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Jetstar and Ballina again

Old 23rd Jun 2021, 02:48
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  • SFIS is not a separation service, it does not provide clearances, and it does not sequence aircraft into an aerodrome.
So its a CAGRS with a new name situated remotely?
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 15:06
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So basically a whole heap of luck saved the day. The whatís being done as a result section, living up to its name again, ie doing nothing.

https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/578101...-062-final.pdf

Last edited by PoppaJo; 25th Mar 2022 at 15:17.
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 15:11
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Does anyone actually operate into BNA or is everyone just speculating?
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 15:38
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The ATSB also found that the most recent regulatory review of the airspace surrounding Ballina
Byron Gateway Airport, and subsequent periodic reviews, had not specifically considered the risks
associated with aircraft transiting the airspace without taking off or landing at the airport
That's what happens when you already know the answers you want from your "reviews".
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 16:10
  #165 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lostontheloc
Does anyone actually operate into BNA or is everyone just speculating?
About what?
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 21:22
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Does anyone actually operate into BNA or is everyone just speculating?
I know crew that operate in there (Part 121) that see it as a direct threat to their livelihood, let alone the safety implications. And Australia invents yet another horseshit solution.
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 22:19
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Originally Posted by PoppaJo View Post
So basically a whole heap of luck saved the day. The whatís being done as a result section, living up to its name again, ie doing nothing.

https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/578101...-062-final.pdf
Found it bizarre that Jetstar didn't feature in this section. Obviously the Jab pilot will refamiliarise himself with his transponder, but what are jetstar doing about the numerous threats and errors identified in the report?
Surely they're not the only crew making these mistakes.

Obviously something must have been done at JQ after this - and surely the ATSB should be aware of it roughly 2 years after the incident?
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Old 25th Mar 2022, 23:56
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Originally Posted by tossbag View Post
I know crew that operate in there (Part 121) that see it as a direct threat to their livelihood, let alone the safety implications. And Australia invents yet another horseshit solution.
If it's not a cloudy, ugly type of IMC type of day, Its definitely a call in sick duty for me. Horrendous place. I'd never let my family fly into Ballina and I try to warn my friends etc. We all knew it's going to happen, it's just a matter of time. My threat mitigation actions just ensure it won't be me.
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 02:01
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With considerable experience operating into both CTAF's and Class D towers give me a CTAF any day.
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 02:08
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs View Post
About what?
Do you or anyone else here operate into BNA? there looks to be few, I am interested in people's experiences with the SFIS and how it's impacted.
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 02:46
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Now that the ATSB report has been released, it may interest PPruners to see the contribution I made to the investigation. I have removed the names quoted because this is a public forum.
Please note that ATSB refers to CASA not having taken over-flying traffic into account. You will see, from my letter that this was the basis for me recommending that a CA/GRS would not be able to function efficiently. So, CASA were aware of this traffic but, according to ATSB, apparently chose to ignore it.
There is also mention of the Minister's parameters, in the AAPS, for introducing Class D airspace, and that one of the parameters had been exceeded. You will not be surprised when you read the new AAPS to see that CASA has removed them!
Finally my comment about AFIS (as it is practised in Australia) being only suitable for low traffic environments, includes the SFIS introduced by Airservices.

Dear ATSB,


I write regarding your ongoing inquiry into the separation incident at Ballina Aerodrome. I would like to address the CA/GRS issue as well as commenting about Ballina, I hope you will bear with me.

Until November 2019 I was the Aviation Safety Inspector within the CASA CNS/ATM office who was charged, by the then CNS/ATM Manager [Name Deleted], with oversight of operations within Class G airspace. I should add that after [Name Deleted] left and was succeeded by, first [Name Deleted] and then [Name Deleted] that the position was no longer recognised. I did however continue to authorise CA/GRO certificate issuing, conduct audits of CA/GRS at Ayers Rock and Ballina and the Airservices Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) at Port Hedland. I do not know which of the current inspectors, if anyone, has carried on my work since I left.

The reason I was given the work by [Name Deleted] was because he became aware, through the operator of the CA/GRS at Ayers Rock, [Name Deleted], that audits were not being carried out. This was because the Aerodromes Branch, under which the CA/GRS service (Ch 22, Part 139 MOS) is authorised, did not have, and to the best of my knowledge, still do not have the expertise to assess what is fundamentally an air traffic service. CNS/ATM branch originally considered the CA/GRS outside of it's terms of reference (CASR Part 172), many still do. I tell you this to indicate that this area of pseudo-ATC could easily become ignored again by the regulator.

It was my view, within CASA and still, that AFIS procedures are only viable in very low traffic environments. This is because pilots are required to respond to other pilot's radio calls and organise their own separation. Consider that the IFR pilot is getting traffic from ATC on the area frequency, traffic from the CA/GRO on the CTAF, calls from other aircraft on the CTAF, is it any wonder that VFR pilots get confused? All of this results in a rapid duplication of radio calls on frequency as the traffic increases. In a busy environment, this degrades safety instead of enhancing it. Ballina, in this respect, is different from Ayers Rock or Port Hedland where traffic levels are lower, more predictable and there are very few VFR movements.

In regard to Ballina, I carried out the majority of the CASA work required to grant the CA/GRS certificate. My reports to my managers' were that the Ballina environment was potentially (not all of the time) too busy for the CA/GRO to effectively assist with safety. I noted that the major differences between Ballina and the Ayers Rock and Port Hedland environments were:
  • A proposed very poor operator position for the CA/GRO, caused by Airservices unnecessarily offering space within the fire station area used by the duty fireman to observe movements. Before that Ballina was willing to erect a small "tower" complying with Ch 22 at the time. (Since then CASA has changed the regulations to avoid having to provide exemptions!)
  • A controlled airspace base of 8500 feet with lower steps to the north
  • The presence of two other moderately busy aerodromes, Lismore and Evans Head, sharing the CTAF, plus an unknown number of private airstrips and recreational hang-gliding
  • An NDB, owned by the Council, and used extensively by training organisations from Coolangatta and other airports (How many NDBs are still in existence?)
  • The funnelling effect on overflying VFR aircraft caused by the adjacent control areas
  • The reported, by the airport and local pilots, reluctance of overflying VFR traffic to use CTAF procedures when "in the vicinity of" the CTAF aerodromes
  • The inability of pilots on the ground to be able to hear calls from pilots on the ground at other aerodromes and ALAs
  • The Lismore call-back tone sounding over traffic information being passed at Ballina
My conclusion often voiced to my managers, was that Ballina needed a small control tower with Class D airspace, similar to Camden, or Hamilton Island, or Launceston. This is because those three have levels of traffic that can be handled by one ATC per shift to minimise costs. The ATC is able to organise the circuit area, for safety, and manage runway occupancy for safety and efficiency. Unfortunately, even though, this model of Class D operation exists in Australia, CASA OAR and Airservices seem to consider that it only applies to what they call "Metro D" airports.

It is my view that Ballina would be more safely managed by a small Class D towered control zone overlaid by Airservices-controlled Class Class E or C control area. Given Airservices habit of building very expensive buildings staffed by highly paid ATCs, I might also suggest that, if the cost is too great, the Minister considers allowing airport operators to own and manage control towers under Part 172. The CA/GROs at Ballina, when I left CASA, were all retired ATCs, they need only to regain medical status and be subject, amongst other things, to a compliant operations manual. Airservices is not needed to do that, any competent experienced ATC manager, could provide the exposition required by CASA.

I hope I have given you a few things to consider and not wasted your valuable time. Should clarification be required I am very happy to assist.

Kind Regards

Geoff Fairless


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Old 26th Mar 2022, 02:56
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Thoroughly agree - Ballina NEEDS a Class D tower.
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 04:12
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Without quoting Geoff's full post, his words are prescient. If the current traffic levels and mix continue with the present horseshit, made up airspace procedures, it WILL happen, it could all become quite rowdy. Of course, teflon plated arses will get away with it.
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 06:59
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Do you or anyone else here operate into BNA? there looks to be few, I am interested in people's experiences with the SFIS and how it's impacted.
Oh OK, you said we were speculating. If you're now asking for feedback on the SFIS, that's different. And no, I don't operate into Ballina. But to anybody who has operated into busy CTAFs (with the exception of VC9 ) and D towers, the problems of Ballina are patently obvious.

Put in a tower and a parallel taxiway.
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 09:11
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs View Post
Oh OK, you said we were speculating. If you're now asking for feedback on the SFIS, that's different. And no, I don't operate into Ballina. But to anybody who has operated into busy CTAFs (with the exception of VC9 ) and D towers, the problems of Ballina are patently obvious.

Put in a tower and a parallel taxiway.
You got it right the first time, I was directly asking whether people who are talking about it actually have experience with it.

So does anyone actually have experience with this new SFIS in BNA and can comment in regards to the CTAF?
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 09:15
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Originally Posted by LostontheLOC View Post
Does anyone actually operate into BNA or is everyone just speculating?
Yes, everyone does. Thatís the problem.
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 09:19
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Originally Posted by Derfred View Post
Yes, everyone does. Thatís the problem.
I am not talking about the company's as implied, I am talking about the people here who have opinions and attempting to get some 1st hand experience.
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 09:59
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Yes, what do you want to know?

How SFIS swings between too much radio chatter to saying nothing at all?
How SFIS can't see returns below 1000ft and didn't speak up when a Caravan went face to face with a 737?
How SFIS didn't speak up when a Dash went head to head with a 737?
How SFIS is a confusing procedure that makes pilots think they are getting a controlled airspace level of service and traffic awareness, and don't need to communicate like they would on a normal CTAF.
How the CTAF is congested as hell with calls from Ballina, SFIS, Lismore, Casino and Evans Head.

Just put in a control tower and stop this hybrid CTAF/CTA nonsense. Isn't Mangalore next?

Last edited by VH-FTS; 26th Mar 2022 at 11:10.
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 11:41
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Originally Posted by VH-FTS View Post
Yes, what do you want to know?

How SFIS swings between too much radio chatter to saying nothing at all?
How SFIS can't see returns below 1000ft and didn't speak up when a Caravan went face to face with a 737?
How SFIS didn't speak up when a Dash went head to head with a 737?
How SFIS is a confusing procedure that makes pilots think they are getting a controlled airspace level of service and traffic awareness, and don't need to communicate like they would on a normal CTAF.
How the CTAF is congested as hell with calls from Ballina, SFIS, Lismore, Casino and Evans Head.

Just put in a control tower and stop this hybrid CTAF/CTA nonsense. Isn't Mangalore next?
Sometimes it feels like getting blood from a rock here on PPRuNe, I shouldn't expect anything different.

Anything you can give mate, how your operator handles it and what you use at mitigating tools to help not go head first into a PA44 doing a circling approach in VMC 1inop just cause?

Is there any reports or atsb submissions on these instances?
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Old 26th Mar 2022, 12:08
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Originally Posted by Geoff Fairless View Post
Now that the ATSB report has been released, it may interest PPruners to see the contribution I made to the investigation. I have removed the names quoted because this is a public forum.
Please note that ATSB refers to CASA not having taken over-flying traffic into account. You will see, from my letter that this was the basis for me recommending that a CA/GRS would not be able to function efficiently. So, CASA were aware of this traffic but, according to ATSB, apparently chose to ignore it.
There is also mention of the Minister's parameters, in the AAPS, for introducing Class D airspace, and that one of the parameters had been exceeded. You will not be surprised when you read the new AAPS to see that CASA has removed them!
Finally my comment about AFIS (as it is practised in Australia) being only suitable for low traffic environments, includes the SFIS introduced by Airservices.

Dear ATSB,


I write regarding your ongoing inquiry into the separation incident at Ballina Aerodrome. I would like to address the CA/GRS issue as well as commenting about Ballina, I hope you will bear with me.

Until November 2019 I was the Aviation Safety Inspector within the CASA CNS/ATM office who was charged, by the then CNS/ATM Manager [Name Deleted], with oversight of operations within Class G airspace. I should add that after [Name Deleted] left and was succeeded by, first [Name Deleted] and then [Name Deleted] that the position was no longer recognised. I did however continue to authorise CA/GRO certificate issuing, conduct audits of CA/GRS at Ayers Rock and Ballina and the Airservices Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) at Port Hedland. I do not know which of the current inspectors, if anyone, has carried on my work since I left.

The reason I was given the work by [Name Deleted] was because he became aware, through the operator of the CA/GRS at Ayers Rock, [Name Deleted], that audits were not being carried out. This was because the Aerodromes Branch, under which the CA/GRS service (Ch 22, Part 139 MOS) is authorised, did not have, and to the best of my knowledge, still do not have the expertise to assess what is fundamentally an air traffic service. CNS/ATM branch originally considered the CA/GRS outside of it's terms of reference (CASR Part 172), many still do. I tell you this to indicate that this area of pseudo-ATC could easily become ignored again by the regulator.

It was my view, within CASA and still, that AFIS procedures are only viable in very low traffic environments. This is because pilots are required to respond to other pilot's radio calls and organise their own separation. Consider that the IFR pilot is getting traffic from ATC on the area frequency, traffic from the CA/GRO on the CTAF, calls from other aircraft on the CTAF, is it any wonder that VFR pilots get confused? All of this results in a rapid duplication of radio calls on frequency as the traffic increases. In a busy environment, this degrades safety instead of enhancing it. Ballina, in this respect, is different from Ayers Rock or Port Hedland where traffic levels are lower, more predictable and there are very few VFR movements.

In regard to Ballina, I carried out the majority of the CASA work required to grant the CA/GRS certificate. My reports to my managers' were that the Ballina environment was potentially (not all of the time) too busy for the CA/GRO to effectively assist with safety. I noted that the major differences between Ballina and the Ayers Rock and Port Hedland environments were:
  • A proposed very poor operator position for the CA/GRO, caused by Airservices unnecessarily offering space within the fire station area used by the duty fireman to observe movements. Before that Ballina was willing to erect a small "tower" complying with Ch 22 at the time. (Since then CASA has changed the regulations to avoid having to provide exemptions!)
  • A controlled airspace base of 8500 feet with lower steps to the north
  • The presence of two other moderately busy aerodromes, Lismore and Evans Head, sharing the CTAF, plus an unknown number of private airstrips and recreational hang-gliding
  • An NDB, owned by the Council, and used extensively by training organisations from Coolangatta and other airports (How many NDBs are still in existence?)
  • The funnelling effect on overflying VFR aircraft caused by the adjacent control areas
  • The reported, by the airport and local pilots, reluctance of overflying VFR traffic to use CTAF procedures when "in the vicinity of" the CTAF aerodromes
  • The inability of pilots on the ground to be able to hear calls from pilots on the ground at other aerodromes and ALAs
  • The Lismore call-back tone sounding over traffic information being passed at Ballina
My conclusion often voiced to my managers, was that Ballina needed a small control tower with Class D airspace, similar to Camden, or Hamilton Island, or Launceston. This is because those three have levels of traffic that can be handled by one ATC per shift to minimise costs. The ATC is able to organise the circuit area, for safety, and manage runway occupancy for safety and efficiency. Unfortunately, even though, this model of Class D operation exists in Australia, CASA OAR and Airservices seem to consider that it only applies to what they call "Metro D" airports.

It is my view that Ballina would be more safely managed by a small Class D towered control zone overlaid by Airservices-controlled Class Class E or C control area. Given Airservices habit of building very expensive buildings staffed by highly paid ATCs, I might also suggest that, if the cost is too great, the Minister considers allowing airport operators to own and manage control towers under Part 172. The CA/GROs at Ballina, when I left CASA, were all retired ATCs, they need only to regain medical status and be subject, amongst other things, to a compliant operations manual. Airservices is not needed to do that, any competent experienced ATC manager, could provide the exposition required by CASA.

I hope I have given you a few things to consider and not wasted your valuable time. Should clarification be required I am very happy to assist.

Kind Regards

Geoff Fairless
Well said Geoff Fairless.
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