Pilot's tip of the week

Radio Call at Non-Towered Airports?


Subscriber question:

"Do I need to make a radio call before taxiing at a non-towered airport?" - Joe P.


“FAA Advisory Circular 90-42F (TRAFFIC ADVISORY PRACTICES AT AIRPORTS WITHOUT OPERATING CONTROL TOWERS) does recommend a self-announcement before taxi and before taking the runway for departure on our outbound leg from a non-towered airport. Also important would be a call before back taxiing on an active runway or crossing another runway during your taxi.


Having said this, radio discipline is critical. If the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) is congested, adding unnecessary chatter is counterproductive.

There is no substitute for awareness while operating on any airport. Operations at airports without operating control towers require the highest degree of vigilance on the part of pilots to see and avoid aircraft – and don’t assume others have heard your call. There is a lot of activity on many ramps that does not include (or require) radios.

Pilots should stay alert at all times, anticipate the unexpected, use the published CTAF frequency, and follow recommended airport advisory practices.”

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