At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

10 Replies

At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Cornelius Cosentino on May 28, 2018 8:34 am


Do you announce your intentions on unicom prior to taxi?

Should be required but for now it's a good practice especially at night or minimum visibility.  
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Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Ronald Levy on May 29, 2018 3:25 am

Only if I'm coming out of a blind alley between hangars or something like that.  Where I fly, there are too many airports on each CTAF and superfluous calls like that jam up the frequency at other airports fifty miles away or more.  In addition, you can't hear when others on the ground at other airports are calling for takeoff or clearing the runway, but your call blocks reception of those calls by airplanes in the pattern at those other airports.  Please don't make such calls unless absolutely necessary, such as when you can't see around a corner or something like that.

Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by David Welch on Jun 13, 2018 3:25 pm

I announce when airport is busy, taxi crossing cross-wind runways, or towered controlled airports operating on CTAF.  

At KWVI Watsonville, taxi way Alpha crosses a cross-wind runway.  I announce the crossing.  Another smaller local airport E16/San Martin has lots of student pilots who look confused at times. I announce taxi intentions there when busy.   KSNS/Salinas or KRHV/Reid Hillview are both towered fields which close at 7pm local, and pilots expect others to announce. 

 

Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Cornelius Cosentino on Jun 13, 2018 4:23 pm

Most midairs happen near airports 

Like all things we should as pilot-in-command ...use good judgment.... and good operating procedure.

Calm wind means you could taxi-takeoff at night or low visibility but still be VFR  and have aircraft landing in the opposite direction or cross runway...

Coming soon .. ADS-B and with it far more taxi takeoff and landing traffic in marginal weather ...

on the other side if you have ADS-B depending on the runways taxiway you may want to wait before taxi or advise of your intentions ... 


 

Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Cornelius Cosentino on Jun 13, 2018 4:39 pm

Thanks for sharing ... each airport should have a dedicated frequency ....we should use the AWOS frequencies
and send the wx data via ADS-B text on demand 

Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Ronald Levy on Jun 30, 2018 10:43 am

Cornelius Cosentino:
Thanks for sharing ... each airport should have a dedicated frequency ....we should use the AWOS frequencies
and send the wx data via ADS-B text on demand 

That's a nice thought, but the FAA isn't ready to make ADS-B-in a requirement to check airport weather just yet.  What would help will be the VHF comm frequency split to 8.33 kHz spacing which is coming down the pike.  That's going to be an issue for everyone with 20th century radios, which is why the CTAF's will be the last to be split (just as they were when we went from 50 kHz to 25 kHz).  But until that split happens, we're kind of stuck with the limited number of CTAF frequencies available, so we'll have to make sure we keep our CTAF transmissions clear and concise, and not said things that need not be said (e.g., "last call," "any traffic in the area...", "How ya doin' today, Charlie", etc.).

Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Cornelius Cosentino on Jul 8, 2018 4:08 pm

The PCA Airport frequency can be the AWOS Frequency if operated like VASI/lighting with a number of clicks …. two clicks get you the wind and altimeter setting…any transmission from another radio will override the weather and that should not be an issue VFR or Later IFR since there would be few aircraft IFR 

Most VFR flying will not need the weather no clicks necessary.

Note we asked AOPA/SAF to revise the 1989? Pilot Operations at Nontowered Airports to Pilot Operations as NextGEN PCA airports or NIIFS airports or all airports 

 

 

 

 

Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Ronald Levy on Jul 8, 2018 4:37 pm

Cornelius Cosentino:
Most VFR flying will not need the weather no clicks necessary.

I have to disagree strongly with that.  While airborne VFR aircraft may be able to judge ceiling and visibility visually with sufficient accuracy, those on the ground probably cannot, and they all still need wind altimeter settings.  All things considered, VFR aircraft really do need to access local weather data, so until ADS-B-in data is universally available on the ground and in the air (a big problem with ground-based rather than satellite-based ADS-B distribution sites) and all aircraft are so equipped, AWOS/ASOS remains essential to VFR as well as IFR aircraft.

Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Robert Gardner on Jul 9, 2018 3:22 pm

AIM 4-1-9(g):

2. If an airport has a tower and it is temporarily closed, or operated on a part-time basis and there is no FSS on the airport or the FSS is closed, use the CTAF to self-announce your position or intentions.
3. Where there is no tower, FSS, or UNICOM station on the airport, use MULTICOM frequency 122.9 for self-announce procedures. Such airports will be identified in appropriate aeronautical information publications.

Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Mike Barker on Sep 29, 2018 10:54 pm


It’s interesting that we are all uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. I learned to fly at a non towered but fairly busy airport, and it’s so wide open out here in the west that there are only two towers in the state. I’m perfectly comfortable using the CTAF to communicate with other pilots. Don’t be afraid to tell others where you are and what you’re doing, unless there’s a lot happening on the frequency and you’d be taking up air time. If there are 4 very different incoming aircraft in close proximity, and two more wanting to take off, they are probably talking to determine who’s fast or slow, and how they need to get lined up. Don’t interrupt that conversation to announce you’re taxiing from the ramp. But if there’s only one taxiway and people may be moving in opposite directions for self service fuel, or run up, or takeoff, it helps if everybody knows where everybody else is. Sometimes, very little talk is needed. Other times, we sort it out amongst ourselves. There’s the very rare pilot who thinks the airspace revolves around him, and most of us just let him land or depart first and then go about our business.
Unicom is usually the same frequency as CTAF out here, but is more service oriented (calling an FBO to arrange for fuel, etc). At 10,000 MSL or more, I hear chatter on 122.8 for every field within 200 miles. 
For me, it’s actually a little uncomfortable flying into a towered airport. Not that I have real difficulty, but when you’re used to pilots talking to each other and making sure everything works, it feels weird to have somebody essentially giving orders.

Re: At Pilot Controlled Airports [ no or closed control tower ]

Posted by Robert Gardner on Sep 30, 2018 12:20 pm

Not to muddy the waters, but let's make a distinction between movement areas and non-movement areas...these exist only at tower-controlled airports and for all practical purposes do not exist when the tower is closed. When taxiing in a non-movement area (defined in AIM 2-3-6), you are not required to say anything to anyone. Yes, it is a good operating practice to speak up when taxiing from (for example) a parking area to the fuel pumps, but doing so is not required.

At non-tower-controlled airports there is no legal distinction between the ramp and the taxiway or anything else. Communication is a good idea but not a requirement. I agree with Ron that we can over-use Unicom if we do not consider how our non-essential transmissions affect others on the frequency.

Bob Gardner