View Full Version : Move RAAF/SAF Pearce To Learmonth/Curtin...

8th Aug 2007, 09:37
I have said it for years...move RAAF Pearce to Learmonth. 300 plus days of sunshine a year..... finally use a taxpayer funded airforce base that never gets used (except the swimming pool)....what does this achieve:

returns the much needed airspace to the taxpayer

will reduce congestion at Perth by allowing random departure arrive tracks

save the airlines millions $$$$

gets all those low flying PC9's and Singapore AF jets out of the SW land division

would allow Gingin to become the new Jandakot further freeing up airspace and reducing noise issues

Both airforces get 300 plus days a year of sunshine for training

etc etc etc

8th Aug 2007, 09:48
Sounds about as smart, and practical, as leaving the RAAF at Pearce and moving Perth city up to the Learmonth area!:rolleyes:

8th Aug 2007, 10:10
Ah spoken like a true serviceman or woman...:\
Could you explain WHY it is not possible? Richmond, Townsville, Darwin and Williamtown are all JOINT USER facilities... perhaps this is the first step, open Pearce up to civil users, then look at the move.
Why couldn't the operations that are currently located at Pearce be relocated to Learmonth? Oh I forgot, the brass want to live in a capital city, not the regional areas.
Do you have any idea how much fuel gets wasted every day diverting aircraft around Pearce?

Going Boeing
8th Aug 2007, 10:32
Why should the RAAF (ie taxpayers) have to fund the massive costs of relocating the training infrastructure to an airfield that has been set up as an operational military base? Curtin does not have a satelite airfield like Gin Gin so a new one would have to be constructed. The RAAF has been at Pearce long before the majority of commercial operators started services.

The sensible thing to do is work out a more efficient use of Perth airspace and Air traffic procedures to get the most efficient outcome for all airspace users.

Roller Merlin
8th Aug 2007, 10:52
Wind-up alert.

Green on, Go!
8th Aug 2007, 11:03
In the late '90s there was talk of moving a fighter squadron up to Tindal in order to ease congestion at Willy. The reason the concept was axed? Katherine did/does not have the infrastructure to support the influx of several hundred people at once. Defence could support the move, however, healthcare and hospitals, housing, education, private enterprise for spousal employment etc dollars don't come from the defence budget (not my words, I'm paraphrasing the CAF of the day).

Notwithstanding our contractual arrangement with the RSAF, I'd imagine there'd be similar issues moving an even larger amount of people to Learmonth.

Does anyone remember the Dubbo superbase concept?

8th Aug 2007, 11:10

Partly right - ex RAAF, and now with many more years out of the service than I was in. As 'GB' rightly points out, the RAAF have been training at Pearce since long before airspace usage was ever an issue. 'GB' makes a good point re joint user aerodromes and this apparently works pretty well at Darwin and Townsville, but I doubt that extensive ab-initio civil training at Williamtown, in the likes of Cessnas & Pipers would be either safe or practical. The same applies at Pearce where you would have low experience military pilots, flying high performance pseudo fighter type acft mixing it with similarly inexperienced civil students in their much slower training machines - may I suggest that it would be a bit like running a bicycle road race on the Mount Panorama track while the V8 Super Cars were also doing their thing. Not only different performance and vehicles, but also different rules of operation. As far as Richmond is concerned, it is not a true 'joint user' aerodrome as the only civil training permitted is ILS approaches. These require prior approval and be followed by a missed approach. Circuit training by civil aircraft is not permitted, except by the base's own aero club at weekends and in periods of reduced military activity.
Military airspace is not, by the way, sacrosanct! It is continually under review by a number of agencies, one being the RACS Committee which comprises of airspace experts from RAN, Army, RAAF, CASA and Airservices Australia.

control snatch
8th Aug 2007, 11:15
Oh I forgot, the brass want to live in a capital city, not the regional areas.

You think its just the Brass?? Entire RAAF my friend.

Do you have any idea how much fuel gets wasted every day diverting aircraft around Pearce?

Yes I have a very good idea, and I love watching the dollar signs spewing out the back of the heavies as they haul arse around our airspace.

The RAAF finds it hard to get and retain people as it is, the problem would be much worse if we had to live in a shithole.

Face it Pearce is not moving anywhere soon.

8th Aug 2007, 13:12
just maybe I know something that you don't know but you will OBEY orders when they come down....or is the RAAF just another government junkent ride?????? The TAXPAYER directs the RAAF not the other way round!!! If the public want the land for other purposes then so be it.

Capn Bloggs
8th Aug 2007, 13:20
will reduce congestion at Perth by allowing random departure arrive tracks

Wrong. The congestion at Perth won't go away if Pearce is moved. The congestion is caused by the runway configuration and therefore capacity, as well as less than optimum sequencing due to the lack of radar and ADS-B coverage outside 200nm Perth.

All Pearce does is increase trackmiles for civil users.

Chronic Snoozer
8th Aug 2007, 17:52
If you're in the military you pay tax, you have every right to an opinion on how that tax is spent.

The Navy have it sorted even better than the RAAF, Watsons Bay anyone?

8th Aug 2007, 20:57
There is no real need to move the base just change the airspace to the US sizes, ie a small control zone around Pearce/Gingin a 10nm circle or overlapping circles to 4000'AGL to cover both and then all the other high and low areas outside the zone covering the 2 fields can be reduced in size and turned into MOAs ie Military Operations Areas.
These are transparent to VFR who can opt to talk to radar for flight following and traffic alerting. They are open to IFR traffic IF the radar controllers can provide separation from the mil traffic.
Freakin simple and works here in US with a staggering amount of civilian and mil traffic.
Being on the coast any ACM dogfighting etc can be done offshore as could any work needing huge altitude assignments etc.
OR they can do it in remote areas overland as is done here.

I remember the RAAF always saying they and their students need "sterile airspace" for safety etc hence the enormous space they take up now and all the routing of civil traffic around these areas.
This is complete rubbish.
Civilian students need to learn how to fit in with and look out for other traffic from day 1. lesson 1 so they can too.
Pilots of Fighters of all types have been doing it here successfully for 50 yrs since jets were introduced let alone a PC 9 doing 240-270 kts.

NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN 25 FREAKIN YEARS PLUS that I have been flying.:ugh::ugh:
Same story everywhere in Aust, Military taking up huge chunks of airspace completely unnecessarily just because that is the way it has always been done.:ugh::ugh:

Lets move Australia into the 21st century and out of the 1950s mentality of entitlement and superiority that seems to pervade many areas of Australian aviation to this day.
Let all sides come together and find viable solutions ,based if necessary on overseas best practice instead of always staying with the status quo or trying to re invent the wheel all over again at staggering cost and then using that as the reason as to why it cannot be changed.:ugh::ugh::{:{
OK rant over.

Howard Hughes
8th Aug 2007, 22:27
Hear hear Aussie!:ok:

A lot more could be done, Williamtown/Richmond way as well...:hmm:

8th Aug 2007, 22:52
i remember in the late 80's when HMAS Platypus (submarine base at Neutral Bay) was earmarked for closure, the navy was fearful that HMAS Watson would shortly follow.(it has the best viewing wardroom in the world) the navy stacked the base with alot of high tech facilities to hopefully ward off the lefties. rest is history (for now!!!)

No Further Requirements
8th Aug 2007, 23:17
Aussie, great ideas re airspace use. The main problem at the moment with the fighter airspace around Willy is that the airspace is released en-mass to the fighter controllers who are not ATCers. Therefore, they cannot provide separation, and perhaps even traffic information. Re-training would be required for these people to allow them to perform these functions, as per the rules and regs we have for defence ATC.

Rumour has it that maybe, one day, 2FTS will be on the move to ESL!

And I agree, if you want to attract people to the job, the places one is forced to live have to be liveable. No offence to the people of the greater Curtin area. I'm sure it's lovely up there, but not everyone would agree.



8th Aug 2007, 23:31
Rumour has it that maybe, one day, 2FTS will be on the move to ESL!

Strewth NFR. The place is fogged in until mid-morning just about every day in winter. That'd play havoc with the sortie rate!

No Further Requirements
9th Aug 2007, 00:18
I know Keg, but the fact that the airspace is fairly out of the way and under-utilised is the trade off. As I said, rumour only. And for added amusement, Bairnsdale would become the 'Gin-Gin' satellite airfield.....



Going Boeing
9th Aug 2007, 00:32
The rumour that I heard was that the Hawks might move to East Sale but the PC9's and the SAF aircraft would remain at Pearce. That might free up some airspace as the Hawks chew up a lot more airspace during their manoeuvres than the PC9.

9th Aug 2007, 06:00
So you are suggesting that the Australian Gov't would pay compensation to the SAF for breaking their contract to conduct training at Pearce (not Learmonth).
I can't imagine that happening. Therefore Pearce isn't shifting anytime in the near future.

Whiskey Oscar Golf
9th Aug 2007, 07:59
Not meaning to be contentious in any way but if fuel is a problem just come in on weekends, they don't seem to be up to much then.

On a serious note, Learmonth would be infrastructure heavy with a rural town that is already stretched seasonaly. The Hawks seem to tool up there enough anyway with their cool call signs. Scary Snake 07 on final..

Anyone who's been to Curtin wouldn't torment our volunteers with a long stint and same again with exspensive infrastructure. That and Derby is not a place you'd want SAF to think of as Australia's cultural centre.

9th Aug 2007, 08:53
Wow, this thread still going, I thought it would have died a natural death by now. Anyone who thinks PEA will be gone in the near future, well sorry but your dreaming.
BUT, anyone in the RAAF that think there will not be changes coming, well your having the same nightmare.

Perth Airspace review in October. Acording to AsA "All options are bieng looked at". RAAF has been invited to the table, and told to expect some "Requests" for surendering some airspace. (Good luck)

A coridor or two have been muted as options, one through PEA from the North down toward 21 ILS. this may free up some of the traffic on the TASKER who come across from GEL and DONGA. This may take some pressure of the TASKA track, but won't fix the problem at aerodrome.
Old Bloggs is quite correct about the PH infrastructure, it cant handle the volume. All more airspace will do is create more space to put holding patterns.

But RAAF must understand that more airspace for PH is inevidable and that they will have to give up some. The numbers simply will overwhelme them.

RAAF alread crying poor and lots of talk about how under pressure 2FTS is already to pump out the product. Apparently the poor old QFI's can't even drive to work any more they are so fatuiged. There is talk of 2FTS flying on weekends, though I am not sure if this an issue of increase in over all flying hours or a strategy to fly with less instructors. maybee even a strategy to show how much they need ALL that airspace. AUSSIE27 has told us how the Yanks do it, surely the RAAF could come some way to the party.

One of the main issues at PH at the moment is training slot times, here the RAAF (DoD) must give consideration to alowing use of the NAVAID infrastructure and aerodromes to help relive the problem at PH. Sure RAAF needs to do maint. and other things, but wow you know all the other big busy aerodomes in Australia seem to be able to maintain thier infrastructure without closing for the weekends. RAAF Gingin Has a 2000m+ long 60m wide all weather runway which is (almost) NOT used from Friday to Monday (except RAAF flying club and some AAFC Cessnas and such). The PEA ILS and the blind ILS to the north of GIG are UNDERUTILISED, although I do hear that the owner of the paddock where the bilnd ILS is may not like the aircraft noise (good contract that one, hay).

tubby one
9th Aug 2007, 08:57
Hey Green On,Go,

RAAF Base Tindal is 17kms from Katherine and 320kms by road south-east of Darwin in the Northern Territory. Although the airfield was constructed in 1942, it is the Air Force's youngest operational base (excepting bare bases) and one of Australia's most important defence installations.

Originally known as Carson's Airfield during World War II, over the years it has been upgraded and extended for commercial use. In 1984, the government decided to establish an operational Air Force base at Tindal. The physical security it enjoys is due to its long distance from the coast, making it unlikely it will be swept away by a cyclone. Tindal officially opened on 1 October 1988 and is now the home of

No 322 Combat Support Wing
No 75 Squadron
No 2 Control and Reporting Unit
No 1 Air Terminal Squadron Detachment Tindal
No 1 Combat Logistics Squadron and
No 44 Wing Detachment.

Last time I checked 75 was a Fighter Squadron!!!!:p

control snatch
9th Aug 2007, 11:34
Hawks might move to East Sale

Rumour has it that maybe, one day, 2FTS will be on the move to ESL!

Check out all this airborne pastry!!

you will OBEY orders

Or we could just leave......

Track Coastal
9th Aug 2007, 13:36
I think we can show that for the benefit of the taxpayer we should move Perth international!

I'd like to see your maths [please] if you don't mind...

Move military from ramshackle facilities needing refurbishment (old buildings etc, RSAF facility not included) at YPEA to an existing military facility (eg runways and taxiways in place) that will need some new buildings. Or...

Move modern and constantly updated facilities (airport and freight terminals) at YPPH to an airport that hasn't been built yet and is currently sand and scrub lacking the transport links to the city.

with economics like that, you must be a member of the Liberal party(?). ;)

9th Aug 2007, 15:21
There might be some yarpies over there who could help you move Perth airport.
But I'm not sure of the military beancounters. They are the ones who say it costs 3 million bucks to teach someone to fly a PC9.

Chronic Snoozer
9th Aug 2007, 20:39
AUSSIE27 has told us how the Yanks do it, surely the RAAF could come some way to the party.

Could someone thats been on a USAF exchange enlighten us on the 'system' used in the US? I know a few details, low flying only on approved routes nb 500', regimented training areas and routes, zero flexibility. If you want to be an airline pilot - join an airline. Thank goodness the RAAF still has the flexiblility to produce a pilot who can think outside the box.

As for sterile airspace, well its not exactly sterile, there's a good chance of hitting one of the other squadrons if you don't lookout/listenout. No requirement to throw civil aircraft into the mix for realism. Irrespective of that, in this unique environment, instructors still have the flexibility to self separate as required to get realistic training, probably unfeasible in a civil environment.

Islander Jock
9th Aug 2007, 23:14
There might be some yarpies over there who could help you move Perth airport
When I saw the original post I was wondering myself if emu787 was in fact a mole for ASCOT Capital

10th Aug 2007, 06:09
But I'm not sure of the military beancounters. They are the ones who say it costs 3 million bucks to teach someone to fly a PC9.

Really? Where do they say that?

control snatch
10th Aug 2007, 08:25
3 million bucks to teach someone to fly a PC9.

RAAF dont teach people to be a PC9 captain, they use a PC9 to teach them how to be a captain.

10th Aug 2007, 23:34
The RAAF isn't going to move one inch - and why should they? They've invested hundreds of millions in to Pearce. Tied in with HMAS Stirling and the submarine fleet, Pearce is a critical strategic base for access to the Indian Ocean and SE Asia.
What's required is greater radar coverage to the north-east of Perth so, allied with slot times, sequencing can begin earlier. Aircraft held up to 40 minutes the other day and the NOTAM calls for 15 minutes. This was due to the number of aircraft trying to get back to Perth at the same time.
Controllers are flat out getting aircraft identified, STARed, onto the correct transitions, sequenced, simultaneously keeping them procedurally separated from following traffic, then putting them into holding patterns, some of which aren't even on the just-cleared track.
There have been several serious incidents in Perth airspace over the past 6 months as the airspace and controllers - and probably the pilots - have reached the system's capacity.

Going Boeing
11th Aug 2007, 08:19
Knackers, it's great to have someone who knows what they're talking about contribute to this thread.

Am I correct that there's buckleys chance of getting funds for a radar to the NE of Perth?

Will the accuracy and reliability of ADS-B allow the same improvements that a radar would provide?

11th Aug 2007, 08:44
Going Boeing,

There is no chance of RADAR being installed in the Goldfields and Pilbara with ADS-B being considered... and yes, ADS-B is the answer to a substantial amount of the problem, provided that the original Low-Level Project for ADS-B installations is achieved (the maximum number of ADS-B installations that would ensure that we achieved complete surveillance coverage of WA down to very low levels).

This would ensure that ATC will see all of the aircraft in the inbound sequence as soon as they are established in the cruise with stable ground speeds that can be used to calculate accurate un-touched landing times at PH/PEA/JT, then sequenced landing times and finally, consistent speed control/waypoint crossing time requirements, and maybe even slot times for departure from the mines to avoid holding!

It'll save lives and save a hell of a lot of money for the industry... it's a win-win for everybody... except, for some reason, Dick Smith.

11th Aug 2007, 09:01
What sort of movements/hr are we talking about at Perth for it to be so congested that people have to hold for 15min let alone 40min????
That sounds ridiculous.
If radar coverage is out to 150nm+ at levels above 10K then even a turboprop doing 300KTAS is going to be on screen for 30min prior to the airport,right????
Surely the controllers can sequence on the STARS and with vectoring and speed control to get 10-15 aircraft in line on finals into Perth without too many problems.
Hell at LAX on any given night at any time ,esp during peak you can see 5-10 aircraft in trail coming down finals on the localizer with probably min reqd separation.
Most medium size US ports will have more traffic than Perth at any given time and a combo of slot times if necessary but mainly just good ATC practices regarding sequencing will get everyone in without any holding unless maybe extremely high traffic levels AND bad wx,eg CBs occur at the same time.

11th Aug 2007, 09:23
ATC could do that... but there's not enough room.

During the peak traffic sequences, the RAAF own a substantial amount of the airspace that ATC need to achieve the task. depending on the runway combination, the controllers have to move all of the airline and minesite traffic to an area between the 030 VOR radial and the 125 VOR radial, including the heavy jets inbound from the North-West.

They then have to segregate the faster jets from the slower turbo-props to achieve 3xtwo trails side-by-side so that the faster aircraft overtake the slower aircraft. Somewhere in between each of the inbound pairs of traffic flows they have to find room to achieve outbound flows of segregated jet and non-jet outbound trails of aircraft, to the North, North-East, East and South-East.

In doing so, at all times they have to have at least 5NM lateral spacing between all of the trails. If you were to draw all of the segregated trails that you personally thought would achieve the aim on a map, you'll very quickly realise that it's not possible to fit them all between the 030 VOR radial and the 125 VOR radial.... there-in lies the problem, a very, very serious problem.

11th Aug 2007, 09:43
Quokka, dead right.

Going Boeing, it will only work with low-level ADS-B and all relevant aircraft equipped. And, hey, how's my cousin going?

11th Aug 2007, 10:44
willadvise. thanks for the figures and the link for mcmillans site.I will read more closely when I have more time.:ok:
I only mentioned LAX as an example of high arrival and departure rates on any given single runway that ATC can achieve.
If Pearce airspace is preventing a smooth arrival routings from NW of the 030 radial then my earlier post in this thread re RAAF airspace being reduced per the US model mentioned MUST be implemented.
That means controllers and pilots must get together and demand CASA implement changes that are required using political and union pressure if necessary.
The military serve the Australian taxpayers NOT the other way around so the RAAF will have to come to the party and accept the changes and the fact this is not the 1950s-70s when air traffic volume was non existant by todays standard/volumes and they cannot expect to occupy such staggering amounts of airspace over/next to a major city and international airport that is ssoooo busy.
The LA basin has a huge # of airports,civil and military and because of the airspace layouts and sizes and ATC practices safely handle far higher traffic volumes with far less problems.
Obviously a new runway would be ideal as well but not likely in the immediate future.
CASA forces all sorts of changes and charges on industry when it suits them so lets see some action in this area within a short time frame measured in months not years for a change.
I understand ATC does its best under the difficult constraints imposed by this situation but it is obvious from Mcmillans site and the previous comments here that the airspace must be opened up and restructured before there is an aluminium shower in somebodies future. Too damn late then when there is a smoking crater and 2 wrecked aircraft and God knows how many lives lost.

Going Boeing
11th Aug 2007, 11:51
Knackers, your cousin is going well. You'll have to address him as Captain soon.

west atc
11th Aug 2007, 22:27

The nearly 40 minute holding during last week was due to single runway IMC conditions. Under these conditions the acceptance rate is every 3 minutes or 20 per hour. When you have 40 aircraft schedule to arrive within 60-90 minutes there are bound to be delays. When we run two runway VMC operations the acceptance rates go up to about 26 an hour which makes a huge difference.

The other factor for the delays is, and you can confirm this for me, but I would assume that there are not many Navajos and small turbo prop aircraft operating at LAX?

One of the quickest solutions to the problems at peak times will be to introduce slot times and word is that this will not be far away. This should afford some predictability as to how much traffic can be expected.

I don't believe moving Pearce will make a huge difference to the delays experienced during the peak times, but the forthcoming route review should ease ATC workload as segregated inbound trails will mean that the jets and turbo-prop aircraft will self separate.

Parallel runways - now there's an idea!

12th Aug 2007, 08:18
West atc,
FYI there are a lot of regional turboprps going into LAX, Mainly regional airline Brasilias and Do 328, Dash 8's etc some metro freighters.

Parallel runways???? EXACTLY, what a freakin concept !!!
The BIG catch is they MUST be spaced far enough apart to allow simultaneous parallel approaches with 2 acft side by side not staggered coming down the ILS,s in order to get MAX movements /hr.
This is where in my understanding SY parallels were not the big success everyone was hoping for because they are too close together and then diff separation stds apply.
SFO is the same and possibly each set of LAX's parallels as well.
Pearce airspace must be reduced and reclassified as I mentioned to allow more arrival routes straight in to RWY 20 at Perth.

12th Aug 2007, 23:03
Pearce is also more conveniantly located nearer to the WEXA (Western Australian exercise Area) for RAN fleet concentration exercises that require RAAF fast jet.

west atc
13th Aug 2007, 02:33
I think the real solution for Pearce is not too move it, because that won't happen any time soon, but to modify the way the airspace is used. The problem is that it is not ATC that runs Pearce but the squadrons and they won't give up any airspace without some very high level government people getting involved and who knows what its going to take for that to happen.

The amount of turbo-prop aircraft using Perth is huge and they probably make most of the money for the airport but the real problem as far as I see are the amount of twin pistons such as Navajos and Barons that use up as much landing space as a jet. These aircraft should be encouraged to use JT as it would free up more landing slots during peak times.

I think these are used as overflow for the FIFO charters but surely the companies would know a couple of days in advance of the requirement to use these aircraft and could advise their workers to go to JT and not Perth?

Does anyone know any reasons why these smaller pistons couldn't use JT?