Thread: ctaf procedures
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Old 14th Jul 2008, 07:54
  #70 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 17
Some tips

  1. Monitor the CTAF frequency early and start to build a mental picture from at least 10nm or so out (assuming you are coming in at around 120kt). The faster your ground speed, the earlier you start to build the picture and the earlier you make your inbound call. Remember the recommended call is "by" 10nm, not "at" 10nm.
  2. Assuming 120kt for you and roughly 5 minute laps for those already in the circuit, any aircraft you hear make a call (turning downwind, base or final) when you are 10nm away will be in roughly the same position when you arrive. Write down the details of the relevant circuit traffic.
  3. Listen to the aircraft type to determine their relative circuit size and height i.e. 500', 1,000' or 1,500' AGL - so when you get there you know where to look for them.
  4. You don't need to worry about writing down details for aircraft that:
  • Have landed and are clear of the runway
  • Are departing on a track clear of your inbound track
  • Are overflying well clear of the circuit and clear of your inbound track
  • Are inbound to land but have an arrival time > 4/5 minutes either side of your ETA
  1. You should record details for aircraft that are inbound and will arrive within say 3 minutes either side of your ETA, especially their inbound track. Remember though that quite often their time keeping will not be the same as yours.
  2. It may be desirable to self separate with these aircraft early i.e. you will remain over water, they will remain over land, or you will remain north of the highway or north of the extended centre line of runway 24 while they remain south etc.
  3. (Don't forget to also record details of aircraft that are taxiing or lining up.)
  4. If you get a bit confused about who is where while you are inbound, use altitude to separate. For example, advise that you will maintain a given height until you have the other aircraft in sight. They will ideally maintain a different level until you can see and separate from each other.
  5. Use your assigned altitude indicator. In the previous case, if they are at 1,500, set 2,500' on your assigned altitude indicator and descend to and maintain that level until you have the other traffic in sight and are sure there is no conflict. Then set circuit height on the AAI and descend as required.
  6. Having said all this however, try to avoid making unnecessary calls to individual aircraft. Try to use the recommended broadcasts to ALL traffic which is the basis of 'alerted see and avoid'.
  7. One last thing. In the circuit you need to focus on the aircraft in front of you. Follow it and know where it is. Always. If it extends long on downwind, dragging you along with it, be ready for the aircraft behind you to possibly lose sight of you and turn base early and cut you off. If you extend upwind for separation with an aircraft on early downwind, again be ready for the aircraft behind you to possibly turn crosswind early and cut you off. So focus on those two - the one in front and the one behind.
DraggingAir is offline