MF procedures continue to be a problem for some pilots.
The crew of a King Air C90A approached the Chilliwack (CYCW) zone from the west and announced their intentions to overfly midfield at 1,600 feet to determine preferred runway. Over flight indicated winds favouring RWY 07. As there was no other traffic broadcasting on frequency or observed in the circuit, the King Air crew announced their intentions and joined downwind right for RWY 07, as per published CFS procedures. Shortly thereafter, another aircraft entered the zone and also announced intentions to overfly midfield and join downwind right RWY 07. As the King Air crew called downwind RWY 07, a third aircraft was observed flying opposite direction overhead and announced intentions to overfly midfield at 1,000 and join downwind left for RWY 07. The second aircraft was observed on right base for 07 and the third aircraft was observed on left base for RWY 07, resulting in potential conflict.
A private Cessna 185 was inbound to Lloydminster and the pilot made several attempts to contact FSS on the wrong frequency. When he got no response, he then made broadcasts on 126.7 until Edmonton FIC advised the pilot of the correct mandatory frequency for YLL. The pilot’s initial contact with FSS on the correct frequency was on short final for Runway 08.
A King Air 200 was inbound to St. Theresa Point (CYST) for the NDB A approach and landing on Runway 22 at CYST. They called final at 1232z and at 1234z indicated that they had landed on Runway 12 at Island Lake without indicating their intentions to FSS.
A Beech 99 was inbound to Buffalo Narrows (YVT) and the crew made an initial call on the mandatory frequency. The crew did not report joining the circuit, on downwind or final. The crew reported down and clear at 2047z.
A Piper PA31 taxied onto Taxiway Bravo at Îles-de-la-Madeleine (CYGR), Runway 16/34, up to the company hangar without radio communication. The flight service specialist (FSS) tried to contact the crew using frequency 123.15 before the aircraft entered the runway but did not get a response.
A Vans RV8 was observed taxiing on Taxiway Alpha at Medicine Hat and then entering Runway 21, the active runway and then backtracking. FSS made several attempts to contact the pilot on the airport mandatory frequency without success. The aircraft was at the threshold of Runway 21 when communications were established. The pilot stated he was on the wrong frequency.
A Canadian Armed Forces Lockheed CC-130 Hercules was dropping paratroopers over Muskoka (CYQA). A Cessna 150M landed on runway 36 while paratroopers were in the air and landing in the vicinity of the threshold of runway 36. The Cessna 150 entered the MF and landed without contacting FSS or broadcasting intentions.
A Cessna 150L pilot made his first call stating he was inbound from the northwest intending downwind left hand for Runway 29 at Campbell River (CYBL). The aircraft was in reality 3.5 nm south and actually joined downwind right hand for Runway 11. The FSS advised the pilot of the requirement to call before entering the control zone and helped them realize they had joined the circuit for the wrong runway.
An Instructor and student at Chilliwack (CYCW) were in the right downwind at 1,000 feet for the active Runway 07 with a right hand circuit at CYCW. A Bell 212 VFR to CYCW approached from the southwest on about a 45 degree angle to the runway cutting in front of the C152. The instructor had the student turn left in order to avoid a collision as a turn to the right would have resulted in one. After the C152 turned, the helicopter nosed down to go under the aircraft. The Bell 212 then proceeded to cross the active runway to land on the ramp. The Bell 212 used inappropriate circuit procedures and no radio call was heard from the helicopter.
A Cessna 172M was on a local VFR flight at Lindsay Airport (CNF4) as was a Cessna 150L. A Cessna 172H was inbound for landing at Lindsay Airport (CNF4). The C-172M was inbound for landing and had already passed overhead the field to join mid-right downwind for runway 13 followed by the C-150. There was a radio call from the pilot of the Cessna 172H that he was joining right downwind for runway 13 and was coming in from the west. The C-172H was heading straight for the C 172M at the same altitude. The C-172M pilot had to bank 60 degrees to the right to avoid a collision. The C-172H still turned to join runway 13 and cut off the Cessna 150 as well.
The following procedures must be followed at airports within an MF Area and should be followed at airports with an ATF.
Manoeuvring Area – Report intentions prior to entering the manoeuvring area, and maintain a listening watch on the MF or ATF while operating the aircraft on the manoeuvring area.
Departure – Report departure intentions on the MF or ATF before moving onto the runway. If a delay is expected, broadcast intentions and the expected length of the delay. Then rebroadcast departure intentions prior to entering the runway. Ascertain by radio on the MF or ATF, and by visual observation, that no other aircraft or vehicle is likely to come into conflict with the aircraft during take-off. Report departing from the circuit, and monitor the MF or ATF until well clear of the MF or ATF Area (5-10 nm).
Arrival – Report position, altitude, arrival procedure intentions and estimated time of landing at least five minutes (where possible) prior to entering the area. Maintain a listening watch on the MF or ATF while in the area. Report joining the circuit pattern giving position in the pattern. Report on downwind leg, report on final approach, and report clear of the active runway after landing.
Continuous Circuits – Report joining the downwind leg. Report established on final approach stating intentions, and report clear of the active runway after landing.
Local Flying – Maintain a listening watch on the MF or AFT when operating in the area.
Enroute Reports When Flying Through An MF Area – report position, altitude and intentions prior to entering the area, maintain a listening watch on the MF or ATF while in the area and report clear of the area.
If there is an FSS or CAR specialist on the airport, we must get an advisory before manoeuvring and we must advise if we are going to enter a taxiway or runway. Even if no one is expected to be listening, it is wise to make these calls so that other pilots become aware of our intentions.
Some of the pilots in the incidents listed above were on the wrong frequency, either because they did not know which frequency was correct or because of finger problems. We must pay more attention to the CFS and know what frequency we are to select and then make sure we have selected it correctly.
As well as listening out, we have to look out. As seen from the incidents above other pilots may not be playing by the rules.
Keep radio calls concise. Radio traffic can become heavy at times and unnecessary calls or wordy reports cause others frustration and may cause a conflict if others cannot get their calls in.
Uncontrolled airport procedures are in place for our safety. Radio calls and a good lookout are part of those procedures.
• Dale Nielsen is an ex-Armed Forces pilot and aerial photography pilot. He lives in Abbotsford, B.C., and currently manages a small airline and teaches part-time for a local aviation/university program. Nielsen is also the author of seven flight training manuals published by Canuck West Holdings.