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ATC at un-towered airport


Graeme Irick Burtis
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1 hour ago, Graeme Irick Burtis said:

So I am doing a IFR flight between two un-towered airports but there is a center controller online. Would I contact the center controller while at the airport or only once I take off. I'm also wondering how I would get clearance in this scenario 

This would depend on where the airports in question are, because each division may have different procedures as to how they handle the clearance and departure out of one airport, and the arrival into the other airport.

If I take the US into account, you'd request clearance on the ground from the Center controller, as since you are filing IFR, they have to protect the airport and airspace around the airport for your departure. However, another option - weather permitting - would be to depart the airport VFR, and pick up IFR clearance when airborne. The advantages to that is that you wouldn't have to wait for your clearance to depart, while if you got your clearance on the ground, that would prevent any arrivals from landing at the airport until you depart.

So you have options, but they all deal with getting hold of the Center controller, as he would have control of the airspace above your departing airport. Again, all of this is US-specific, so for other countries, controllers from there will need to chime in.

BL.

 

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

27

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Assuming you decide to go full IFR, request your clearance normally, but you'll probably be told "hold for release" meaning you can't start flying until they tell you.  Then when ready, let them know, and they'll provide a "release window" (i.e. a time limit for departing, joining your filed route per their instruction, and contacting them).  Then you'll be approved to change frequencies so you can announce your airport movements on CTAF (122.8).

A similar process in reverse will occur once established on approach at your arrival airport.  You should then recontact Center after arriving to cancel your IFR plan, which is done automatically at a towered facility but not at a non-towered one.  It is often customary to cancel IFR *prior* to arriving if weather permits and you have the airport in sight.

Edited by Robert Shearman Jr
clarifying

Cheers,

-R.

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20 hours ago, Robert Shearman Jr said:

Then you'll be approved to change frequencies so you can announce your airport movements on CTAF (122.8).

I've been wondering about this for some time. I've never issued that phraseology when I was a controller, and never heard it as a pilot when picking up my clearance on the ground. Of course, ATC issues "change to advisory frequency approved" phraseology for an arrival, which makes more sense. I was always under the impression that the pilot still on the ground would, upon getting their release, switch back to the CTAF and make their calls there until they were airborne and ready to call. Is that not the case in other parts of the country (US) or world?

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Hmm, good point, not sure.  So to clarify I guess I would say that after issuing the initial IFR clearance the controller will likely say something like "Hold for release, call when #1 for departure" which *implies* approval for frequency change.

Personally then I'll go to CTAF to announce taxi, Center to report ready and get my release, CTAF to announce departing, then back to Center once airborne.

Edited by Robert Shearman Jr
drunk and made a bunch of typos

Cheers,

-R.

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I have noticed on vattastic that centre zones are not always accurate to your airport..Sometimes your in their shadow but not under their area and sometimes your out of shadow but are under their control..I suppose the safe option is check in via radio or text to confirm your cover status with atc..

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Similar sort of question, as a newbie. Except as VFR.

Take the below from Vatspy. In Australia, if it makes much difference. Assume two example flights (yellow splodges) with separate flight plans. Questions on when to switch are below the illustration. Moving in and out of controlled airspace isn't something that I have found to be well documented.I don't doubt the material is there and I'm probably just missing it.

image.thumb.png.e5861bbaf891663b60952907bdb54192.png

Flight 1: YMAY to YSCB, VFR.

Presumably 122.8 Unicom out of YMAY, advising traffic of movements (taxi, direction of departure, altitude, etc).

Also presumably switch to Melbourne (YBIK) Centre as approaching that border. I'm guessing its best to go early rather than late.

At what stage would it be necessary to switch to YSCB Tower for the landing? Flying IFR Centre would presumably say when to hand over. If I understand correctly, with VFR that might not be the case.

 

Flight 2 : YSCB to YCAH, VFR.

Under top-down, get taxi and take-off clearance from YSCB having notified of north departure.

I'm guessing YSCB will give the OK on when to switch to Centre (YBIK still). If not, switch to YBIK when? A certain altitude above ground, distance from airport?

Again, as VFR its mostly going to be monitor the frequency maybe after initial contact. Would Centre advise when to switch to Unicom when leaving YBIK controlled airspace? I'm sure for an IFR flight they would.

 

I recognise there may be specifics for the airports selected, but just an overall answer that suffices in most situation would be good enough for a noob such as myself.

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I'm sure an Aussie controller is better to come up with an answer, but flying VFR means that as long as you stay outside Class A, B,C and D airspace, there should not be any need to contact atc.

If you have a look on the VFR chart, you can see the border for these airspace classes. If you stay below the different classes and only fly class E or G, then you only need to contact tower upon final to get permission to enter his/her airspace (usually class D, but don't know Australian rules). You can find more info at AirserviceAustralia

image.thumb.png.113efc03203dc9f76ff83ea46e476bd9.png

Edited by Torben Andersen

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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20 hours ago, Tim Fountain said:

Also presumably switch to Melbourne (YBIK) Centre as approaching that border.

In Australia, most of our Centre controllers extend adjacent sectors, you can see which in their controller info. Albury TWR is not online so that airspace is reclassified class G, and as you are VFR there is no requirement for you to be in contact with the controller. You can depart from there either on unicom or the CTAF frequency on the charts (keep in mind you will still have to monitor unicom because of the COC). 

Canberra is a class C aerodrome, as such, you will need clearance to enter the airspace. before you enter the charlie airpace, you will need a clearance from the Centre controller, who will be covering Canberra Approach top down. The centre controller will then clear you to enter the class C airspace, and will hand you off to the tower controller at the appropriate time. 

Here is a link to the Canberra VTC which has the airpace classes and lower levels: https://www.airservicesaustralia.com/aip/current/aipchart/vtc/Canberra_VTC_02DEC2021.pdf
 

 

21 hours ago, Tim Fountain said:

Flight 2 : YSCB to YCAH, VFR

Yes, you are correct, you will be provided a top down service from the tower controller to get your clearance taxi and take-off. As Canberra is class C, the tower controller will then hand you off to centre, who will control you until you leave the charlie airspace. They will then terminate your control services and advise "frequency change approved" meaning you can switch to unicom or CTAF's. From there you are free to do what you would like!

 

136387491_Asset2xxxhdpi.thumb.png.2a84fc3bd913564d6be34b0108522a06.pngChris Gardiner | 1546444
Events Manager | VATPAC15
C1 Controller | I1 instructor
VATPAC Membership Assistant
E: [email protected]

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