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When to change frequencies?

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When to change frequencies?

Old 19th Aug 2015, 13:59
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When to change frequencies?

Good afternoon,

I am nearing completion of my PPL in the UK and have a few questions regarding ATC!

1. How do you know who you'll be contacting en route? Eg, flying from East Midlands to say, for example, Bournemouth, you'll obviously be speaking to EMA gnd, twr and radar, and the same with Bournemouth in reverse order... but how do you find out which frequencies to prepare for en route? And how do you know when you can expect to change to these frequencies?

2. With regards to Radio or Information airfields, are the initial calls when departing or arriving the same?

These may seem like daft questions, but if you don't ask, you don't get answers!



Last edited by speedbird91; 19th Aug 2015 at 15:23.
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Old 19th Aug 2015, 15:57
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I wonder if you are asking on the wrong forum. You might get more help on Private Flying Forum. You may even learn a lot from a search on that form using key words.

The problem is that there are several options and it is finally up to you what frequencies you use on route.

The bottom line, and not at all recommended, is that, provided you remain VFR outside controlled air space and ATZs, you can set the Bournemouth App. frequency as soon as you leave EMA. You will then call Bournemouth about 10 minutes before you reach their CTR (having arranged PPR by telephone beforehand of course).

What I would recommend is that, once you have your PPL, you fly with someone who will show you what to do and, perhaps, help you to do the radio work for a routes which take you to and through different types of airspace.

I would particularly recommend that you study CAP 413 before you complete your PPL. Your GFT may require you to answer some of your questions in flight, during a diversion for example. Examiners can be quite evil in giving you a diversion which takes you through an ATZ which has an A/G. Well, mine did anyway.
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Old 19th Aug 2015, 18:07
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Quite a while since I was flYingc around in the UK , but I would suggest that East Midlands would give a suggestion of who to contact when you leave their airspace eg London Info. You will find the appropriate frequencies in the AIP & on nav. Charts.
I would also suggest that you are fully aware of which aerodromes & ATC units whose airspace you will fly through, or close to, during your flight. Again, these freqs. should be on Air nav charts, AIP etc. One word of particular advice that I would give you is to call appropriate Radar units eg Coventry en route. Having seen the problems ATC have at these units with light a/c flying through, or close to, their airspace it would help them enormously if you (& other a/c) worked their freqs. This also applies to military ATCUs. So, an appropriate one on your route would be Boscombe Down.
Once again, you should be able to check which units are involved on your nav. Map ( & the freqs.) or in the AIP (Air Pilot).
As an ex ATCO & PPL, I would always recommend using the appropriate ATC Units.
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Old 19th Aug 2015, 18:22
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If under ATC don't waste time and effort trying to 'second guess' frequencies. Simply change as instructed.
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Old 21st Aug 2015, 01:08
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I disagree Talkdownman. I think it is worth making a note of some useful frequencies en route. If you drop out of a unit's radio coverage before they have given you the next frequency, who ya gonna call?

To Speedbird91...
Ok so there's always London Information if you can get a word in, but take a look on the map at the airfields whose controlled airspace or ATZ you might want to enter or fly close to. Remember that weather might cause you to deviate from the direct track. It's also worth noting the radar or approach frequency of any airfields you'll be flying within 20-30 miles of in case you need navigation assistance or trafffic information.

Google UK LARS or Lower Airspace Radar Service to see the area of coverage of participating units.

That kind of preparation isn't second guessing the ATC units, its good flight planning. Yes, ATC will often suggest the best frequency to contact next, but I think it's important to be prepared.
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Old 21st Aug 2015, 09:11
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Another thing you really ought to be clear about is the system of handing you on from one controller to the next. "Freecall XYZ" and "Contact XYZ" mean two different things. This ought to be a part of your radio course and you should remember it when in the air.
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Old 21st Aug 2015, 09:49
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Speedbird, the way it works for me is like this....

if you want to enter or cross controlled airspace, you must talk to whatever unit controls it to get a clearance, and you must use whatever frequencies they give you while in controlled airspace.

When you leave their airspace, they may be able to provide you a service for a while (Basic, Traffic, or Deconfliction), in which case you stay with them. Or they may be unable to give you a service, in which case they may suggest another frequency for you to call or may just say to 'call enroute' which means you call who ever you like.

If they are giving you a service outside controlled airspace, and you want to talk to someone else, just tell them you want to change frequency.

If you are transiting an ATZ which only has a Radio or Information service, you should generally call them before entering and after exiting the ATZ. In those cases you tell them when you are changing frequency, they dont tell you.

For the rest of the time (ie not transiting controlled airspace or ATZs).... you dont have to talk to anyone, or you may want to talk to someone who can provide you a service (Basic, Traffic, Deconfliciton), in which case you can call a LARS or other radar service. Or you can call London Information for a Basic service and for the sake of having someone dialled up on the box.
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