09 June 2010

Why Am I hearing so much weak radio work?


“ABC Downwind 27 full stop.” (Ident changed to protect the pilot)

That’s the whole call! It was made by a pilot in the circuit at Rockcliffe Airport a week and half ago. In fact, this pilot made several calls on Rockcliffe’s ATF and never once mentioned that he was at Rockcliffe Airport. There aren’t many airports in the area using 123.5 MHz.

While this guy was circuiting Rockcliffe another pilot was arriving. The guy arriving was calling “Smith Falls Traffic...” Ironically the first guy corrected the second pilot, telling him he was at Rockcliffe not Smith Falls.

Another time there was a student and instructor doing circuits in a Cessna 150. As they were on their take-off role off runway 09 another pilot 3 miles east called saying he intended to join straight in to the downwind for zero nine. As the 150 climbed out he called he arriving pilot and informed him that he believed there would be a conflict if he continued straight in to downwind. As it happened there was no conflict as the arriving pilot was well ahead of the 150 in the circuit.

It sounded to me like the 150 pilot was telling the arriving pilot that he was not allowed to join the circuit straight in on the downwind leg. The CARs don’t support this view, but they do require arrivals to avoid traffic already in the circuit. Still I believe the student and instructor could just as easily extended their climb off zero nine to accommodate the arrival which they stated they saw. In fact, that is what I likely would have done. Unless I am significantly faster, my preference is to have traffic ahead of me where I can see and avoid it.

Finally the C150 pilot, I’m guessing the student, spoke so quickly that he mumbled all the words together so they became incomprehensible. In three or four circuits he always did a full stop, a 180 and back tracked to the button, but I never understood their intention to do that once. I would not have wanted to follow them in the circuit.



Adam Hunt said...

I have to think it is a training issue. As our instructors get more and more inexperienced this may be the result.

Tony Hunt said...

I was at a meeting where another instructor suggested that "Rockliffe tell Cedars to get another frequency because two airports should not be on the same frequency." He obviously hasn't flown outside the local area very much.

Inexperienced instructors are part of the issue but instructors at RFC, OFC and OAS are not being critical of their student's radio work in uncontrolled airspace at the start of training, nor setting a good example themselves.

The radio work in the practice area has been very chatty and sloppy recently and it is now spreading to the circuit calls at Rockliffe and Carp.

Michael Shaw said...

Good comments Tony.

I would expect instructors to know that it is not unusual to have two or more airports sharing the same ATF within earshot of each other. Further, why should Cedars change, what about Rockcliffe changing frequencies?

For years 122.8 was used by a multitude of airports in Canada and the USA. When I flew at Russell we shared 122.8 with several NY airports.