The reporter expressed a safety concern related to how busy the 124.2 broadcast zone has become.
This zone covers the Ballina Certified Air/Ground Radio Service (CA/GRS), Lismore Airport, Casino Airport and Evans Head Aerodrome. The airspace is very busy servicing all categories of airspace use from high capacity operations, general aviation, training flights, multiple parachuting operations, ultralight operations and hang gliding operations. The frequency congestion is leading to situations where pilots are losing situational awareness leading to unsafe situations where aircraft are joining circuits against the flow of traffic, over transmissions, unsure of other aircraft tracking.
This broadcast zone needs to separated before a serious incident occurs.
Regulator's response (Regulator 1)
CASA has reviewed the REPCON and provides the following comments. CASA is scheduled to conduct on-site surveillance at Ballina airport between 9 and 10 October 2017. That surveillance activity will assess safety issues in relation to the requirements of CASR Parts 139 and 172. In preparation for the audit, the REPCON and related safety analytics produced by CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) have been provided to the audit team. The audit will consider radio frequency congestion.
The reporter’s recommendation that ‘this broadcast zone needs to be separated before a serious incident occurs’ needs to be clarified. CASA is not clear if the reporter is recommending that an aircraft separation service be provided or that each aerodrome referenced needs to be allocated a discrete radio broadcast frequency.
The ATSB advised CASA that the reporter was suggesting that with the increased amount of radio traffic at Ballina, perhaps it should be allocated a discrete radio broadcast frequency. A copy of the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport Safety Analysis can be found on the CASA website.