View Full Version : "confirm Your Transponer Is On"!

Sperm Bank
4th Dec 2003, 19:03
Ladies and gentlemen.

Until such time as this NAS farce is sorted out, I propose we make non-standard calls to ALL VFR traffic when we are on descent (into ANY aerodrome).

E.G. "All VFR traffic west of Melbourne, this is XYZ a boeing 737 on descent into MEL. Please ensure your transponders are on and squawking mode C".

I can just here all the radio purests protesting this sort of "non-standard phraseology". Too bad!!!!!!! Until this monumentally flawed system is fixed, I do not want ANY doubt about the VFR drivers doing the right thing. If this means to remind them constantly, so be it. Of course who knows if they will be on the right frequency?

My god you guys in CASA and ASA must be very proud of yourselves. I mean to preside over one of the greatest debacles this country has ever seen must be very uplifting for you.

To my colleagues, from tomorrow (5/12/03) I will be making extra calls to assist with the safe progress of my a/c. Hope you will join me!

Sheep Guts
4th Dec 2003, 20:13
Here here Sperm Bank ,
Treat it as a Non Radar environoment, give a call, but also if there are VFR traffic out there listen up. Here in the Carribean its only seperation IFR IFR, VFR IFR have to fend for themselves. And genrally when I ask for traffic the controllers are sleeping here, so in a sense its OCTA. So WE AVIATORS should take the initiative and show them how its done, and organise our Own SEPERATION.

I sense alot of Avionics Shops will be flooded with U/S, Transponders. I wonder if they will start fitting 2, alot Of aircraft in the USA have 2 transponders fitted. Bendix King will make a few bucks out of this, I wonder if Tricky Dicky has shares?


5th Dec 2003, 05:46
OK lads, what about the possibility of expanding the radar coverage so that these aircraft would not be allowed into the Class E airspace or anywhere near jet traffic unless they are positively identified?

Problem solved????
No I hear you say, then make it a requirement as sheep guts mentioned to install a secondary transponder for flights in class E airspace adjoining the major traffic centres.

And yes Sheep old son, I used to be based with the intrepid Capt Morgan!!!

Chief galah
5th Dec 2003, 05:56

What you are suggesting is easier to achieve with C airspace, without costing a cent.


Col. Walter E. Kurtz
5th Dec 2003, 07:25
CG - Yes, but that place 'unneccessary restrictions and costs on the private pilots freedom to fly':rolleyes:

5th Dec 2003, 12:39
Sperm Bank,

Wishing others to do the right thing, I ask, how is it that aircraft depart controlled aerodromes without having their transponder on?

Sperm Bank
5th Dec 2003, 14:05
Missy they don't. It is the a/c flying into or around the controlled aerodromes (and other aerodromes) that can cause the trouble. The VFR pilot can (and do) leave the farm or a CTAF/MBZ with it switched off. We will never know where they are. Contrary to Dick Smiths statements that you will only have a mid air near the departure/arrival areas of aerodromes, the recent incident near Mel clearly shows it can happen anywhere. VFR a/c flying along at 17500 with their transponder switched off is nothing other than a disaster waiting to happen. And because the services have been reduced to somehow enhance safety, yet another layer of the safety net is removed.

How on earth you teach someone situational awareness is difficult to tell these days. As Mr Smith says, once you leave the departure airport, you dont need to listen to anyone until you get close to the dep/arr area of the arrival airport. What a neolithic concept! Neanderthals, all of them!!!!

Capt Claret
5th Dec 2003, 14:45
To expand a little on Spermie's post, any non radar controlled aerodrome could see a transponder overlooked as there is no second party looking for an IDENT.

Probably once or twice a year I'll get airborne and find that the darn thing has turned itself off after entering the runway! :}

Howard Hughes
5th Dec 2003, 15:03
Here here Spermy!

I'm with you, what a great idea.

Now if only I, had thought of it!!

Cheers HH.


5th Dec 2003, 15:42

Much emotion on the E and C airspace, understandably but has anyone got an answer for this scenario:

IFR aircraft at say, 7000 feet an a mandated QNH from ATS.

VFR aircraft at say 6,500 on which QNH........Area; Departure airfield; one from a TAF withing 100 nms; AERIS; Metar; Destinaton etc..

I have seen signficant differences in all these QNH sources and while the IFR aircraft is provided with one requiring clear compliance, the VFR one can, at will, set any of the above.

Add some turbulence or even some pilot inaccuracy in height/altitude holding and the height/altitude separation can be considerably reduced.

But perhaps the Safety and Risk Managment people have done the sums and I suppose it must be safe?

Just thought I would ask

5th Dec 2003, 17:59
Alright Sperm Bank,

and all the other upper airborne prophets of doom..........................
let's get some of the emotion out of this - statements from some individuals about mid airs 'definitely about to happen' are damn mischievous to say the least.
The travelling public need to be reassured that with professionalism the NAS system can work.

With some education and understanding the importance of the correct use of radios, transponders and the eyes, we should be able to share the sky safely. We all have the same right to the sky, be it private, commercial GA or RPT.

I would assume that a thorough cost/benefit analysis of the new system has been undertaken and that any extra risk is marginal.
The vast majority of private pilots and training flights operate below 5,000 most of the time and away from CTA.
As Sheep Guts has said, in the Carribean, pilots show how it can be done with the right attitude.

I haven't heard of too many mid airs in the USA or Europe where there are many times the number of aircraft operating in a smaller airspace. The system has been proven workable.

Col. Walter E. Kurtz
5th Dec 2003, 18:22
Hadagutful - flying is a 'privelege' not a 'right'.

You are supposed to have an understanding of the importance and use of the radio in order to get your licence in the first place, so how is it that so many recreationals forget the phraseology and procedures so quickly? The great proponent Dick doesn't want you on the radio!! He thinks you're too dumb to listen to more than one frequency during any sector, and guys like you just incriminate yourselves - by agreeing with this!

Whereas, the rest of us, WANT to hear from you, if you can manage to be on the right frequency and fly your piper at the same time (Ooh, multitasking!!) We don't CARE if you are in the airspace, AS LONG AS WE KNOW WHERE YOU ARE!

Now, why the same old tripe, scaremongering etc etc. Can't you guys come up with a RATIONAL argument or something to substantiate the propanga you guys regurgitate?? In what way do you think pilots will benefit or profit from scaremongering? You think we want the public to feel unsafe and not fly IF THERE WAS NO GOOD REASON?

A midair will do no good to the business, that's for sure.

Sperm Bank
5th Dec 2003, 19:16
Thank you Colonel.

Hadagutful, far from being a prophet of doom I profess to be the opposite. I want the safest skies possible and we could have achieved this had the appropriate people been involved in the initial discussions of airspace reform.

Your assumption that a thorough cost/benefit analysis was completed is not quite correct. Did you attend any of the NAS circus road shows trying to sell the proposal? Mr Smith and his mates stifled ANY debate and criticism of the proposal. They were set on adopting the NAS no matter what. In doing so there were not any real professionals consulted throughout the process. Just a bunch of private hacks wanting to make their life easier.

I don't have a problem at all with VFR jocks hacking around. I used to do it myself. But I always had the correct frequency tuned and would speak up when required to assist with RPT operators to sort out separation.

All this smart ar$e airspace ONLY benefits the VFR drivers. It has NO benefit whatsoever for the charter and RPT operators. Now considering that we use this airspace as part of our daily profession, we think we deserve the right to at least know what the hell is going on with ANY and ALL other traffic. I consider that a basic and fundamental right and obligation.

Mr Smith (Dick) loves to use car analogies. Well EVERY car I have ever seen on the road has come and gone with my full knowlegde of where he was. If they overtake you (not me very often) you see them in the rear view mirror. If they are coming head on, you see them coming, even in rotten weather. How on earth that applies to a/c moving many times faster in three dimensions is beyond me.

So there is no emotion in the subject . Just plain hard facts, of which the proponents of the NAS will not even consider let alone accept.

5th Dec 2003, 19:55
Gunshy67 has made a very valid point. I doubt if most VFR pilots not using autopilot hold mode can fly within plus or minus 200 feet of their planned altitude. Throw in QNH inaccuracies and the odds shorten again.

What concerns me too is the cowboys who know full well that their transponder is dodgy but rather than pay the $60 an hour to get the transponder tested and repaired right now, they will pretend that the fault is not there (by not entering the defect into the maintenance release) but leave it to the next 100 hourly inspection when the cost is less.

Around the Melbourne flying school scene I have known owners and operators to ignore comments from ATC that their transponder on a particular aircraft is either inoperative or intermittent or plain rooted. Because each time the operator counts on good old friendly ATC being kind hearted and will allow the aircraft to continue outbound or inbound without making waves to the operator. Therefore there is no incentive to get the transponder fixed.

Until ATC are prepared to act tough against these shonks and demand they return to land at their departure airport to get the transponder fixed, then the NAS system will always have that weak link - the shonk GA operator. And believe me there is no shortage of pilots who have been brought up not to enter defects into the maintenance release lest the owner goes ape.

SM4 Pirate
5th Dec 2003, 20:51
Until ATC are prepared to act tough against these shonks and demand they return to land at their departure airport to get the transponder fixed, then the NAS system will always have that weak link - the shonk GA operator. So ATC are now the police? What can we do on the air? Growl louder...:8

5th Dec 2003, 21:36
Just in response to Centauus, what you are suggesting is exactly what we do here in the United Arab Emirates. If anyone has a faulty Transponder,eg. not squawking mode C, or incorrect altitude, for inbounds not already in UAE airspace they are not allowed to enter. If already in the airspace they land and are then grounded indefinately till the problem is fixed, and checked and only then are they allowed to fly again. Then again we don't have E airspace so above 4,500ft is all C and A airspace with everyone identified and separated. But just like I would never compare the US airspace with Australias airspace, I wouldn't compare middle eastern airspace with Oz airspace either. Every airspace has its own specific needs.

5th Dec 2003, 21:55
I doubt if most VFR pilots not using autopilot hold mode can fly within plus or minus 200 feet of their planned altitude.


I don't have an altitude hold as part of my autopilot. Yet in the last 365 Days I have flown around 400 Hrs VFR, all within about 20-30 ft error.

VFR is a type of flight rules, not a type of pilot

6th Dec 2003, 00:15

400 hours in a year and all manually flown within 30/40 feet. Now that's a wow!

Can someone address my query perhaps? Is the QNH source something to consider or is it all OK as is.

I would like to think it has been "risk assessed". Has it, does anyone know or doesn't it matter?


6th Dec 2003, 02:16
The travelling public need to be reassured that with professionalism the NAS system can work One aspect of the NAS is that not all the participants are professionals, nor do they display "professionalism". They are, by definition, amatuers. I would assume that a thorough cost/benefit analysis of the new system has been undertaken and that any extra risk is marginal Never assume, it's unprofessional . Read the various NAS threads and it will become painfully obvious that no genuine cost benefit analysis has been undertaken (especially Hansard record of evidence to Senate Committee- the CEO of AsA admits NAS may cost more!).I haven't heard of too many mid airs in the USA So if you don't hear about them, that's OK, or they don't happen? Suggest you look at some stats for the U.S. (average 35 aircraft per year lost in mid-airs), and also compare the "system" in the U.S. to NAS. The U.S. has a lot more infrastructure than oz. NAS is not the "U.S. system".The vast majority of private pilots and training flights operate below 5,000 most of the time and away from CTA Then why introduce NAS, which will have no benefit to the vast majority?The system has been proven workable I'd suggest that isn't true. The unique, never-been-tried-anywhere system called ausNAS, is already showing it's weaknesses.

Please, ponder what you have written.

Gunshy; although a valid point, I believe the more serious risk lies when aircraft climb and descend, as every flight involves that. No error required.

6th Dec 2003, 05:29

You pose the question about operating on differing QNHs.

There can be a 5 HPa variation between Area QNH (for IFR) and a local QNH (AWIB/METAR etc used by VFR) = 150ft.

IFR altimeter tolerance +/- 75ft.

VFR altimeter tolerance +/- 100ft.

Total tolerances = 325ft.

So an IFR and VFR supposedly flying 500ft apart could in fact be 175ft apart, with accurate altitude management. Hmmmm!

Keep those lights on!


6th Dec 2003, 06:17
Thanks Aus ATC,

That is the point I am making. I have seen this 5mb difference regularly.

But I wonder if it has been considered in the design in the operating rules of the system?

We are told that to increase safety using GPS we can offset to the right "just in case". But we have always had level flight separation odds/evens etc..

And even with RVSM, stringent airworthiness and operations rules are applied to ensure that the high altitude "miss distance" is maintained.

It seems, unless I am missing th point, the same philosophy i.e "miss distance is not being applied in the E/C airspace area.

Perhaps it doesn't matter, after all there is also the "big sky" principle.


6th Dec 2003, 08:58
You can always get the Area QNH that comes free with the ARFOR via NAIPS

6th Dec 2003, 14:39

Of course you can get it from the internet but who else is using the same setting?

The VFR pilot can legally access several sources for a QNH and all of them can be different - and as earlier reported they are regularly up to 5mbs different or even more when crossing a front

The souce is not the issue. It is the quality of the info and the random way a VFR pilot can legally apply it.


6th Dec 2003, 18:41
Sperm Bank,
Did you hear the Transport's Minister's analogy on the NAS after the Virgin RA? He says that everytime he drives his car he is 1second away from a collision with a truck when he passes one going the other way. Can someone explain to him that:

1. Cars travel on roads (2 dimension), planes travel in the air (3 dimensions). [May need to explain to him what a dimension is]
2. Cars travel in lanes, planes can fly criss cross any which way.
3. All roads have warning signs and right of way rules, all road users follow the same rules, this would be the equivalent of Class C airspace except that everyone is separating themselves instead of a controller doing it
4. His analogy should be more like driving a car on a road and trying to avoid hitting a bug that is flying across the road.
5. Can some truckie please swerve when they see his car approaching.

7th Dec 2003, 07:57
So Centaurus and all, I must be flying with a good outfit if they ground an A/C with a U/S XPDR as soon as it becomes apparent by loss of radar identification.

I also agree with being on the correct frequency (if I can work out where the new boundaries are). I also heard someone where I fly to request frequent transponder checks when changing area frequencies TO ENSURE POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION as well as ensuring that the damn thing is working. If it isnt, its time to get out of Dodge and outside class E at least. I will endevour to try this when I start wandering this wide brown land.



7th Dec 2003, 15:31
All that, and cars can stop if there is a traffic jam ahead.