Ingo Noka

VFR Reporting Points

In Flight Bag, Navigation on February 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm

VFR Reporting Points on the Malaysian Peninsula

28 April 2013: Added waypoints along the east coast and two routes from KL to Kota Bahru.

In Malaysia ATC follows all VFR flights regardless of the classification of the airspace and pilots must submit a flight plan for all VFR cross-country flights.  This practice requires some common understanding of acceptable reporting points between VFR pilots and ATC.  Given the importance of reporting points for VFR flying in Malaysia, there is surprisingly little information and documentation about them.  As I have written in my post about the availability of aviation charts, there is no such thing as up-to-date sectional charts that could be used for flight planning and pilotage navigation.  for small parts of the airspace (Langkawi, Johor, Tioman, KL) I have tried to rectify this by drawing my own maps, but this is a very poor replacement for proper charts.

In addition to drawing my own charts, I have also collected reporting points I have used in my cross-country flying.  And with this post, I am going to share this information (download different versions here V1 V2 V3 V4 V5).  Most pilots own GPS devices and use them for navigational purposes.  Some devices or applications on the iPad or iPhone can import geographical points in certain formats, so I am providing the data in GPX format as well.  I am able to convert this file into other formats, so if you tell me what you need, I may be able to help.  I would certainly be interested in hearing if you have been successful in using the file with your GPS device or application.  I do know for certain that the file can be imported into Google Maps and into the MotionX GPS application on the iPad and iPhone.

So what does the law say about position reporting in VFR flights?  The AIP has a couple of place where position reporting (or rather the use of reporting points in the case of flight planning) is mentioned.   As always, the trick with the air law is to reconcile it with the way things are in real life.  Here is a list of relevant sections and rules from the AIP:

  • Light aircraft in Malaysia need to maintain two-way RTF (VHF) communication when in training or when leaving the CTR of an aerodrome. (ENR 1.1 – 6.1.5 and 6.1.9)
  • All aircraft must report position to the responsible ATC as far as range permits (if outside of VHF range, the pilot must report vi HF).
  • Position report must be made as soon as the aircraft has passed a designated reporting point or an “on request reporting point”.
    As I said earlier, this is not really what is happening in VFR flying.  The designated and “on request” reporting points are defined in ENR 3 and are designed for commercial IFR flights.   Many reporting points we commonly use in Malaysia are not listed there, so I can only assume a reporting point are also considered designated if you include it in your flight plan and ATC accepted that flight plan.  The next reporting point in your position report is also likely considered designated assuming that ATC responds by asking you to report at that point.  In the AIP and on charts designated (compulsory) reporting points are marked with a black triangle and “on request” reporting points with a triangle that is empty (not filled with any color).  Of course, ATC may ask you to report at any other point they deem necessary.  (As a point of only passing interest for light aircraft in VFR conditions: There are six designated reporting points at which the pilot must include meteorological conditions in the position report.)
  • If there are no designated reporting points (e.g. you have filled no flight plan, such as for a flight in a training area) and no “on request” reporting points either, the pilot must report position in latitude and longitude notation every hour and report operation normal every thirty minutes.  Of course, ATC can ask for more frequent “ops normal” reports.  For example Johor Tower is usually asking for a report every 10 minutes.  In the training areas over Johor, ATC won’t expect you to report the coordinates of your position.  Simply, “South, West or North of Gunung Pulai” will do.

Types of reporting points

  • Airport identifiers
  • Names of locations and areas related to the control zone of an airport (circuit, East/West of Airfield etc.)
  • Names of geographic areas designated by local tradition (e.g. South of Gunung Pulai at Senai Airport)
  • Names of Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas (and the point of entry or exit at the boundary of the area)
  • Names of VFR lane start/end points as defined in ENR 3.5 – Other Routes
  • Names of navigation aids as defined in ENR 4.1 – Radio Navigation AIDS- En-Route
  • Names of reporting points as defined in ENR 4.3 (also ENR 3.1 and 3.3)
  • Names of other geographic locations (usually defined in the flight plan)
  • Position within the circuit of an airport: downwind (abeam the upwind end of the runway), base leg (after completing the turn from downwind), final (less than 4 nm of the threshold) and long final (8 nm off the threshold)
  • Latitude and Longitude

IFR reporting points are not commonly used for VFR location reporting, but I have heard ATC using IFT reporting points in or close to their control zones and terminal management areas.

Other phrases used in position reporting

  • “Over the coast …”
    Often it makes more sense to fly along the coast rather than on a straight line between reporting points.  Usually there are less clouds and the air is smoother over the water.
  • “Coasting in/out …”
    You may hear this from aircraft that are on straight in approaches from the sea or that take off and proceed out into the sea.
  • “Over the water …”
    If you are cruising along the coast it is often of interest to other pilots or ATC whether you are on the land or sea side of the coast.  So, let them know.
  • “Extended center line …” (of a runway)
    If you are crossing the approach path of an airport, ATC may ask you to report passing the extended center line of a runway.  As far as I can tell, ATC will give you the runway number relating to the take off direction.  For example, when you are passing Malacca town flying along the coast, ATC may ask you to report hen crossing the extended centerline of runway 21.
  • “Abeam …”
    It need to be clear where in relation to the point you are.  If you are traveling a well defined path that is obvious to ATC (maybe the coast line), reporting position abeam an island, a town or river mouth makes sense.
  1. From “local area knowledge”:
    If you fly near Simpang (WMKF), you need to know Bukit Besi & Ampang Hilir. If you’re flying at WMR236 (near WMKF), you need to know where’s Sg. Long, Ulu Langat, Ulu Langat dam and Semenyih. Simpang tower & local pilots sometimes refer to them.

    If flying at Subang (WMSA) you need to know Bukit Subang.

    • Thanks for the information. I will try to find the exact coordinates and come back to you should I have problems finding the places you mentioned.

      Do you normally use these reporting points when you do KL City tours or when you fly the inland route down to Malacca, Senai or Singapore?

  2. 23 February 2013 – Updated the PDF version to include DM.S notation , e.g. 1º39’13” to 1º39.22′ – This is to support the input of user waypoints into the KLN 89B GPS system from Bendix/King

  3. Flying cross country VFR in Malaysia, is there any weather forecast services available?
    I see most flying club pilots just make a phone call to airports that are enroute or their destination to find out the current weather.
    By right, flying cross country we should have forecast weather, wind info etc etc.
    Are those available in Malaysia?

    • In preparatin for a flight I suggest you refer to the METAR and TAF and the rain radar services that re publicly available (for example this one from the Meteorological Department of Malaysia or this one from the Singaporean service). Everything else is guess work, experience, luck and a conservative approach to risk taking.

  4. Thank you very very much!
    If you have more pls update (or is that about covers the whole of Peninsular Malaysia?)
    What chart do you use? TPCL10CS or induvidual TPCL10 (A to D) or just GPS which by right is not “legal” for VFR navigation…

    • Hi Gordon
      I have summarized the situation regarding maps in my post “Aeronautical charts of Malaysia”. In short, there are no up to date charts. I am using charts that have the airspaces etc drawn manually from the flying club I am flying from.
      GPS is not mentioned in the AIP as far as I can tell. If you use any GPS device you will have to do it at your own risk.

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