The Victor 1 Coastal VFR Flight Plan
The Sydney Metropolitan Map and Coastline
As a recently qualified pilot, I was thrilled upon learning that even with just a Recreational Pilot's licence, I had the freedom to fly up to a radius of 25 nautical miles in uncontrolled/Class G airspace out of my base training airport i.e. Bankstown Airport in Sydney, Australia. This meant that I had to get myself checked out for one of the most beautiful scenic VFR flights in the world, the V1 (or Victor 1) Coastal South/North coastal flight.
For any pilot, new or veteran, this is one route you've got to try if you are based in or ever visiting the Harbour city. This hub aims to make understanding this route simple since in practice this flight would require a few radio calls and changes to radio frequencies; not to forget also wearing life jackets given you will only be flying 500 feet MSL over the Tasman Sea!.
How to Fly the Victor 1 Coastal VFR Route
- Depart Bankstown Airport using runways 11L or 11 C/29R or 29 C after requesting taxi and clearance for a Crosswind departure. After take off, climb to either an altitude of 1,000 feet (Local QNH) if taking off from runways 29R/29C or to an altitude of 1,500 feet (Local QNH) if taking off runways 11L/11C.After reaching 500 feet, track towards Parramatta CBD while monitoring Bankstown Airport's tower frequency of 132.80 Mhz. Use your VTC to identify the switch from Bankstown Tower frequency to Sydney Tablelands Frequency (124.55 Mhz). Also, change squawk to 1200-ALT from 3000-ALT after passing the Prospect pipelines between Bankstosn airport and Parramatta CBD.
- Near Parramatta, climb to an altitude of 2,000 and track towards the Pennant Hills strobe light (VTC Mag Track 020) - Keep the hospital to the right.
- After passing Pennant Hills switch to Sydney Centre at125.80 Mhz.
- Between Pennant Hills and Hornsby CBD, turn right towards Terry Hills (look towards the Terry Hills weather radar and then the Bah'ai temple - they will appear as two white dots behind each other). Should you wish, you can climb up to an altitude of 2,500 feet but this is optional given you will descending to 500 feet very soon.
- Bear/turn right and track towards Long Reef (look for the putting green protruding out on a head to the sea) right near Terry Hills, keeping the electric substation to your right. Keep monitoring Sydney Centre at 125.80 Mhz and descend to 500 feet.
- At Long Reef, switch to Victor 1 Coastal Traffic CTAF at 120.80 Mhz - make a general radio call attention Victor 1 traffic to advise you will be coastal flying the V1 southern route at 500 feet. DO NOT IGNORE THIS CALL!
Taking off from Bankstown Airport
- Stay clear off the heads and make two more generic radio calls at Bondi and Maroubra.
- You will reach Cronulla after crossing Kurnell Water Plant - you can countour fly Cronulla coast if you wish but not mandatory.
- Ensure you DO NOT fly over 500 feet as this will make you enter controlled Class-C airspace around Sydney's Kingsford Smith International Airport.
- Also, when flying past Cronulla, watch out for jets on final for runways 34L/34R and ensure you stay clear of any jetwash/wake turbulence.
Flying past Manly heads in Sydney, Australia
Bondi Beach, Sydney.
Flying under a Jetstar Australia's Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Final for YSSY, runway 34L
- Keep tracking south and stay clear of higher south coast terrain after Jibbon Pointt until reaching Sea Cliff Bridge. Passing Jibbon Point, switch back to Sydney Tablelands Centre at 124.55 Mhz and maintain 500 feet at sea (or climb to 1,000 feet).
- At Sea Cliff Bridge, WATCH OUT for Paragliders, climb to 3,500 feet while orbiting left and make your way inland towards Wedderburn/Appin (Keep Wedderburn airstrip to the right).
- After crossing Appin, look for the Hume Motorway and turn north tracking the highway and look for 2RN (listed as TWO RN on the VTC). Keep Campbelltown to the right to ensure you don't encroach restricted airspace near Holsworthy. Switch to Bankstown ATIS at 120.90 Mhz followed by Bankstown tower (132.80) and make your inbound call over 2RN at 1,500 feet. Change Squawk back to 3000-ALT.
- Depending on the runway in use, maintain 1,500 feet and either head towards Warwick Farm and set up for final (runways 11L/11C) or track towards North Sydney CBD before orientating towards Parramatta CBD when crosswind to the airport. Turn downwind near the Velodrome and follow instructions from the tower.