Flying in and out of Sydney International

In June 2013 I flew for the first time into Sydney International Airport (YSSY) in the PC-12, and then flew back home to Adelaide a week later (with a video camera running).

Flying into YSSY is a different kettle of fish, compared to coming into smaller airports. It is ‘procedurally intense’. There is more going on, including more rapid-fire changes of radio frequency.

On the way in, you don’t just get sequenced from Centre to Approach to Tower to Ground, but there’s one more layer of radio (Sydney Director) added. There are also two tower frequencies and two ground frequencies. Its all about scale and volume…

Flight path into Sydney

Flight path into Sydney

Coming in, we were vectored out over the bay into a big descending teardrop pattern to line us up for Runway 34R. Getting from the runway to the parking area was done with great care – there are a lot of taxiways in Sydney, and some of them are ‘one way’ … and all of them seemed to have aircraft… BIG aircraft… moving around on them when I landed 🙂

For the flight home at the end of the week (YSSY back to YPAD), I had a friend on board who brought a GoPro camera with him.

Based on that footage, I’ve put together a couple of YouTube videos that show you the view from the cockpit, and what goes on in mechanical terms, to start the aircraft and depart, and later to land the aircraft and shut down.

Here’s the startup/takeoff video from Sydney:

And here’s the landing/shutdown video into Adelaide:


The visibility was much better than it appeared (though it was raining in Sydney). The GoPro is doing the best it can with the extreme difference in light level between the cockpit and the outside world, and as a result, the outside world component of the image is over-exposed.

Amongst the many nifty things in a modern glass cockpit, you can see on the main pilot displays that there is a computer rendition of the runway. This is ‘synthetic vision’ – a situational awareness enhancement that is essentially a flight sim running inside the display computer, verifying what you should see out of the window at the time – including runways, land, water, mountains, etc…

The landing into Adelaide was visual and again the visibility was much better than the video would make you think that it was. We got pushed around a bit on the approach due to a crosswind. You can see me having to work a bit to hold the aircraft on the approach path as a result, though it settled out well during the latter part of the approach and flare.

I do claim to be getting the hang of smooth landings in this aircraft at this point 🙂