Ingo Noka

Give me some space

In Flight Bag, Knowledge, Navigation on April 8, 2014 at 2:23 am

Airspace around KL International Airport in Malaysia

Have you, like me, looked with green envy at the navigation apps that are available to pilots in the US and Europe? The richness and accuracy of data and the functionality of these new applications is incredible.  Unfortunately, literally none of this can be had for South East Asia.

As the readers of my blog will know, I have tried to rectify the lack of proper aviation charts for Malaysia with reporting point data and some self-created charts. The availability of  applications on the iPhone or iPad with rudimentary support for Malaysian maps has improved the situation as well.  But so far there is no application I am aware off that provides airspace information.

With this post I am giving you a little bit of the aviation chart heaven that our brethren in other countries have been flying in.

When I tried out the Airnav Pro app, I noticed the app can import airspace definition files in either OpenAir or Tim Newport Peace (TNP) text files.  Unfortunately, there is no automatic way I could see to convert the airspace data available in the Malaysia AIP into one of the supported file formats.  And so I took it upon myself to figure out what the authors of the AIP had in mind when they wrote their airspace descriptions.  What the authors certainly didn’t have in mind was consistency, but in the end I managed to transfer all CTR, TMA, Prohibited, Danger and Restricted airspaces into the TNP format.

Airnav Pro ignores most of the information that is available in the TNP file, for example the radio frequencies and some of the airspace designation, but overall it is usable for flight planning.  Note, that I cannot recommend to use Airnav Pro for navigation.  It freezes often on my brand new iPad mini and I wouldn’t want to rely on it in the air.

In order to use the  airspace data follow this proces::

  1. Download the airspace definition file here.
  2. Get Airnav Pro from the app store and install it on your iPhone or iPad (it is available for Android as well)
  3. In Settings/Add-ons (Map Store) load the free map data available for Malaysia (basically the old ONC map and the OpenStreet map)
  4. Go to Settings/Network and enable web server
  5. Type the address displayed just under the toggle button in the Airnav Pro settings into the address field of your browser.  You should get something like this.
  6. Go to the Airspace tab and delete any data that is already there (when you start there should be nothing, but later when you install new versions of the file you have to delete the old version first)
  7. Finally click the upload button in the airspaces tab and you should get a pop-up window allowing you to choose a file for upload (scull up if you cannot see it)
  8. After a while the airspaces will show up in Airnav pro (You may have to reload the application of zoom in and out a bit before the new data is actually displayed).
  9. Now you can play with the setting available under the Globe/Key icon, where you can choose the airspaces you want to see and also filter by altitude, which can be handy if you fly low and don’t want airspaces with higher bottoms clutter your screen.

As usually, I am interested in feedback and corrections.

Just a quick reminder what the different airspaces mean for an enterprising VFR flyer in Malaysia:

Airspace definition according to Ingo
Airspace Definition
Prohibited Airspace Do not go there … ever!
Restricted Airspace Stay out if you can. Read the AIP and the NOTAMs and ask for advice if you absolutely have to go there.
Danger Airspace You might as well stay home if you want to avoid the danger areas in Malaysian airspace, but it cannot hurt to know why it is designated a Danger area.
CTR The control zone area (no idea what the R stands for) around an airport from the ground to around 3000 to 5000 feet altitude. Ask permission from tower before flying into one of those. The tower will keep you clear of IFR traffic, but you have to look out for other VFR flyers around the circuit. Since CTRs are usually below 10000 feet MSL, you need to stay 1,500 meters away from clouds around you and 1000 feet from clouds above or below your aircraft. The Visibility for VFR flight must be at least 5 kilometres.
TMA The area surrounding the control zone of an import. The TMA usually start a few thousand feet above surface level and is designed to include the flight path airplanes will fly when they use the approach procedures. For most airports in Malaysia you must ask permission from tower before flying into one of those. There are exceptions.  For Penang, as an example, you will talk to Butterworth approach for that purpose. The same weather minima and separation rules apply since TMA and CTR areas are designed class C airspace at the altitudes we are flying in VFR.

 

And here are a few more screen shots of the Airnav Pro application in all its airspace glory.

Airspaces around Johor Senai Airport

 

Information you get when touching the screen anywhere within the airspace

  1. Well done,Ingo for the great effort in the much needed DIY chart .will certainly try it out very soon. Thx a lot,Terrence

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