SIDS and Deps

Instrument departures – IFR – Archerfield – Redcliffe – Sunshine Coast

On 14th September 2020 I passed a test for another instrument endorsement on my private pilot licence. This one was for “SIDS” and “Deps”. It allows you to depart from airports with low cloud and/or visibility and climb through it to safe levels where you are well clear of “obstacles” such as mountains. A SID is a Standard Instrument Departure, a specially designed and approved procedure that allows you to use the aircraft’s GPS to fly via a particular set of waypoints and climb safely in “instrument meteorological conditions” (IMC) to a height that is considered safe. It’s what most of the large aircraft fly on departure. It doesn’t have to be IMC though. You can fly a SID in clear blue skies but it gives you the option to take off even if the weather is such that you don’t have Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC). A Dep on the other hand is useful when you’re departing from a small airport with no SID, like Redcliffe. You orbit overhead the aerodrome while climbing (potentially in IMC or at night) remaining within a couple of miles of an aerodrome (within the “circling area”) until you reach a safe altitude. You can then head off in your desired direction without risking flying into an “obstacle”.

The cloud was simulated for the test as it was a blue sky day. Adam Starr from Starr Aviation was my testing officer and I used MSF for the flight. First I had to fly the plane from Redcliffe to Archerfield to meet up with Adam. This 10 minute flight brought me over The Gap and Upper Kedron.

Upper Kedron (foreground) and The Gap (background)

He’d brought along a dreaded “hood” for me to wear after takeoff so I missed out on seeing most of the scenery during the test. The IFR flight starting with a SID out of Archerfield, donning the hood as we passed through 300ft above ground level, a flight over Brisbane CBD at 5000ft and a full stop landing at Redcliffe. I was allowed to remove the hood as we descended into the circuit. I then did a DEP out of Redcliffe, again donning the hood at 300ft above ground level with orbiting climb to 3000ft before tracking to the Sunshine Coast Airport for another full stop landing.

After a short break we took off again via another SID from the new runway 13. Breaking off from the SID at about 2000ft we turned and headed for Archerfield at 6000ft. I wasn’t permitted to use the autopilot for the test. It was all hand flown. Good experience. Landing at Archerfield Adam climbed out and congratulated me on passing the tests. I taxied back out to the runway, took off and flew back to Redcliffe past the Brisbane CBD and Lake Samsonvale as the sun sank in the west.

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