Employing more than 4,000 staff, approximately 1,000 personnel are dedicated to air traffic control alone working from two major centres, one in Melbourne and another in Brisbane, as well as 29 towers at international and regional airports across Australia.
Australian airspace covers approximately 11 per cent of the earth’s surface and includes that over continental Australia, territorial waters and international boundaries over the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Airservices Australia also manages upper-level airspace (above 30,000 ft) under contract to the neighbouring Pacific Island Flight Information Regions of the Solomon Islands and Nauru.
With approximately 500 navigational aids throughout the country, Airservices Australia is tasked with testing and calibrating these vital pieces equipment on a three-year rotational basis to ensure they remain within the required high tolerances.
Equipment checked include distance measuring equipment (DMEs), VHF Omni-directional range transmitters, non-directional beacons and approach lighting while instrument landing systems (ILS) are tested every six months.
Using three-dimensional laser measuring equipment and GPS technology, information from the navaid is relayed to an aircraft and interpreted by specialist aircrew. The data is then analysed by Airservices maintenance engineers to ensure each navaid is operating accurately.
Based in Brisbane, a dedicated Airservices Flight Inspection Service (FIS) team is responsible for the necessary navaid inspections and utilise two near-new, purposely equipped Hawker Beechcraft B350 Super King Airs (VH-FIY and VH-FIZ) under lease from AeroPearl, sister company to Pearl Aviation.