VFR

Next Radar Contact Show: Call Sign by Color, and Picking Up VFR Flight Following

If you’re using your aircraft model and color scheme to identify yourself in an uncontrolled airport pattern, I have a good reason to quit immediately. Let’s talk about that reason in the next edition of the Radar Contact Show. It’s been awhile since we talked about how to make initial contact with ATC when requesting …

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Common Traffic Advisory Frequencies and ATC as Customer Service

This edition of the Radar Contact Show consolidates the previous 3 articles about using a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) and about ATC as customer service organization. If you would rather read about CTAF, you can find the full articles using these links. How to Select and Use the Correct Common Traffic Advisory Frequency It’s …

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How to Select and Use the Correct Common Traffic Advisory Frequency

A pilot named Michael recently wrote to me with this question about the use of a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). “I have a question regarding Unicom’s vs CTAF’s.  I’m an Alaska pilot and I also have some time in Eastern Washington, Oregon and Western Idaho. When I was getting my lessons in that region …

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What ATC’s ‘Make Closed Traffic’ Clearance Means

“Cessna 9130 Delta, Pensasoda Tower, make right closed traffic. Runway 11, cleared for takeoff.” What has ATC just authorized you to do? More importantly, what has ATC not authorized you to do? The answers are not as straight-forward as you would think. You have declared an emergency with ATC. Then, it occurs to you. You …

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Radar Contact Preview: Cleared to Land

Here’s your challenge. Where does the Aeronautical Information Manual, or the J.O. 7110.65 (Air Traffic Control) specifically say you must receive a “cleared to land” from Tower before landing? I’ll have a complete discussion of the topic, including words from air traffic controllers in the next edition of the Radar Contact Show. On a related …

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When to Make Position Reports in an Uncontrolled Airport Traffic Pattern

Radar Contact is back! In the first show after a months-long break, we’ll talk about when to make position reports in an uncontrolled pattern. You may think you already know the answer, but if you look at the confusing mess in the Aeronautical Information Manual, your confidence may be shaken. No matter. I’ll give you …

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Monitor the Tower

Recently, someone asked me, “What should I do when the ground controller says, ‘Monitor the Tower?’” This individual thought it meant, continue to communicate with Ground on one radio and listen to Tower’s frequency on a second radio. This makes sense when you think about how the Aeronautical Information Manual recommends monitoring the guard frequency …

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Caution Wake Turbulence for the Departing Boeing 757

“Cessna 9130D, caution wake turbulence for the departing Boeing 757, Runway 25, cleared for takeoff.” Gulp! Never fear, ATC is here to protect you against the hazards of wake turbulence. No kidding. ATC uses very specific rules to help you remain clear of wake turbulence. We’ll look at those rules and how to work within …

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