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-   -   ctaf procedures (https://www.pprune.org/pacific-general-aviation-questions/332842-ctaf-procedures.html)

Muffinman 3rd Jul 2008 13:43

The MBZ is alive and well - read on...
Same here EMB120ER... lost about 25 minutes of tip tap..:{

Quick summary.... arrr F:mad: it. CTAF comms and procedures are clearly laid out.

When can we expect to get the following crap fixed?


CAO 82.3.5B.1 and 10.4

james michael 3rd Jul 2008 21:50

EMB and Muffin

I was strike three - I feel better now - when I did my original reply above it was far more detailed but it cradhed also, thus the crack the sads with the system much briefer one as you too EMB.

In an unqualified legal sense, I would argue that the average pilot would win a case based on conformance with the NAS 2C material and the current AIP. I suggest the Court would find the pilot had acted within the bounds of the reasonable man and particularly as the CTAF is defined as a procedure with NO physical boundary.

But in the ultimate, and common sense, if you look at the analyses of MTAF and MBZ matters you may find they were a safety shield 'in the mind'. The brain thinks at its speed = time to analyse and decide, therefore the NAS concept of giving calls at an appropriate distance (not too far or too often) is good commonsense. Where NAS goes astray is too many circuit calls, and in a training environment the intentions call on final is too late - you need to know on the base turn if its a full stop or T&G to establish the correct separation.

I also believe that the VFR pilot training package (which has a little IF flying to ensure one learns about vertigo :)) should have a section later in the training (at NAVEX stage) where one learns a little about IFR procedures at CTAF to comprehend the workload and approach basics. This would greatly assist ensuring separation. I have put this suggestion to CASA.

Mark1234 4th Jul 2008 02:52

Didn't expect to stir up so much response..

Seems to me that this just creates a confusion zone: e.g. If I'm plodding around in a 172 at 2500ft, 12 miles outside the ctaf (i.e. going around), I'll be on the area freq. That nice turboprop screaming in is on the ctaf at (say) 30nm.. So now we're in the same airspace on different frequencies - so much for aided see and avoid!

Nice for the ctaf to have more warning maybe, but I'm getting no warning whatsoever that he's about to come bombing through my level..

It would seem to make more sense to have a defined ctaf that was appropriately sized for the operations. For that matter, it seems to work OK having a one size fits all for GAAP a/d.

Still, ya get's what ya gets I suppose <shrug> Shall just get on with it :)

james michael 4th Jul 2008 03:05


I think you need not worry. The turboprop will be on the area and the CTAF because it will have a minimum of two comms and be calling on area also.

Have a look at AIP ENR 1.1 - 43.

What does surprise me is the number of pilots who lack situational awareness by not using the area frequency to keep track of who is who in the zoo, get the Wx given to IFR, etc. Certainly there's a lot of calls not related to one's immediate location but you filter them out and ensure situational awareness of those that may affect yourself.

I laugh at some systems that play CDs etc for your enjoyment en route - perhaps they should shift to playing "Nearer my God to thee" for those not maintaining a proper listening watch :)

antzx6r 9th Jul 2008 23:47

You're very correct QCPog. Seems like people are getting confused between legal manditory and good airmanship radio calls. Legally the only calls needed are the few mentioned previously and only in CTAF(R). If we all wish to stay alive however, yoall better be making more calls than that when you here any other traffic in the ctaf. The legal min. is for use in those remote CTAF(R)'s where there is the occasional RPT stopping in but not much other traffic. Making CASA enforce a crap load of calls in these situations would just be annoying and give a perseption of "one size fits all" for our ADs, which is not really applicable for a land like ours. So use that noggin guys (and gals... sorry) and make the calls nessesary for the conditions. Out.


werbil 11th Jul 2008 10:32

The problem with excessive unnecessary calls in a busy environment is that more significant calls may be over-transmitted. I have experienced countless occasions where two pilots have jammed the frequency on each other, sometimes with both starting and finishing their calls at the same requiring a 'two in together' broadcast to be made to be able to find out what either of them are doing.

Rather than blindly making every recommended call, developing a situational awareness of other traffic in the area and making appropriate calls will IMHO result in the lowest potential collision risk. There are huge differences between the type and density of traffic around different aerodromes, and unfortunately as a result the 'one size fits all' solution is inherently flawed.

QSK? 12th Jul 2008 01:05

Making every recommended call when one is the only aircraft operating on the CTAF is a bit like using your indicators on your car when making every turn at 3am with no other cars around !

DraggingAir 12th Jul 2008 06:58

I thought that too..
...years ago when I was overflying a CTAF at 5,000'. I had made no calls leading up to this. Directly overhead I had a gut feeling, made a call and within a minute or so 4 other aircraft had called and identified themselves, one in the circuit below, one at around 2,000' and two others at the same level as me, both of whom I was then able to locate visually! :eek:

antzx6r 13th Jul 2008 23:57

Situational awareness
I find this and similar situations happening to me also. As a new pilot (75hr) i'm still developing this situational awareness. My instructor told me to have a pad and pen to write down call signs and positions as I here them. This is ok for navs but not for in and around ctafs. Does anyone have any technics for visualizing traffic positions or is it just a case of practice makes perfect. I'm not saying i blindly fly around the ctaf waiting for something to happen, but when the cct gets busy my mind goes into overdrive trying to keep count of who and what is where.:\ Joining mid xwind with 4 or 5 doing touch and goes is a nightmare. Any advice?

DraggingAir 14th Jul 2008 07:54

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.

werbil 14th Jul 2008 11:52

Making every recommended call when one is the only aircraft operating on the CTAF is a bit like using your indicators on your car when making every turn at 3am with no other cars around !
There is a difference - using indicators in a car will NOT blind other drivers from seeing you or someone else.

However inbound/overflying and taxying calls are essential at all times - these tell any other pilots that "I'm out here", "I'm monitoring the frequency", and "Broadcast at appropriate points if you could be in conflict". In hilly areas where terrain shielding can occur additional calls are essential as a taxying/circuit/departure aircraft may not hear an inbound/overflying aircraft.

werbil 14th Jul 2008 12:10

Keeping your eyes outside the aircraft as you approach the circuit is essential - as you say a notepad and pen is fine in navs but no good in the circuit.

What I do is to break aircraft in to different groups - where they are (circuit/departing/arriving) and where they are likely to be conflict. It is something that you develop with practice.

One way of helping developing the skills is to listen to aerodrome radio traffic on the ground - using an air band radio or scanner. Pick an arriving aircraft and relate the other traffic to it as it arrives. Even better be doing something else at the same time.

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