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Author Topic: Using the CTAF  (Read 4417 times)
masterkeymaster
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« on: February 11, 2014, 01:05:33 PM »

You are on the ground at your small airport can a person who holds a least private Pilot certificate give known traffic advisories to both arriving and departing aircraft? Or do you have to be affiliated with the airfield in some kind of way? What if the airfield owner wants to close for the day can someone who lives across the street from that airfield (an aviation enthuses) operate the CTAF?
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swa4678
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 01:19:44 PM »

I'm going to guess "No" to both questions, since CTAF is meant to be used as an air-to-air frequency for pilots to broadcast their intentions to other pilots in the area.

If you want to sit in a ground station and broadcast traffic advisories, you'd want to sign up for the off-the-street hiring going on, get selected, go to the FAA Academy, become an ATC specialist, etc. etc.
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RonR
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 10:33:39 PM »

It's not just for air to air, aircraft on the ground will use the CTAF to announce their intentions to take the active runway and takeoff. And once a plane has landed the pilot will announce when he is clear of the runway. There may also be someone on the field at certain times of the day (depending on the airport) who can provide wind speed and direction to anyone that asks.

And I agree, it would be "no" to both questions.

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martyj19
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 06:11:28 AM »

The OP might be referring to UNICOM, which is run by an FBO on the field and may ask you after you have landed if you need fuel or direct you to parking.  I personally would not be transmitting amateur traffic advisories on the CTAF on the theory that I might be legally liable if there were a collision and on the theory that it ties up the frequency for real air-to-air traffic callouts, which is what it is there for.  Remember that CTAF frequencies are shared among many airports (this is why you give the airport as part of your transmission.)  I would defer to an aviation attorney to tell us if use by "someone who lives across the street" is even legal.
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falstro
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 08:45:07 AM »

You are on the ground at your small airport can a person who holds a least private Pilot certificate give known traffic advisories to both arriving and departing aircraft? Or do you have to be affiliated with the airfield in some kind of way? What if the airfield owner wants to close for the day can someone who lives across the street from that airfield (an aviation enthuses) operate the CTAF?

I assume you're talking about the US, since you call it a private pilot's certificate (international name is license, or licence) and I don't know of any other country calling it CTAF, but I might be mistaken on that point. Nevertheless as an interesting side note, the CTAF (or equivalent) in many European countries can be manned on the ground by someone appointed by the airfield operator, provided s/he has a valid air-traffic radio license (assuming one is necessary), they do not need to be pilots. They may provide traffic and wind advisories and in some cases provide direction finding, but since the field is uncontrolled they have no authority and cannot give you any clearances. In Germany they even go so far as REQUIRE it to be manned. If it isn't, the airfield is closed and you may not land (except in an emergency of course).
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 08:48:32 AM by roe » Logged
RonR
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2014, 08:57:50 AM »

I would defer to an aviation attorney to tell us if use by "someone who lives across the street" is even legal.


I can't imagine that "providing traffic advisories from across the street" would be even close to legal on a CTAF.  Aside from the legalities of it, how could anyone give traffic advisories if they can't "see" what's going on around the airport in the air or on the ground?  Just my two cents worth  smiley
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2014, 02:01:28 PM »

Many CTAF frequencies are also UNICOM frequencies on uncontrolled airports.  This essentially means the FBO or ground operation there will likely be monitoring, and is authorized to talk back, on such common advisory frequencies.  There is no license requirement forbidding someone without an FAA license from using a UNICOM freq to talk to air traffic in their local area, however the ground station will have to have an FCC license to do so.

As far as a pilot giving traffic advisories on the ground, I've heard a multitude of different things on CTAF freq's over the years.  Since CTAF's aren't typically monitored by ATC, and not many rules governing them, you can hear things like casual conversations between pilots, traffic advisories, position reports, even pilots on the ground telling incoming aircraft about potential hazards that might exist in the area (traffic, fires, obstacles, etc.)  However, there isn't a FAR that specifically dictates what communications are forbid or allowed on a CTAF.  The AIM (Airman's Information Manual) suggests procedures when using a CTAF, but the gist is whatever is necessary to conduct a safe operations in the vicinity of an uncontrolled airport.  The other however is there is actually no reporting requirements for operating at an uncontrolled airport in class E or G airspace - in other words, it's completely up to the pilot to do so.  It would seem like a no-brainer to announce position reports, but you'd be surprised at the things you encounter at uncontrolled airports...
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spades
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2014, 04:02:19 PM »

I don't want to be rude here but you would be a complete fool to do that.  You're not a controller, you're not authorized to do so, and you are assuming an incredible amount of liability.  What if you said traffic was at someone's 10 o'clock when you meant to say 2 o'clock and they got together with someone?  Again, you're not there to be a controller.  When flight service has to relay a clearance to you on the ground, they start it with "ATC clears" for a reason because they're not controllers either.

When two VFR aircraft are head on at the same altitude, I will give them traffic alerts and suggest headings and/or changes of altitude and I will end every suggestions with instructions to maintain VFR.  I will never assign either of those to them in any situation...ever.  Now, I'm a center guy so I work with different rules than terminal but we don't assign stuff like that to VFR.  I don't know if my vector may take them into a cloud or traffic that I don't see.  I realize your intentions are probably good but seriously -- just don't do it.
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StuSEL
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2014, 11:29:25 AM »

This would be more appropriate on UNICOM than CTAF. You would likely need the airport manager's permission. Even at airports with a UNICOM operator who provides airport advisories, this increases the liability of the organization providing those advisories because their only way of knowing who's where is the radio. Most UNICOM operators aren't looking out the window like a tower controller. At airports I've been to with a UNICOM operator -- namely Bad Axe (BAX) -- they are extremely cautious about how they phrase their traffic information.
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