The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) today released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the issue of low-level frequency use.
The NPRM has come after several years of debate over which frequency should be used in the vicinity of airfields not marked on charts, which resulted in a discussion paper released to industry last February.
NPRM 1717AS proposes that all aircraft operating below 5000 feet will monitor Multicom 126.7 unless within range of a CTAF or other airport that has a discrete frequency. It also proposes expanding the zones around airports to 20 nm wide and up to just below 5000 feet.
Previously, those dimensions were 10 nm and had no stated vertical limit other than that which could cause conflict with airfield traffic.
Above 5000 feet, the area VHF will be used, even in Class G airspace.
According to CASA, 83% of respondents to the discussion paper accepted the 126.7 solution, whereas only 43% were in favour of using the area VHF.
"The proposed changes reflect the preferences of the aviation community, while taking into account future airspace design and safety considerations for both visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR) pilots," CASA says.
"The intent of changing the procedures for radio frequency use in low level airspace is to maximise the opportunity for aircraft operating at low level in Class G airspace to be on the same frequency and to make and receive broadcasts for 'alerted see-and-avoid'."
CASA is now seeking feedback the the NPRM by 12 January, with a view to having the new changes implemented by mid 2018.
The NPRM and the feedback survey are on the CASA website.