Ayers Rock, Australia
The airport is located 10nm N of Ayers Rock “Uluru” near the southern edge of Australia’s Northern Territory. It sits at 1626ft amsl with terrain rising to 3500ft amsl within 15nm to the W and Uluru sitting at almost 3000ft amsl to the S. The Kata Tjuta National Park lies 14nm SW of the airport and contains a series of large domed rocks known as “The Olgas”. The highest, Mount Olga rises to 3450ft amsl.
It is an uncontrolled airport and as such has no Air Traffic Control service. However, it has been designated a CTAF-R airport which signifies that it has been assigned a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) – 126.9 MHz and all aircraft operating there have to be equipped with a radio.
Note: Pilots should refer to the airport as “Ayers Rock Airport” and the rock itself as “The Rock”.
Ayers Rock airport operates a Certified Air/Ground Radio Service (CA/GRS) on the CTAF during certain hours of the day (normally 23:30-06:15 GMT). This is a radio information service to provide pilots with operational information – it is not a separation service. The Certified Air/Ground Radio Operator (CA/GRO) is available to assist pilots in making informed operational decisions. Pilots retain authority and responsibility for the acceptance and use of the information provided. The callsign used to speak to the operator is “Ayers Rock Radio”. It is recommended that inbound Jet aircraft contact the CA/GRO as soon as possible (around 150nm) with an ETA to allow adequate time for the CA/GRO to alert the other aircraft in the area. Whilst the CA/GRS is operating, an Automatic Aerodrome Information Service (AAIS) is available on a separate frequency to provide weather and airport information.
The CTAF frequency also has an Aerodrome Frequency Response Unit (AFRU) which assists pilots’ awareness of inadvertent selection of an incorrect VHF frequency when operating into non-towered aerodromes. When the aerodrome traffic frequency has not been used for the past five (5) minutes, the next transmission over 2 seconds long will cause a voice identification to be transmitted in response; e.g. “Ayers Rock CTAF”.
Caution: Ayers Rock Airport is recognised to be one of the world’s busiest uncontrolled airports. There are a large number of small sight-seeing aircraft operating in the local area as well as larger jet transport aircraft arriving from the major Australian hubs. It is therefore vital that the advice in this brief is followed and aircraft speed is reduced appropriately approaching the airport. Reports indicate that R/T standards are poor at times especially when the CA/GRO is not operating. Regular radio calls are to be made stating intentions and crew must ensure an efficient look-out is maintained.
Once the aircraft has descended into the area of Class G airspace surrounding the airport, the crew are responsible for their own traffic and terrain separation. Consideration must be given to aircraft proceeding outbound from AYQ on a reciprocal track and pilot-to-pilot coordination will be required to ensure adequate separation. Arriving aircraft must broadcast their aircraft type, ETA, intended runway for landing and planned circuit entry procedure. Updates on position and intentions must be broadcast once the aircraft is within a minimum of 20nm from the airport – Jet aircraft are advised to make calls earlier due to their higher ground speed.
The only available instrument procedure is a non-precision NDB/DME approach to RWY 31 with circling available to RWY 13. In order to remain clear of the sight-seeing traffic arriving from the SW, all circling approaches and visual circuits should normally be carried out to the NE of the airport.
Caution: Visual aspect of the narrow runway will make aircraft appear high on final approach.
RUNWAY AND AIRPORT FACILITIES
The RWY is 30m wide and only TWYs A and E are wide enough for use by larger aircraft. The turning points at the end of each RWY must be used whenever a 180° turn is required. The old turning point 1,300ft from the RWY 31 threshold is no longer in use.
Taxi intentions should be transmitted on the CTAF and minimum power should be used whilst taxiing to prevent corrosion of soft TWY shoulders.
Pilot activated lighting is available by transmitting 3 x 2 second pulses on frequency 120.6 MHz.
RFF 6 is available Sun-Thurs 2300-0815 GMT and Fri 2300-0715 GMT.
Airport Fire Service Frequency 131.0 MHz, callsign “Ayers Rock Fire”.
TAKE-OFF AND DEPARTURE
MTOM can be performance limited from AYQ when a high OAT exists. Careful consideration should be given to this before deciding on fuel for the departure.
Prior to taxiing call Melbourne Centre Flight Information Area (FIA) on 121.85 MHz to confirm flight plan and controlled airspace joining instructions. They will issue a clearance and advise of other IFR traffic.
Departure intentions should be transmitted to the CA/GRO or announced on the CTAF, and flap retraction delayed until clear of the traffic area. Once clear, Melbourne Centre should be notified of the departure and first waypoint ETA. If departing RWY 13, a left turn should be carried out to avoid both the area of high traffic density and overflying the town of Yulara.
During initial climb the aircraft will be in Class G airspace. Consideration must therefore be given to aircraft proceeding inbound AYQ on a reciprocal track as pilot-to-pilot coordination will be required to ensure adequate separation. Updates on position and intentions must be broadcast on the CTAF until the aircraft has reached a minimum of 20nm from the airport.
Hazardous conditions may exist with an easterly wind on RWY 13. Information received indicates that ambient conditions could change rapidly with strong easterly winds creating very hazardous conditions including reduced visibility due to raised dust. Dust devils and associated turbulence are also hazards.