Aviation safety is of the utmost importance

Handy guide will help our pilots land safely

Date published

01 Aug 2022

The RFDS is constantly working to utilise the best work practices to ensure we deliver the finest care to our community.

By law and in accordance with RFDS procedures, our pilots need to have determined the proposed landing area is suitable for operations. To do that, we often need your help.

To provide the most relevant information when conducting a runway strip inspection on a station, and if safe to do so, we ask you drive a least once down the centre of the strip in the area where the aircraft will land.

It is important to pay extra attention to both ends of the landing strip as this will most likely be the spot aircraft can get bogged during a turn.

Guide will help our pilots land safely

We have also put together a guide on what type of questions to expect from our pilots when they call to check the strip prior to departure or are en route over the satellite phone:

  • If you have a number of strips, which one(s) is operational;
  • Can you confirm the length of the strip (approx. is fine);
  • When was the strip last graded, compacted or slashed; (if your are not sure, just a description of the surface including surface stability will suffice);
  • Is there any vegetation on the strip and if so, what type and how high;
  • Has there been any significant growth of vegetation in the undershoot (under the approach path as the aircraft comes in to land within approx. 100 meters from the end of the runway) or overshoot area (area under the path of the aircraft after take-off from the end of the runway to approximately 100 meters) since the strip was last used. If so, approximately how high and approx. how far from the runway;
  • Any new power lines or antennas installed near the strip;
  • How far down did your tyre tracks sink into the surface and which section was the softest;
  • How much rain have you had recently and if significant, has the strip drained or dried;
  • Has the strip suffered erosion or washout since last graded;
  • Can your vehicle comfortably conduct a U-turn at each end of the runway travelling at approximately 20km/hr without the concern of understeer;

If you don’t remember to check everything or you become aware of issues with the strip during the inspection, don’t stress. Our team will work with you to find a means to confirm the suitability of the strip or if needed, determine other suitable landing options.

Remember: Always take care and look out of other aircraft prior to and while inspecting the strip.