Class D airspace procedures bring Australia closer to international aviation standards
The former General Aviation Aerodrome Procedures (GAAP) aerodromes are an aircraft spotter’s smorgasbord, home to everything from ultralights to executive jets and public transport. This widening performance spectrum brings challenges for pilots. To complete a complex picture, there’s also the rapid growth of international flight training, with students from around the world taking their first flights at GAAP aerodromes.
This was the context in which Class D airspace replaced GAAP—things had changed and it was time for the rules to catch up. Parafield in South Australia, Camden and Bankstown in New South Wales, Archerfield in Queensland, Jandakot in Western Australia and Moorabbin in Victoria completed transition from GAAP to Class D procedures on 3 June 2010, Australian aviation’s D-day. These changes came into effect as a result of two CASA studies of GAAP—the General Aviation Aerodrome Procedures Review and the Utility of General Aviation Aerodrome Procedures—which found areas where safety could be improved.
To support the transition, CASA carried out its largest program to date of training and education, targeting the stakeholders at GAAP and Class D aerodromes, such as aircraft operators, pilots, aerodrome operators and air traffic controllers.
The program included mail-outs, mobile signs, CASA web promotion and e-learning modules, OnTrack, an interactive web-based educational tool to assist pilots flying in and around the new Class D aerodromes, and workshops at more than 60 locations. About 45,000 safety packages were sent, more than 4,500 workshop attendees received educational material via USB sticks and quick reference Z-cards, and more than 10,000 people completed the online learning.
Replacing the Australian-specific GAAP with the internationally recognised Class D procedures is a step towards standardising Australian aviation procedures with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Class D airspace classification and the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Class D procedures. Such standardisation is especially important, given the boom in overseas student training at GAAP aerodromes.
To increase safety through standardisation, the new Class D procedures that applied at the old GAAP aerodromes were extended to all existing Class D airspace.