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Air to Air Chat?

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Air to Air Chat?

Old 1st Mar 2016, 21:52
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Air to Air Chat?

Good Evening!

I am planning a few flights with a few friends who are all pilots, we're hoping to get a few people in each plane and fly somewhere around the south-east of the UK. We weren't planning on flying in formation as not all of us have had training (and surprisingly we're not THAT stupid).

We would be keen to communicate with one another during the flight, as we won't be very far from one another, and may want to checkup on one another's progress if we can't see them.

To my amazement, however, having searched through PPRuNe, I have found old threads, all of which state that in the UK there is no such frequency... Is that still true in 2016? Is there no air to air 'chat' frequency available for licensed pilots to use whilst flying? How do formation pilots manage to chat to one another? Are they just close enough to see hand signals? Or is there an un-official channel that won't be frowned upon if used? How do you guys do it? Or have you just bought off-the-shelf talkie walkies and just use those in ad-hoc to normal plane VHF frequency?

Thanks!
Alex90
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Old 1st Mar 2016, 22:26
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123.450
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Old 1st Mar 2016, 22:53
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Originally Posted by kindupnorth View Post
123.450
No frequency is approved for this purpose in the UK.

123.450 is commonly used, but that frequency is already allocated to a specified purpose, and you may severely p**s off some people if you use it in certain areas.

This subject has come up before in the threads, and an experienced Air Traffic Controller on here suggested that, although still not official, 123.4 would be a better choice, as it was not, to his knowledge, assigned to any purpose at present.


MJ
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Old 1st Mar 2016, 23:11
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Ask the weight shifters, they seem to spend an inordinate amount of time gabbing to each other while flying.
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 05:53
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128.9 seems to be where the microlight guys discuss the view, and 118.00 is often used for banter.

Neither are specifically allocated to free chat, but both are used as such.

Just don't use real names or callsigns.
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 06:57
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I wish the CAA and OFCOM had the resources to pursue and prosecute those irresponsible people who use frequencies that have been assigned as silent safety frequencies for 'chat'. Unfortunately, they don't, so I would exhort you all the PLEASE NOT use them for any purpose.

Why not use a mobile phone? Mine works extremely well through the Bluetooth on my headset.

TOO
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 08:03
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These Air2Air frequencies for short distance chat are throughout Europe decreasingly usable. With the 833 mandate many upgraded to quite powerful radios and blow their chats miles over miles.

Do you want all England listen to your coffee chat?

I met a gyrocopter group lately which used small power free-band radios PMR446 from motorcycles to do the Air2Air chat separately from the main radios and found that quite feasible.

Another option could be one of the non-protected training frequencies for the appropriate aircraft category, i.e. Glider (when I was young we used 130.125) or Microlight (129.825) or even the shared Glider/Hangglider/Parachute (129.900). As far as I am aware of, there is no motor aircraft training frequency in the UK, or?

Idea, what happens if you ask Flight Information Service for a second frequency for Air2Air?
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 08:35
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Why not use a mobile phone?
Have you tried getting consistent signal on any of the normal phone networks in the UK on the ground? In the air - I get anything between 2 bars and 0 bars, often the latter, especially when flying towards Ashford area (maybe its just O2 being rubbish). Having to keep trying to call again and again as and when signal comes back seems to me, to be an unnecessary distraction.

It would be so much easier if there was a frequency dedicated for chat, then I could have box 1 on the chat frequency, and box 2 keeping a "listening watch" on any ATC / service I may be getting. The range would be more than good enough for such an occasion, reliable (well... as reliable as the radios are), no messing around with phones... I think this would increase safety if not anything else.

I have just gone on: http://www.airscene.co.uk/tinc and looked up a few frequencies, 118.000 pops up as "Nationwide - Civilian Air-Air" in addition to a few aerobatic / air display teams. Does anyone have any information with regards to this?

Thanks,
Alex90
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 08:47
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128.9 seems to be where the microlight guys discuss the view
I think the cousins at Lakenheath might take a dim view of that. I think Mono means the microlight frequency 129.825 - but it is not for air to air chat (although lots of folk use it for that which seriously pi55es off everyone else).

The simple fact is that air to air "chat" is not allowed on any of the VHF airband frequencies.
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 08:50
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It actually says:
118.000
Nationwide
Air-Air Display Coordination
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 08:54
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I once heard two microlighters starting to have a chat on a radar/approach frequency. Was rather cringeworthy to listen to it and their subsequent telling off by the controller.
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 09:24
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Can't you use the frequencies that lorry drivers and non-flying people use for chat?
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 10:07
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@patowalker

It actually lists 118.000 as being
1. Civilian air-air
2. Marlboro aerobatic display
3. Crunchie flight team
4. Air-Air display co-ordination


it goes on to list
123.400 as air-air
123.450 as air-air common
123.5 as air-air

All the above listed as nationwide

BUT it does state that Airscene makes no guarantee regarding the accuracy of the content.
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 10:28
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I wish the CAA and OFCOM had the resources to pursue and prosecute those irresponsible people who use frequencies that have been assigned as silent safety frequencies
I'm genuinely curious.

What is a "silent safety frequency" and for what purpose has it been "assigned"?

In what way are those who use these "silent safety frequencies" being irresponsible, and what danger or safety risk does the unauthorised use of these "safety frequencies" pose to other users (who themselves might appreciate the use of an air to air frequency for safety reasons)?
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 11:52
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Originally Posted by horizon flyer View Post
I believe 118.000 is listed as the international air to air frequency so would be available world wide and can not be allocated to anyone.
118.00 is the AFIS frequency for Exuma International airport.
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 12:16
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There are numerous frequencies allocated for non ATC use in the band 118.0 - 138.0. These are often 'company' frequencies or occasionally 'trials' frequencies, the latter being used infrequently. 126.4 is a 'trials' frequency as are 118.750 and 130.5.
But I didn't tell you, right?
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 12:47
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118.00 is the AFIS frequency for Exuma International airport.
Also, less far away for most of us, it is the published frequency for EBNM Namur Suarlée.

Last edited by Jan Olieslagers; 2nd Mar 2016 at 14:32.
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 13:05
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What is a "silent safety frequency" and for what purpose has it been "assigned"?
Are those the frequencies that are used for fallback when someone is blocking a frequency for a substantial amount of time without being aware of the fact, and everyone else switches to those frequencies to continue communicating with ATC?

BUT it does state that Airscene makes no guarantee regarding the accuracy of the content.
If you're not a complete idiot, and start transmitting on someone's frequency without listening out to check it isn't currently being used. Make a blind call, perhaps even stating intentions to "communicate air-air for a period of x minutes, if anyone on frequency objecting to it, please reply now", could that essentially be a "responsible" use of a frequency not currently in use? In which case you could quite easily stop transmitting should the frequency become active?

Sorry just trying to find a work-around if at all possible. Alternatively, could one contact a "company frequency" and request to use it for a single time / day / whatever? Would that be possible? I am not one to knowingly do something in breach of regulations, and not one to knowingly break the law. So trying to find perhaps a lawful / correct method of communication through the aeroplane's VHF box?

I have heard a lot of chatter on frequencies when I have tuned the VHF in the clubhouse - so to say that it doesn't happen, and that it doesn't happen safely would be ludicrous in my mind!
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 13:23
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123.45

From the United Kingdom Aeronautical Information Circular

"ICAO Annex 10 Volume V Para 4.1.3.2.1 states that 123.45 Mhz shall be designated for use as an Air-to-Air communications channel to enable aircraft engaged in flights over remote and oceanic areas, out of range of VHF ground stations, to exchange necessary operational information and to facilitate the resolution of operational problems.

Within the UK and Europe there are a number of VHF ground stations operating air traffic and operational control services on 123.45 MHz. There have been numerous reports of aircraft within the UK FIR using this frequency as an unauthorised Air-to-Air open communications channel. Attention is brought to the fact that the resulting interference from unauthorised use of this channel is potentially detrimental to flight safety."


I suspect that the SE of England would not really qualify as being remote and a trip across the Solent to Bembridge is far from being an oceanic crossing.
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Old 2nd Mar 2016, 15:13
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Isn't the obvious - and from the above legal - workaround that if you are flying the same routes you will be on the same frequency anyway.

So when aircraft 1 reports position ("G-ABCD overhead Anytown 2000 ft") you'll know where they are.

I appreciate that means you can't exchange pleasantries on the view or insult each other's takeoff skills but...then again maybe that's a good thing.
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