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BNA/MNG SFIS info

Old 18th Jun 2021, 23:45
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https://engage.airservicesaustralia....mation-service

Updated info on portal, August 12 is now target date, they are running webex online consultation forums every week until then.
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 23:57
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August 12 this year? I wouldn’t be betting the farm on it.
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Old 19th Jun 2021, 01:42
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon View Post
August 12 this year? I wouldn’t be betting the farm on it.
AGREED !

There are still a lot of boxes to be ticked and I don't believe CASA/OAR have yet sharpened their ticking pencil. The CASA proposal to have Lismore/Casino CTAFs on a different frequency still has to be agreed upon, one way or the other.
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Old 21st Jun 2021, 02:35
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Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_Er_Was View Post
But they are outside controlled airspace. What are the standards which the "separation issue" has breached?
Traffic,
We all know that "see and avoid" is the only form of separation that is needed in class G!
Once upon a time there was a thing called "airmanship" where a pilot was capable of aviating, navigating and communicating simultaneously.
This appears to have been overtaken by "screen time" in the new fangled semi autonomous glass screen aeroplanes.
RG
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 02:01
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I attended the Airservices briefing on "SFIS" on Tues the 15th, it is good to see them taking back airspace management from CASA. (I think they are as frustrated CASA OAR as the rest of us)

The impression I formed was that CASA had abrogated airspace responsibility for anything other than the top-down airspace reviews described in the Airspace legislation. Even then, as per Avalon, the OAR bosses want Airservices to come up with suggestions for change which OAR can then rubber-stamp. Funnily enough, that is probably better than the alternative which is CASA dreaming up more nonsense like CA/GRS!

I offered my qualified support at the briefing for a service that will be clearly superior to CA/GRS although hamstrung by some peculiar protocols. I won't go into details here but this service needs to become a real ATS that replaces the so-called "area" frequency where, as well as traffic information, clearances, SSR codes, etc. can be obtained. I believe that common sense will eventually prevail as pilots and controllers get used to the new service. There is also a need to standardise these Class G services. The procedures at Port Hedland AFIS, Ayers Rock CA/GRS, and these new services need to be the same. If Ayers Rock Radio, a CA/GRS, cannot be standardised then it needs to be replaced with a genuine "information" service linked to the ATS, which it currently is not.

This raises the most obvious anomoly voiced at the briefing, which was the statement from Airservices that CASA had forbidden them to use the ICAO recognised term Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS). The service will be on the allocated CTAF and use the aerodrome identifier as a callsign, followed by "Information". So what is it other than a remotely provided AFIS? This apparently is the reason for the invention of Surveillance FIS, a term not recognised by ICAO and probably requiring yet another "difference" to be filed. This is apparently another intervention by CASA who simply do not have the expertise to involve themselves in such decisions. (This is not intended to be a comment on individual members of OAR who are hard-working individuals with many and diverse skills). It is CASA management and processes that produce such weird interpretations.
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 04:10
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Originally Posted by Geoff Fairless View Post
snip
the statement from Airservices that CASA had forbidden them to use the ICAO recognised term Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS).
snip
Probably because to comply with the ICAO definition of an AFIS, more local information is required to be available to ATC and provided to aircraft than Airservices is currently able to provide, other than Port Hedland.

ICAO: Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS)

Before Airservices shut down the Flight Service centres I believe that FS did provide remote AFIS/AFIZ services from those centres for some locations (Mildura and Broken Hill come to mind) and the relevant consoles were equipped with readouts of the local met data i.e. QNH, wind speed & direction, temperature etc. and a preferred runway would be nominated.
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 04:57
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Heaven forbid that Australia add another difference to the hundreds already notified: https://www.airservicesaustralia.com..._standards.asp
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 06:12
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According to the latest info, ASA will have a VHF repeater at BNA (already installed) operated from a consol in BNE and that operator will provide a service similar to the old AFIZ that is mentioned in the post by Geoff above. In addition the operator will have surveillance capability (Radar/SSR/ADSB) within the limits of the coverage there.. It will in fact be a sub-FIA based on the proposed area in the draft AIP SUP. The controller will have co-ord ability with other sectors etc. The CA/GRS will go. Cross reference to the CASA proposal on changing the frequency of Lismore/Casino CTAFs is in conflict with the ASA proposal. I guess CASA will review after their consultation closes on 11 July.
I think CASA have a problem with AFIS as it is a "service" and does not refer to an "area". What is proposed is a service provided within a defined area which may or may not have an ICAO definition(??). A class D zone would do the job, but nobody wants to pay for it.
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 09:46
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Originally Posted by triadic View Post
I think CASA have a problem with AFIS as it is a "service" and does not refer to an "area".
As I said, I suspect the CASA problem is that an AFIS requires the ATS operator to have displayed real-time local met info and the ability to provide this and other local operational info per the ICAO requirement I provided the link to.

I'm not aware of the YPPD facilities, but I assume they have this info etc. displayed and therefore they can advise aircraft of same and if so, it is an AFIS that is compliant with ICAO.

If the ATC sector that will cover the BNA Broadcast Area doesn't have this met info displayed and the ability to provide it and the other operational information, then my interpretation is that an AFIS would not be compliant.

FWIW from the CASA VFRG:

Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS)
An AFIS provides pilots with an alerting service, local traffic and operational information on the CTAF assigned to the particular aerodrome. Essential aerodrome information is provided by an Automatic Aerodrome Information Service (AAIS) broadcast on a dedicated frequency (similar to ATIS) during AFIS HRS. An AFIS is currently provided at Port Hedland.

All aircraft departing, arriving or transiting an AFIS broadcast area must make broadcasts prior to or as soon as possible after entering the broadcast area (see AIP ENR 1.1-44)
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 15:21
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Originally Posted by CaptainMidnight View Post
An ICAO AFIS sounds like exactly the service that should be provided.

1.1 Aerodrome flight information service (AFIS) is the term used to describe the provision of information useful for the safe and efficient conduct of aerodrome traffic at those aerodromes designated for use by international general aviation where the appropriate air traffic services authority determines that the provision of aerodrome control service is not justified, or is not justified on a 24-hour basis. [my bolding]

1.2 Basic elements of information provided to aircraft:
  • Meteorological information for aircraft about to take off or to land, including SIGMET information. E.g. the current surface wind direction and speed, QNH, air temperature, visibility.
  • The most suitable runway for use.
  • Information that is essential to the safe operation. E.g. Construction or maintenance work.
  • Information that is related with airdrome equipment or radio bearings. E.g. Navigation aids.
  • Any other information or messages contributing to safety.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 00:52
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Originally Posted by CaptainMidnight View Post
As I said, I suspect the CASA problem is that an AFIS requires the ATS operator to have displayed real-time local met info and the ability to provide this and other local operational info per the ICAO requirement I provided the link to.

I'm not aware of the YPPD facilities, but I assume they have this info etc. displayed and therefore they can advise aircraft of same and if so, it is an AFIS that is compliant with ICAO.

If the ATC sector that will cover the BNA Broadcast Area doesn't have this met info displayed and the ability to provide it and the other operational information, then my interpretation is that an AFIS would not be compliant.

FWIW from the CASA VFRG:
They do have met info and an ATIS which is kept up to date. All the operators there also are approved met observers. It's set up to run the same Karratha class D just without the control aspect.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 04:36
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There is no information available to pilots about aerodromes that cannot be made available to ATC sectors.

In terms of the AWIS, I believe that 99% of AWIS in Australia send real-time data to their associated met offices so that Area forecasts, TAFs, and METARS can be generated. This would indicate that there is a digital stream of information that Airservices could tap into and display to the "SFIS' control positions. Airservices did this for their experimental Class E approach services at Rockhampton and Mackay.

Hence the only reasons why the AWIS for MNG and BNA is not being provided to ATC is either cost or dogma. The so-called preferred runway nomination could just follow the wind direction and speed, it is after all, just preferred. The real missing link is that no runway "oversight" can be provided, something that the CA/GRS does do. And are not the final approaches, runway surface, and departure tracks the most critical areas of conflict?

We can argue definitions all we like. What it boils down to is whether this service will make the MNG and BNA airspace safer places for jet transport operations. In my opinion no - if CASA "approves" or rubber-stamps this change they will not have mitigated a single risk that exists and the travelling public will be none the wiser. Come on Australia - it does not take a lot of effort or money to become a first-world aviation nation!
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 09:57
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Agreed. If there's a will, there's a way. Sydney TCU has AWIS data for Sydney Airport (in addition to the Tower of course). It's just data, AWIS could be sent, Nav Aid monitoring available, use the weather watch cameras.
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Old 26th Jun 2021, 22:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainMidnight View Post
ICAO: Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS)
An ICAO AFIS sounds like exactly the service that should be provided.

Quote:
1.1 Aerodrome flight information service (AFIS) is the term used to describe the provision of information useful for the safe and efficient conduct of aerodrome traffic at those aerodromes designated for use by international general aviation where the appropriate air traffic services authority determines that the provision of aerodrome control service is not justified, or is not justified on a 24-hour basis. [my bolding]

1.2 Basic elements of information provided to aircraft:
  • Meteorological information for aircraft about to take off or to land, including SIGMET information. E.g. the current surface wind direction and speed, QNH, air temperature, visibility.
  • The most suitable runway for use.
  • Information that is essential to the safe operation. E.g. Construction or maintenance work.
  • Information that is related with airdrome equipment or radio bearings. E.g. Navigation aids.
  • Any other information or messages contributing to safety.
Interesting that traffic information, arguably what this is all about, is relegated to "any other information..." ie not specifically mentioned as something important enough to rate its own dot point.
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Old 27th Jun 2021, 00:51
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It seems that Airservices want to provide a "service" that is more than the ICAO AFIS. To date indications are that "surveillance" is the prime difference from the ICAO AFIS and that as indicated above by TIEW that means traffic info at the very least. I have seen no specific mention regarding the other dot points It is clear that this proposal relates or will relate to a specific area or block of airspace that may not be presently defined by ICAO. It is clear that some of the ICAO definitions and standards need to be revisited. However it is said that the average time to get a change thru ICAO is seven years, so don't hold your breath.
Whatever that turns out to be it is likely that if CASA approves it, a difference with the ICAO standards will be required.
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Old 27th Jun 2021, 01:20
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From the same (1988) ICAO circular:

7 Accommodation and equipment

7.1 AFIS should be provided from a location where there is the best possible view of the aerodrome and the surrounding area.

7.2 The equipment for the AFIS unit should be similar to the aerodrome control tower.
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Old 27th Jun 2021, 01:31
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7.1 AFIS should be provided from a location where there is the best possible view of the aerodrome and the surrounding area.
Only a couple of the old FSU's even complied with that!
One of the old DCA managers had a policy of building new units so they did NOT have a view of the aerodrome. But regardless, the old AFIZ did work- no CTAFs then so all on the same freq. Maybe the return of the AFIZ?
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Old 30th Jun 2021, 03:41
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Just found this,

https://www.avsef.gov.au/national-pr...dcast-zone-mbz

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Old 30th Jun 2021, 03:45
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Can anyone make a submission to AVSEF?

If yes, I'd like to propose that if MBZs are to be reinstated, they be called CTAF(R)s instead.
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 00:22
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Yes, Lead, anyone can make a submission on the web site <https://www.avsef.gov.au/>. Select your topic, click on make a submission and it will give you a contact email for the proposer. You can also do the same thing to Airservices on <engage.airservicesaustralia.com/>

My opinion - MBZs/CTAF(Rs) etc are just an excuse for a third world air traffic service (ATS). At what traffic level does pilot separation by radio become impossible and unsafe? I think we found that out at Mangalore, and nearly at Ballina.

Does the nation want a first world ATS? UK and USA have, even though the models are different. Aeroplanes are going too fast and randomly in relation to each other, voice calls and maps on knees or Ipads, are inadequate, particulalrly when in-cockpit training is also being conducted.
We know surveillance works, it has been in use for years. It does not matter whether it is passed by ATC like the UK Low Airspace Radar Service, or direct like the US Traffic Information Service - A or B, they both use ground based surveillance. If we are going for pilot separation than Australia simply needs more surveillance coverage of traffic areas that are becoming increasingly busy.

Another option, if surveillance is too expensive for a poor country like Australia, is for more Control Towers looking after the 5-10 NM around relatively busy aerodromes. Particulalrly where there is flying training and English language skills are still developing. The Federal Government can make a simple change to CASR Part 172 to make these possible, and in my opinion they might even be more cost effective than increased traffic surveillance. My logic behind that is that they should be owned by, and the ATCs work for, the aerodrome operator. ATC eyes on the runway and the circuit area, with oversight of the approach and departure tracks in conjunction with Airservices, is arguably the simplest way to ensure aerodrome safety. In the US these are colloquially called VFR Towers with Class D airspace, and in the UK simply an Air Traffic Zone (ATZ), quite small like our Metro Ds, or if military a MATZ and bigger because of aircraft size and speed. The UK recognises that an ATZ/MATZ is "controlled" even though there is no ICAO airspace allocation other than G. Pilots still have to follow instructions on the runways and in the circuit area.
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