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Club Events - A Day Out in Sydney
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The CIX VFR Club
Club Events - A Day Out in Sydney
G'day mate!
 Briefing Friday 28th May 2004 
Start Time 19:00 UTC (20:00 BST : 05:00 Australian EST)
Start Location The General Aviation Apron at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. This is the small apron just to the north of the threshold of Runway 25.


(Calm down dear! - it's only a commercial!).

There will be lots of it. Big airports, unfamiliar country. This is where you fall back on your disciplined airmanship, because you have no local knowledge. In other words remain clear of Controlled Airspace unless you have a clearance, maintain altitude and heading accurately. Talk to ATC. State your intentions. Request assistance EARLY if you have a problem. Also, in the Harbour area, keep a good lookout for the rest of the gang buzzing around - and anyone else of course. We no longer fly alone!.

Remember that the ATCO is one of our members. If you have a problem just say so. It will be strange for all of us. David will steer us through (won't you David!).

Flight Plan Having connected and filed your flight plan, make initial Contact with the appropriate controller - Sydney Tower, if present, Approach otherwise, and request radio check and taxi instructions. Have your airport chart handy. As the flight plan should have HBB in the route be ready to accept a clearance to depart the zone to the north for Bankstown.

If you want to be really sure your clearance request could be " request Clearance to Bansktown via Sydney Harbour Area as filed " , The Harbour is only 6nm north of the Airport. Note that the large inlet over which runways 16L/34R and 16R/34L extend is NOT Sydney harbour, but Botany Bay. The clue is - there is no bridge and no Opera House!

When handed over to Sydney Approach from Tower, request clearance to orbit at the Harbour Bridge. Route as directed by the controller to the Harbour and then make your sightseeing orbits to the north of the southern shore of the harbour, and east of the Bridge. This nicely keeps the scenic flights away from Arrs or deps of 16L/34R

After suitable orbits for piccies, we will request onwards clearance to Bankstown which is just outside the Sydney Class C airspace and 11 nm from Sydney international - less from the harbour. Be prepared to be routed north out of the zone rather than direct west. Land at Bankstown.

As there is no controller at Bankstown, Sydney Approach may, if not too busy, act as Bankstown Tower on the Approach Frequency. If you are still under Rader control when approaching Bankstown it's easy the controller should get you to either downwind or on straight in depending on the active runway.

However, if you have left the zone, and are not under Approaches clutches one should approach either over Prospect resevoir (The Bankstown section of ERSA has a small map) or the 2RN radio mast (in the NSWlandinggrounds scenery Addon) On approach to Bankstown, make your initial call to Sydney Approach " Inbound to Bankstown at Prospect " You may then be given clearance to land, or told to contact Unicom on 122.80, in which case select the Unicom frequency 122.80 and transmit your intentions via text. Keep them brief. e.g. "G-CIXN downwind Bankstown for 29R " We will use Teamspeak to decide where to park. If we are on runway 29 Right, then expect to depart the runway at hold Tango 1 and park on the apron directly ahead.

Return Flight

Sydney from the north
View of Sydney from the north
(Click picture to enlarge)

For the return flight (remember to file a new flightplan), contact , in order of preference:-
Bankstown Tower
Sydney Approach while on the ground
Sydney Approach once airborne.

For the return flight, I suggest turning north once airborne to ensure you don't infringe Sydney airspace, and maintain 2000 feet. If there is time, we might extend north up the coast for more sightseeing. When ready to "go home", turn south and just fly down the coast. Remember the "Left Hand Rule" (Keep any line feature you are following - in this case the coastline - on your left).

About 15 - 20 miles north of Sydney on the coast approaching Long Reef (An obvious headland just SW of a lake (see picture opposite), contact Sydney approach once more and just say "Sydney Approach, G-CIXN Approaching Long Reef , request Airways Clearance Long reef to Sydney via Manly ". Manly is on the isthmus at the North end of Sydney harbour northern headland near the area marked R473 on the rough chart on page 24 (see below). Once Radar Identified there is no need for position reports, expect vectoring info to get to the airport.

David will know we haven't a clue where we are going, so hopefully he will give us vectors to the approach. If not, we can request them.

Example Flight Plan for the Outbound journey Sydney Flight PLan
Ground Movement At Sydney International expect an "intersection departure" (not a tem used in the UK). It takes a bit more than 5 minutes to taxi to the threshold of 34 in a R/L jet.
For 34L or 16L, it is recommended that you request a taxi clearance for an intersection departure, which will probably be via taxiway Golf direct to the runway.
For 07, request a taxi clearance for an intersection departure which will probably be via taxiway Golf to hold Bravo.

The official figures are
34L Golf dep = 1136m ; 16L Golf dep 2849; 07 Bravo Dep = 1299
which are all plenty long enough to get a 172 airborne

Radio Discipline


We had problems last time with ATC dialogue being cut across by Teamspeak dialogue. What R/W pilots do is to stop any conversation immediately the R/T comes alive, then continue if "he wasn't talking to us". In our case this is difficult because when transmitting on Teamspeak you can't hear the R/T. The only way I can think to solve this in the short term, is to be very brief on Teamspeak, and be aware that ATC might be trying to get through. If anyone hears an R/T message which seems to be being ignored, just say "ATC is calling G-CIXN" if you have identified the callsign, or "ATC is calling us" which is a cue for evryyone to be quiet on Teamspeak until ATC call again (which they will).
If you have FSNavigator Here is a simple Bankstown-Sydney direct track, just to give you an idea. If you can get hold of a map - even better.
Charts etc. I found the Australian Air Services web site a bit of a struggle (just like the UK AIC site), and never did find a link to the Aerodromes section ERSA FAC from there. However, I did eventually locate it at However the links below give an even more direct route to the information you need.

Sydney (YSSY)

Elevation 21 feet amsl

From scroll down the pdf file presented to page 13 (of 32). I suggest printing page 13, the aerodrome layout, and page 24, which gives a rough area chart (Ignore the low level routes which we won't have to fly!)

(As at Jan 2010 the YSSY charts are at

Radio Sydney ATIS 126.25 (FS)
Tower (Vatsim):120.50
Sydney Approach (Vatsim):124.40
Sydney VOR 'SY' 112.10

Bankstown (YSBK)

Elevation 29 feet amsl

From scroll down the pdf file presented to page 27 (of 32). I suggest printing page 27and 28.

Bankstown ATIS 120.90 (FS)
Bankstown NDB is BK (Ident -.../-.-) 416.00

As at Jan 2010 the YSBK charts are at

Acknowledgment Thanks to David Humble in Sydney for the local information and links to the Australian AIP.
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