Hi All, I've been asked by other controllers (& I concur) to highlight this (politely) to, mainly, RPT flights into CTAF/CTAF(R) airports. Please can you advise ATC when you are changing to, or in comms on, the CTAF frequency. If you dont tell ATC we (ATC) are still responsible for passing on traffic information, hazard alerts, SPECIs/ATAFs etc. Which we DONT mind, but when we dont get an answer after 2 or 3 calls it is frustrating. We understand you are probably broadcasting or talking on the CTAF frequency or on final phase checks but unless you tell us we are not psychics. And on several occasions I've had pilots shout, moan & generally get stroppy when asked after they landed whether they had received any previous transmissions, that they couldnt answer because in a busy portion of their flight & also on the CTAF. Tell us and then we dont have to worry you are going to hit the aircraft taxiing out for an opposite end departure. If you dont answer us we (theoretically) have to start the process on SAR action. Most controllers (me included) mostly assume you are on the CTAF, but if your not and something happens, its everyones bum on the hotplate. Thanks Alex
fair call, but i thought this was only a requirement when you were no longer monitoring the appropriate ML/BN centre frequency, ie if with your 2 comms, 1 is on CTAF and the other used for company comms or activating PAL etc?
Are you saying that even under a continuous monitoring of the centre frequency we have to let you know when we are also monitoring ctaf?
Hi Chadzat, ERSA ENR 21.1.7 reports of changing to CTAF frequency are required by pilots of IFR flights inbound to to non-towered aerodrome when the ATC Frequency will not, or cannot, be monitored.
So technically you are right, you dont have to. But I would say if you are unable to acknowledge a call, even with just callsign, it could fall under the cannot be monitored factor. As the another part of ERSA enroute says IFR in class-G airspace have to be in contiuous two-way communication with ATC.
Its more of a courtesy. If we know you are in comms with the CTAF we have a plausable reason not to be too concerned if you dont answer a call & more importantly if we pass traffic on an unknown aircraft climbing out towards you we arent *as* concerned if we know you are probably speaking to the aircraft on the CTAF. Subject to what the legal requirements say, even if you just tell us something like on CTAF Comm 2 maintaining listening watch with you on Comm1. Or if you can think of something nicer than that. I'm trying to think of a way of wording this eloquently and concisely but I dont think its gonna happen...here goes If we transmit to a pilot and get no response its classed (in airservices) as a sked call (scheduled call) missed and we have to enter the com check phase, i.e. multiple transmissions to aircraft, relay via another aircraft (normally means getting an overflyer to switch to the CTAF to attempt to get two-way)etc. IF after 15 mins after our initial call no response or confirmation that the aircraft is on CTAF (or whatever the circumstance - on the ground etc) we have to initiate an ALERFA (Alert Phase) and then thats when it raises a notch, CENSAR is alerted. Its the same principle if you ( I mean pilots not you personally if you know what I mean) take more than 10mins from taxi call to dep or airborne call and ATC SAR alert timer goes off, or forgetting to cancel Sarwatch for arrival.
Last edited by rotorblades; 9th Apr 2010 at 16:45.
Reason: Updated to add ERSA extract
I thought I'd give an example (all identifying features taken out), I think there is more than one moral in this story. And ATC arent beyond learning, so I hope we can get some feedback from RPT flights to help us understand whats going on in the aircraft.
I had an inbound RPT Jet to a CTAF(R) airfield, I cleared it to leave CAS on descent ,etc etc "No Reported IFR Traffic". There wasnt at that time! Anyway, The jet didnt advise it was changing to the CTAF or equivalent. It was observed on radar joining downwind for runway 09 descending through 2500' (from memory). Then a non-RPT four engine prop called taxiing out for a runway 27 departure. (knowing the operator of this non-RPT I know it can get from taxi to airborne in the time it takes to make the taxiing call, and also not the greatest at listening on the CTAF frequency), and realising it was gonna launch opposite direction and on planned route turn towards the downwind traffic, I made a traffic info broadcast to the jet. Obviously, no response from the jet after 2-3calls. (we would be happy if you just transmitted your callsign as response). Anyway the Prop duly gets airborn off 27 with the jet turning finals for 09. They pass safely as the prop made an early(?) turn.
I was a little bit rattled by this and my tone was prbably harsher than I intended, but when the jet called up to cancel SAR for arrival. I enquired as to whether he had heard any of my traffic calls. He got a bit stroppy and said yes but was too busy on approach checks & CTAF to respond to my call, and I quote "Obviously I was aware of XYZ234".
This could have been resolved with a simple call from the jet when he was going to CTAF on com2, or just using the call to me of "ABC123 Roger"
I hope Im not sounding too preachy, I'm just trying to get a better understanding for pilots of ATC tasks and also for ATC of pilot tasks. Its definately a two-way learning curve (management buzz-word alert)
nice to get your comments and it clears up some of the mystery behind the scenes! On another matter, weather deviations - whilst I realise "Left/Right of Route" is listed as standard phraseology (only seems to be in this part of the world") instead of "Left/Right of Track" it can lead to some confusion up here in the northern parts, Route and Groote sound very similar on the wireless and it's prompted a few conversations on the flightdeck as to "what did they say". eg, "cleared 10 miles left of route when clear direct to Groote" Food for thought.... cheers
I acknowledge that the jet in your example should have replied with his call sign in response to your directed traffic information, however, with respect, ENR 21.1.7 is clear, a switching call is only required if Centre will not or cannot be monitored. The suggestion that expected workload presents a situation where it cannot be monitored is a bit of a stretch as this could occur at any stage of flight in any airspace.
The reason I post, Airlaw by rumour on PPRuNe does nothing for the professional standards in this industry, particularly in the multi crew environment. The assertion that "I heard from ATC that they like a switching call" or "ATC don't really care if you give that met report" or "my mate in ATC told me that the SID speed restriction is only a traffic based requirement" can only be negative in the modern airliner CRM environment and presents significant threats to the operation through confusion and disagreement.
By the book and always by the book, If there is a problem with ENR21.1.7 may I suggest that you use the appropriate channels to initiate change.
Interesting point I might bring up. When I did my MECIR just over a year ago, I was taught to make sure I reported when changing to the CTAF and that it was courtesy just to let them know I'd continue to monitor Centre/Radar as well and it always made sense to me. As my instructor at the time pointed out to me, I have 3 comms, most IFR aircraft have at least 2 some that can even monitor 2 frequencies at the same time so why not just keep it on in the background incase something important comes up and let the controller know that in a real emergency he would be able to get ahold of you?
Yes its not by the books, makes it "Non-standard" but as I was also taught, sometimes its easy just to use plain english and get the message across clearly than trying to always be by the book and not get your message across?
Experimental, A simple fix would be to say ROUTE like the Yanks do: ROUT. That may not work though if you're next waypoint is GROUT.
Max Heli Angle, Rotorblades is right, and the rules are crystal clear. If you do not call changing, then you are obliged to respond to ATC if they call you, just as you are if on Centre or App and they call you. If you do not do so because of a busy CTAF, that is not ATC's problem and they are quite within their rights to declare incerfas or whatever. It's up to you to manage the comms and not leave others in the lurch. If the CTAF is super busy, I generally get rid of Centre. I have seen more stuffups because of people trying to run two comms at the same time than I like.
Going into a CAGRS, there is no reason not to call changing (or for that matter to call cancel SAR to ATC). The CAGRO knows all the traffic and further ATC input is simply not required.
And I agree with Ixy; even though you have told Centre you're changing, I still monitor the centre freq for taxiing calls from aircraft taxiing.
The AIP is clear, and with good reason. As an RPT jet pilot operating into CTAF aerodromes I find it important that I can gather as big a picture of the traffic situation at all times. In the forementioned case, other then the fact that we will respond when appropriate, I generally treat ATC as if they were the breakout frequency on a PRM approach. I'll respond, when I feel all bases are covered, and not before. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.
I know it can be a little annoying to not have a reply, but I think you must understand that humans are single channel processors and a little bit of patience is required from ATC, especially when they know we are in the CTAF, and one of the operators above may only be single VHF equipped.
Rotor; Excellent post sir! Great to get that feedback and insight from you guys and good to see prune used for good instead of evil for a change!
Bloggs; Get Fed!...I will never speak like a seppo.....NEVER!
MHA; as you said yourself, ENR 21.1.7 is clear, a switching call is only required if Centre will not or cannot be monitored, so if you get so busy on the Ctaf that you cannot respond to a call from centre, then you are in breach of the legislation. If you don't like the legisation then, as you said "By the book and always by the book, If there is a problem with ENR21.1.7 may I suggest that you use the appropriate channels to initiate change."
Well, it appears to me that everyone is correct ... to some degree. However, the law, in this case, appears to be an ass.
As MaxHelixAngle says "a switching call is only required if Centre will not or cannot be monitored"
As Rotorblades says "As another part of ERSA enroute says IFR in class-G airspace have to be in contiuous two-way communication with ATC."
As Bula says "I'll respond, when I feel all bases are covered, and not before. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate."
The trouble is that the rule is setting everyone up for failure. The rule might need to be changed. Perhaps a specific ATC initiated frequency change to CTAF at x distance or x level. The ATC's responsibilities should then end. The the Pilot can also monitor centre, if he wishes, for extra SA... as he can also monitor CTAF earlier, if he wishes.
I always tell ATC when changing to the CTAF. In fact on the Northern rivers sector of NSW, ATC virtually always request it!
I was flying with a new hire the other day, and he politely pointed out to me that it wasn't a requirement. I told him I knew that and he looked at me like I had two heads!!!
You see rotorblades, the world has gone mad, and this is simply a subtle example of it. I very nearly collided with a non transponder VFR lighty in a CTAF (no radar coverage) recently. We were departing with a left turn after take off. We had no comms during our engine starts, and as such we heard nothing from him. On taxi we made all the broadcasts. This guy (the lighty) heard all our calls, but didn't respond because as he put it "I made the required broadcasts". First we new of him was when we were turning into him as he called joining downwind! I kept my cool (just) and asked if he heard any of our calls, to which he responded "yep, all of em'". When I asked him if he thought it would have been a good idea to say something, I was met with silence. This is how poeple are now trained!!!
As far as the company I work for is concerned, there are certain elements in the Check and Training department that are almost pathalogically opposed to anything other than "standard" calls, ATC comms included. A recent check item included "word perfect" A/C - ATC comms. That's all well and good, but it seems to me that this "dumbing down" of the game has extended far and wide.
The term "Pending clearence" however, now that's another story. I still cringe when I hear that nonsence!
I am in no way advocating against people using common sense and airmanship to dictate wether they should cut off two way communications with centre and advise Centre that they are switching when entering a busy terminal environment, I have and agree with the use of this judgment call.
What I do disagree with is the assertion that can 'All' aircraft entering a CTAF advise centre that they are switching (or monitoring?), as this is contrary to the AIP. Maybe this is something of use to ATC and if so, it should be arranged and communicated through the proper channels for all to follow, ie the AIP. Airlaw by rumour is counterproductive.
As to aircraft having to reply to ATC when maintaining two way communications, this applies in all airspace and as always is subject to airmanship and task prioritisation. Good airmanship dictates a reply to ATS as soon as workload permits. As for the declaring by ATS of INCERFA and ALERFA the AIP states no time limits other than failure to make a report, or in the controllers judgment doubt or apprehension exists, I don't know how this issue is dealt with in the MATS and would be interested to find out (Rotor?) but if there is a 15min time limit set on replying to ATS traffic information then I dare say that in all but the most extreme circumstances a reply would be able to be given, and in those extreme circumstances ALERFA is probably a good thing!
Mr Flappy, Please refer to the first two paragraphs of this post.
Again, whilst I realise this may be unpopular, I am only advocating sticking by the books for the policy and using airmanship and good judgment elsewhere.
Okay, boys and girls Let me make a couple of things a little clearer. I am at no stage advocating going against rules & regs nor ATC by Rumour. I was in NO way advocating pilots terminate two-way with the ATC center to go to the CTAF, can I make that any clearer.
Thats why I said it would be a courtesy, a nicety if you like, not a requirement (my thread title may have been misleading). How much trouble is it for a pilot just to say we are monitoring the CTAF or something like that if it makes life easier for everyone.
As for the time limits before alerfa/incerfa initiated Airservices has a list of times for various scenarios. Say sartime for arrival, you have 10mins to cancel sarwatch with ATC before we enter the comcheck phase (as mentioned inearlire post) and 5 mins after that it becomes an INCERFA (assuming no contact has been established or confirmation the aircraft has landed). Other scenarios follow the same sort of procedure. sked call I covered earlier (and includes ATC call, Ops Normal time, position reports).
As for not answering ATC, next time I'm in work Im going to ignore aircraft for 13mins and then answer, see what happens?. I wonder how long before the pilots get frustrated? Because believe it or not we are doing other things than just waiting for calls - drawing up SIGMET maps, attending to telephone coordination, flightplan amendments, documentation, conflict resolution. We regularly have 3-4 frequencies in use with multiple calls on each.
And lets take another couple of examples, who here (pilot wise) likes direct tracking? And guessing most do, under Airservices policy ATC are not to give direct tracking under any circumstances unless to avoid a confliction. So as we give quite a lot of direct tracking do you want me to stop MHA? And, secondly common sense does have to prevail sometimes over following exactly to the line what the books say (assuming safety is not compromised in anyway) If you guys have an emergency or an issue we theoretically have a list of about 50 questions we should ask pilots. We dont normally go through the whole list, only the ones pertinent to the situation. But next time you have a pan call you want me to spend half an hour eliciting info I will.
I am trying to reply to anyones posts that need answering/commenting on, I think I owe it to tou as you've bothered to post...
BULA As you said in post
patience is required from ATC, especially when they know we are in the CTAF, and one of the operators above may only be single VHF equipped
Unless you tell us we dont know you are on the CTAF, we know when you are in the CTAF area (assuming we have radar or ADSB), but we dont know you;ve switched your radio over (it also happens that pilots select the wrong frequency by accident and may think they are on the CTAF when they arent). If we know you are in contact with the CTAF we dont have to be concerned if you dont answer a call straight away.
If you are single VHF how can you be in continuous two-way comms with ATC and also monitor/be on CTAF frequency? Surely only one or the other.
Hi MHA I was just trying to get across the extremes that 'by the book' can be taken to. It wasnt anything personal, more me playing devil's advocate to get a point across. And it was probably wrong of me, I apologise. We do understand that pilot workload is high during certain phases of flight. we are not all heartless bast@@ds, despite what pilots think
I haev a slightly different outlook to most where I work, mainly because I have a much different ATC background. I spent 7 years working Heathrow Approach, SVFR & Thames Radar before joining the Macquarie Sectors down here.
There is enough ill-will inside Airservices, so trying to keep relations with airlines/pilots/GA etc good is hard work. Pilots may not be aware just how short of staff we are. Regularly one controller is covering from surface to FL600 in airspace stretching from Sydney to Coffs Harbour. We have to work an 8-9 hour shift with just one or two 10min breaks(upto 10days straight and only 8-10hours between shifts), and from 7pm until 5am there is normally only one rated controller on-site for the sectors. When we are combined we have 6 frequencies covering g,e,c&a airspace and also military C with fastjets causing havoc. And we will be 5 controller shorter come the end of the year on our sectors alone. This is why we get scratchy sometimes - we are knackered