General resources


Rules of the air


Non-controlled aerodromes

Responsibility for compliance with rules of this division CAR 164

When operating an aircraft on or in the vicinity of an aerodrome the pilot in command shall be responsible for compliance by the aircraft with the following rules:

Operation on and in the vicinity of non-controlled aerodromes

CAR 166, CAR 166A, CAR 166B, CAR 166C

An aircraft is ‘in the vicinity of’ a non-controlled aerodrome if it is within:

  • airspace other than controlled airspace; and
  • 10 nm from the aerodrome; and
  • a height above the aerodrome that could result in conflict with operations at the aerodrome.

If an aerodrome reference point (ARP) is published for the aerodrome in AIP,
the distance or height must be measured from that point.

The pilot in command of an aircraft that is being operated on, or in the vicinity
of, an aerodrome:

  • must maintain a lookout for other aircraft to avoid a collision
  • must ensure the aircraft does not cause a danger to other aircraft
  • must not take off or land on a part of the aerodrome outside the landing area.

If pilots are flying in the vicinity of the aerodrome they must:

  • join the circuit pattern for the aerodrome, or
  • avoid the circuit pattern.

When approaching or taking off from an aerodrome the pilot must make all turns to the left unless:

  • CASA has directed otherwise for that particular aerodrome, or
  • when entering the upwind, crosswind or downwind leg, or
  • when following an instrument procedures in IMC
  • when conducting a visual circling procedure after completing an instrument
    approach in IMC.

After take-off the pilot must maintain the same track from take-off until the aircraft is 500 ft above the terrain unless a turn is required to avoid terrain.

The pilot in command must take off or land into wind unless:

  • the aircraft’s flight manual allows the aircraft to take off or land downwind and
  • after considering other aircraft operating on, or in the vicinity of, the aerodrome
    the pilot believes it is safe to do so.

The pilot in command may carry out a straight-in approach to land provided, the pilot:

  • determines the wind direction and the runways in use
  • gives way to any other aircraft flying in the circuit pattern for the aerodrome and
  • manoeuvres to establish the aircraft on final approach at least 3 nm from the threshold intended for landing.

The pilot in command is responsible for making a broadcast on the aerodrome frequency when the aircraft is operating on, or in the vicinity of, a non-controlled aerodrome.

The pilot must broadcast information whenever it is reasonably necessary to do so to avoid risk of collision and must include:

  • the name of the aerodrome
  • the aircraft’s type and callsign and
  • the position of the aircraft and the pilot’s intentions.

Procedure at controlled aerodromes CAR 167

The pilot in command of an aircraft that is part of the traffic at a controlled aerodrome must:

  • maintain a lookout for other aerodrome traffic to avoid a collision
  • maintain a continuous listening watch on the radio frequency for the aerodrome control service
  • maintain a listening watch for, or obtain clearance by, radio or visual signals, prior to carrying out any taxiing, landing or take-off manoeuvre.

Aerodromes at which the operation of aircraft is not restricted to runway

The rules to be followed by aircraft operation at such aerodromes can be found in CAR 168.

Use of aerodromes CAR 92

An aircraft shall not land at, or take off from, any place unless:

  • the place is an aerodrome established under the Air Navigation Regulations
  • the use of the place as an aerodrome is authorised by a certificate, or registration under CASR Part 139
  • the place is an aerodrome for which an arrangement under section 20 of the Act is in force and the use of the aerodrome by aircraft engaged in civil air navigation is authorised by CASA under that section or
  • the place (other than in the above three points) is suitable for use as an aerodrome for the purposes of the landing and taking off of aircraft; and, having regard to all the circumstances of the proposed landing or take-off (including the prevailing weather conditions), the aircraft can land at, or take off from, the place in safety.

Guidance as to the suitability of such aerodromes as may be found in CAAP 92 ‘Guidelines for aeroplane landing areas’.

Emergency landings

When safety is involved, the nearest aerodrome which will permit a landing without danger to the aircraft may be used, irrespective of the damage that may be caused to the pavement.

Mercy flights AIP ENR 1.1

Decisions should be made in accordance with the degree of urgency involved. Severe overloading of pavements is acceptable if the safety of patients, crew and aircraft is not thereby jeopardised.

Circuit height AIP ENR 1.1

By convention, the following circuit heights are flown:

  • High performance, above 150 kt, 1500 ft AGL
  • Medium performance, between 55 kt and 150 kt, 1000 ft AGL
  • Low performance, maximum 55 kt, 500 ft AGL

Circuit heights for aerodromes which have specific requirements are published in ERSA.

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