VOR/DME/ILS aids are flight checked.
The future for approaches is that every approach including private ones will be published and if it isn't published then no one can fly it and that includes holding procedures. Except VFR flying of course!!.
19th Mar 2004, 10:29
The future for approaches is that every approach including private ones will be published and if it isn't published then no one can fly it and that includes holding procedures. Except VFR flying of course!!.Is that really true, DFC? What about in Class G? Surely as long as I'm complying with the rules of IFR flight, I can fly wherever I like in Class G, whether IFR or VFR, including flying my own made-up hold, or any other procedure that doesn't fall foul of the 1000' rule? Or are they planning on introducing some legislation to ban that?
That is what I have heard.
Currently, there are a number of operators who have "private" holding and approach procedures which are approved by the CAA for their use alone. It is not uncommon for two different operators at the same airfield to have different procedures.
Since these procedures are not published, there is no requirement for ATC.
The CAA are in the process of making a requirement that every procedure is published and there will no longer be approval for private procedures. This is tied in with proposals to make it OK for IFR approaches at airfields with only AFIS.
You are quite right to say that you can do what you like in Class G under IFR provided you remain within the law. I don't believe that will change and of course you can hold enroute in such airspace if you so choose.
However, a holding procedure based on a NDB associated with an airfield (not part of the enroute structure) is getting into a grey area.
How can the CAA require all procedures to be published etc and then allow everyone create their own home made hold which could be used as a racetrack cloudbreak procedure to some aerodrome?
Also with regard to the 1000ft rule, how do you calculate your minimum holding level?....is it based on the worst case posibility of the aircraft's position in the hold? Do you construct a holding area? You could of course make the minimum holding level 1000ft above all obstacles within 20nm but that might be a bit high in some places.
There is also the matter of coordination with local ATS units such as LARS and Approach who I am sure would like to be aware if regular holding is going to take place within their area of responsibility......gives them an area to avoid when vectoring traffic.
Finally, having spent money getting an NDB up and running, it is a shame not to be able to use it because you find that every time you climb up, some other aircraft from miles away is practising holds at your beacon!
20th Mar 2004, 16:35
IFR to an AFIS airfield will be a big thing for UK GA.
With GPS (even only to 400'/1200m) at lots of AFIS airfields the airtaxi boys will be very happy.
20th Mar 2004, 17:46
God knows what the drama is. Meanwhile, in the first world, a/c do instrument approaches to airfields that have no services incl. FISO, fire cover etc etc. There seems to be no change in safety outcomes so why the limitation in the UK?
21st Mar 2004, 04:54
Here, we even have approaches to airfields that don't have a terminal for the pax, let alone any form of ATS. We also have one procedure at a place where there isn't an airport at all.
21st Mar 2004, 13:31
Near Brisbane there is (used to be?) Bromelton NDB cloud break procedure. No aerodrome so can't really call it an approach.