Operations resources


Class D airspace




Taxiing and manoeuvring

The separation of aircraft taxiing on the manoeuvring area is the joint responsibility of the pilot and the controller. A taxi clearance from ATC is required before operating on the manoeuvring area (taxiways and runways of any controlled aerodrome). When ATC issue a taxi instruction which includes a holding point, pilots must read back the words ‘Holding point [holding point designator]’. Specific clearance is required to taxi, enter, cross or back-track on a runway


VFR flights wishing to depart without submitting flight notification must provide the following information on first contact with ATC:

  • aircraft callsign and ‘DETAILS’ (wait for a response from ATC)
  • destination and first tracking point
  • preferred level
  • identification of ATIS code received.

These details may be given with the request for taxi clearance.

Within a Class D CTR, a clearance to take off is a clearance to operate within the CTR.

Change to tower frequency

Aircraft should change to tower frequency:

  • in the holding bay, or
  • close to, or at, the holding point of the nominated runway, when ready for take-off.

At Class D aerodromes at which parallel runway operations are in progress, pilots must identify the departure runway when reporting ready. For example: ‘(Callsign) ready runway right’.

A pilot in command must not hold on the runway in use unless ATC has authorised it.

Departure report

At certain Class D aerodromes where the tower also provides a procedural approach control service (see ERSA), a pilot must report on the tower frequency after take-off:

  • track information and
  • the last assigned altitude.

However, this report is not required:

  • for VFR aircraft departing the control zone directly into Class G airspace or
  • for aircraft that have been instructed to contact Centre, Approach or Departures once airborne—in which case an airborne report will be made on the relevant frequency.

Summary of reports – all aircraft in Class D airspace

SituationFrequency to useRemarks
Ready to taxiATCReport
IFR departure in Class D CTR [alt]ATCReport
VFR departure in Class D airspace, unless departing CTR directly in to Class G airspaceATCReport
Position report at prescribed points [alt]ATCReport
ArrivalATCReport (if cancelling SARWATCH)
Source: AIP ENR 1.1

Pilots of VFR flights wanting to operate in other than Class D airspace, and who want to nominate a SARTIME, may submit details in the NAIPS SARTIME flight notification format (via the internet). If submitting the flight notification by fax or via telephone, fill out the Australian domestic flight notification form (AIP ENR 1.10).

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