Dubbo Aerodrome - 2007

main RPT apronpassenger terminalRoyal Flying Doctor Service hangar - opened in 1999Air Link fleet - Beech 1900, 2 x Piper Chieftains, Cessna 310 - based at DubboIlluminated Wind Indicator - click here for moreaerodrome Signal Area - click here for moreAT-VASIS - click here for moreGeneral Aviation apron & hangars

The photo above shows the main infrastructure associated with Dubbo aerodrome, photographed on 30 September 2007 looking south. Roll your cursor over the photo to identify various points of interest.

Of particular note is the Abbreviated T-VASIS (or AT-VASIS) installation on the left side of Runway 05. A full installation would have an identical array on both sides of the runway. It's easy to see the number of light-boxes in the array, and the amount of 'real estate' occupied by the installation - one reason why many aerodromes are replacing their T-VASIS with the simpler PAPI system.

Also highlighted in the photo above, and shown in the photos below, is the former Flight Service Unit building. This relatively modern building is somewhat unusual for FSUs in that the actual operations area was a glass 'tower' offering a good view of the aerodrome and circuit area. Many FSUs (for example, Mildura) were deliberately set up so that they did not have a view of the aerodrome in order to 'prevent the Flight Service Officers from trying to become Air Traffic Controllers'. Needless to say, a good view of the aerodrome and environs offered considerable efficiency benefits.

Before face-to-face pilot briefing services were withdrawn in the early 1990s, the FSU also included a Briefing Office facility.

Dubbo Flight Service closed down in the 1990s as part of the consolidation of regional FSUs into Centres located in the capital cities. Part of the building remained in use as a Maintenance Depot for Airservices Australia's radio and navigation aid technicians who remained based in Dubbo.


The photo below shows the interior of the former FSU as it was in September 2005.


From 7 December 2007, the former FSU was once again put to use as the base for a six month trial Unicom service operated by Airservices Australia. According to a press release from the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, "trained operators at the non-air traffic control towered airports will provide general weather reports, basic air traffic information and details about the services and facilities available at both airports to enhance the safety of regular passenger services into these destinations. Pilots approaching within an approximate 20 nautical mile radius of the cities will radio for information using Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) channels."

"The safety of Australia's regional airports continues to be a priority for this Government and, subject to the successful trials at Dubbo and Wagga Wagga, we expect to see substantial improvement from this pilot information service," Mr Vaile said. "Subject to the trial results, the future plan is to roll out Unicom services at similar regional airports around Australia."

(Photos: Phil Vabre)

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