Here in OZ
we are in the process of phasing in a new National Airspace System (NAS
), with gradual changes at various time intervals. The net result will be to align our airspace with the North American system and the ICAO standard.
The other night I attended a seminar on the proposed changes to our airspace. American flight school operators John & Martha King were guest speakers to share some of their thoughts on our new NAS
The major difference will be in the classes of airspace surrounding our major airports. At the moment international airports are (mostly) class C airspace which extend quite high, and are surrounded in class G. The plan is to cut the radius and height of the class C to say 4500' and surround it in class E. Transponders are required if you want to use class E, which will hugely limit the freedom of some aircraft, especially as once the NAS
is implemented there will be 400,000 square km additional class E. I have no experience in class E - does it work? Safe? The speakers believed that despite traffic density being far less here compared to the US, the danger of a mid-air collision is greater.
Another implementation well be to US CTAF procedures - particularly standardising radio calls and joining 45 degrees to downwind. I have always joined x-wind overhead the threshold a believe it is the best method - any thoughts?
There were also several trivial changes such as the re-labeling of danger
areas to alert
areas. They also kept plugging the fact that the charts will be simpler, thus encouraging people to undergo flight training and get into aviation. I think it's safe to say that the major reason people who want to fly don't undergo flight training is due to the cost and not the scary looking charts.
These are only a couple of the changes - for anyone interested more can be found at http://www.dotars.gov.au/airspacereform/index.htm
I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of any Aussie or US aviators out there on our new airspace, or the advantages/disadvantages of any other airspace systems in the world.