AIR TRANSPORT in remote and regional Australia is set to be transformed by a new satellite positioning technology currently being trialled by Geoscience Australia.
The aviation trial is one of 25 currently being run across the country.
Airservices is leading the Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) project on behalf of the aviation industry, fitting SBAS technology into aircraft and testing it across regional Australia.
An operational SBAS would improve safety by guiding pilots with greater accuracy, especially those flying into regional aerodromes operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). SBAS technology provides accurate guidance for landing procedures at regional aerodromes where ground infrastructure may not be as advanced as that used at larger airports.
Geoscience Australia's SBAS project manager, John Dawson said SBAS-assisted aircraft approaches were eight times safer than those that use ground-based navigation aids.
“This could mean a pilot can now attempt a landing without visuals down to 200 feet,” Dr Dawson said.
“The safety and efficiency benefits this technology provides will result in fewer flights being cancelled or diverted, and can also reduce the number of landing attempts flights may need to make during poor weather.”
This will be of particular benefit to services like the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which provides emergency medical transport and primary health care to rural and remote Australia, and often needs to undertake landings in varying weather conditions and at small, remote airfields and other locations where infrastructure and technology is limited.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, Geoscience Australia CEO James Johnson, and Airservices Australia CEO Jason Harfield, hosted an event at Canberra International Airport in April to demonstrate the technology to representatives from the aviation industry and media.
The event provided an opportunity for pilots to talk about how the technology would help Australian aviation. Aircraft present at the event included the Toll Air Ambulance, used for patient rescue, retrieval and treatment, in communities in New South Wales and the ACT, and an aircraft used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The aviation component of the trial will test two technologies: first and second generation SBAS.
Airservices Australia will receive up to $310,000 in funding from the Australian and New Zealand Governments to trial the technology.
The broader two-year SBAS trial program includes projects in the agriculture, construction, consumer and utilities, resources, spatial and transport industries. It is being funded with $12 million from the Australian Government and a further $2 million from the New Zealand Government.
LEADERS of Australia’s General Aviation (GA) Advisory Group has presented a plan to the Federal Government to help ensure the sector’s future, highlighting three priority areas.
Priorities are to develop a broad long term strategic perspective for GA; propose how air safety regulation can support GA through clear, consistently applied, and proportionally responsive administration; and maintain and enhance GA industry capability, through workforce development and access to airspace and infrastructure.
GA Advisory Group chair and Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia CEO, Martin Laverty said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack had “given the GA Advisory Group freedom to identify our own opportunities for growth and to present its ideas on solutions to some of our challenges”.
Mr McCormack received the General Aviation Flight Plan from sector leaders in Canberra.
“The GA Advisory Group was established by the then-Minister Darren Chester in October 2016, to provide the very diverse GA sector with a forum to advise the government on its priorities,” Mr McCormack said.
“I welcome the establishment of the GA Flight Plan and I have asked the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to work with the Group in responding to these priorities.
“To ensure the group is able to complete the work outlined in the GA Flight Plan, the group’s membership and operations will continue for a further two years and I look forward to working constructively with the Group during this period.”
Dr Laverty thanked the Deputy Prime Minister for his strong backing of the GA industry.
“He has welcomed the Flight Plan, which addresses critical issues of regulatory burden and ensuring sufficient workforce to keep Australians flying,” Dr Laverty said.
CASA CEO and director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody welcomed the opportunity to work closely with the GA Advisory Group and to strengthen the safety regulator’s ties with GA.
“I’m pleased to have met with the GA Advisory Group, and to plan to use it as an ongoing reference group on safety regulatory issues relating to the GA sector,” Mr Carmody said.
ARCHERFIELD Airport plans to celebrate its 20th year since privatisation with free landing fees throughout July.
Brisbane's metropolitan airport south of the CBD, which at one stage was Queensland's major airport and Australia's largest air base during World War Two, is today one of the country's leading pilot and aviation industry training centres.
In 1934, Archerfield was the take-off point for the first west-east crossing of the Pacific by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain P.G. Taylor in the Lady Southern Cross, a single-engined Lockheed Altair monoplane.
The private company Archerfield Airport Corporation was established to control the airport in 1998 when the Federal Government privatised airport operations Australia-wide.
"This year, Archerfield Airport celebrates 20 years of privatisation and to thank tenants, airport operators and pilots for their support, next month is Free Fly July at the airport," Archerfield Airport general manager Heather Mattes said.
"Archerfield Airport Corporation (AAC) will not charge landing fees throughout the month of July.
"Through this gesture, AAC trusts that Free Fly July is a practical way to acknowledge the many years of co-operative partnership we have enjoyed with our airport community and a further contribution to promoting General Aviation in Queensland."