Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > PPRuNe Worldwide > The Pacific: General Aviation & Questions
Reload this Page >

Now over 27 years since the AMATS changes came in

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

Now over 27 years since the AMATS changes came in

Old 11th Mar 2019, 00:38
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,131
Now over 27 years since the AMATS changes came in

I was looking back in an old diary and I saw some of the notes in relation to the incredible resistance to change to bringing in the AMATS reforms. I had been appointed Chairman of CAA and Bob Hawke, the Prime Minister at the time, made it very clear that he would support major changes.

What a difference that made with the bureaucracy compared with the time I was Chairman of CASA! John Anderson had no understanding and gave no support for any change at all.

Of course the AMATS changes were far greater than the reforms that have been attempted to be made at later dates – such as removing the frequency boundaries from the charts so we can follow the international system, and VFR pilots can fly along without having to listen to a “truck channel” during every flight.

Before the AMATS changes came in, IFR and VFR aircraft flew at the same level – imagine that. It was called the “quadrantal rule”. If you flew more than 50 miles or above 5,000 feet you would need to mix with IFR traffic so you had to go “full position reporting”. In fact, you were given traffic on other aircraft and it wasn’t mentioned whether they were IFR or VFR – that was irrelevant.

I remember my flights in my Twin Comanche to search for the Kookaburra aircraft in 1977, before the AMATS changes. There was not only full position reporting, but ops normal calls every 30 minutes. If you saw something interesting off track, you had to report to “the Government” if you dared alter course to view it.

With scratchy old HF way out near Jervois in the Northern Territory, I remember great difficulty in getting communication through.

The cost to Australia was enormous, with hundreds of flight service officers giving a duplicated low level full position service – while at the same time, air traffic controllers with a duplicated radio network were giving a service generally above I think FL240. I’m not sure of that one – can someone remember?

I remember the enormous difficulty I had in pushing to bring in the CTAFs. In those days, every small aerodrome was on the “area” frequency, or on an AFIZ frequency.

At the start of my solo helicopter flight around the world, I remember in August 1982 attempting to put in my full position VFR flight plan with the flight service office at Meacham Field in Texas. The officer was absolutely amazed when I explained what happened in Australia.

I quickly learnt to cruise at the 500 foot hemispherical cruising level and fly along in blissful silence. I must admit it seemed dangerous at the time, but by the time I got through to Australia and found every other country was different to us, I realised the need for change.

I remember at the time having tremendous support from Ron Cooper and John Wright. Does anyone know if John Wright is still around? I would love to hear from him.
Dick Smith is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 02:17
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,764
And despite the predictions of the "experts". including the then dominant domestic pilot union, nobody died, the widely forecast aluminium showers didn't happen.
Tootle pip!!
LeadSled is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 03:07
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: YMML
Posts: 2,450
For a people who love history, you guys are poor students of it. Dick mentions his exasperation in dealing with FS in regard to planning changes whilst flying over the Tanami in search of The Kookaburra. He should have been reminding himself on why the Kooka ended up where it did and why they flew into peril. You know what came out of that entire fiasco? Flight plans, designated remote areas, the need for and means of communication and accurate aeronautical maps...and Dick railed against the idea of changing his flight plan with FS over some pretty desolate terrain.
OZBUSDRIVER is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 04:48
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Melbourne
Age: 63
Posts: 91
Yeah, right Dick. You make it sound like a good thing. Then, as now you miss the point. In the US there is radar coverage down to 500 feet nation wide. Before beep-back,TCAS and ADSB CTA's were simply dangerous. No, Leadsled, there was no aluminium shower. We were just very, very lucky. There is a filing cabinet somewhere in Canberra under lock and key with all the ASIR's from the early days of ops. in CTAF's. Several will be mine (I kept copies Dick.) . Never heard a word of feed back. The powers that be had decided it was going to work regardless. You would have had sleepless nights Dick if you knew of the number of serious incidents between RPT Jets and no-SAR light aircraft early on. It was a debacle. You were very, very lucky to get away with it.

Last edited by George Glass; 11th Mar 2019 at 05:12.
George Glass is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 05:36
  #5 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,131
George Glass, not that furphy again.

“In the US there is radar coverage down to 500 feet nation wide.”
This simply has no factual basis at all. Possibly we could get someone who is reading this in the USA to come on and give us the facts.

I do remember when I last checked, there was a Class D tower less than 100 nautical miles to the west of Washington DC that had no radar coverage below 6,000 feet AGL. I also remember when I last flew in the basin to the south west of San Francisco, I wasn’t far out but dropped out of radar coverage at 9,000 feet.

This furphy was used to stop change for many years.

Of course, the crazy flight service/ATC “they shall never meet” system meant that when accidents like MDX occurred over Barrington Tops, the pilot was never able to talk to the radar controller. If he had have been able to do this, he probably would have been told he was going at right angles to the correct direction for something like 20 minutes.

Yes, to me, as I look back it was a classic example of the most enormous resistance to change, which is still happening today.
Dick Smith is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 05:41
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 1,135
I understand that change is inevitable, however, I remember a time pre-AMATS when all pilots were quite disciplined, good communicators(in the main), could estimate within 2 minutes and were very knowledgeable about the roles of others within the Industry..and others they shared OCTA with. I remember when I only had one decision to make as I plodded along...am I in or am I out? Most of the time, we got it right and performed our procedures appropriately. I remember when, as a private VFR pilot, I felt an equal to, and as responsible as...all others in my airspace.
peuce is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 06:57
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Melbourne
Age: 63
Posts: 91
"100 nautical miles to the west of Washington DC that had no radar coverage below 6,000 feet AGL".
Rubbish. Did you have ADSB ?
And you wonder why nobody in professional aviation takes you seriously.

Last edited by George Glass; 11th Mar 2019 at 08:00.
George Glass is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 08:18
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Up The 116E, Stbd Turn at 32S...:-)
Age: 77
Posts: 2,685
Ah Yes..... 12/12/1991...…

What a 'prophetic date'.......
And Mr Peuce tells it like it was - about the 'professionalism that is, and include manned 'Briefing Offices' in that, where new pilots and instructors in many cases, could get a 'pre flight briefing'...Remember those??

The date FS ceased to provide services to VFR aircraft - except in an AFIZ situation, or some 'on request' weather or whatever...…
And, from memory, IFR acft got traffic only on other IFR acft

'See and be seen' was the mantra.

And, whose 'push' was it at the time, that if an IFR category flight was flying in VFR conditions, then it would be classified as a VFR flight procedure...remember that one?
Fortunately, it didn't make the cut.

It was The Date many FSO's were not sure about the ramifications of 'Duty of Care' under the Law vs the new 'Airways Operating Instructions'.....(AOI)

And, the 'infamous' clause in the 'AOI'...."Nothing in these instructions shall preclude an officer from using his/her best judgement...…..", or words to that effect.

In the case of a 'mid-air' or whatever, WHO had the 'Bigger Stick'? AOI, or 'The LAW?

Who knew? Certainly not the FSO people.
'Cause the 'Dept' would not / could not, tell us!

And yes, prior to 'the change' an aircraft was either 'IN' (CTA), or 'OUT' (OCTA), and everybody knew just where everybody else was - being on the same freq. and all...Below FL200 in some areas, and FL240 I think in others...
Hey, but NOW....WHO Cares????.
The 'newbies' don't even know which frequency to monitor....and these 'learned pages' testify to that.....

Oh, I've taken up fishing.....'Tis safer and cheaper.....
No Cheerrrsss….

p.s. Thanks again, for the 'redundo'...…….
Ex FSO GRIFFO is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 08:37
  #9 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,131
Yep. I remember we were nearly killed in the rush by those wanting the very generous redundancy - was it 7,000 down to about 4,000 in a few years ?

Huge savings by the industry at the time!
Dick Smith is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 08:39
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Santa Barbara
Posts: 586
Radar coverage down to 500ft nationwide right..........

I remember the days of full VFR reporting, once again, right..........

Then I flew VFR in the States. Some long VFR navs. I flew over Class D towers at 4300ft without having to get a clearance or talk to the controller. I saw 737's taxi at these airports as I flew over. I flew into a couple of these airports, got cleared 'the option' all of these flights WITHOUT a flight plan. Shock! Horror! Awe!

I flew into a couple of 'CTAFs' some of them very busy, not one pilot reported on downwind, base, final and short final. For some reason they didn't feel the need to experience the euphoria of hearing their own voices transmitting in VHF glory.

And guess what? NCD

Keep going Dick, while ever you have breath!
The name is Porter is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 10:43
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: QLD - where drivers are yet to realise that the left lane goes to their destination too.
Posts: 2,058
Yep. I remember we were nearly killed in the rush by those wanting the very generous redundancy - was it 7,000 down to about 4,000 in a few years ?
You offered. I accepted. What else was there to do? It was pretty obvious there was no future (and that turned out to be correct). Your hatred for FS comes through even now, after all these years.
Huge savings by the industry at the time!
And how has that worked out? "Get out of aviation while you can" etc etc etc
Traffic_Is_Er_Was is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 12:03
  #12 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,131
Complete rubbish. Like the military flyers such as Jim Schofield I preferred FS.

If the experts could have worked out a way that we could have run the whole system with FS that’s what I would have supported.

It was not possible and I reckon you know it!

I particularly remember whenever I landed at Dubbo after I became Chairman the FS blokes would get the local newspaper journalists to meet me and ask if the staff were going to keep their jobs.

And it must have been 27 years ago when my Board supported the decision to go to the US 12,500’ cruising level without oxygen. Imagine the staggering amount of fuel that GA could have saved by then if that had gone ahead.
Dick Smith is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 12:42
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: QLD - where drivers are yet to realise that the left lane goes to their destination too.
Posts: 2,058
If the experts could have worked out a way
I didn't realise you could spell expert as "I".
Traffic_Is_Er_Was is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 15:49
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Up The 116E, Stbd Turn at 32S...:-)
Age: 77
Posts: 2,685
Hey Guys n' Gals ...who can remember FS ever having 7,000 FSO's...??

Anybody???

It would have been one heck of a party...….
Ex FSO GRIFFO is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 16:27
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: overthere
Posts: 2,861
Weipa flight service were fantastic (as we're all the ones I had the pleasure of talking to). All that local area knowledge they would use to help you out . None of the attitude about reading back the same ALT you have been at to the same controller when freq changed, even with ads B and C and CPDLC . What great days these were . If only Australian aviation was as active now as it was then.
donpizmeov is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 21:34
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: A pothole on the information superhighway
Posts: 49
was it 7,000 down to about 4,000 in a few years ?
Assuming you mean the total staff of the Civil Aviation Authority, no there was never anything like 3000 FSOs.

The Flight Service national placement exercise in 1990 listed 618 total.

They were got rid of, the low level airspace went to ATC who got paid around a third more and had to increase their staff level and consoles to cope with the workload by creating low level ATC sectors.

I'm not sure much in the way of $ was saved.

Edit:

The cost to Australia was enormous, with hundreds of flight service officers giving a duplicated low level full position service – while at the same time, air traffic controllers with a duplicated radio network were giving a service
There was little duplication of "radio networks". ATC had their communication outlets for their CTA, Flight Service had the outlets for the Flight Information Areas (FIA), which made up their sectors.

When the low level airspace was transferred to ATC, those FIA outlets were also transferred. They had to be, for ATC to provide the services.

Last edited by Piston_Broke; 11th Mar 2019 at 22:01.
Piston_Broke is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 21:38
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 192
SOME DATA

Apologies for inserting facts and real data this early into one of Dick's rants.

This was provided by MITRE/CAASD to me when I was managing and regulating Australian airspace in the AERU in 2004. The dark blue areas are SSR coverage below 1000ft AGL.
If you want an interesting comparison, overlay the 2004 US Class D over the low level radar coverage. Ever wonder about the 700ft cutoff in most of it?

MJG
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
US LOS 2004.pdf (82.0 KB, 41 views)

Last edited by mgahan; 11th Mar 2019 at 21:39. Reason: typo
mgahan is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 23:44
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Up The 116E, Stbd Turn at 32S...:-)
Age: 77
Posts: 2,685
There Ya go Dick...……
[COLOR=left=#000000]"The Flight Service national placement exercise in 1990 listed 618 total."[/COLOR]=left
I think in Perth FSC at the time, our total staff was around 184 FSO's.
This was at the time that all WA 'outstation' outlets were consolidated back to Perth via satellite.

I've told ya a MILLION times not to exaggerate…....!!

And, yes, in WA at least, ALL of the 'ex FS' VHF outlets were reassigned to ATC so that they could provide the service designated to them- except for 2.

One in the Kimberley and the other at Parkerville, in the 'Hills' just behind Perth - because those areas were already covered.
These became future designated 'Flightwatch' freqs. - now CANCELLED.
Great ! So, if one was not operating within VHF range of the one at Argyle, or wherever it was - I don't remember now - or the one at Parkerville, then one was 'stuffed' anyway.- only around 1,200 nm between 'em. ATC 's 'instructions' were to answer calls by aircraft OCTA / 'pea soup alphabet airspace' - 'when workload permits'...…..
Dems was de days...NOT!

And, what has changed? Nothing !
27 years later and still 'mass confusion' !!

What freq??? Where??? CTAF / Multicom??? Which one???
These 'learned pages' refer...………………….

p.s. Thanks again for...…….

Last edited by Ex FSO GRIFFO; 11th Mar 2019 at 23:56.
Ex FSO GRIFFO is offline  
Old 12th Mar 2019, 02:20
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: QLD - where drivers are yet to realise that the left lane goes to their destination too.
Posts: 2,058
I particularly remember whenever I landed at Dubbo after I became Chairman the FS blokes would get the local newspaper journalists to meet me and ask if the staff were going to keep their jobs.
And what did you tell them? Yes, of course?
They didn't though.
Traffic_Is_Er_Was is offline  
Old 14th Mar 2019, 09:10
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 76
I think Dick was way ahead of his time and regardless of the fact that many of the AMATS changes are still stubbornly rejected to this day, he did however achieve one enormous benefit for the industry.

He "amalgamated" ATC and FS into one Air Traffic Service, so eliminating the duplicated management positions and getting rid of the outdated OCTA and CTA that then existed. The FSOs did not all get redundancy many of them are right now holding senior positions in ATS, something they would not have had the chance to do except for Dick.

Now ATS en-route controllers are providing surveillance-based services in Class G, E and sometimes C, on the same surveillance display, while VFR pilots can get on with their business without having to tell Airservices (the Federal Government) where they are and what they are doing every 30 minutes. They will even get controller initiated safety alerts if unidentified aircraft seem to be in close proximity and are smart enough to be monitoring (not talking on) the area frequency.

All of these changes to the way the service was delivered were inevitable as surveillance became more widespread, Dick, as I said before, saw what was happenning in the US and had the sense to introduce it here.

Slowly, very slowly, his other improvements are percolating into the system - but now of course they are someone else's idea!
Mr Approach is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.