The Pacific: General Aviation & Questions The place for students, instructors and charter guys in Oz, NZ and the rest of Oceania.

Regarding PRD areas....

Old 5th Oct 2015, 06:49
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Queensland
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Regarding PRD areas....

Hi all, looking fo some opinions on a question that's been discussed a lot at my flight school regarding a nearby restricted area.

The area is R379a, in south eastern Tassie. The back of the ERSA defines it as Military non-flying, SFC to 4000, activated by NOTAM. What no one is able to agree on is whether, as an RA3 (pilots must not flight plan through area and clearances will not be available) it is acceptable to plan and fly through the area when inactive.

One camp is adamant that when it's inactive (as it is 99% of the time) then it doesn't count as being a restricted area, so it's fine to plan/fly through as you would any other bit of uncontrolled airspace.

The other side reckons that as it's classed as RA3 it's effectively off limits round the clock, unless a NOTAM stated otherwise.

I know it's just another 'let's interpret CASA's machinations far more intensely than is probably warranted' question, but I'm asking on the off chance that pilots further afield with more experience dealing with military airspace and PRD's on a daily basis have a definite answer.

I've also lodged flight plans directly through it, and have never had ATC mention anything - although to be honest I don't know if doing so is part of their job. Another question someone can help me with, perhaps?

Thanks in advance, fingers crossed this doesn't spark off a turf war or something (as many seemingly innocent topics seem to on pprune)
Lozq is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2015, 07:47
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: North Queensland, Australia
Posts: 2,980
Received 14 Likes on 7 Posts
If an RA3 was by definition active around the clock, there would be no point in having activation hours published at all, would there?
Arm out the window is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2015, 08:18
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Sydney
Age: 62
Posts: 458
Received 21 Likes on 6 Posts
Think of Restricted Areas being Class C airspace. When they're active a clearance is required to enter/transit, when not active it's simply Class G airspace. As Arm Out said, if you weren't permitted to use the airspace when the Restricted Area was not active, there'd be no point in having hours of activation. Obviously, if you know the area is to be activated when you were planning a flight, you would make sure you were clear when it was due to become active.
roundsounds is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2015, 08:25
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Oztrailia
Posts: 2,991
Received 14 Likes on 10 Posts
RA3 activated by NOTAM.

Otherwise it's not active and you can do as you please.
ACMS is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2015, 08:49
  #5 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Queensland
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thumbs up

Thanks, that makes a lot of sense, now I think about it like that. As Arm Out says, what would be the point of the NOTAM if it were permanently off limits anyway?

Cheers for the help all
Lozq is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2015, 09:31
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: nosar
Posts: 1,289
Received 25 Likes on 13 Posts
When it is active there are a bunch of military dudes and dudets messing around with anything from a rifle to a cannon and more, with a range commander is overseeing the whole operation. This range commander has good binoculars and a keen eyesight. If any aircraft (read folk who fail to read NOTAMS) fly overhead, his job is to order a cease fire and to identify the aircraft.

if you fly over when it is active expect an interview. If you fly over when it is not active, no one is watching and no one cares.
Aussie Bob is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2015, 10:30
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Australia
Age: 51
Posts: 931
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Activated by notam means exactly that. If there is no NOTAM the you can legally plan through.

Mil airspace also has the disclaimer that it can be activated at short notice, and you can find yourself in the middle of their zone upon sudden activation.

Have had this happen at East Sale more than once.

The key is communication. The mil controllers will announce and then begin contacting 'targets' within the zone. They WILL work with you and get you clear of the zone with no fuss.

I've always enjoyed working with the mil controllers as they are very helpful.
jas24zzk is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2015, 11:01
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 487
Received 361 Likes on 69 Posts
Good to see some friendly and correct advice being given to someone with a genuine question.

Another way to think of it Lozq, is if it was permanently unavailable at any time to any aircraft, it would be a "prohibited" area.
Slippery_Pete is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2015, 21:48
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: MEL
Posts: 29
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
I've also lodged flight plans directly through it, and have never had ATC mention anything - although to be honest I don't know if doing so is part of their job.
It is very much so - protecting restricted areas is as important a job as protecting separation.

In CTA we need to actually separate aircraft that are operating under a clearance from active restricted areas (5nm clear by radar and all that). OCTA it's a pilot responsibility to remain clear, though if we are talking to you - ie you are IFR or receiving a VFR Flight Following service - we'll give you a friendly nudge if we notice your route going straight through (or very close) to an active restricted area to confirm you're aware of it and are planning to avoid it in some fashion.

If you're VFR, we obviously don't know who you are, nor do we know exactly what you're planning to do (the radar tracks are not coupled to a flight plan if you're not talking to us). If we see a VFR paint infringing an active restricted area (or controlled airspace for that matter) we'll make a broadcast to find out who you are and what the story is - maybe you're lost, maybe you're under stress of weather or whatever - and whether you require any assistance. Paperwork will go in about it (even if we don't identify the errant aircraft) but that's to track trends and to see if Airservices can find out why infringements are happening, with an aim to improving education to reduce how often they happen again.

But that's completely by the bye if the restricted area is not active. In that case, fly in, around, through and over it to your heart's content. It's not active, it's not being used, it's all yours!!

The important thing for VFR pilots, though - and this applies even if PRD are not involved - is to be monitoring the area frequency and speak up if you think we might be calling you. It means we have information we think you should know - active PRD, conflicting traffic etc - not because we want to get you in trouble.
Track Shortener is offline  
Old 6th Oct 2015, 05:15
  #10 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Queensland
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thankyou to everyone for the great replies; I have plenty of faith in my instructors but it's good to be able to get confirmation from a broader group of people sometimes.

Off topic, but I think one of the best things about this forum is that it gives people (especially student pilots) an opportunity to ask questions to not only other pilots, but to controllers, LAME's and the whole gamut of the industry. It's one thing to read about tracking tolerances and frequency monitoring in the AIP and another to have someone give good, solid, real-life examples of how and when it's applied. It helps to make things a lot more relevant, which can only be a good thing.

Thanks again to everyone who answered, and especially to Track Shortener for filling me in on the ATC side of things. And thanks for not getting narky and pointing me at CASR 781a.VII.231a.
Lozq is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.