BETTER RECEPTION: Local pilot Richard Szlicht believes the increase in mobile phone reception will not affect pilots’ flying ability but will keep them better connected in remote locations.
BETTER RECEPTION: Local pilot Richard Szlicht believes the increase in mobile phone reception will not affect pilots’ flying ability but will keep them better connected in remote locations. Adam Hourigan

Improved mobile reception means little for Rivers pilots

DESPITE claims that increased mobile reception will make aviation that much easier in the Northern Rivers, local aviation experts insist it will not make much of a difference to the actual flying of the aircraft.

The Federal Government's recent proposal to upgrade more than 90 mobile black spots in the Northern Rivers region was met with praise from the local community.

Members of the aviation industry discussed the increased mobile coverage and the possibility that it will make flying on the North Coast more accommodating.

Local aviation experts do not believe it will make flying easier for pilots, but instead will make them more accessible in remote locations.

South Grafton pilot and aircraft enthusiast Richard Szlicht said that most aircrafts flying today utilised satellites more often than mobile phone towers.

"The increase in mobile phone coverage across the North Coast really has no bearing on our operations," Mr Szlicht said. "We have very poor mobile phone coverage as it is, because to the best of my knowledge the mobile relays are not equipped to broadcast signals upwards.

"Regardless, most of that navigation has been basically replaced with in flight GPS working off of satellites instead."

But Mr Szlicht did admit there were definite benefits of the increased mobile phone reception.

"It is still a very good thing for us as we fly to very remote locations," he said. "We need the increased mobile coverage to stay in touch, to request fuel, or even pick-ups in dire situations.

"There will definitely be benefits for us just not on our navigations and operations."

Local flight instructor Andy 'Ski' Sieczkowski, who teaches future generations of fliers, said the reception increases will not affect his navigation but may help for avoiding storm cells.

"As far as electronic flight bags, I have never really heard of anybody utilising them around here," he said. "It is so easy to navigate with the old school method of aeronautical charts and that is my preferred method.

" Sometimes when I get up to Deepwater, I would often lose reception when checking my radars, increasing the mobile coverage in the region would definitely help in getting mobile weather radar on the phones to avoid storm cells over the ridge."



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