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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 6

I Construction During The Settlement Years

II The Use Of Timber As A Structural Material

III Structural Steel

IV Concrete Technology

V Housing

VI Industrialised Pre-cast Concrete Housing

VII Ports And Harbours

VIII Roads

IX Heavy Foundations

X Bridges

XI Sewerage

XII Water Engineering

XIII Railways

XIV Major Buildings

XV Airports

XVI Thermal Power Stations

XVII Materials Handling

XVIII Oil Industry

XIX The Snowy Mountains Scheme

XX The Sydney Opera House

XXI The Sydney Harbour Bridge

XXII Hamersley Iron

XXIII North West Shelf

Sources and References


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Airports (continued)

Another major contribution of Australian technology has been in the field of Airport Lighting. Engineers and scientists from DCA and CSIRO researched and developed a radically new system of airport approach lighting, known as T-VASIS -Visual Approach Slope Indicator System -with groups of lights which appear to the pilot on final approach as an upright T if he is below, and an inverted T is he is above, the correct glide slope. If dangerously low, the pilot sees red warning lights. T-VASIS has been so successful that it has been adopted as a standard to be used throughout the world.

Almost all operational, engineering and architectural aspects of airport design philosophy in Australia were developed by DCA/DofA and DWH/DHC, working together in close co-ordination. Until the mid-1970s these two Commonwealth Authorities carried out the design for almost all civil engineering works and for operational and Common-User Terminal buildings. DWH/DHC and, in some cases, Local Government Authorities, have been largely responsible for their construction, with the private sector becoming increasingly involved since the early 1960s.

The situation today is that private contractors carry out almost all construction, and private engineering consultants and architects a very large part of the design of airports, with the Commonwealth Authorities adopting more of the role of overview and approval. Private architects and contractors engaged by the airlines and other operators have, from the outset, been responsible for the design and construction of their individual terminals, hangars and workshops.

The basic airport technology developed during the years up to about 1970 is still being used, with technological advancement since that time being refinement rather than innovation. During the development of this technology, there has been concentration of, and close co-ordination between, the several authorities which produced it. This was not only between DCA/DofA and DWH/DHC, and CSIRO and NAL, but between the many elements of civil aviation. The airport design and construction engineers, and the architects, worked in close contact with the airways engineer, the aeronautical engineer, the air traffic controller, the pilot and other operational personnel both in DCA/DofA and the Airlines. They all played a part in the development of Airport Technology.

As these various elements of civil aviation become more widely spread, it will become increasingly difficult for their close association to be maintained. For the development of sound airport technology, however, it must be maintained, and there must be a conscious effort by all concerned to ensure this.

The author gratefully acknowledges the generous assistance of Mr. H. C. Williams, M.B.E., B.C.E., M.I.E. Aust., former First Assistant Secretary, Department of Housing & Construction, in the preparation of this text.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australia. Department of Aviation (D. of A.); Australia. Department of Civil Aviation (D.C.A.); Australia. Department of Housing and Construction (D.H.C.); Australia. Department of Works and Housing (D.W.H.); Australia. National Acoustics Laboratory (N.A.L.); CSIRO

People in Bright Sparcs - Bradfield, Dr K. N. E.; Williams, H. C.

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© 1988 Print Edition page 397, Online Edition 2000
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