R.F.D.S. Landing Sites

Submitted: Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 13:05
ThreadID: 136560 Views:1604 Replies:11 FollowUps:23
This Thread has been Archived
As a regular outback traveller of advancing years one is always looking to make ones travels easier and safer. Being in the Idlers 4WD club where all members are retired, with many older than I am, anything that helps me is likely to help my fellow travellers.

Because of our age demographic health issues are front and centre in our minds and of major consideration in trip planning. It is not unusual for us to be several days driving from any assistance of any type. We can also be well beyond the range of helicopters.

The question is what are our plans should there be an accident or some medical emergency among our group? We carry comprehensive first aid kits, sat phones, PLB's, Spot devices etc, many of us have done first aid courses, we have members who in there working life were nurses, doctors, vets, etc who maybe on the trip, and because of our ages we are very risk adverse.

Is there anything else we can do? I think there is. In the outback medical issues are usually responded to by the R.F.D.S. If they are going to help you other than by sat phone they are going to come by plane. For safety reasons they will not just land anywhere, they will only land on runways that have been certified that they are safe.

Therefore I see great benefit in having a list of authorised R.F.D.S. landing strips on all our outback trips. Should we have a medical emergency requiring the R.F.D.S. we would be able to tell them when we ring on the sat phone which landing strip we maybe able to get to, and an estimate of the time to get there. Anything that saves time may save a life.

I have googled trying to find this information but without success.
Does anyone know where there is a list of accredited R.F.D.S. landing sites?

Further, this information should be of value to outback travellers at large and maybe it should have a spot on the ExplorOz web site.

Chris
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

Back Expand Un-Read 2 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 13:33

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 13:33
Did you ask the RFDS?
AnswerID: 618333

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 13:45

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 13:45
No. I don't know who to ask, hence this post.
Chris
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 890277

Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 14:08

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 14:08
Try posing your question at one of these contact points. If they can't point you to the right contact, I don't know who could.
RFDS contacts.
0
FollowupID: 890278

Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 14:37

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 14:37
If you know a pilot they may be able to help you out with these, or buy them from here
The aviatorstore Country airstrip guide.

Also for info "There are in excess of 2,000 landing strips in the RFDS network, many of which are used on a regular basis and many others that exist purely for medical visits."
See here.
0
FollowupID: 890281

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 17:54

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 17:54
Thanks Rod. But to be really useful I would like to see such a list on the R.F.D.S. web site. This list would probably change on a very regular basis so a printed guide would be out of date before it was even printed.
Chris
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 890287

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 18:52

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 18:52
I suspect that there is a problem with your request Chis.
The greater proportion of the strips that the RFDS use would be private, so while there would be no difficulty going to one in any emergency, the owners/controllers may well be very reluctant to have the details published publically.
Only the RFDS could answer that question.
MOST station properties have at least one strip, but not all are immediately adjacent to the homestead. We spent some time on a station in the Pilbara it had a short strip near the homestead, but the RFDS (and mail) one was over 5km away.
I recall that an RFDS strip needs to be at least 1200m long, plus other requirements.
Might be worth checking the WAC charts (1:1,000,000 for aviators) for the publically listed ones.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
0
FollowupID: 890289

Follow Up By: Jarse - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 15:06

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 15:06
Chris,
I know a few of the Central Section pilots (from a former life). While I can’t put you directly in contact with them, you could try to contact the Chief Pilot or Senior Base Pilot via phone. They may, or may not be prepared/able to help you but it’s worth a try.

Private airstrips are generally not a problem to gain access to in genuine medical emergencies. If RFDS are like any typical air operator of that magnitude, they would have a full list of strips they operate to in their documents.

If you can access the document, the only problem you will have is knowing when a particular strip is unuseable for whatever reason. That is advised to pilots by an alternate means, and you would have no way of knowing.

RFDS may also require the patient to be transported by alternate means to a suitable strip under certain conditions.

Good luck!
0
FollowupID: 890316

Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 15:43

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 15:43
.
Chris, That is maybe the best question that I have ever seen posted on ExplorOz.

I'm sure that upon a RFDS call they would advise the appropriate airfield but it would be good to know the options in advance. For example, if one of your party was a bit crook but not yet needing RFDS it may be wise to head toward an approved airstrip in case they became worse.

Hope you get the info and post it here.

From Allan, briefly at Coober Pedy.
Cheers
Allan

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 618336

Follow Up By: Bob R4 - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 20:05

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 20:05
I believe you to be entirely right Allan. Certainly the best question I've seen.
Well done Chris.
Seems like a plan to save a life with some certainty at some time.
A big idea for a big land.
Bob
0
FollowupID: 890300

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 17:23

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 17:23
Rest assured that if I find anything out I will be posting it here.
Chris
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 890328

Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 16:56

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 16:56
Hi Chris
I think the VKS 737 HF network would be able to tell you what you need to know
cheers
Stan mobile 0049
Living is a journey,it depends on where you go !
VKS 737 mobile 0049 selcall 0049

Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 618340

Reply By: Idler Chris - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 17:58

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 17:58
The R.F.D.S. seems to be State based so it does not look like there would an all Australia list. I have rung the WA office of the R.F.D.S. and they told me they have a list but that it is for internal purposes only.
Chris
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 618341

Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 07:30

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 07:30
Chris

As I understand it the RFDS aviation operations are regionally based. They hold four Aircraft Operating Certificates (AOC) issued by CASA. They show the following:

WA Operations based in Jandakot
Central Australia based in Adelaide
SE Australia based in Broken Hill
Queensland based in Brisbane

The information you are looking for on the approved airstrip locations will most likely be held on a central system and available to all pilots flying for the RFDS. Then again it may not. My contact is with the WA chief pilot ( they will have one for each of the 4 AOC’s) so I will see what he has to say.

John
John
"There are naive questions, tedious questions...There is no such thing as a dumb question" Carl Sagan

Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

2
FollowupID: 890308

Reply By: Member - J&A&KK - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 18:31

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 18:31
Chris

I personally know the RFDS Chief Pilot.

I will pass on your post to him. Be patient. I will send you a personal message when I get the info. I will be home in Perth in about a week so will talk to Gavin then. He may respond by email earlier but it’s best to talk face to face.

If you don’t hear from me with 10 days send me a reminder. I am also in the old, retired and possibly mentally infirm category.

This link shows what NSW branch of RFDS are doing with regard to getting info on bush strips. RFDS NSW Bush Strip

Cheers
John
"There are naive questions, tedious questions...There is no such thing as a dumb question" Carl Sagan

Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 618343

Reply By: gke - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 20:12

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 20:12
I understand that as the RFDS gets bigger and better planes so the number of approved airstrips is declining. A large expensive plane can no longer land at many properties.

Graham.
AnswerID: 618344

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 20:38

Monday, Apr 16, 2018 at 20:38
If these are facts I would be interested to know where this information came from.
Chris
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 890301

Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 06:09

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 06:09
Nah. They still have around 60 king airs and Pilatus prop jets that they have run for years. I believe they have a jet or two for the long transfers using major strips.

I have also seen them using Raaf King Airs doing touch and goes on remote strips to check if the strips are ok.
1
FollowupID: 890305

Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 07:07

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 07:07
9900Eagle is correct

66 aircraft in total.

Read about their fleet in detail here RFDS Fleet

Cheers John

John
"There are naive questions, tedious questions...There is no such thing as a dumb question" Carl Sagan

Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

1
FollowupID: 890306

Follow Up By: gke - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 07:22

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 07:22
Me again. Glad to be corrected.

Twice I have been a member of a volunteer group that went to properties in NW QLD and did upgrade work to improve airstrips to help with safety, especially over the wet season.

More than one owner/ manager gave us that info.
Likely things are different around the country

Cheers, Graham.
0
FollowupID: 890307

Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 07:34

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 07:34
Graham that is strange, as they have been running the same planes for years. I know Qld has those same planes. What may of happened is the RFDS have done a safety risk assessment on the the strips and decided some aren't worth the risk to the pilots doctor and any crew.
0
FollowupID: 890309

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 09:14

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 09:14
Graham
The jet aircraft on order by the RFDS is the Pilatus 24.
I understand that this has been designed for use on non sealed strips.
The engines are fitted high at the rear of the fuselage and the flaps on the wings extend far enough to the rear to prevent stones flung up by the wheels running on the strip from being ingested by the engines.
Read all about this aircraft and its capabilities on the Pilatus website
Cheers
Andrew
2
FollowupID: 890311

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 17:26

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 17:26
The fleet must have increased because they now have 68 aircraft.

https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/map/

Chris
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 890329

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 00:44

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 at 00:44
David assures me you'll find them listed in our app Exploroz traveller (& on this website in Places)...look for place type "airstrip".... some like on the Nullarbor, are in the middle of the road.
Michelle Martin
Customer Support - ExplorOz & ExplorOz Traveller

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: Australian Historical/Pioneer/Autobiography
Moderator

AnswerID: 618348

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:00

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:00
Michelle - David is correct you can search "Places" in Travaller and it lists airstrips around your location - I'm currently at Urella and it listed over 55 airstrips - nearest about 2km away and furthered 66.7km away.

Of course there is no indication if they are suitable for RFDS use.
1
FollowupID: 890358

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:09

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:09
Note that in the event of an emergency if using ExplorOz Traveller the home screen will always show your current GPS position in big clear bold font too so that you can easily relay this to any authorities over your radio or sat phone if you cannot move the patient to an airstrip for example.

Plus, you can find the nearest airstrip via the app and press GoTo for guidance to that location.
Michelle Martin
Customer Support - ExplorOz & ExplorOz Traveller

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: Australian Historical/Pioneer/Autobiography
Moderator

2
FollowupID: 890361

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 05:51

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 05:51
Chris, while I get your intentions and it kind of makes sense, I think finding the closes airstrip is bread and butter for the RFDS. Provided you have a decent GPS map I think the right people to make the landing location is the RFDS.

It could be that the plane they are sending has to use a particular type / size of runway, or a runway is out of service or in use for other reasons etc etc. There is no way you can determine that but RFDS will know all the issues.

The trick is to be able to navigate to the runway they tell you as effectively as possible.

The idler group may consider investing in a defibrillator. Expensive but probably one of the most useful things for an older group.
Tony
200 with 2012 Tvan Canning.
Happiness >= your perception of the events in your life minus your expectation of how life should be.

Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 618371

Reply By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 10:36

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 10:36
Hello

CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) maintain a list of "Certified" and "Registered" aerodromes. I assume these would all be up to a standard suitable for the RFDS.

Unfortunately the lists appear to be only a subset of all the runways out there and also do not provide any specific location details except name. You could possibly cross reference to EoTopo or Natmap, both of which would show the location of most if not all of these runways (up to ~<2008 at least) and also many of what I assume are uncertified/unregistered ones....though which of these minor strips (mainly pastoral stations?) are suitable for RFDS is a big unknown..but if you know where they are that's at least a start.

Cheers
Greg
…leaving the river (Meerup), we came to another (Warren) with….heavy surf, and a remarkable sand-hill on the left. Lt Preston RN April 1831

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: Prospecting Lease – Kookynie (WA). Granted
Moderator

AnswerID: 618376

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 14:34

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 14:34
"CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) maintain a list of "Certified" and "Registered" aerodromes."
All marked on the latest WAC charts (1: 1,000,000 World Aeronautical Charts).
I expect that those charts would be available in digital form ant that they could be loaded into a GPS.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
0
FollowupID: 890355

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:01

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:01
A number of phone/iPad/tablet "apps" targeting pilots/drone operators also have them shown.

Cheers
Greg
…leaving the river (Meerup), we came to another (Warren) with….heavy surf, and a remarkable sand-hill on the left. Lt Preston RN April 1831

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: Prospecting Lease – Kookynie (WA). Granted
Moderator

0
FollowupID: 890359

Follow Up By: Jarse - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 19:33

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 19:33
WACs are virtually obsolete the day they are printed. Airstrips are added/removed on a regular basis, and the only way to keep the map up to date is by manually amending them via NOTAM. There is an app available called Ozrunways which is pretty pricey, but I don’t know whether its WACs are amended or not.

The only reliable way to have a current list of RFDS airstrips is to have the RFDS publication.
0
FollowupID: 890368

Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Apr 20, 2018 at 23:18

Friday, Apr 20, 2018 at 23:18
There are very substantial differences between "Certified" aerodromes, "Registered" aerodromes, "Other" aerodromes - and just plain simple airstrips.

Anyone can knock up an airstrip - but the Aerodrome designation is specifically and thoroughly covered under the legislation known as the "Manual of Standards Part 139".

MOS Part 139 was formerly known as "Rules and Practices for Aerodromes".

In general, many smaller airstrips, and most private airstrips, do not meet the specific requirements and strictly detailed design, that is required of aerodromes.

There are major costs associated with applying for Aerodrome Certification or Registration - and aerodromes are usually defined as those airstrips carrying out moderate to substantial amounts of aircraft movements, and/or RPT operations (Regular Public Transport).

Aerodrome categories - CASA

Cheers, Ron.
0
FollowupID: 890438

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 11:12

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 11:12
If you have an illness that down the track may require medevac maybe during a call to the RFDS advising them of your situation they would advise you of the closest suitable airstrip.
AnswerID: 618377

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:04

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 at 16:04
Yes - it is probably not that important to have an actual list of airfields RFDS can currently use as apposed to actually knowing where you are an how to get to the nearest one (as advised by RFDS there and then) using a decent map/gps.

Cheers
Greg
…leaving the river (Meerup), we came to another (Warren) with….heavy surf, and a remarkable sand-hill on the left. Lt Preston RN April 1831

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: Prospecting Lease – Kookynie (WA). Granted
Moderator

2
FollowupID: 890360

Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 00:47

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 at 00:47
The pilots know pretty precisely what airstrips are available to them.

What is probably more important is carrying a radio and finding out from the RFDS, the frequency to use to communicate with the pilots, and how to assist in guiding them in, when conditions are less than satisfactory for landing.

A lack of communication between people on the ground and pilots is dangerous and creates problems.
Pilots will want runway advice, and people on the ground can warn of hidden dangers.

Livestock and wildlife are runway problems that pilots don't need, so there's a need to drive them away from the runway.
Runways need to be physically checked for damage, surface condition (important in deteriorating weather), and obstructions which may pose a major threat to landing and taking off.

Pilots need on-the spot wind reports for landing, so they can select the correct direction in which to land.
A lot of remote strips lack windsocks or functioning windsocks.

If the landing is an emergency night landing, there is a need for flares for the runway outline, or vehicle headlights to light up the runway thresholds, with the headlight lighting at 45 degrees to the runway (pointing away from the landing aircraft) at each end.

Flares can be made from Sunshine milk tins filled with sand, wet with diesel and then set on fire.
The flares must be set 30M apart on the edge of the runway, and preferably at 90M intervals.

A good site to ask more questions is the Recreational Flying forum site, where you will get advice from people who fly regularly.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 618397

Popular Content

Popular Products (17)