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CASA-Draft Ballina airspace review 16/6/22

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CASA-Draft Ballina airspace review 16/6/22

Old 18th Jun 2022, 05:41
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3 December 2021: For approximately 10 minutes around 10:40am (Local) the SFIS operator
considered the Ballina broadcast area to be running with unsustainably high workload “due to
multiple aircraft taxiing, arriving and departing, mostly without flight plans and mostly not in
surveillance coverage”. Note: The Review acknowledges that VFR aircraft are not required
to lodge a flightplan.

Aircraft included:
• Helicopter (VFR) - no flight plan, not in surveillance.
• Ultralight (VFR) - no flight plan, not in surveillance.
• Ultralight (VFR) - no flight plan, not in surveillance.
• Qantas B737 (IFR) - outbound.
• Virgin B737 (IFR) - inbound.
• Helicopter (VFR) - no flight plan, not in surveillance.
• Citation jet (IFR) - initially not in surveillance
He's only providing traffic. That's just an old time busy AFIZ (run without any surveillance) FFS
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Old 18th Jun 2022, 06:21
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To carry on from the thread I started, "CASA and Government mates, invent a new airspace classification!" This review is a breath of fresh air!

It is recommending what I recommended to CASA about five years ago when they sent me to Ballina to start work on authorising a CA/GRO. A CA/GRO would only add radio congestion to an already busy frequency. This was compounded by the troglodytes running OAR at the time, when they thought that a broadcast area would fix the problem. They then doubled down by making it twice the radius. (Equals four times the area contained within the circle, hence capturing even more traffic chatter) About that time they stopped inviting me to the discussions with Jetstar and others!

I'm not sure whether the trogs have moved on or whether the new CASA boss saw her public service career going down in flames, however here we are, at last!

The document describes Class E airspace above a Class D control zone, but somewhat confuses the possible with what would be nice to have. "The services should be provided during all periods of scheduled Air Transport Operations and include an Approach Control Service to aircraft operating under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), separation between IFR aircraft, VFR traffic information to all aircraft, and sequencing of all aircraft to and from the runway." The last few words will not be possible until runway controllers, (That is, a Tower) is in operation. The operating hours of the airspace will also require a revolution - currently Jetstar in particular, seems to prefer operating when already establish Towers are off duty.

I shall be replying to their request for comment and will publish my comments on this thread.

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Old 19th Jun 2022, 01:48
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon View Post
Some more question for those who may be in the know:

To the extent that the draft recommendations are about determination of airspace, isn't the CASA OAR brains trust the people with the power to determine airspace? The clue is in the name.

If yes, aren't those CASA OAR recommendations in fact recommendations to ...CASA OAR? If yes, WTF?
Leady, I think you are close but the glass is a bit foggy! It is common knowledge that the OAR were on site for some time late last year and the gossip was that their report would be out early this year. Whatever was in the report, it was enough to keep it under wraps for almost six months. The one we see now is likely a modified version of the OAR report. I suspect that their report made recommendations that were not liked in some quarters (airservices?) such as a much earlier date for the tower? If you follow the CASA structure you will be aware that the manager of the OAR reports to a senior manager, who in turn reports to an Executive manager both of which have unknown qualifications/experience in airspace design and managment. So to answer your question, it is unknown if what we see is from the OAR or another person in the system (with their own ideas) as nobody puts their name to these documents any more. I would also suspect that any briefing to the CEO has been filtered accordingly (?}
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Old 19th Jun 2022, 03:25
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The one we see now is likely a modified version of the OAR report.
Well that is interesting.

That might explain why the start of recommendation 7 quoted in Australian Flying says, with my bolding: “As an interim action pending the completion of Recommendation 8, CASA should demand CTA around Ballina with a base which is as low as possible. ”, but that’s not what the start of recommendation 7 of the version posted on CASA’s website says. Maybe Australian Flying obtained a copy of the actual OAR draft report?

It is, of course, a patent nonsense for CASA to “demand” airspace of any kind anywhere in Australia. That would be a demand CASA would be making of … CASA. Perhaps the drafters of the OAR report quoted by Australian Flying didn’t realise that OAR is part of CASA?

On my reading of the Airspace regs, it looks like the only person with power to determine a volume of airspace to be e.g. CTA is the CEO of CASA! Those regs include power to delegate some powers (e.g. PRD) in and outside CASA, but no power to delegate the power to designate the ‘biggies’ - classes and the volumes of those classes of airspace.

Methinks there’s a game of pass the ticking and stinking parcel going on, in the hope that there will be a sufficient diffusion of responsibility if there’s a mid-air involving an RPT aircraft in the vicinity of Ballina and for the long and loud complaints that will be made about costs and access that will arise from the recommended arrangements. Methinks the ticking and stinking parcel is currently parked in Ms Spence’s lap and the consultation process is another diffusion of responsibility tactic.

Last edited by Lead Balloon; 19th Jun 2022 at 03:44.
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Old 19th Jun 2022, 03:57
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LET'S GET TO THE REAL ISSUE

These issues are going to continue until the basic flaw in the system is fixed - OAR has no place in CASA. The original recommendation from the AERU was that the office be embedded in the Department as it was more policy related than safety. If I remember correctly the recommendation was preceded by a statement along the lines of "..airspace is a non renewable national resource and should be managed as such in a strategic sense.".. That recommendation drew very strong push back from both CASA and Airservices and history tells us the result.

When the original OAR chief was announced two of the very obvious candidates (both Australian and both with considerable experience in the airspace policy business) were harangued by a (then and still now) senior bureaucrat in the Department because he thought they had not applied. Speaking to both of them later I came to understand that they had both applied but had been deleted from the list by the head hunters in the first pass before that list was passed to those charged with making the selection. "Why", , you may ask. The rumour is that the headhunters were "advised" by a very prominent Australian aviation personality that the head of OAR should not be an Australian and that an international candidate should be selected to ensure past history was not carried forward.

I have to agree with TIEW seven aircraft in a circuit area is not coming even close to busy.

Gne

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Old 19th Jun 2022, 04:40
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Yes: The 'who' and the 'where they sit' has substantial importance, but I would suggest that the biggest issue is that there are no precise, objective risk/cost criteria by reference to which classes and volumes of airspace are determined in Australia - at least not that I can find publicly. And I don't count 'ALARP' as it is not sufficiently precise.

I am talking about actual probabilities of collisions and actual costs put on the lives lost and risk mitigation actions. Someone like alph centauri can articulate these criteria better than I can.
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Old 20th Jun 2022, 02:58
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When the original OAR chief was announced two of the very obvious candidates (both Australian and both with considerable experience in the airspace policy business) were harangued by a (then and still now) senior bureaucrat in the Department because he thought they had not applied. Speaking to both of them later I came to understand that they had both applied but had been deleted from the list by the head hunters in the first pass before that list was passed to those charged with making the selection. "Why", , you may ask. The rumour is that the headhunters were "advised" by a very prominent Australian aviation personality that the head of OAR should not be an Australian and that an international candidate should be selected to ensure past history was not carried forward.
Yes, what a calamity (!) that was! He almost destroyed the then RAPAC process by not wanting to engage or consult on almost anything. Many had a party when he was shown the door.
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Old 20th Jun 2022, 03:10
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These issues are going to continue until the basic flaw in the system is fixed - OAR has no place in CASA. The original recommendation from the AERU was that the office be embedded in the Department as it was more policy related than safety. If I remember correctly the recommendation was preceded by a statement along the lines of "..airspace is a non renewable national resource and should be managed as such in a strategic sense.".. That recommendation drew very strong push back from both CASA and Airservices and history tells us the result.
Gne you may well be correct. The issue now is how to change it? The OAR for better or worse is buried inside CASA with no direct report to the CEO. Sadly she must lean on the senior managers (in the iron ring) to provide some "infinite wisdom" but it is my belief that they are too entrenched protecting their own turf and not very much interested in the industry they are paid big dollars to regulate (not support). Only a strong case to Government will likely even get at move to the Dept looked at, let alone moved, but of course one could always try. I often wonder what some of these groups that are formed to advise the decision makers have on their table? Stuff that we as an industry see as important I guess.
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Old 20th Jun 2022, 05:23
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Originally Posted by bonez View Post
Leady, I think you are close but the glass is a bit foggy! It is common knowledge that the OAR were on site for some time late last year and the gossip was that their report would be out early this year. Whatever was in the report, it was enough to keep it under wraps for almost six months. The one we see now is likely a modified version of the OAR report. I suspect that their report made recommendations that were not liked in some quarters (airservices?) such as a much earlier date for the tower? If you follow the CASA structure you will be aware that the manager of the OAR reports to a senior manager, who in turn reports to an Executive manager both of which have unknown qualifications/experience in airspace design and managment. So to answer your question, it is unknown if what we see is from the OAR or another person in the system (with their own ideas) as nobody puts their name to these documents any more. I would also suspect that any briefing to the CEO has been filtered accordingly (?}
When I worked there, the manager OAR was acting and had been kept that way for years. I assumed this was to remind him of his place, because OAR actually has a different set of regulations, The Airspace Act, etc., to operate by, not the CAA and CASRs that govern CASA. In theory, he could operate independently, as, I believe, was intended.
When I arrived however, the manager OAR did report to an Executive Manager, who was, as noted above, brought in from overseas (the UK) to provide expertise. When he was moved on, OAR along with the rest of the Airservices oversight, CNS/ATM, was downgraded in the hierarchy by becoming a sub-set of the Operations Division, wherein lies all of the pilot fraternity.
I can confirm what is stated in the quote, when I left CASA, OAR answered to a retired civil ATC, who was subordinate to a retired military ATC, who was subordinate to a retired USAF pilot, whose accent you will hear in Senate Estimates hearings. I think the American became an Executive Manager.
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Old 20th Jun 2022, 06:52
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Whatever the internal politics and power balances may happen to be or have been, the fact now is that Ms Spence has control over and therefore responsibility for the diameter of the roulette wheel in the vicinity of and at Ballina (and Mildura and....). The circa $40k per fortnight remuneration package will hopefully help her to sleep at night.
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Old 6th Jul 2022, 12:00
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FWIW for the discussion:

Sydney Morning Herald Archive, Thursday, February 15, 1979

Flight ban lifted after rule change

By DAVID ROBERTSON, Transport Reporter

Airline pilots lifted their ban on flights into Australia's 39 uncontrolled airports late yesterday afternoon.

The Australian Federation of Airline Pilots lifted the ban after the Department of Transport promulgated new regulations covering light aircraft operating below 1,500 metres (5,000 feet).

Under the new rules, light aircraft pilots will have to broadcast their position at 32 kilometres (instead of 16km) from an uncontrolled airport. Flight Service Officers must inform scheduled passenger aircraft of any light aircraft in their vicinity.

The ban was imposed on Tuesday night and grounded scores of flights by Fokker F27s and smaller commuter aircraft.

It was lifted after members of the [Professional] Radio and Electronics Institute, who are Flight Service Officers, agreed to the amendments to air safety procedures for light aircraft.

Late last week, the pilots claimed rules issued in November — allowing light aircraft to fly in uncontrolled airspace below 1,500 metres (5,000 feet) without lodging a flight plan — had caused many near-misses. They said they would impose a ban unless the rules were changed.

A meeting between the pilots and the department established a basis for agreement, but officials of the Institute said they wanted more time to consider the situation. The pilots refused to wait and imposed the ban. Yesterday the Institute accepted the basis of agreement. The worst-affected of the domestic airlines. East-West Airlines and Airlines of NSW, were back to normal services last night.
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Old 6th Jul 2022, 12:42
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Of course, a full length parallel taxiway at BNA would help with the traffic, even if only part of it was for GA (<5700kg). Let's see the Council work on that as part of the fix.

As for a tower, Airservices I think has a couple of portable towers the likes of which have been seen at MNG and PF. A little bit of effort and one could be at BNA by Xmas.

But to get there we have to endure the internal politics of both CASA and ASA, so don't hold your breath!
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