CASA’s ‘Summary of Consultation’ detailing the feedback and their response to the frequency use in Class G airspace public consultation has just been published. The survey threw up some wide-ranging responses, particularly on the second proposal – to allow 126.7 MHz in the circuit at uncharted aerodromes. A preference among some sectors to use 126.7 MHz in non-controlled airspace was confirmed. While 58 per cent did not believe the proposal introduced issues of safety or practicality, of the 42 per cent that did, almost half suggested the proposal would introduce complexities and confusion.
A range of issues were also highlighted by respondents, including:
- uncertainty on procedures for inbound calls if frequency boundaries change;
- radio congestion and clutter;
- workload issues with frequency changes, especially for sport and recreational aircraft
- confusion over the concept of ‘uncharted aerodromes’ and calls for these to be added to the maps;
- concerns about too little or too much communication, and inconsistency of terminology between IFR and VFR pilots;
- concerns about decreased situational awareness with different frequencies in use in the same airspace;
- concern there is a low level of awareness around the correct radio procedures.
As a result of the feedback received, CASA has determined not to implement the 20 NM/below 5,000 ft AMSL proposal or the use of MULTICOM 126.7 in the circuit area of uncharted aerodromes. CASA believe the safest and simplest system is the one currently in place. In other words, the recommended radio frequencies to use in non-controlled airspace are:
- ‘in the vicinity’—within 10nm, and at a height where your operations could be in the way of other traffic—of any non-controlled aerodrome published on aeronautical charts, pilots should use the CTAF (126.7 MHz or discrete frequency) as published;
- anywhere within a Broadcast Area, pilots should use the dedicated Broadcast Area CTAF;
- in all other non-controlled airspace, pilots should be on Area VHF.
A safety education campaign will be rolled out in the coming months.