Frequently Asked Questions – Flying Training

Q.    Why do planes fly circuits?
A.    Circuit training is an essential part of flying training as decreed by the Civil Aviation Act and Regulations

Q.    What is a circuit?
A.    Flying circuits is a mandatory requirement of flying training.  With the prime objective to practice take-off, approach and landing techniques at an airport.
Stages of a circuit:

  1. Take-off and climb to 500ft (approx 150 metres)
  2. Turn onto Crosswind Leg
  3. Climb to 1,000ft (approx 300 metres)
  4. Reference aerodrome for turn point and turn onto Downwind Leg
  5. Reduce power, turn onto Base and commence descent
  6. Turn onto Final Leg and land

Q    Why to particular aicraft fly over my area?
A    Parafield has two sets of parallel runways and a total of four runways.  Parallel runways enable two circuits to operate at once.  Air Traffic Control will determine which runways are used depending on the direction of the wind.  As twin engine aircraft are generally faster than single engine aircraft, both types are generally, but not always separated.  When using the main runways, twin engine aircraft generally operate to the West and singles to the East.  When winds dictate use of runways “Zero Eight and Two Six” (08/26), twin engine aircraft generally circuit to the North and singles to the South.  At night all aircraft circuit to the West.

Q    Why do aircraft fly over my area at night?
A    The airport must be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and some aircraft will arrive and depart at night.  Also night circuit flying is an important part of advance pilot training and therefore advanced flying students will be required to complete a portion of night circuits.  There is only one lit runway at Parafield, runway “Zero Three Left, Two One Right (03L/21R) and therefore aircraft can only fly on the Western circuit.  Due to courses reaching differing stages, this will mean some nights will have multiple aircraft operating and other nights none at all.

Q.    Can’t the training aircraft conduct circuits over the salt pans?
A.    No. Circuits must be flown directly alongside the runway.  However, training aircraft do fly over the salt pans many times a day while transiting to the airspace locally referred to as the ‘Western Training Area’.  This is a sparsely populated area north of St Kilda, where manoeuvre flying training and practice is conducted.

Q.    Why doesn’t the Airport stop noisy planes from flying?
A.    All aircraft operating in Australia are required to meet an airworthiness standard decreed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), part of which is compliance to a noise measurement standard.  As an airport operator, Parafield Airport Limited does not have any juristictional delegations to direct who can and cannot use the airport or airspace around it.  In fact we are directed by law to not prevent the landing of any aircraft licenced to operate into an airport of Parafield’s capacity.

Q.    Why is early morning a good time for flying?
A.    Early morning is often still air and is good for flight, but training flights are generally spread over the daylight hours, depending on weather conditions.

Q.    Why don’t the aircraft fly over parks instead of houses?
A.    Circuit flying is mandated by CASA guidelines and must be obeyed, but like cars, buses and other forms of transport no two aircraft have the same turning circle or performance characteristics.  Therefore a circuit in one type of aircraft will vary from that of another.

Q.    Who decides where the planes fly?
A.    Flying rules dictate airspace, circuit patterns,  and arrival and departure paths to ensure the safe operation of aircraft operating in our skies.

These are listed in various pilot documents and charts.  Other information regarding arrival and departure tracks can be found on CASA’s website under the heading of “On Track“. This gives visual footage for pilots unfamiliar with Parafield to use for flight planning.

Q.    What is Fly Neighbourly?
A.    The Parafield Fly Neighbourly Program is a set of guidelines that the Flying Training Schools voluntarily agree to in order to minimise impact of flying on local residents.  A technical committee comprised of representatives of the flying training schools, CASA, Airservices Australia (Air Traffic Control) and other members of the aviation community meet four times a year and discuss technical issues such as development and review of the Fly Neighbourly Program and proposals to apply for changes to airspace.  We invite your comment on the Fly Neighbourly Program. Contact us

Q.    What does the Airport do to assist the Community?
A.    The assistance the airport brings to community can be assessed in two specific fields:-

1. Socio Economic
Parafield Airport as a whole is assessed as making a contribution of $184.3 million to Gross State Product and supports 1,007 full time equivalent jobs annually.

The flying training schools additional contribution from student fees, spend and the value of visiting friends and relatives adds $34 million to Gross State Product and equivalent 404 full time equivalent jobs. (Hudson Howells May 2012)

2. Community Investment
We partner responsibly with the community and invest where it will generate a lasting community benefit.

Our Community Investment Strategy is designed to ensure our investment enhances community benefit and complements our corporate and business goals.

‘Three Pillars’ of Sponsorship are drawn from our Vision and Mission:

  • Business and Tourism
  • Community and
  • Environmental Sustainability

Parafield Airport Limited supports many regional festivals and cultural activities as well as local sporting and service clubs.