General Aviation

Published on May 2nd, 2016 | by Mark Dwyer


IAA Radio Survey results released

The Irish Aviation Authority has released the results of the Radio Survey that was conducted in April 2015. The survey was launched in response to EU Regulation No 1079/2012, which requires all aircraft to have 8.33 kHz spacing compliant radios by 1st January 2018.

The frequency band 117.975 – 137 MHz is allocated on a worldwide basis to the Aeronautical Mobile Service (AM(R)S) and is mainly used for aeronautical air/ground voice communications and air/ground data communications. This band can support 760 channels, if these channels are spaced by 25 kHz. The very high number of frequency assignments (channels) in the central European region means that a readily available frequency can rarely be found. This is known as frequency congestion. To increase the number of channels available, in the medium to long term, it was decided to reduce the channel spacing to 8.33 kHz. This reduction allows for the creation of three channels where before there was only one. Radios used on aircraft operating in airspace above flight level 195 (19,500 ft) have been required to have 8.33 kHz spacing compliant radios for a number of years now. Aircraft flying under Instrument Flight Rules in Class A, B or C airspace have been obliged to have 8.33 kHz spacing compliant radios since 1 January 2014. Regulation (EU) No 1079/2012 is the final phase of converting all air/ground voice communication channels to 8.33 kHz channel spacing. This requires that all radios used in airspace where carriage of radio is required, be capable of being tuned to frequencies spaced at 8.33 kHz intervals, by 1st January 2018.

Survey Highlights

  • 124 Valid Responses received
  • 75 unique aircraft were included in the survey responses
  • Only 8 aircraft are currently fitted with 8.33kHz compliant radios

IAA Radio Survey Results

Full survey results are available HERE

With the cheapest 8.33kHz radio on the market costing over €1,000 (not including installation), compliance with this regulation will be expensive for aircraft owners and operators. It may even force many to remove their radio installation with obvious safety implications. The UK CAA has submitted an EU funding application to support GA re-equipage with 8.33kHz radios. The funding application is for 20% of the 8.33 equipage costs per aircraft.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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