12 January 2009

What airport is he at?

I'm sure you've been there. You're 10 minutes back from your destination, a small airport with no control tower or flight service station, just an ATF on 122.8 MHz. You called on the ATF that you are 10 minutes east at 3000 feet giving your landing intentions. Another aircraft calls 20 miles east, but you missed the beginning of his transmission and don't know if he is going to your destination too. Is he just above your high wing Cessna?

Wouldn't it be nice if he had followed the FAA's recommendation to repeat the name of the airport at the end of his position broadcast. He must be Canadian...

Transport  Canada only expects us to say the airport name at the beginning of our position call and to not repeat it at the end.

For some years I have followed the FAA's recommended practice of repeating the airport name at the end of the transmission. I used to fly at Russell (PH4) (now closed) and our ATF was on 122.8 MHz. There were lots of calls at other airports on that frequency. "Russell Traffic, Colt NDS 10 east over Casselman at 3000 landing Russell". Any pilot listening will know where I am and that I am going to Russell. I believe this is the best way to maximize the chance of conflicting traffic knowing my location.

Now I fly  out of Rockcliffe most often, "Rockcliffe Traffic Colt NDS right downwind 27 full stop Rockcliffe. Is that so hard?


Anonymous said...

Interestingly I was tought this procedure when I learned and I too say the airport at the end of transmission. If it's not a normal part of the training in Canada, it's interesting that it's how I was taught.

Anonymous said...

I learned at Rockliffe and they followed the Canadian regs which is to only say the name at the beginning. Since then I use a lot of www.liveatc.net to keep my comm skills fresh and end up picking up "bad habits" from the US guys. On my long dual x/c debrief I was told that I "talk too much". It seems Canada is making the airtime more important in cases than the message.

Example? "papa hotel victor, ottawa terminal, make left turn to 030 and descend to 2500". We can simply ack, "papa hotel victor" and assume all is well. I find in the US even VFR traffic will repeat at least the vector or altitude in their response.

What is better? Ensured message delivery or free air?

Anonymous said...


Agreed, the message is the important bit!

Also, see my earlier blog, "Are you and your passengers just congestion?" 19 December 08.