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Devastation by stupidity
12284 posts

Uber Geek

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#270539 14-May-2020 09:49
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I see on RNZ that Airways New Zealand wants to remove air traffic control from a number of provincial airports. I don't know enough about this to have an informed opinion, but it does make me a little nervous. What do the pilots here think? Could an idiot in a private aircraft bring down a commercial flight or taxi across the wrong runway? Is this a significant added risk?

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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16107 posts

Uber Geek

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  #2483474 14-May-2020 10:01
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I'm pretty sure the people in charge will be extremely cautious. Multiple cameras of each airport etc.


934 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2483478 14-May-2020 10:05
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There will still be air traffic control, but some airports with control tower won’t be manned with people. There are 17 manned control towers now. Some airports, such as Invercargill I believe, are not manned already.

 

Air New Zealand has endorsed this. I don’t think safety will be compromised.

 

The idiot edge-case will happen manned or unmanned.

 

Nothing to see here.





BlinkyBill


 
 
 
 


384 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2483543 14-May-2020 10:34
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timmmay:

 

I'm pretty sure the people in charge will be extremely cautious. Multiple cameras of each airport etc.

 

 

 

 

Cameras add no value for aircraft in the air. Who is actually looking at these cameras? Where are they looking? What is the Field of View?

 

What it will come down to is each individual aircraft pilot broadcasting their position, altitude and intentions such that other aircraft can avoid. That's how it works at Uncontrolled Airfields.  Just that to have an Air Traffic Service in the first place there was normally a good case made. I suppose with a reduction in pax traffic possibly forecast for these airfields the justification is no longer there?


384 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2483547 14-May-2020 10:39
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BlinkyBill:

 

There will still be air traffic control, but some airports with control tower won’t be manned with people. There are 17 manned control towers now. Some airports, such as Invercargill I believe, are not manned already.

 

Air New Zealand has endorsed this. I don’t think safety will be compromised.

 

The idiot edge-case will happen manned or unmanned.

 

Nothing to see here.

 

 

Air New Zealand are not the sole operators at many of these airfields so their endorsement is only their acceptance. They don't speak for all the other operators from flying clubs, general aviation, unscheduled passenger services. It should still be safe but just not quite as safe.


15234 posts

Uber Geek

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  #2483551 14-May-2020 10:48
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Aerial traffic lights and round-a-bouts are the answer 😁





Mike
Change Management Consultant
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

He waka eke noa


1048 posts

Uber Geek


  #2483553 14-May-2020 10:51
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Ardmore Airport (which is the countries busiest last time I read) is uncontrolled. It does have a control tower but is not used anymore for air traffic control, and hasn't for many years now.


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Ultimate Geek

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  #2483564 14-May-2020 11:02
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Rikkitic:

 

I see on RNZ that Airways New Zealand wants to remove air traffic control from a number of provincial airports. I don't know enough about this to have an informed opinion, but it does make me a little nervous. What do the pilots here think? Could an idiot in a private aircraft bring down a commercial flight or taxi across the wrong runway? Is this a significant added risk?

 

 

While we are still under COVID19 restrictions with reduced aircraft movements, this would be OK if the affected Airlines agree with the decision (as appears to be the case with AirNZ).  However this will result in reduced costs for the affected Airports and this is likely to mean reduced landing charges to Airlines so the safety angle needs to be considered.  While the Airline Pilots Association should also have input, they are not involved in either cost or passenger pricing.

 

If the proposal is a temporary cost-saving measure then there should be a definition of this such that if flight activity returns to pre-COVID19 levels ATC services are required to resume.





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OldGeek.


 
 
 
 


1203 posts

Uber Geek


  #2483630 14-May-2020 11:59
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The vast majority of pilots learn to fly out of uncontrolled airfields with no tower etc, so they're generally not overly fussed about it. It isn't unlike an uncontrolled intersection for cars vs traffic lights. Everyone has experience with them, there are rules you follow and everyone is happy.


3914 posts

Uber Geek


  #2483663 14-May-2020 12:39
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It's not a new thing. But they are bringing the program forward/giving it a push

 

https://www.airways.co.nz/media-centre/media-statements/airways-unveils-future-digital-air-traffic-control-tower/

 

https://www.airways.co.nz/media-centre/media-statements/invercargill-gets-nzs-first-digital-air-traffic-control-tower/

 

Been in works since '17 and Invercargil was earmarked for the first.

 

It's only really coming to light because of the current situation and fastrack of likely job losses


3767 posts

Uber Geek

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  #2483770 14-May-2020 13:50
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As others have said, it's no big deal unless the airfield gets busy. Private pilots are generally all familiar with uncontrolled airfields, and used to managing their own joining and landing/takeoff sequencing. And most private flying is at the weekends, so the airliners would have the airfield pretty much to themselves on weekdays.

 

The potential for difficulty is when there's a fast aircraft (i.e. pretty much any AirNZ aircraft) mixing it with considerably slower aircraft, and someone miscalculates the time they've got to get on the ground and off the runway before the big bird arrives. But generally speaking, private pilots tend to give large, fast commercial aircraft a wide berth. Possibly the biggest risk is non-radio-equipped (NORDO in the jargon) aircraft. These tend to be slow and small, don't have transponders, and might be difficult for an airliner to spot. They're not allowed in controlled airspace, but there are probably at least one or two at most uncontrolled airfields.

 

 


231 posts

Master Geek


  #2483815 14-May-2020 14:11
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Air NZ and the likes already fly to airports without an active tower, such as Timaru. I believe Hokitika is another one.


8 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2484486 15-May-2020 15:13
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BlinkyBill:

 

There will still be air traffic control, but some airports with control tower won’t be manned with people. There are 17 manned control towers now. Some airports, such as Invercargill I believe, are not manned already.

 

Air New Zealand has endorsed this. I don’t think safety will be compromised.

 

The idiot edge-case will happen manned or unmanned.

 

Nothing to see here.

 

 

 

 

This is incorrect. Invercargill is a controlled (manned) airport. If they become uncontrolled, then under current Air New Zealand rules, you would not be able to fly A320s or ATR72s there. I.e. about 90% of their commercial traffic. 

 

The idiot edge-case you mentioned is interesting. There have been ZERO mid air collisions in controlled airspace in New Zealand. Plenty outside... 


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Wannabe Geek


  #2484487 15-May-2020 15:15
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boosacnoodle:

 

Air NZ and the likes already fly to airports without an active tower, such as Timaru. I believe Hokitika is another one.

 

 

Correct. But why have air traffic control anywhere then? Hokitika and Keri Keri and Timaru all have very different types of traffic and airspace and restrictions to those they wish to pull out of. Why do we have air traffic control in Auckland then if they can fly into Timaru without it?

 

Apples and oranges


8 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2484491 15-May-2020 15:21
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clevedon:

 

Ardmore Airport (which is the countries busiest last time I read) is uncontrolled. It does have a control tower but is not used anymore for air traffic control, and hasn't for many years now.

 

 

Ardmore has a good airfield layout that actually allows more movements per hour (well designed) unlike a lot of the regional airports that only have 1 taxiway to the runway. Also, you will find that the relative speeds of aircraft at Ardmore are closer. When you're mixing jets with slow aircraft things get a bit trickier. 

 

Why do we bother having control towers at Auckland? It's a completely different kettle of fish. 


8 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2484495 15-May-2020 15:28
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OldGeek:

 

Rikkitic:

 

I see on RNZ that Airways New Zealand wants to remove air traffic control from a number of provincial airports. I don't know enough about this to have an informed opinion, but it does make me a little nervous. What do the pilots here think? Could an idiot in a private aircraft bring down a commercial flight or taxi across the wrong runway? Is this a significant added risk?

 

 

While we are still under COVID19 restrictions with reduced aircraft movements, this would be OK if the affected Airlines agree with the decision (as appears to be the case with AirNZ).  However this will result in reduced costs for the affected Airports and this is likely to mean reduced landing charges to Airlines so the safety angle needs to be considered.  While the Airline Pilots Association should also have input, they are not involved in either cost or passenger pricing.

 

If the proposal is a temporary cost-saving measure then there should be a definition of this such that if flight activity returns to pre-COVID19 levels ATC services are required to resume.

 

 

This doesn't reduce costs for the airports at all. All costs are charged to the airlines themselves. It's a user pays system.

 

It is correct that the airline pilots association, who also represent the controllers, don't consider cost so much. However safety is their number one priority. And I would say that should trump cost. 


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