CTAF calls during instrument approach

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by sarangan, Jul 29, 2021.

  1. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff

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    I know this topic has been discussed before. But it happens a bit too often to not bring it up again. When flying instrument approaches in VFR conditions, it is the responsibility of the IFR traffic to make comprehensible radio calls. It should not be upto the VFR traffic in the pattern to figure out what the IFR pilots are talking about.

    Yesterday, a student and I were flying a practice approach to Runway 20 at my home field. Wind was calm, and the default runway is typically 20. I called 6 mile final, and then a 3 mile final. Another airplane was holding short on 20 for takeoff. Then we heard a Citation Execjet saying he was on a RNAV for 2 (opposite runway), but he did not give a position report. We broke off the approach and decided to circle to runway 2. The airplane waiting to takeoff asked how far the Citation was. There was no response. Then he too started taxiing to runway 2. While circling, I asked the Execjet what his position was, so that I can decide if I should extend our downwind. He responded with "we are at ICALO". I knew that is one of the initial approach fixes, but I didn't want to pull out a chart to look that up. I asked him again "how far are you?". His response: "we are approaching SOVVO". I was quite annoyed by now that this radio exchange had gone on for this long. I didn't want my student to be rattled by an ignorant jet jockey who does not know how to operate at an uncontrolled field. I repeated "I have no idea where that is, HOW FAR ARE YOU?". There was a long pause. Then he comes back and says "12 miles". That was enough distance for two airplanes to land before him. We turned base and landed. The other airplane took off behind us. We were parked and deplaned by the time the Execjet touched down. The lesson is, don't be afraid to speak up if you don't understand what the other guy is saying, even if it is a jet traffic.
     
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  2. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Just fly that magenta line Mr Dickbag Jet Pilot.

    I always keep a distance to the airport up on one of my screens. No one on CTAF gives a crap what fix you are at. I'll make the call in miles (maybe even add how many minutes) how far I'm out. Because VFR guys DONTT GIVVE ASHTT about your fixes.
     
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  3. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep. It’s also useful to tell how many minutes out you are especially if you’re a faster airplane. Jets are approaching doing 2 miles a minute and even faster. You may have less time to get out of the way than you think.
     
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  4. jbDC9

    jbDC9 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It's not just jet guys doing this; I've lost count of how many times I've heard clueless prop drivers do it... including one rather dickbag instrument instructor in the Houston area who wanted to argue about it on the radio.

    When I hear this stupidity on the radio, I respond like the OP did; "Okay, that's nice, but WHERE ARE YOU?"
     
  5. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Jet guys should theoretically be less clueless than your average prop driver, though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
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  6. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    I know it's not just jet pilots, but his story was about a jet pilot.
     
  7. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not disagreeing with the discussion at all, but it does go both ways sometimes. Often the local gang may be heard making calls such as "over the ponds, inbound" or "just past WalMart" etc. That works fine when the other guys in the pattern are all known to you, but the jet guy from out of town doesn't have any idea. Point is, we should all strive to make definite, concise position reports, using distance and direction.
     
  8. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Absoutely true. "Over the water tower" is something I hear often at my local airport. We have many water towers in the area, and someone new will not know what it is all about. Calling in "5 miles south" or "2 mile final" is significantly more useful.
     
  9. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Oh yeah, those guys are just as bad. What's fun is when ATC gives you instructions referencing a land mark that's not on the chart. "Not from around here, got a heading for me?"
     
  10. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    you guys use the radio?
     
  11. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    Kind of like the local pilots even if they are VFR should be familiar with well known fixes of approaches.
     
  12. tawood

    tawood En-Route

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    The real lesson is, the jet guy will report the unsafe condition to the FAA.

     
  13. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Only to say "get out of my way ya'll, I'm coming in."
     
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  14. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    I was one of those knobs initially after getting my Instrument ticket.

    When you're training for this, you eat, sleep and breathe this crap, and figure everyone knows where UDHAY, ADUNE, IFLEV and everything else is. It didn't immediately occur to me that the local J3 driver doing pattern work in perfectly decent marginal VFR has no clue or care about it.

    Took me about twice to get that out of my system. YMMV.
     
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  15. aftCG

    aftCG Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, but how many miles out is YMMV?
     
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  16. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Line Up and Wait

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    Wonder if the jet pilot has ever flown into Airventure ?
     
  17. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    It's really not all that hard to add in your head the distances between approach fixes, or your distance from an approach fix. Holy cow.
     
  18. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Easier to leave a field for distance to airport rather than adding up numbers while hand flying in IMC.
     
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  19. woywoyboy

    woywoyboy Pre-Flight

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    Part of my basic instrument training nearly two decades ago was my instructor randomly asking me where I was in terms of distance and direction in relation to the airport at that moment on an approach. If I couldn't almost immediately come up with something like "five southwest" or "fifteen north" it (or something like "about to join left downwind" on a circle to land) with or without help from the (then kinda primitive) GPS, he considered it a failure of my positional awareness. It left me with a life-long irritation at pilots reporting on CTAF with IFR fixes or waypoints only — you should already know at least roughly where the hell you are in relation to the airport or pattern wherever you are in an approach...
     
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  20. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Actually, it's not just the J3 pilot doing pattern work. Unless you happen to be IFR and have the chart in front of you, there is not much chance that anyone is going to recognize where ICALO is. In addition, these are not every day words. People pronounce them differently, making them even less understandable.
     
  21. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Back before the GPS days, it took a little effort to calculate a distance based on your presumed position.

    Nowadays you not only know how far away the airport is, you can see your relative position to the intended runway...
     
  22. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    It’s good to aspire to do better, but let’s be kind. 90% of those reporting via a fix are probably suffering from some form of helmet fire.
     
  23. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Try telling that to Netjets guys.
     
  24. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    Flying VFR into small Quebec airports, I sometimes make my position reports in both English and French (keeping them as short as possible, of course). IFR position reports over UNICOM/ATF/CTAF are sort of the same idea: you make the report in IFR language, then in VFR language, to make sure everyone can understand.

    When you walk into a store or restaurant in Montreal, staff will usually greet you with the (in)famous "Bonjour-Hi". Same idea.
     
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  25. Auburn2002

    Auburn2002 Pre-Flight

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    Funny - N41ND arrived at KOSH 4 days ago. Hopefully not the same pilot.
     
  26. idahoflier

    idahoflier Cleared for Takeoff

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    We have to get out of the way?
     
  27. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yea if you’re thinking of taking off before the faster plane you may need to think a little faster.
     
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  28. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    Presumably someone experienced enough to fly a faster plane is experienced enough to avoid slower traffic? If not, maybe they need to go back for some remedial training.
     
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  29. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You’re missing the point. I said it’s a good idea to call out distance and minutes if you’re flying a faster plane because you’re going faster than the weekend warrior may be used to and they may think they may have time to squeeze out an extra departure when you’re barreling down final doing 140 knots. If the the guy on the ground is used to a 172 calling out a 5 mile final, you have all the time in the world to get out like 5 departures. If you have a jet calling out a 5 mile final, you may only be able to get out 2 or 3 airplanes. So again, it’s useful to call out distance AND time if you’re flying something quick
     
  30. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    Ah, yes, understood. Agreed that the pilot of a bug squasher might wrongly think they still have lots of time when a fast plane is on 2 mile final.
     
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  31. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach

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    That guy was a dramatic dick.
     
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  32. geezer

    geezer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    2 schools.

    Old school, you had a written flight plan on your knee board, with an ETA. From your last fix passage, you know how many minutes you are ahead or behind, and can advise in minutes out as you approach the airport. If you were good, you inserted the actual crossing times for every fix enroute.

    New school, you have GPS, and it has ETA in the available displays. Just tap a couple of buttons/places on the display. You have the number of minutes out, continuously updating, real time.

    If you do not know how many minutes out you are, you need to upgrade your skills or technique. Minutes out should be the default for all inbound IFR's at non towered airports, particularly in marginal conditions, as there will be aircraft in the pattern who would not consider venturing away in barely legal conditions.

    I learned old school, and transitioned as LORAN and GPS came into aviation. Any pilot with moving map etc. should never be unsure when he will arrive at the airport environment.
     
  33. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Apparently there are a lot of “pilots” out there who need remedial training.
     
  34. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Had that back in my pre-cert solo days. Was at a non-towered airport doing pattern work. Bonanza calls they are on the approach. Gave a fix as their position. I'm on downwind with no idea where that fix is. I asked them if they wanted me to extend to allow them in.. crickets. They called the next fix, asked again what they wanted me to do, still crickets.. think I even said student pilot solo... nothing.. I ended up bailing out of the pattern and going back to my home drone. Never saw the Bonanza.
     
  35. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Well yes, but I highly doubt everyone flight planned all the approach fixes.

    I do believe minutes has its place, but miles do as well. If you are getting ready to turn base you to know *where* the guy is.
     
  36. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    The thing that yanks my chain is the CFI doing practice approaches who does bother the get traffic advisories.
     
  37. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Additionally, the differences in speed between airplanes is not as dramatic as it may seem. The instrument approach speed on a 172 is about 90 knots. On a Citation it is about 120 knots. To cover a 6 mile distance, that is 4 minutes vs 3 minutes. Is that a huge deal? I don't think so. We are not looking for that level of precision when making traffic calls. I usually eyeball the distance when making the distance calls. I am not calculating anything or cross referencing a chart. The purpose is to get out of each other's way.
     
  38. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Well a Citation May be close to 120 at the FAF, but they’re likely not that slow further out.
     
  39. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Ah, Citations… ;)

    I once got to ride through a 360 on final, on autopilot, at 150 feet because my D.O. thought he could follow a 172.

    On the other hand, I once had an AT-6 (the original) do a 360 behind us in the Citation because my new copilot felt the need for a REALLY stabilized approach.
     
  40. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    A C172 or PA-28 should be down around 65 KIAS (give or take) within one mile final, so it's almost double (more than double groundspeed if there's any headwind). The 90 KIAS instrument approach speed isn't a good reference point.