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RPT Radio Calls into CTAF - Jet* Today at Ballina

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RPT Radio Calls into CTAF - Jet* Today at Ballina

Old 23rd Dec 2008, 11:03
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Angry RPT Radio Calls into CTAF - Jet* Today at Ballina

Today at Ballina, Jetstar inbound in severely clear weather gave their call on the CTAF(R): "Traffic Ballina, JetStar xxx 4500 feet approaching waypoint Whiskey Echo for runway 06 Ballina". That was pretty much it.

There are a lot of VFR pilots in the Northern Rivers and a lot of VFR pilots transiting - some of the locals may know the waypoints, after the clubs have gone to the effort of briefing members on the instrument approaches used by RPT. But even the IFR qualified pilots would not have memorised all the approach plates.....or have them to hand for reference when flying in severe clear. Basically it was a useless call that gave no situational awareness to other aircraft in the area and could potentially have come to grief, especially with non-transponder aircraft that do not light up the TCAS. This type of call is happening time and again (and Jet* are not the only guilty parties, I'll concede).

It is in the interest of the travelling public (and I might be one of them from time to time) to communicate clearly and unambiguously to other aircraft that may be sharing uncontrolled airspace near an airfield. It is in the interest of the RPT company to make their operation as safe as practicable. It is in the interest of other aircraft in the area (and that is frequently me) not to get too close to the big kero burners - luckily I've got a few CIR renewals under the belt and have some idea.

For goodness sake guys and gals, how difficult would it have been today to say your current location (direction/bearing + distance) and that you're manoeuvering for a 14 mile final for a straight in approach for runway 06? THAT would have been understandable to all listening.

Does anyone know a contact number for Jet* operations or training to raise the issue (i.e. when flying into airfields OCTA do not describe your position/approach solely by terminology known only to those with an open DAPs/Jepps beside them)? .....VB might need a serve, too.
NOtimTAMs is offline  
Old 23rd Dec 2008, 11:41
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This thread will no doubt be locked soon because you have dared to critisise Jetstar.
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 12:08
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I agree it is a common occurance all over OZ and it stinks IMHO.
What you do in a situation like that is reply to the RPT aircraft with something along the lines of " J*... inbound to Ballina there a number of VFR aircraft in the area and unless you wish to wear one please state from what quadrant you are tracking from and ETA" or words to that effect. Amazing how they get interested if they think they may hit something.
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 13:07
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Yes, obviously if he had've provided bearing and distance information, it would've provided better situational awareness for everyone on the CTAF.

All the same, in general i think it would be good for all the VFR guys not familiar with an RNAV approach to have it explained to them. Although not ideal, if they were given a situation like you have mentioned where the aircraft is approaching waypoint Whiskey Echo, they would know immediately that the aircraft is roughly to the west of the aerodrome roughly 15 miles out, and they can then determine the potential for conflict.

I don't think there is any excuse for IFR pilots, particularly in VMC, to not be giving position information that can be readily understood by everyone on the CTAF, but if all pilots had a rough idea of how an RNAV approach is created, it would be safer for everyone.
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 13:26
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While I don't disagree with you QF2 that is all well and good if at your home airport. If at an unfamiliar airport is it unreasonable to expect a VFR pilot to have any idea where these waypoints etc are. After all you have to buy the charts, plates etc and why would you if you don't use them?
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 14:14
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Sorry, I just meant that for instance if you were at waypoint WE, your approach would be roughly from the west, if you were at waypoint SB, your approach would be roughly from the south and so on. So you'd have a rough idea of where the aircraft would be no matter what airport you were at. Likewise for the distances of the initial approach fixes, they will be roughly 15 miles out, the intermediate at roughly 10 miles out etc. Although far from exact, it would mean you could work out very roughly where the inbound aircraft is without having to have an approach chart in front of you. Besides, there isn't likely to be a lot of conflict out at 15miles or so, by about 10 miles the aircraft are usually pretty much straight in for the landing runway, so you'd have a pretty good idea of where they are if they said they were at waypoint SI for runway 34 for instance.

Just my 2 cents worth, I had no idea about any of this when i used to bash round VFR, so it probably wouldn't hurt if VFR pilots were taught this somewhere along the way.
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 15:12
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If you don't understand where an aircraft, VFR or IFR is after it gives an inbound call to a Ctaf R and you are in the area USE YOUR RADIO and ask them to explain where that position might be.I'm sure they will be happy to give you a bearing and distance.
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 20:36
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Angry Contact Number for J* operations or training

If anyone has the above number/s, could you please PM me.

All J* have out there is their bookings number and collection of call centre staff who have NO IDEA how to handle a call regarding operational safety matters....Shows J*'s committment to safety and openness to safety-related feedback.

(BTW the J* flt in question was asked to explain their position by another pilot in the area but declined to do so.....)

Last edited by NOtimTAMs; 23rd Dec 2008 at 20:38. Reason: Editorial, as they say in the DAPs....
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 20:49
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The scary thing is that most RA-Aus registered aircraft with their Garmin 196 and 296 GPS's would know exactly where the J* aircraft was, but your average PPL in a crappy old 172 without studying the map in detail would have little clue!
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 20:51
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Ballina almost has an argument to be controlled these days with the amount of traffic operating in an out of there.(forgive me if this has been suggested before)
I'd be interested to know the figures compared to what operates in and out of Coffs for instance which is controlled.

Regards The Dog
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 20:56
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Righto TimTam,
That was pretty much it.
wasn't pretty much it then, a significant part of the story was left out.
If it was the case that J* declined to elaborate on their position report when asked then they either didn't hear and the question should have been posed again , or they are out of line.
If it's true then file on them.
I would bet a weeks pay that it's not true. I can't imagine any professional crew being asked to elaborate on their position report and coming back with " ahhh negative, we won't be doing that" or similar.
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 21:27
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I first heard something like this in Meekatharra in 1987:

"SHP this is JSW, 25 DME on the 186 radial left 6,000 FT, request your position?"

"Aaaaaaah, SHP, we're over the Bellelle wool shed, mate..."

There was a pregnant silence as both parties tried to digest this information, then I stepped in and interpreted for them. Nice to see the 'advances' of the last 20 years are now being overcome with some 'interpreters' on the ground again
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 21:32
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NOtimTAMs et al.

If you arent sure where an aircraft has called/used as a reference point - you ought to clarify it. Your responsibility to do so despite what any other aircraft has transmitted (RPT, King Air, the space shuttle or otherwise).

I bet you the RPT boys would clarify the position of an aircraft who gave "5nm S of Billicabella waterhole inbound to XXXX".
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 22:32
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I have always believed that it is quite inappropriate to use other than compass quadrants when making b'casts in the vicinity of Class G aerodromes. There are still far too many VFR pilots (and IFR from time to time) that get it wrong when using bearings or radials and I have found it quite common on asking further to find out they are in fact 180 deg out....!

Re-reading the AIP on the matter, it is not specific, however I recall the matter being raised at a few RAPACs some time ago and CASA indicated use of quadrants would be pushed in the education package of the day. Might be time for CASA to revisit this one.

Quadrants are easy to understand, not likely to be confused and both IFR and VFR can use know what it means.... and if they had been used by the aircraft in question, then perhaps we may not have been having this discussion!!
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 22:32
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Hi there


The ENITRE set of DAPs are available to download FREE from the airservices website (All you need is an airservices login which is free). So Why not have them for your local aiport and any you intend to visit...It's not that hard people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Furthermore, why not give the guys a call up and clarify their position if you are too lazy to find out where the waypoints are....once again not that hard!!!!!!!!!!!!

I also concur that there is no concievable way an IFR aicraft would decline to clarify their position if asked to concisely.

It is not nor should it be the IFR pilot's perogative to give bearings and distances as part of a call whilst doing an RNAV, severe clear or soup. I am IFR yet not RNAV endorsed, I face a similar problem, no worries, get out the plate and have a look, see if we're going to conflict!!! And if you're too lazy to download the plate, or give a call requesting clarification, then you shouldn't be in the aeroplane.

Good luck trying to ring an airline Flight Ops Department with a complaint. you would be laughed at and rightly so!!!!!! But give it a try anyway. Can you record the conversation and post it? It'd be hilarious!

You're not from Barwon Heads by any chance?

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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 23:04
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The quadrant theory isn't going to work in this day and age because in many places the jet arrivals don't track straight to the airport. Often they come inbound from one direction only to track via an arc or another waypoint. For example while they are initially inbound from the south they will actually be inbound from the south tracking north east then inbound from the east. WA is a good case in point now with all the new routes in place. Bearing and distance is really the only safe way of negotiating all this at the end of the day, and that means the VFR guys have to learn bearing and distance then that's life. By using bearing distance you can update your position as to move around, and it is not as convoluted as quadrants.
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 23:07
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I would have to ask the following question, "Is it a good idea, after having downloaded the appropriate (FREE ) plate, that I have my head down trying to work out a position on a plate that I am not familiar with, whilst barrelling along quite quickly in my single seat high performance aircraft?" I think that making a call asking for more specific information and keeping my head up and a sharp lookout is a much better idea. If the rpt aircraft does not give more position information then they can hardly call themselves proffesional and as such file a CAIR.
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Old 23rd Dec 2008, 23:44
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mig3 (by the way, they are one of the most beautiful aircraft i have ever seen. Something about the size and shape of the wing)

If the VFR aircraft is unsure of the position, then asking will get an affirmative bearing/distance/quadrant. However I do not think that the IFR aircraft making the broadcast should have to say 'tracking for WE for the RNAV 06 Ballina, which is 15 NM to the SE of Ballina. That would be an excessively long call and then there'd be another thread on here having a whinge about RPT/IFR making calls that are too long amd cloggin up the CTAF. If the VFR aircraft in the area aren't sure where the position is, then ask!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I do think that it is unreasonable for a Jet crew to have to give quadrant bearing distance info cos some of the singles in the area haven't made it their interest to find out about the Instrument Approaches.

Your point about the transition is an intersting one however.

Arnold E

I will answer your question with a question "Is it a good idea to arrive at an airfield that you know to be a busy uncontrolled airport with RPT and IFR aircraft without familiarising yourself BEFORE FLIGHT as to the location of the Instrument Approaches".

If you don't ask the RPT aircraft for a position if you aren't sure if you are conflicting or not then you are an amatuer and dangerous...

I wasn't suggesting that you should have your head down, I was suggesting get to know the airport, or ask if you are unsure!

The RPT aircraft do give position reports. RNAV waypoints are positions.

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Old 24th Dec 2008, 00:00
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Likewise, I have a model J3 as a matter of fact!

I still disagree with you though. If the IFR aircraft gives a concise call initially, rather than using IFR terminology, it saves Mr. VFR from having to speak up (which is hard enough for some people) ask where the hell "Whiskey Echo" is and it saves the IFR aircraft from replying, when they are possibly busy with their approach.

The initial call doesn't have to be long either! Like I said before all it takes is "approximately 15nm to the west, passing 4500' tracking for a 10 mile final runway 06" There is no need to mention the RNAV at all, for if it's CAVOK the J* is probably just using it for track guidance and not actually shooting the approach.

Unfortunately you can't assume that all the traffic in the area would be as scrupulous as yourself and had checked the approaches for that aerodrome!
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Old 24th Dec 2008, 00:07
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Then the RNAV positions should be marked on the visual charts.
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