View Full Version : Raaf Atc Darwin

21st Feb 2003, 17:56
Received a NOTAM today advising the signal lamp was U/S. You know the one used to flash red/white/green lights

The instructions in the event of a radio problem/failure are to listen out on all appropriate radio and navaid frequencies. If the radios fail that might not be possible so what do they expect us to do.

Have to wonder what goes on in management of this organisation. Last month we couldn't get wind info because the met instruments were broken. Until the croc times got onto it was going to take a while to fix, now they don't have spare light bulbs for their lamps.

No Further Requirements
21st Feb 2003, 19:59
What should you do? Look in the back of ERSA. It's not a case of 'what do they expect us to do' it is a case of they will know what to expect of you becuase you will act in accordance with the published radio failure procedures.

I agree, not the ideal situation and believe my things are trying to be done about it. The coalface guys and gals are also unimpressed, I believe.



Sheep Guts
21st Feb 2003, 22:30
Why dont they go down to Bunnings and buy a Dolphin Torch and get some Green and Red Cellaphane
!:D :D :D :cool: :cool: :} :p

22nd Feb 2003, 09:42
Just be patient and wait until Airservices Australia takes over from Ronnie RAAF. Things will be a lot better then.:rolleyes:

22nd Feb 2003, 12:22
Realistically, a few coloured flares could cover the missing lamp :}

Could be having a bit of fun with them, almost as much fun as the ones out partying with the lamp.

22nd Feb 2003, 23:39
NFR, I follwed your suggestion which leads to more questions???

FROM 02 220434 TO 02 250600

FROM 02 210025 TO 02 250600

Now I don't have AIP or ERSA but quote from Jeps EMERGENCY AU-4 para 3.2.6 Actions at Minima Under "Radio Failures"

If visual at circling minima, circle to land.

It goes on to say that if we have a green light we can carry out a runway approach etc etc in other words we cannot we must circle but not allowed to according to the NOTAM???

What does this mean if we have a failure HN???

Further I don't know what this light is and I did not know we required it to carry out a circling approach, I suspect it is not a requirement at all, is it a military thing?

Does this NOTAM have final authority regarding circling approaches??

Throw in a couple more NOTAMs

FROM 01 060517 TO 03 050300 EST

FROM 01 272157 TO 02 280200 EST

A large percentage of pilots use Jeps these days, I wonder whether it would be more useful to state the section by name rather thatn 1-7 to 1-9 etc I have no idea what those sections are nor do I have reference to them.

Not really acceptable is it.

Possibly no wind info, possible operating with hand held radios in the tower, no lights if we have a radio failure and even then we can't continue straight in according to jeps and can't circle according to the NOTAM .

What goes on at .RAPAC these days??? Nothing one would assume.

No Further Requirements
23rd Feb 2003, 04:11
RENURPP, point taken about Jepps but that large percentange may be just in the airline ranks, which isn't the large percentage at Darwin. Australian AIP is the source for Jepps documentation so I would guess that references are made to AIP as it is the 'senior document'.

The runway light snot being available, I don't know what is going on there - I'm on leave. However, it cannot be 'just a military thing' as you said becuase the NOTAM says that it isn't applicable to MIL ACFT. I think PANS-OPS or Airfield Design Criteria or some other ICAO document may say that for civil circling approaches at night there must be a certain type and number of runway lights operational. Again, just a guess.

I would guess that under radio failure conditions that you would commence straight-in approach to the duty to land. If weather conditions were such that you REQUIRED to conduct a circling approach, that would be your call. If you had a radio failure, ATC will not be able to tell you not to do one anyway! All it means is that ATC cannot ISSUE you a CLEARANCE to conduct a circling approach. As I said though, I am away at the moment and I gather there has been some guidance given to ATC on what they can and can't do in regards to degraded runway lighting and approches available.

If you have any questions, please ring ATC, either the XO or the Operations Flight Commander, and they will be more than happy to talk to you.

See y'all when I get back,


23rd Feb 2003, 04:13

I Don't live in Oz anymore, but I'll make a stab and say that it is referring to ERSA, which is where all the radio fail procedures used to be available.

Sounds like Darwin is rapidly gaining third world status...anyone tried telling the media about this? that's generally a guaranteed way to get things done quickly.
Especially if it is passed along by an "expert", who knows? The media may actually have to opportunity to report something accurately.

Something to think about.

23rd Feb 2003, 04:31
Yep I am sure it is referring to ERSA, my point is that if you use JEPS then you normally won't have ERSA and hence the reference is useless.
No different to me referring you to section 3 para 1.7 of the FTTR

not to annoy you whilst still on leave but for any body else who may be interested and following,

I would guess that under radio failure conditions that you would commence straight-in approach to the duty to land. If weather conditions were such that you REQUIRED to conduct a circling approach, that would be your call. If you had a radio failure, ATC will not be able to tell you not to do one anyway! All it means is that ATC cannot ISSUE you a CLEARANCE to conduct a circling approach. As I said though, I am away at the moment and I gather there has been some guidance given to ATC on what they can and can't do in regards to degraded runway lighting and approches available.

That is just my point. Unless we receive a "green light" we must carry out a circling approach according to Jeps AU-4 para 3.2.6 Actions at Minima Under "Radio Failures". Whether ATC wants instructs us to or not.

No Further Requirements
23rd Feb 2003, 22:19
RENURPP, I still don't quite understand what you are getting at. Can you please put the reference in a message so we can have a look - I don't have access to Jepps.

Anyway, say you lost comms and ATC lost comms also. Duty RWY is 29, it is night time and you are coming from Gove or somewhere to the east. My understanding is that you would carry out a stright in instrument appraoch to land on the duty runway. If you don't get a green light for a LANDING CLEARANCE from the tower would you:

a) accoring to you make a circling approach (it is night, so you would have to circle for RWY11 which more than likely has more than 5kts downwind as it is not the duty runway) or,

b) land on RWY 29 if you are satisfied the runway is clear.

I would expect pilots to do (b) and would ensure that the air/runway is clear for accommodate this. I don't understand what the circling approach reference is about. Does it mean that the minima for the approach is increased to the circling approach minima if you don't have comms? Anyway, over to you. Cheers,


23rd Feb 2003, 23:16
I guess this high lights the point re quoting from different manuals?
I am sorry I don't have AIP but maybe some one who does can supply a reference.

Under emergency section in Jepps, destination procedure it says, and i will abbreviate in point form.

1. Track to the dest in accord with flt plan as ammended by latest clearance.

2. Commence descent in acc with SOP's. Descend to initial approach alt for most suitable approach.

3. Carry out approach to circling minima.

Actions at Minima

1. If visual circle to land.

2. If in receipt of directed aerodrome info or ldg clearance through green light etc may continue rwy app.

3. If not visual at circling minima depart blah blah blah

Now thats what the good book says. What would I really do, probably what you suggest BUT surely they have to NOTAM procedures that can be legally adhered to???

ps If I carried out a 29 ILS to the circling minima I would still circle to land on runway 29, not accpet a downwind on 11 unless it was light of course.

Capt Claret
23rd Feb 2003, 23:40
At the risk of stating the obvious, methinks the circle to land unless in receipt of landing clearance (light or voice via navaid) instruction is to give a chance to abserve runway to ensure it is clear/safe to land?

Like RENURPP, I've got no idea what the OUTER THR OMNI-DIRECTIONAL LGT is ..... must look that one up ..... can't believe it's never been used as a line check/IRT question. :eek:

24th Feb 2003, 00:55
I suspect it is to ensure you are landing on the correct runway as well. i.e. determine wind. That would explain why you can land off a straight in approach if you have ATIS info.
Maybe also to look for signals adjacent the windsock etc etc.

I am guessing these lights are simply the threshold lights visible in all directions so we have a reference for our circling approach. "maintains visual contact with the landing runway environment (i.e the runway, threshold or approach lighting etc etc.

Like NFR says it might be an aerodrome requirement, I have never seen it as a pilot type requirement.

No Further Requirements
24th Feb 2003, 03:21
The lights are those big green ones on the sides of the threshold. As RENURPP suggested, not really high on the list of pilot 'to knows' but more an aerodrom requirement for visual circling. Along those lines, I think the radio failure procedures were written to accomodate non-straight-in approaches, ie, ones that necessitated circling as they were not aligned with a runway. I do understand now reading the Jepps extract where the confusion comes in. I would suggest a call to ATC to clear up what one should do in a two-way radio failure situation. Anyway, must be off. Cheers,


24th Feb 2003, 04:08
Disagree NFR,

the procedure covers both straight in and circling. It says straight in is fine as long as you have a green light/ATIS or some other directed info.

I will contact ATC on my next flight.

Can't ever recall seeing those lights, I will have a closer look next flight.


24th Feb 2003, 04:23
Hello all

I see few, if any thing in Darwin have changed.

NFR, still fighting the losing battle with HQ I see.

RENURPP I once raised a motion at the Darwin RAPAC, which was in essence a vote of no confidence in the RAAF to be able to or even be willing to provide sufficent support to RAAF Darwin ATC to do thier job. As far as I am aware this motion still stands !.

How about we look at the MULTIPLE failures that are going on here and consider thier effect on increasing the chance of a major accident. I believe they are refered to as latent failures(effects).

It appears obvious to me that there are multiple failures and these need to be addressed urgently, especialy at this time of the year in Darwin. But RAAF HQ does not provide NFR with the manpower or resorces to do his job safely.

Really NFR, its time to do a RISK ASSESSMENT on this and if necessary close the aerodrome !, trust me that will work better than the NOTAMS at getting the attention of RAAF HQ.

As for the OMNI D OUTER THR LIGHTS, in Darwin these lights are mandatory to conduct a circling approcah at night. The reason is that Darwin has ORP's (operational rediness Platforms) at the end of each runway. This means the runway lights for the first 200m are sunken into the tarmack and are only visible from 45 deg off runway heading. So are the green/Red runway end lights in the centre section of the runwaystrip. Therefore while circling the only lights visible to the pilot are the two OUTER green runway end lights. Gotta have them to be able to see the end of the runway as per JEPP and AIP circling requirments.

It is my belief/opinion that you can, and will (as per JEPP) circle for the SAME runway as the approach you have just made if NOCOM. This simply means you fly a circular circuit, at a safe height, it does not have to be MDA. If the weather is real shitty, well then its an emergency, and then you do what you have too.

Its worth thinking about it this way, Darwin has NOTAMS stating the unreliable nature of several required systems, not necesserily all at once but they may be under certian possible circumstances. Therefore the AD is not suitable and requires an ALTERNATE.

Bottom line RAAF HQ don't or can't give a s*&^ about the users at Darwin. Way too much talk/visits, but NO action at fixing the problems.

PS Darwin ATC are not NECESSARILY to blame for this, its RAAF HQ, who don't even listen to thier own staff in Darwin.

No Further Requirements
24th Feb 2003, 05:11
RENURPP, I know I was having a stab, but as I said, I don't have access to Jepps either here or at work - merely a guess. If they cover both straight in and circling approaches, does that mean you have to have a green light for the SI as well? I don't see where the difference is when you can plough through controlled airspace and fill your boots to an approach, but then all of a sudden you need some postive instruction to land if you have a radio failure??? Sounds strange. I think Richo has adequetly explained the lights and why they are there. I learnt something too!

Richo, thanks for you post. Yep, the coalface guys and gals try their utmost, but the equipment invariably lets them down. I also think when it comes to matters of the aerodrome, DIA and the RAAF always get into arguments about who should pay for what. This usually results in long periods of unncessary unserviceabilities and stupid NOTAMs.

See ya,


24th Feb 2003, 05:32
I am guessing as much as you are re the intent.

The way I understand it is, say you are inbound from the east and as per the Jeps you decide the ILS is the way to go. You have not recieved the ATIS or any other directed info for that matter and you do as thethe good book says, descend to the circling MDA.
Although you should have a good idea about which runway the wind is favouring maybe you don't, thunderstorms etc. doesn't really matter anyway it is quite clear, need either ATIS or directed info not an assumption.
On reaching the circling MDA and are visual, you receive a green light simple you continue straight in land.
Or you reach the circling MDA visual, no green light you circle, assess the weather and other info available to you decide on which runway circle and land?
I guess this also covers the case for say doing the ILS get to MDA and you in the tower have a serviceable lamp, however there is a 20kt tdownwind on 29, no green light would indicate to the pilot he must circle to land, and in the process have a look at the wind??

from the west well have to deide whether a 11 VOR/DME is most suitable or ILS. Circling MDA is the same have plenty of fuel for another go at the ILS??? Otherwise I see it as the same.

1st Mar 2003, 00:25
To take up on the Jepp v AIP issue:

NFR, it may be correct to state that the AIP is the 'senior' document, but the reality is that a significant proportion of the IFR pilots are Jepp holders and are familiar with Jepp referencing and formatting.

They also do not carry a Manual of Air Traffic Services (the 'most senior' document?). They have a legal "AIP" in their Jepps.

AirNorth and NJS/Airlink/Coastwatch ops require their crews to use Jepps. I think this is the same at Hardy, not sure of the GA IFR ops, most of Pearl and the Westwind boys & girls have Jepps in their navbags, I suspect all international visitors and QF are running with Jepps too.

It would have been much more PRACTICAL and USER FRIENDLY communication if the notam had said "Enroute Supplementary Australia ch 1-7 to 9 1-11 to 13 RADIO FAILURE PROCEDURES" and perhaps included a Jeppesen equivalent reference.

Surely even in a cash-strapped RAAF ATC wing, a copy of Jepps in the cheapest binders could be arranged?