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Old 20th Oct 2003, 21:48
  #196 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 139

Is this responsible behaviour? Generating fear in the flying public with simplistic comparisons like "dodgem-car track"?

AIR traffic controllers have warned that new airspace maps to be issued in Tasmania today are missing vital radio frequency information pilots need to avoid mid-air collisions.

The Australian Air Traffic Control Association, Civil Air, says Tasmanian regional airspace, including that over Hobart, will be reduced to a "dodgem-car track" with aircraft using "see and avoid" procedures.

Civil Air president Ted Lang warned of "total confusion" over radio frequency boundaries with any aircraft able to fly across or directly at descending international and domestic traffic paths.'

He said the chaos would also affect Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, one of the world's busiest air corridors.

Despite assurances by Airservices Australia that the changes would be introduced safely, Mr Lang said the proposed system was an embarrassing and dangerous farce.

"Pilots will have no idea which frequencies apply to the boundaries of their airspace," he said.

"An aircraft on one frequency will never hear collision warnings of another aircraft on a different frequency.

"It is total guesswork and an undeniable threat to safety."

Mr Lang said despite Civil Air's criticism of the new air control systems, Federal Transport Minister John Anderson had refused to comment and had avoided meeting commercial pilots or controllers on the issue.

He said today's release of the maps was a lead-up to a relaxation of airspace rules to be introduced next month.

The National Airspace System (NAS) would allow light aircraft to operate below 3000 metres without radio or radar contact or notifying air traffic controllers.

The Federal Opposition called on Mr Anderson to delay releasing the new maps until the concerns were addressed.

Transport spokesman Martin Ferguson said: "This is the latest in a long line of serious concerns expressed about the NAS by professional pilots, air traffic controllers and airport owners that are being ignored by the Airspace Reform Group."

Airservices Australia, which manages civil air traffic, was unavailable for comment last night.
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