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Australian Airspace Discussion

Old 24th Sep 2008, 06:09
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Question Australian Airspace Discussion

Lefthanded Rock Thrower,

One of the reasons NAS was high on the agenda is that we do not use the radar properly in the enroute airspace below 8,500 feet. I could see lives were going to be lost. Already six lives have been lost at Benalla and I would imagine we will end up with an airline accident with possibly 100 plus deaths at a place like Proserpine. Remember we still have the old flight service non radar procedures below 8,500 feet even where we have good radar coverage.

I do everything I can in parallel and airspace was just one of the ďagendasĒ that I had. I also continually pushed for any reform that would better allocate our resources.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 06:34
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Dick to suggest that the accident at Benalla was caused by the class of airspace is fancifull to say the least, granted if they were conducting a two crew coupled ILS into Benalla with full ATC service and EMS on the ground, perhaps a different outcome.

I presently fly aircraft with ADS-B,TAWS and GPWS, great having the information at hand, but there are still the human interface errors.

Australia has a considerably lower population than America, considerably lower budget and movements than US ATC, we can not afford that level of service in Australia.

Whilst ever aeroplanes fly, they will take lives, hopefully less and less as our management systems develop,

Aviation will never be completely incident/accident free.

Many accident occur due to poor training and/or bad decisions.

Reform could be seen as re-inventing the wheel, if not actually achieving anything ?, how much did the failed NAS project cost, including redundancy of ATC staff etc etc and what did it achieve for that money ?, do you see my point ?.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 07:12
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Mate, Please dont have a closed mind - as it could be your life next time. Give me a ring on 0408 640 221 and I will explain how proven NAS procedures could have prevented that accident a no cost.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 07:27
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Hi Dick,

I do not have a closed mind on this topic, just an opinion, will take you up on your offer.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 08:11
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Have just spoken to Mr Smith and would have to say on this point, I would have to agree.

Up and down the east coast, say between Melbourne and Cairns, there is relatively good RADAR coverage in place right now.

If you are flying on an IFR flight plan in this area (radar coverage) be it any class of airspace, say "G" (OCTA), and you descend below the LSALT, MSA or MVA, wouldn't it be great if the RADAR system recognised you were below this safe altitude, alerted the Flight Watch, Centre operator that your were doing so.

Prompting them to check that "ABC, Mel Centre, do you know you are below safe altitude, please confirm you are visual ".

Well apparently the software for this function already exists but is not turned on / installed, whilst this would not obsolve the Pilot from his/her responsibilities for the safe conduct of flight it would certainly be helpfull.

Nett cost would be pretty much zero, it certainly can not hurt.

The point Dick was making regarding Benalla was that this aircraft was ~1000 below the LSALT ( and off track as well ) in RADAR coverage, this automated function could have set off an alarm and perhaps the controller could have alerted the PIC to this increased danger from being below LSALT and not visual............

Last edited by Lefthanded_Rock_Thrower; 24th Sep 2008 at 08:41.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 10:02
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LHRT,
Haven't seen Dick in the ATC Centres lately, we don't have the controllers or 'FS' to do what Dick envisages.
Do you really want ATC jumping in to the cockpit with you at a critical phase of flight to see if everything is OK? "Of course I'm below the LSA you idiot, I'm trying to put the bloody thing on the ground"
After the first 10-20 times we call you, will you still be really 'listening' to us ?
I am quite happy to do this if directed, just show me how it can be done with the staff we already have on the areas of airspace we cover.
Ring ASAs Corporate people in Canberra, or ask a journo to, and ask why this isn't being done. Please post your reply here. Would love to see it.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 10:31
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Hi Max1,

Well from ATC all I would expect is all care and no responsibility. It could save lives.

Perhaps once the aircraft is within say 5nm of the aerodrome, the system disables for that aircraft.

If the system was monitoring the absolute lowest safe alt for your position ( combination of Grid, route, sector for GPS/DME arrival, precision and/or NPA) and disables within 5nm of the aerodrome, it should never go off, unless visual.

Most the accident of this nature I have read about were well below height well before any circling area ( be it Visual,a ,b ,c ,d or e cat ), it could certainly help.

I accept your challenge.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 11:02
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Angel

LHRT,
I will get on to the boffins to order a couple of Cray super computers and HR for another 500+ controllers. Also with ADS-B moving along we will be able to see even more aircraft. Don't hold your breath waiting for the Canberra crowd.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 11:12
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Devil

Max1

Brisbane Center controllers seem to have plenty of time to query enroute estimates - I have been "pulled up" twice in the last 2 weeks and heard a number of others getting the same treatment.

Had to explain (on the very, very busy CEN freq) our GS and the leg distance to the dude on the panel who insisted that the computer was telling him something different.

On each occasion we have been spot on with our estimates
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 13:28
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Max,

Honestly, why would you require more controllers ?.

All the equipment is in place, it is completely automatic, it would cost nothing. ( no more controllers, it might slow down your game of solitare as the computer would have another tiny little program running ).

Am I seeing someone resisting change for the sake of resisting change ?.

Last edited by Lefthanded_Rock_Thrower; 24th Sep 2008 at 13:48.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 22:24
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LHR

Normally I enjoy your posts but you seem to have found a new religion and lost logic if you ask the question of Max in your first line.

Every IFR aircraft descends below LSALT when manoeuvering to approach. At what point do you switch off the ATC alarm process?

This argument has been well canvassed elsewhere. To provide the service simply requires resource - you don't monitor traffic and talk to them without it. Further, at what point do you remove responsibility from the PIC to ATC for terrain avoidance? Do we all become complacent and expect Big Brother to keep us separate from the ground?

I have not seen a single game of solitaire in my visits to TAAATS

This is another Dick philosophy, be it good or bad, and will be achieved by negotiation with Airservices not prayer meetings on here. What paper has Dick put forward to Airservices on this matter specifically, together with a safety case? I'll probably support a well considered argument.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 23:11
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What has been left out is the fact that you simply have to add a procedure, which is common in all other leading aviation countries in the world. That is an aircraft on an IFR flight plan reports when visual. We already do this in controlled airspace. We have no such requirement in uncontrolled airspace, even it is radar covered because this used to be manned by a flight service officer who was not allowed to use the radar.

Look at the Benalla situation. The alarm is enabled until the pilot reports visual, at that point the alarm is disabled. It is one click of the mouse or keyboard depending on the system. We have the LSA/MSA alarms enabled at terminal airspace like Cairns, why not also use it in other airspace where we have good radar coverage to below the LSA and mountains in the area. Proserpine is a good example. To have this system at Proserpine would require no more staff, one extra call i.e. kilo tango kilo is now visual. It could prevent 100 people losing their lives.

Last edited by Dick Smith; 24th Sep 2008 at 23:53.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 23:18
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James,

What logical reasons could you or Max honestly muster up to justify this to not be benficial to safety ?, please post these reasons.

Normally I enjoy your posts but you seem to have found a new religion and lost logic if you ask the question of Max in your first line
Certainly not, for example I do not believe this system "would" have stopped the Benalla Accident, it "might have" stopped this accident, at no cost.

Every IFR aircraft descends below LSALT when manoeuvering to approach. At what point do you switch off the ATC alarm process?
James, how well do you understand the IFR ?, if you are flying point A to B, the only time you are allowed to descend below LSALT is when "visual" or when descending to MSA, MVA or as per an approved approach.

Refer my earlier post where i quoted "combination of Grid, route, sector for GPS/DME arrival, precision and/or NPA".

An IFR aircraft should not be below the lowest of any of these unless "visual". Refer your jepps for descent below LSALT.

Let me assure you I am not a Dick Smith convert, to be honest when the term NAS comes out of his mouth or keyboard, my eyes glaze over, but what he is referring to here is quite logical, if we have the technology inplace, why not use it, it may save a life.

Controllers and operators do a great job, unsung heros in my opinion, no less, they often save lives in their daily job but no one evers knows, but with the correct procedures and program parameters inplace, it will not stop aeroplane descending below the applicable height limitations, it just may avert a fatality, it may be you or someone you know.

Last edited by Lefthanded_Rock_Thrower; 25th Sep 2008 at 03:10.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 23:45
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LHRT

"James,

What logical reasons could you or Max honestly muster up to justify this to not be benficial to safety ?, "

Answer is, if you want this to be done 100% of the time make sure the controllers is not overwhelmed doing this to the detriment of their other separation responsibilities. i.e look at the traffic densities, peaks and troughs and make sure you have the staff to cover these. Don't confuse a lack of chatter with a lack of work, though sometimes this may be the case.

In the Benalla situation, it was the Route Adherence Monitor (RAM) that went off , not the Minimum Safe Altitude Warning (MSAW).

Away from the Benalla case, if I vector an aircraft outside of their planned route corridor I will get a RAM alert, alarms and flashing signs. If the computer believes that on an aircrafts climb profile it will enter a Danger Area it will give me a Danger Area Infringement Warning (DAIW) even though I have cleared the aircraft only to a level under the area.If an aircrafts estimate for a position off radar does not agree with the system I will get an Estimated Time Over (ETO) alarm. We get alarms all the time. Don't think that these alarms only go off to alert when things ARE wrong, they are to query us when the machine thinks something might be wrong, tp prompt us to check. When you are doing a lot of vectoring every aircraft may have a RAM alert.

Have a think about all the Aerodromes and ALAs along the East coast between 45nm North of Sydney and Coffs Harbour. Taree , Port Macquarie, Forster, etc etc. I will have a check at work and get a list for this one controller , and how many underlying airports there are and get back to you.

The controller doing this would also be doing sequencing for Sydney and Williamstown( Newcastle), and dealing with northbound departures out of Sydney, and military traffic into and out of the RAAF areas, co-ordinating with other sectors plus departures out of these other aerodromes.

When the pushes are on we are working our backsides off. What about during bad weather everyone attempting Instrument Approaches.

In these situations its like having a large military. In times of peace , we reckon they are over resourced and under -utilised, but in times of trouble we get upset and wonder how we ever let things get so rundown.

During slow periods it may be achievable, but when busy?

As I said happy to do it if mandated but give us the resources i.e People and computing power, to do it. Affordable Safety. I agree this would be beneficial to safety, but it will cost.
Ask Dick how many hours he has spent 'sitting in' with controllers in the last three years. Not how many he may/ may not have just spoken to, but how much first hand experience he has of sitting at the consoles in the last three years.

Last edited by max1; 25th Sep 2008 at 00:09.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 00:04
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LHR

In order.

It is not a matter of 'beneficial to safety' - if you want absolute safety stay on the ground. It is a matter of ALARP and where the onus is carried - PIC or ATC.

There's lots of landing accidents - how about a tower at each CTAF to coach pilots in their approach?

Might have stopped BLA - doubtful, the radar coverage nearby is fairly poor. BLA has also been well covered elsewhere.

What do you mean about understanding IFR? What you are saying is no more or less than what I said. What I ASKED is at what point you expect ATC to stop holding your hand.

There is also the matter of TAAATS screen size due to the area covered and the number of blips, their proximity, and the approach points. From memory Armidale is masked because of the clutter.

I'm absolutely open minded. Yes, the procedure may just avert a fatality. Therefore, let Dick prepare a paper with appropriate safety case tailored to that proposition and circulate it for credible input and then submission. That's how it works out here, ego drumming on this forum is not a likely initiator of ATC change (or airspace change, or CASA Board change ..............).
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 00:09
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And please tell me.........what has the previous 2 pages to do with Regulatory reform??????

Dick, start another tread if you want to keep on about Benalla, don't hijack this one.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 00:10
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Good morning James,

I am glad you are open minded.

The onus should always be with the PIC, ATC all care no responsibility.

There's lots of landing accidents - how about a tower at each CTAF to coach pilots in their approach?
That won't happen as that will cost money.

IMHO that money would be better spent on more ATC staff, allowing a good work/home balance and appropriate salary packages to retain said ATC Staff.

Niles, you are quite correct, I will say no more on this topic.
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 00:16
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Benalla = Disaster Regulatory Reform = Disaster

Maybe they are closer than you think
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 00:34
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Niles

A timely reminder, one gets too easily diverted by Dick and his passion.

How about Dick starts a new thread, with a sticky to keep it handy, "ALL THE WAY WITH LBJ", and every time thread diversion occurs to the NAS the posts can quickly be shifted there

Back on topic - Dick, I felt you were publicly unkind about Toller who is not on here to respond (although if he did he would probably receive a warning ). Surely he only struck the same brick walls as did you and as will preclude your selection this time around for the Famous Five?
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Old 25th Sep 2008, 01:14
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Lefthanded Rock Thrower,

The only reason your eyes can glaze over when you hear the name NAS mentioned, is because you are ignorant of the full NAS features. Your statement is a bit like saying, when you hear the name Boeing 747 mentioned, your eyes glaze over because you have always flown DC3ís and DC6ís.

The US NAS as an airspace system is similar to the Boeing 747, that is, it has evolved into an incredibly safe system because of the enormous amount of money that is available, the very high density of traffic, the very bad weather conditions that can exist, the high mountain ranges and the wealthy litigious society. Anyone that has flown extensively in the US system, both in their radar covered airspace and their very large areas of non radar airspace knows that they system is one of the best in the world.

You appear to be bound by the old flight service uncontrolled airspace mentality. Because flight service officers were not allowed to use radar, we are still not using the benefits of radar in all of our low level radar covered airspace.

Lefthanded Rock Thrower, I left Australia in 1982 to commence my world flight considering that we were the best in the world. After the first half dozen countries I flew through, I realised that we were still in the 1930ís when it came to airspace and procedures. This was mainly caused by people who had their minds closed and simply wanted to keep the system we had used for decades.

To provide a proper minimum safe altitude alerting service at Benalla would cost nothing. No more air traffic controllers, no extra radar and in the case of the Benalla accident, six people would no doubt be alive today if the changes had been introduced.

Keep your mind closed if you want to and wait for the 100 plus deaths when an airline goes down at a place like Proserpine. Then the Royal Commission will no doubt force in simple NAS procedures, which will allow the air traffic control radar to be used as it was designed and assist in preventing CFIT accidents.
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