• Australia has hundreds of airfields that are not marked on aeronautical charts. (Steve Hitchen)
    Australia has hundreds of airfields that are not marked on aeronautical charts. (Steve Hitchen)

A new Civil Aviation Advisory Publication (CAAP) on operations at non-controlled aerodromes has retained the advice that pilots should broadcast on the area frequency rather than Multicom 126.7 if the airfield is not marked on charts, even though the issue is still subject to consultation through a CASA discussion paper.

CASA released CAAP 166-1 Operations in the Vicinty of Non-controlled Aerodromes yesterday, but the frequency issue is the subject of DP1610AS, which has a submission deadline of 28 April,

Retaining the area VHF advice in the CAAP and releasing it ahead of the DP1610AS deadline has led some in the aviation community to question if CASA has already decided without taking industry feedback into account.

According to the status table in the CAAP, the April 2017 revision was all about a radio requirement rather than the appropriate frequency.

"There was only a minor amendment to the CAAP adding some explanation around when an aerodrome operator can require use of radio at their airport," a CASA spokesperson said. "It was already stated in the diagram but it needed some explanatory text.

"A definition of MULTICOM was added because the term is used in the CAAP."

Update 28 April

CASA has since issued the following statement to Australian Flying.

"Consultation on the discussion paper issued in early 2017 on frequency use at low levels in class G airspace remains open for comment, with the comment period being extended until 5 May 2017.

"The extension has been made following requests from the aviation community.

"Once the consultation period closes CASA will review the feedback and determine whether to pursue a change to frequency use policy.

"All responses to the discussion paper will be carefully considered before a final position on these issues is reached, which will take some months.  Any changes will be subject to further industry consultation.

"During the consultation and review period CASA continues the normal practice of updating and improving guidance material. CAAP 166-01 was recently updated to explain why an aerodrome operator can require use of a radio at their aerodrome if it is not certified, registered, military or one designated by CASA.

"This update was done in response to issues raised by people in the aviation community.

"The rest of the advisory publication was largely unchanged from previous versions, including the reference to operating at aerodromes not depicted on aeronautical charts.

"CASA’s update of CAAP 166-01 is not intended to in any way pre-empt the full and proper consideration of responses to the discussion paper.

"CASA apologises if the publication of the updated advisory has caused any confusion."

CAAP 166-1 is available from the CASA website.

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