Pilot's tip of the week

“Last Call”

Subscriber question:

"I fly from a non-towered airport. I'm hearing pilots on our CTAF using the term “last call” as they depart the traffic pattern. I don’t see this listed in the AIM. Is this a call I should be making?" - Len M.

Wally:

“I suspect it’s not listed in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) because, in my view, it has little value.

As you are aware, CTAF frequencies are shared by many airports and many airplanes. When you are talking, no one else on that frequency at any of those airports can talk. While it is important to share needed information, it is even more important not to block the frequency with insignificant information. I can’t see how the phrase “last call” could improve safety in any way.

I know, “last call” is only two words, what could it hurt? Well, imagine while you are saying those two words, you may block a position report at yours or another airport, and a traffic conflict occurs.

The AIM suggests announcing, before taxing onto the runway for departure – “Remaining in the pattern” or “Departing to the (appropriate direction)”. Since that is the last call suggested, it makes no sense to repeat that fact sometime after takeoff.

The AIM also suggests when departing to monitor the CTAF frequency until 10 miles away, unless local procedures require otherwise. Naturally, if there is inbound traffic, communication may be in order.

So, by making only the recommended announcements we leave the frequency available for those who actually need to communicate, thereby improving safety.”

What do you think? "Last call" - helpful or not?

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