Even with careful preparation, it's easy to become disoriented or flustered when operating in an unfamiliar territory.
When in doubt, advise ATC with your inbound call that you are 'unfamiliar' and ask for help.
You can also call ATC the day before and tell them you're flying in. Give your callsign and the direction from which you'll be flying. Ask them what instructions you can expect from them for your arrival.
You could ask for a heads-up on which approach points they're likely to nominate. You can then get familiar with where they are on your VTC before you take off.
It is important for all pilots to be familiar with the rules and procedures contained in AIP ENR 1.1 2, 'Operations in Controlled Airspace'.
Resources for operations in and around controlled airspace
You can take advantage of CASA resources to help you understand procedures at class D and C aerodromes around the country.
These booklets help VFR pilots navigate in, out of and around our primary metropolitan aerodromes. Topics covered in the Stay OnTrack guides include:
- military procedures
- airspace infringement hotspots
- ground operations
- tracking and reporting point images
- local weather.
Pilot Safety Hub
The Pilot Safety Hub is a user-friendly resource for pilots that brings together a range of safety educational tools and resources.
The hub includes webinars, podcasts, videos and events across 4 main safety focus areas:
- non-controlled aerodromes
- weather and forecasting
- fight planning
- controlled aerodromes.
The controlled aerodromes section has essential tips on:
- threat and error management
- runway safety
- communications with ATC (including readback reminders)
- controlled airspace tolerances.
The Visual Flight Rules Guide
This guide has a detailed chapter on controlled airspace regulations and procedures, to help pilots prepare, plan and fly safely under visual flight rules (VFR).
Digital or hard copy available through the CASA website.
Posters and wall charts
CASA and Airservices have produced a series of poster-sized wall charts for the use of flying schools around the country.
These charts feature the VTC of the aerodrome, overlaid with tips for:
- avoiding airspace infringements
- expected tracks of IFR arrivals and departures
- location-specific procedures
- pilot-view images of key Approach Points.