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Philip Argy 28th April 2009 09:36 AM

Australian Airspace - Radar Coverage
I was surprised to discover how little of the airspace allocated to Australia by ICAO is actually monitored by radar. 11% of the Earth’s surface is allocated to Australia for airspace management but very little of that (the shaded area on the linked map) has radar coverage. Should that be a concern, or is there military and/or defence coverage outside what the map depicts?

The map also shows the division of responsibility between the Brisbane and Melbourne Flight Information Regions as they are called. Can someone on the Board advise exactly where the Brisbane/Melbourne dividing line crosses the East Coast as I can't access the AIP to get the co-ordinates.

Chris B. 28th April 2009 10:35 AM

The actual boundary comes just to the south of Mudgee to 45DME SY (nearest waypoint there is BOYSY). Anything to the north of 45DME SY is YBBB (the Brisbane FIR). If you want an actual waypoint that is the start of the YBBB FIR on the east coast, then it's TOOKI (S33 16.1 E151 33.8).

Hope that helps.

Philip Argy 28th April 2009 10:40 AM

Great - thanks, Chris.

Ken K 28th April 2009 10:52 AM

As Chris said, the Melbourne/Brisbane border does a circle around Sydney. It does an arc from near BOYSY, to DIPSO then around to just past OPTIC.

There's no real concern about the lack of radar coverage. Outside of that, ATC use different methods of determining your position, for example ADS-B or position reports. Using those, they then separate you out using an alternate set of standards.

Mick F 28th April 2009 11:18 AM

Outside of the RADAR coverage area's, the air traffic is generally of a low density. So there's no real need for RADAR in these area's.

I fly in "procedural airspace" (non-radar) for probably 90% of my flights, and have no concerns at all. It's a slightly different procedure for pilots (ie. constant position reporting, ETA updates, etc.), and also for ATC (extra buffer's, for example higher seperation standards) but still quite safe.

One thing that map doesn't show though, are the coverage provided by ADS-B sites located in some centres through out Australia now. Places such as Longreach and Alice Springs. Although these sites are generally of more use to high flying jet aircraft, for suitably equipped turbo-props and piston engine aircraft, the sites can also provide ATC with an accurate location of these aircraft when they are within range (line of sight), as though they were on RADAR.

The overall aircraft population with ADS-B Out installed though, is very low. That however is another completely seperate debate that everyone can't seem to agree on.

The map provided also shows the military installations that Airservices Australia has access to. The main one's being Darwin, Katherine (Tindal), Townsville (I think) and Oakey.

The procedural world has been around since day dot, and when it's all integrated with TAAATS (The Advanced Australian Air Traffic System), it's nearly as good as RADAR anyway, :).



NickN 28th April 2009 01:06 PM

Who is responsible should an accident occur while the aircraft are outside radar controlled airspace?

Chris Roope 28th April 2009 01:18 PM

If the aircraft is in controlled airspace and the controller makes a mistake then the controller, if the pilot makes a mistake then the pilot (although laying blame is never that simple).

Nigel C 28th April 2009 01:20 PM

The pilots in command.

NickN 28th April 2009 01:29 PM

Can someone give us a brief overview of what methods are used to maintain safety while aircraft are in these areas of no coverage?

And is this the primary argument for the pro ADS-B groups to have all commercial and jet aircraft ADS-B fitted?

Nigel C 28th April 2009 01:37 PM

See and avoid, and prudent reporting of position are good starts!

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