F1 Grand Prix Temporary Restricted Airspace

The return of the F1 circus for the start of the 2020 season means the return of the TRA (Temporary Restricted Airspace) as in previous years. All pilots are urged to read the AIP SUP and NOTAMs to be fully aware of when these areas are going to become active.

Overview of the Melbourne F1 GP airspace.
NOT FOR NAVIGATION, CHECK NOTAM and AIP SUP for current information!

As in previous years the smaller “Track UNICOM” TRA R990 will be active most of the time and contain helicopter operations to/from and around the track. Please note that this follows the shoreline so you will have to be established offshore prior to Station Pier and until after Point Ormond. It is unknown if Point Ormond parachute operations will be suspended for the four days of the F1 carnival. Also be aware:

  • Inbound to Essendon via APL is not available.
  • City Orbits may still be possible at 1500 or 2000.
  • The section of the Yarra CTAF between ‘Track UNICOM’ and the Melbourne CTR is not practicably navigable, STAY AWAY.
  • Be aware that with the top of the TRA at 1500ft and the base of C at 1500 or 2000ft there is precious little room. Best to avoid overflight.
  • Note there is NO gap at 1500 between the 1500ft step and the Track UNICOM airspace!

The bigger one to watch for is TRA R992 ‘Air Display’. This is active for shorter periods associated with air displays over the GP and facilitates these high energy displays that need much more room to manourvre safely. Displays last year included the Roulettes, Hawk, FA18 Hornet and even the C17 Globemaster! This year I wouldn’t be surprised if we not only get the ‘new’ PC21 Roulettes but also an F35 display.

Be aware that when active this airspace is active to the base of CTA (actually joins to an internal volume that goes to 25,000ft when required!) . The high energy aerobatics of these high performance aircraft can be anywhere from the just above the track to well into the flight levels! This area places MAJOR restrictions on operations. In and out of Essendon is not available to the south (in fact you’ll find that most ops at EN will be curtailed during displays), MB via Brighton is also not available and the coast between Altona and Picnic Point is closed.

If you are planning on flying GP weekend (including the Thursday and Friday!) then I’d recommend utilising the club life jackets as you may need to track MUCH further out overwater than usual. Also my usual recommendations apply:

  • Preflight briefings are as important as Preflight inspections!
  • Check your NOTAMs!
  • File a flight plan, always.
  • Ask for Flight Following.
  • ‘Uncertain of position’ (aka lost)?? ASK! 135.7 is there to help!
  • Unsure if any of the airspace is active?? ASK! 135.7 is there to help!
  • 135.7 is there to help! Notice a theme?? ATC would much rather answer a ‘silly’ question (none are silly really) than issue safety alerts and fill in incident reports!

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