I have recently begun operating from a south east airfield where an AFIS service is provided. Prior to this, I operated primarily from controlled aerodromes with full ATC. Trying to be concientuous, I have studied CAA CAP material with regard to AFIS provision, but am still a bit baffled by usage of certain (non standard?) phraseology.
On my last flight, I was instructed to taxy to the holding point. An aircraft was in the air on base, nearing final. I reported my ground position and was told to "report lining up" (????) CAP 427 (If I recall) confirms this instruction as applicable to an aircraft requesting back track of the active runway...which was not a request I made. I therefore held position and allowed arriving traffic to establish on final and land. I have to admit I was slightly unsure what to do next upon receipt of the above instruction.
I guess my query is this: in a situation as above, do you hold short (if you judge you may not have time to safely depart) or do you line up and wait for the FISO "Take off at your discretion, wind xxx @ xx"? My understanding is that the normal instruction once holding short is either "hold position" or "take off at your discretion, wind blah blah blah"...
Obviously a FISO does not separate arriving traffic from traffic on the ground.
Any clarification on the interpretation of this would be appreciated
Is it any help to point out that an AFIS can NEVER issue instructions? They are what their name name says, an "information service". IOW: your query sounds like being "without subject". At a non-controlled aerodrome, everything is done "at pilot's discretion". The radio person is there to assist you, and will pass every information that might me useful to you, in her/his judgement. I've never met or heard any that wasn't very able and very helpful and very correct, and it takes some degree of art to combine all those. But all decisions are up to your very own self, captain!
Jan - thanks for the reply - your thoughts were originally my own. However, FISO's in the UK can issue instructions to aircraft on the ground. That is what my original question relates to - and the R/T phraseology they use.
CAP 410 (UK CAA) Part B refers:
The Flight Information Service Officer (FISO) provides an information service to aircraft that are flying or about to fly within the aerodrome traffic zone. Under Rule 35 of the Rules of the Air, FISOs at aerodromes are permitted to issue instructions to: a) departing aircraft about to move or moving on the apron and manoeuvring area up to the holding point of the runway to be used for departure; b) arriving aircraft moving on the manoeuvring area and apron, following the completion of the landing roll; and c) all other taxying aircraft intending to move or moving on the apron and manoeuvring area, including the crossing of runways. Elsewhere on the ground and at all times in the air, information shall be passed.
Now, this suggest that beyond the holding point you are within your right to do whatever you consider safe and expeditious. However, this is not always the case since FISO's here seem to still maintain a degree of "advisory control" into the runway environment; e.g they can instruct you to "hold short" (instruction) or "take off at your discretion". While the last phrase is NOT a clearance, it surely has to be an instruction, just as "hold short" is. Try entering the runway env. and taking off without the "take off at your discretion.." response from the FISO and you risk getting some stern feedback about your actions
Finals19, you have obviously studied the matter to more depth than myself. As you may have observed, I am writing from abroad. And though I have repeatedly come upon differences between the UK and the real (ICAO) world, I keep on committing the gross error of considering the UK a normal place.
In my simple world, an R/T operator either has authority or has none. The UK seems to know more nuances, as you say, a rather gray environment. I can only wish you the best, and am again confirmed in my hesitation to ever cross the English channel. There's obviously dangers hidden there, far worse than ten minute's flying without a plan B.
You had better consider my earlier reply non-existant, I think.
The appropriate reference document is CAP 413, as you correctly say, the phrase "report lining up" would be used to an aircraft requiring (not requesting, subtle difference I know) a backtrack. Were you at a holding point not at the runway threshold, where the FISO may have assumed (incorrectly) that you would require a backtrack? If not, then it's probably just a case of the wrong phraseology for the circumstances being used.
CAP 413 Radiotelephony Manual Chapter 4 Page 20
Aircraft requiring a backtrack:
(Aircraft callsign) report entering the runway.
(Aircraft callsign) report lining up.**
(Aircraft callsign) traffic is (traffic information) report entering the runway and lining up.**
**Note: Pilots will notify the FISO of their intentions.
So, once you find yourself in that situation, where the "wrong" phrase has been used - what do you do? I think you did pretty much the right thing. Being told to "report lining up" by a FISO is not an invitation or instruction to do so immediately. You have to assess whether you have time to depart safely without getting in the way of the next approaching aircraft, then advise the FISO of your intentions; entering or holding.
You are correct in saying that the normal phraseology to an aircraft at the holding point of the active runway, when the FISO expects the aircraft to just enter, line-up and depart
My understanding is that the normal instruction once holding short is either "hold position" or "take off at your discretion, wind blah blah blah"...
is one of the following;
(Aircraft callsign) hold position.
(Aircraft callsign) take off at your discretion, surface wind (number) degrees (number) knots.
(Aircraft callsign) traffic is (traffic information) take off at your discretion, surface wind (number) degrees (number) knots.
I haven't been exposed to too much AFIS R/T, but as far as I understand, the AFIS R/T can provide traffic *information* about anything that happens in the circuit and on the runway, and gives *instructions* with regards to anything that happens on the apron and taxiways. The border between the two obviously being the runway hold lines.
So you would have gotten taxi *instructions* to the hold, but from then on it's your discretion; the AFIS controller just requests you to inform him/her when you cross the hold to line up, so that he/she can *inform* the other traffic of your intentions.
Obviously from this point on the normal regulations apply: You are not supposed to cut off any traffic that's established on final.
I have repeatedly come upon differences between the UK and the real (ICAO) world
Jan - with your clearly immense knowledge of ICAO SARPS and your ever-present readiness to condemn the UK's non-compliance, could you perhaps indicate with which provision of which ICAO Annex you consider that the UK lacks compliance in this case?
Having learned to fly in the USA, I agree with that sentiment. But for some reason CTAF doesn't seem to work in Europe.
One reason might be the different ownership structure of small airfields. In the US, as I understand, it's the local government or something that lays down the runways and everything, the FAA which inspects and monitors the place, but a number of different FBOs are established who provide various services like fuel. As such, the "owner" of the airfield is not around all day but lets the pilots and the FBOs sort it out amongst themselves. And the FBOs really don't care what happens in the air.
In Europe, most small airfields are privately owned and the owner is also the operator. And that operator wants to exert some measure of control over the field, including the circuit (noise abatement being a much more important issue here). So the operator at a very minimum tries to provide an A/G service. And since a lot of pilots are hesitant to do *anything* without permission of the radio man, even A/G sometimes gets pushed into an ATC-like role, giving startup permissions and so forth.
I have noticed that the simple fact that there's an A/G service on the frequency influences the way pilots behave. With a CTAF service I regularly got into a plain english conversation with the other pilot (also doing circuits) as to where he was, what his intentions were and how we could provide separation amongst ourselves. But with an A/G service that doesn't seem to happen. Everything flows through the A/G man who doesn't have the authority to do anything about it.
Eurocontrol have produced a "Guide to Phraseology" that is very similar to the CAA version, but with a few interesting differences.
Cool. Hadn't seen that one before.
Page 27. "F-CD, traffic is yadayada..." "Looking out, F-CD"
Didn't we discuss this lately?
What also strikes me is that in the CTAF situation they're using "Lexingdon Aerodrome" instead of "Lexingdon Traffic". Why would anybody want to talk to an aerodrome? It's not like the field itself is going to talk back to you, is it?
An aircraft was in the air on base, nearing final. I reported my ground position
Why? The next call should have been " Callsign HP... Ready for Departure!
... and was told to "report lining up"
The FISO is allowed to control all traffic, aircraft and vehicles, up to the holding point. By saying "Report lining up" he is passing the responsibility to the pilot to deceide when to line up as you are at the limit of control of the FISO. Technically, he should have said "(Aircraft callsign) traffic is (traffic information) take off at your discretion, surface wind (number) degrees (number) knots" CAP413 2.3.2 Table 1. He might then request that you report lining up.
In the original situation we would say 'traffic is a (type) on base leg, takeoff at your discretion' thus leaving it to the departing pilot to decide if they can enter the runway and commence takeoff before the traffic on base leg makes the decision to go around. If the departure is then slow in commencing takeoff, the landing aircraft must be given 'quality' information to enable the pilot to decide whether to continue and land or whether to initiate a go - around. Edit to add: Qwikstop: a FISO in the UK will NOT say 'runway is free for landing' but an A/G operator MAY say 'runway is clear'.
It is down to decision making. If the FISO has cleared you across the hold and there is something coming, then by all means wait for the landing aircraft to land before lining up. In your situation I'd just wait until the landing aircraft has landed then line up and report lining up. I might tell them something like "after the landing aircraft wilco".
I think the idea of a FISO is silly. I think we should either have ATC or Unicom (with possibly a person in the "tower" giving us weather reports...or not).
Some countries in Scandanavia use FISOs at airfields with IFR approaches and there was a proposal to use them in Spain too, but what the present situation is there I don't know. There are threads in the ATC forum about the Spanish ATC situation but there's no update on the use of FISOs. In the UK, FISOs were originally used in the 70s by NATS at the Scottish Highlands and Islands airports where there was only one ATCO established who was also airport manager. The tels guy was usually trained as a FISO just in case the ATCO was unable to attend for any reason. This was long before FISOs were required to take formal exams for a licence, which only started in the 80s.
I really hope that one comes (back) to the UK - it's what most controllers worth their salt used to do anyway (before the RT Police and CAP413 descended) and worked perfectly well.
If you didn't want the pilot to launch into the details, then you told the aircraft free-calling to 'standby' on first call. Otherwise it was implicit in your reply that you were happy for the pilot to proceed with passing his flight details.