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ATCs can't have much to do if they can also do Flight Watch

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ATCs can't have much to do if they can also do Flight Watch

Old 14th Sep 2015, 07:54
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ATCs can't have much to do if they can also do Flight Watch

Iíve just been reading the executive summary of the Ambidji Report into the delivery of flight watch services. It points out that the U.S.A, Canada and New Zealand are all examples of countries where there is a discreet service delivery of flight watch.

It appears Airservices decided that we didnít need a separate flight watch because the air traffic controllers have so little work load in Australia that they can also provide the flight watch service Ė thus saving money and increasing Airservices profits.

I have always been totally opposed to the removal of the separate flight watch as I could see that as a major part of moving to the safer NAS system. Could it be that if our air traffic controllers provided a Class E approach service, as they do in North America, that would mean we would have to put back a separate flight watch service.

Of the $975 million or so of the Airservices budget, I understand separate flight watch would only be $2 million or $3 million a year. It sounds to me as if we should move back to that safer system and let the air traffic controllers use that work load to give a proper air traffic control Class E service at non-tower airports. What do others think?
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 08:13
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Flight watch is provided on HF.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 08:16
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Richard Harold Smith, AC, it would be useful if you posted a link to the report you refer to.

FIS have been under review for quite a while. Whilst one wouldn't want a return to Operational Control there must be other and better options. Give every airframe an iPad with access to WX/NOTAM information.

Last edited by sunnySA; 14th Sep 2015 at 08:19. Reason: clarification
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 08:16
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Le Pin I hope you are joking. What's wrong with putting half a dozen VHF outlets on the HF desk?

Not many aircraft have HF. It's a 1930s system.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 08:17
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You asked for it, Dick, and you got it.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 08:35
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Snort. I issue instructions for modern RPT aircraft to use HF as primary comms most days.

The VHF flight watch outlets were rationalised away years ago.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 10:43
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And they should not have been removed.

If a separate VHF Flightwatch system is not necessary why would Canada , the USA and New Zealand not remove the system to save a few dollars.?
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 12:22
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ATCs can't have much to do if they can also do Flight Watch

Sorry, Dick, are you proposing that IFR and VFR in the same airspace be on different frequencies? IFR with ATC, and VFR with FlightWatch?
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 13:42
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HEY THERE DICK,

YOU WAS DE ONE that got rid of "US"....

Duplication of 'services' YOU said.....

12 / 12 / 1991........Remember....???
No cheers


P.s. Thanks again for the redundo....mucho appreciated!

Last edited by Ex FSO GRIFFO; 14th Sep 2015 at 13:59.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 14:43
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Flight watch is provided on HF.
And is also an "on request" service on the ATC area VHF freqs, but you may have to wait.

that IFR and VFR in the same airspace be on different frequencies? IFR with ATC, and VFR with FlightWatch?
Err... No requirement for VFR to be on any specific frequency - just keep your eyes outside in E and G. Don't forget the gliders who have their own VHF and have for many years.... Even when there was FS. Their greatest risk is colliding with another Glider! We now have CTAFs, MULTICOM and BROADCAST AREAs as well. Good airmanship should have you using the best one for the circumstances

FS in its day was outstanding, but we have moved on and the facilities have now been pulled or transferred to ATC, who can provide a similar service "on request". As opposed to the old days, not many VFRs use it now.

Much as it was nice to have FS to be available to hold your hand when the going got tough, I would suggest that with the large reduction of VFR traffic over the last decade or so, the cost-benefit would not be attractive $wise.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 15:41
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ATCs can't have much to do if they can also do Flight Watch
Sorry, Dick, are you proposing that IFR and VFR in the same airspace be on different frequencies? IFR with ATC, and VFR with FlightWatch?
I've done a bit of flying in the States, one of my best mates is a corporate pilot in the States, he's got a firm hand in GA and still instructs. VFR's DONOT listen out on control frequencies unless they want a clearance into controlled airspace. They listen out on 121.5.

What makes you think that an aviation backwater like Australia & apathetic pilot community that has allowed a disastrous aviation 'reform' to takeover knows what's best in aviation? Australians are not experts in aviation.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 22:19
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I see a second problemÖ..well done

What makes you think that an aviation backwater like Australia & apathetic pilot community that has allowed a disastrous aviation 'reform' to takeover knows what's best in aviation? Australians are not experts in aviation.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 00:13
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Can I take the controversial position that the current system doesn't work too badly?

When I'm flying the VFR bug smasher, you can bet I have my eyes open for other traffic. But I can't hope to see all of it, some of which is IFR and descending from flight levels at high speed and RoD. The logical second layer of defence is to be aware by listening to the radio, and that will only work if I'm on the same frequency. If we can't return to the Good Ol' Days, and have dedicated FS for use in Class G, the next best thing to use is area frequency. No, it's not perfect, what with gliders on their own frequency and other VFRs who don't want to speak up, but it's better than nothing.

I have on plenty of occasions been the beneficiary of traffic advisories in Class G, even though the controller wasn't obliged to provide them. That helps the other aircraft as much as it does me.

The current rule is pretty simple, if only we all followed it:
  1. Near a CTAF? Use that.
  2. Near a marked airfield with no CTAF? Use 126.7.
  3. Neither of the above? Use Area.
Today's radios are clever enough to monitor a secondary frequency while using the primary. It's not hard to keep an ear out on Area while using CTAF, if that's appropriate.


I've done a bit of flying in the States, one of my best mates is a corporate pilot in the States, he's got a firm hand in GA and still instructs. VFR's DONOT listen out on control frequencies unless they want a clearance into controlled airspace. They listen out on 121.5.
I'm not sure we want 121.5 to degenerate into the "chat" frequency to be used by all and sundry. Having flown a fair bit in places such as China, I can assure you it's not pretty. In any case I'd like to be a little more aware of who else is around, by listening on a common frequency.

In the case of a real emergency, I wouldn't want to have to wait for a break in the chatter before I could get a word in, and then hope someone passed the message on. I'd rather talk direct to the guy who has the resources to send in the cavalry.

On the rare occasions where I'm out of VHF range of a ground station, I'll agree that 121.5 would be the logical alternative for such a call.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 00:31
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Agrajag, I agree with all you say.

And I too have been the beneficiary of traffic information in Class G which the controller didn't have to provide. Well done both Melbourne Centre and Brisbane Centre.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 00:33
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Well Agrajag,

Your post detailing your 'rules' is far too well reasoned, and highlights using common sense and good airmanship...such a post has no place in a discussion like this, or even on this forum for that matter!

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Old 15th Sep 2015, 01:25
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Agrajag,
Pretty well how I do it too.

Those who have been in this game for a while miss the good old days of Flight Watch and even the ever friendly flight service but those days are well and truly gone.

Triadic makes a good point re limited numbers not justifying the re introduction of those facilities.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 09:47
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Monitoring 121.5 doesn't make it a chat frequency. It's the best frequency to give an emergency call on anywhere in the world as high flying airline aircraft monitor the frequency .

You can't monitor the " control " frequency in other countries because control frequency boundaries are not shown on maps.

The frequency boundaries were removed from aussie maps with NAS but an outcry of ignorance resulted in the boundaries going back on the maps resulting in a non workable half wound back system that we now have.

That's why those incompetent people in CASA sent out the NOTAM stating that calls at non marked airports should be on the ATC area frequency. It's amateur hour with these CASA people.

And Flight Watch with VHF frequencies is not gone forever. Just wait and see!
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 10:10
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resulting in a non workable half wound back system that we now have.
Seems to me to work pretty well. So what if freqs aren't on the charts overseas? Do we have to have Donald Trump running the country just because that's what happens in America??

And Flight Watch with VHF frequencies is not gone forever.
As pointed out by Ex-FSO Griffo, YOU shut down Flight Service and happily sat back as Peter ?? saved $20m per annum back in ??Space 2000. You have NO credibility when you now start complaining that you can't talk, on VHF, to your very own dedicated Flight Service Officer. You wanted VFR out of the system; you've got it.

That's why those incompetent people in CASA sent out the NOTAM stating that calls at non marked airports should be on the ATC area frequency. It's amateur hour with these CASA people.
Totally and utterly irrelevant to the thread. Or is this thread just going to end up as another general rant against everything you disagree with?
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 10:17
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Mr Smith, you're like a harping wife in the car that insist on taking a left turn because she knows better. And then blames the driver for being in a dead end road!

Sheesh.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 10:28
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And Flight Watch with VHF frequencies is not gone forever. Just wait and see!
More costs that Airservices will have to pass on to the industry.

And why, when it isn't justified?

FW via ATC or HF combined with AERIS and/or accessing data by using any number of modern mobile devices is adequate.
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