Be careful to watch for hot air balloons as we explore the Hunter Valley region of NSW for this month's FIFO Friday. Whether you like the big cities or the smaller outback airports, we've got you covered in September. Take in the crisp country air as you explore some of Australia's most infamous wineries and regional towns. Or if that doesn't take your fancy, you can always explore some of the country's best beaches along the coast.
So join us on September 3rd as we try to fully staff up the Hunter Valley region between 0700z-1000z (5pm-8pm AEST : 3pm-6pm AWST). It doesn't matter which plane you want to fly, just hop in and enjoy the scenery. Whether you want to fly between the vibrant towns of Newcastle, Bathurst, and Dubbo, or immerse yourself in the outback, the Hunter Valley region definitely has something for you.
The below map highlights some of the routes available in the region:
With ATC aiming to cover the entire region, pilots are free to fly in whichever direction and between whichever airports they choose. For the more popular airport pairs, we recommend the following routings:
Remember that routes not listed here can be found using the VATPACATC Assist tool.
The Hunter Valley is home to a whole array of magnificent regional airfields for you to explore. Being too small for full control services, OCTA services will be provided by enroute controllers to assist you. Below is a guide to help you with these servies:
The taxi call informs ATC of your intentions and that you are taxiing at your respective airfield. In response, centre will provide you with a traffic statement and a squawk code. Example:
SKP71: "Brisbane Centre, IFR Dash 8, SKYTRANS 71 taxies runway 14 at Pormpuraaw for Cairns"
BN-ARA_CTR: "SKYTRANS78, no reported IFR traffic, squawk 4782"
SKP71: "Squawk 4782, SKYTRANS 71"
Once you have departed, the departure call allows ATC to identify you and to provide you with your airways clearance to your destination. Example:
SKP71: "Centre, SKYTRANS 71 departure"
BN-ARA_CTR: "SKYTRANS 71, centre"
SKP71: "SKYTRANS 71 departed Pormpuraaw at time 49, tracking direct MASHA, passing 4500 for FL190, estimating MASHA at time :02"
BN-ARA_CTR: "SKYTRANS 71, cleared to Cairns via MASHA flight planned route, climb FL190"
SKP71: "Cleared to Cairns via MASHA flight planned route, climbing to FL190, SKYTRANS 71"
As you approach your destination, the centre controller will advise you that you are cleared to leave controlled airspace on your descent. They will provide you with a clearance, traffic statement, and the local QNH.
BN-ARA_CTR: SKYRANS 53, leave control area descending, no reported IFR traffic, area QNH 1015"
Termination of SARWATCH:
Once you have arrived at your destination, inform centre that you have landed and expect them to respond with a termination of your SARWATCH. Example:
SKP53: "Centre, SKYTRANS 53 landed Aurukun, time 38; cancel SARWATCH"
BN-ARA_CTR: "SKYTRANS 53, Aurukun SARWATCH terminated"
Communication with Other Aircraft:
When you are not in communication with the overlying enroute controller, you must announce you intentions on UNICOM (122.800), as well as monitoring and using the local CTAF frequency for traffic in the vicinity.
For more information, see here: https://vatpac.org/help/tutorials/ctaf-unicom-and-vhf2-monitoring/