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Jim Hardin
10-22-2013, 05:52 AM
I heard an ultralight on the radio the other day and got curious what sort of FCC Station license one uses in that instance???

Anymouse
10-22-2013, 06:43 AM
I heard an ultralight on the radio the other day and got curious what sort of FCC Station license one uses in that instance???

Assuming the ultralight stays domestic, no FCC Radiostation License is required.

FlyingRon
10-22-2013, 07:02 AM
As Anymouse says none is required:

47 CFR 87.18

(b) An aircraft station is licensed by rule and does not need an individual license issued by the FCC if the aircraft station is not required by statute, treaty, or agreement to which the United States is signatory to carry a radio, and the aircraft station does not make international flights or communications. Even though an individual license is not required, an aircraft station licensed by rule must be operated in accordance with all applicable operating requirements, procedures, and technical specifications found in this part.


The unanswered question is what identification he used with an unregistered vehicle. Unfortunately, the FAA ACs for Ultralight are woefully out of date with regard to the above regulation.

WLIU
10-22-2013, 07:20 AM
I will suggest that just calling "Ultralight left downwind for runway xxxx" is an effective radio call. I can't read N numbers from 2000' away anyway. I hear more pilots these days using "Oshkosh" calls such as "Red low wing is left downwind...." which is actually more informative than "Nxyz downwind".

Homebuilts start their radio calls with "Experimental Nxyz..." which might have been informative back in the days when homebuilts were uncommon and usually slow, but in the 21st century where the airplane could be anything from an 80mph Breezy to a 200kt Lancair IVP, that call is pretty useless.

I observe that these days too many pilots talk to much and communicate too little. Mindlessly reading from the script isn't getting the job done.

Best of luck,

Wes
N78PS - the white biplane on downwind

FlyingRon
10-22-2013, 07:53 AM
It may be USELESS, but it's required by the regulation and is recommended by the AIM.

The FCC doesn't say "Make up any callsign you like that you personally think is a good idea" it says USE EITHER the one on your station license OR one assigned by the FAA. Unfortunately, all the information the FAA has put out (mostly older advisory circulars) says Ultralights should use "ULTRALIGHT" followed by their station license ID.

I've sent an inquiry to the part of the FAA that administers assigning callsigns. We'll see if we get an answer.

WLIU
10-22-2013, 10:10 AM
Hey I have a BFR coming up to perhaps you can help me out. Which chapter of 14 CFR 91 says that when flying in the traffic pattern of an airport in Class G airspace I have to talk on the radio? It does not jump out at me.

Thanks!

Wes
N78PS

pacerpilot
10-22-2013, 11:38 AM
I'm with Wes on the ID thing. A quick description in a congested fly in traffic pattern is a whole lot better than a tail number. I do this on initial contact/entry to downwind.

FlyingRon
10-22-2013, 01:14 PM
Hey I have a BFR coming up to perhaps you can help me out. Which chapter of 14 CFR 91 says that when flying in the traffic pattern of an airport in Class G airspace I have to talk on the radio? It does not jump out at me.


Nobody said you had to have a radio. The question is if you have one what the preferred (and legal) procedure is.

WLIU
10-22-2013, 05:10 PM
That said, where do I find a regulation that says what I am required to say on the radio. I see lots of non-regulatory guidance but I either do not see, or have forgotten where, there is an actual paragraph in the Code of Federal Regulations that specifies the language. AIM is not regulatory. Convention is not regulatory. Should I be looking in FCC stuff? What say the experts?

Thanks,

Wes
N78PS

skier
10-22-2013, 05:53 PM
That said, where do I find a regulation that says what I am required to say on the radio.

You're not required to say anything and I know plenty of pilots that do just that.

FlyingRon
10-22-2013, 06:35 PM
47 AIM 87.107 talks about how aviation stations should identify themselves. It pretty much relegates the issuance of identifiers to the FAA but unfortunately as I have already said, the FAA guidance is obsolete and predates the requirement for station licenses.

WLIU
10-22-2013, 08:36 PM
Thanks for the clarification. It is NOT regulation, merely advice and we can use language on the radio that helps provide other pilots effective information that helps them see us but an N-number is not required info.

To address the original question about ultralights on the radio, this translates into the Ultralight guys announcing their type, "Ultralight", maybe their color, and position. Additional information consumes airtime and may or may not contribute to safety.

Thanks,

Wes

1600vw
10-23-2013, 06:26 AM
Why even use a radio? You are just bothering others whom are doing more then just flying for fun. I myself found its better to use a TAS for the fast movers and keep your eyes open for all others. I found that flying this close to class C airspace all traffic uses the channel for towered airports and I am using the channel for a none towered airport. I have yet to hear one fast mover announce before landing. They all are talking to Capital Airport.

After many many incursions into the area I am flying and no one announcing I wanted to take the radio and throw it out the window. It was then I thought something had to be better. Now I see the fast movers coming no need for a radio, I never even take it with me.

A friend whom flies ultralights saw this unit announcing when I was on the ground talking with him standing next to my airplane. He said I saw that thing and thought it was more of a novelty type of thing, but I want one of those.
Every slow mover such as an Ultralight or EAB that is just a step above ultralight should check these units out. They are nice and way better then a radio.

The down fall, it only picks up traffic with a transponder installed, but that is the traffic I worry about, the slower traffic I should see coming.

FlyingRon
10-23-2013, 08:06 AM
It is regulation. Jeez. I pointed you right at the regulation. It may be a commonly disregarded one, but it is a regulation.

Sam Buchanan
10-23-2013, 08:18 AM
The down fall, it only picks up traffic with a transponder installed, but that is the traffic I worry about, the slower traffic I should see coming.

Except the J-3 or Champ (with a handheld radio) descending into the pattern above you that never knew you were there before impact because you didn't announce your position........

Flying in the pattern without a radio is a great way to increase the possibility of collision. It also reinforces negative stereotypes about "those untrained ultralighters".

WLIU
10-23-2013, 08:21 AM
You are confusing the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR's) with advisory material. The Federal Air Regulations are codified in volume 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations are are commonly referred to as "14 CFR" as in "14 CFR Part 91". The AIM that you refer to has no regulatory authority. The AIM is what the FAA decided back when aeronautical dinosaurs roamed the earth might be their idea of best practices.

Now you can argue that there is content in the AIM that contributes to safety. That said, you have noted that some content might be out of date, and I will suggest that I agree that the section on radio language no longer describe examples that contribute to increasing safety. So taking a hard look at what is effective in the modern world of limited frequency channels and air time, rather than listen to a lot of ineffective blather and squealing as multiple transmitters step on each other, I will suggest that there are shorter and more effective statements that will get the job done in a manner that actually helps improve the situational awareness of the population of pilots milling around an airport.

It is important to not confuse the actual FAR's, advisory text, and the actual FAA policy directives for its staff that are available online in FAA Order 8900.1, the Flight Standard Information Management System (FSIMS). It is complicated enough.

Best of luck,

Wes
N78PS

martymayes
10-23-2013, 08:35 AM
How exactly does the FCC regulation for AIRCRAFT station license apply to ultralight vehicles? Not trying to be snarky, I'd really like to know how one is supposed to arrive at that conclusion.

Ultralight vehicles have used aviation band transceivers for +30 yrs and the FCC hasn't seen the need to address that use with a specific regulation. Not sure what an ultralight vehicle operator is required to use for a call sign because no regulations or recommended guidance exist. I think if I had the need to operate an ultralight in communication required airspace, I'd just ask the controller what callsign to use when making the phone call to get authorization to operate in that airspace. Otherwise, I'd just make something up. "Ultralight 1" sounds cool as Homer would say.

martymayes
10-23-2013, 08:38 AM
You are confusing the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR's) with advisory material. The Federal Air Regulations are codified in volume 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations are are commonly referred to as "14 CFR" as in "14 CFR Part 91". The AIM that you refer to has no regulatory authority. The AIM is what the FAA decided back when aeronautical dinosaurs roamed the earth might be their idea of best practices.
I don't think FlyingRon is referring to the Aeronuatical Information Manual (AIM), but rather a specific FCC regulation codifed with the letters "AIM"

WLIU
10-23-2013, 08:40 AM
Well actually, I will hazard a think-like-a-beaurocrat guess that since 14 CFR Part 103 addresses ultralight aircraft, the FCC assumes that ultralight use of the spectrum reserved for aircraft is being supervised by the FAA. Does not mean that the FAA actually is, but the FCC might think that they are.

Have not seen the FCC pay any attention to aviation spectrum use in a while. 1440 channel spacing was the last FCC action on spectrum use. And of course in the area of equipment, they propose to do away with ELT's that transmit on 121.5.

Best of luck,

Wes
N78PS

WLIU
10-23-2013, 08:47 AM
The FCC section of the CFR's is Chapter 47 and Aviation Services are in Part 87. The Subparts are numbered alphabetically A through S. There is no section that has the numbering suggested above. This is all on the FCC's internet web site. Easy to look up and correctly reference.

Best of luck,

Wes
N78PS

martymayes
10-23-2013, 08:51 AM
Well actually, I will hazard a think-like-a-beaurocrat guess that since 14 CFR Part 103 addresses ultralight aircraft,

Well, Part 103 addresses ultralight vehicles. The FAA purposely does not call them aircraft so as to avoid any confusion with aircraft.

WLIU
10-23-2013, 08:57 AM
But my point is that having way too much interaction with alphabet government agencies like FAA, FDA, etx., I can guess that FCC thinks that FAA covers this topic and the result is that our ultralight friends get a pass as neither agency is paying attention. Shhhhh..... maybe they won't wake up.

Best of luck,

Wes
N78PS

martymayes
10-23-2013, 09:02 AM
I agree, in true bureaucratic fashion, the agencies do not talk to each other and until something happens the issue won't be addressed or resolved.

From a practical matter, if safety is enhanced by an ultralight operator using a radio, then by all means do it. I'm sure a "made up" callsign will suffice for that purpose. At the request of ATC I have used many "made up" callsigns over the years.

Dave Stadt
10-23-2013, 09:29 AM
Except the J-3 or Champ (with a handheld radio) descending into the pattern above you that never knew you were there before impact because you didn't announce your position........

Flying in the pattern without a radio is a great way to increase the possibility of collision. It also reinforces negative stereotypes about "those untrained ultralighters".

You do realize there are airports that have a significant number and at times a majority of certified aircraft that do not have electrical systems or handhelds. There is also also the situation on nice summer weekends that there is so much radio traffic on the popular CTAF frequencies that the radio becomes useless for position reports. 'See and avoid' is always primary at non-towered airports, the radio is secondary.

Sam Buchanan
10-23-2013, 11:36 AM
You do realize there are airports that have a significant number and at times a majority of certified aircraft that do not have electrical systems or handhelds. There is also also the situation on nice summer weekends that there is so much radio traffic on the popular CTAF frequencies that the radio becomes useless for position reports. 'See and avoid' is always primary at non-towered airports, the radio is secondary.

I realize the scenarios you described exist, fly with us to breakfast on a nice Saturday. :)

See and avoid is indeed of primary importance. But that won't do you any good if a descending aircraft has an aircraft directly below it....or if a high-wing aircraft climbs into another aircraft. A radio call might save the day.

I've never understood the refusal to use a radio in the vicinity of a GA airport. Not only is it a safety concern, but it will certainly leave a negative impression on pilots who are using good radio technique. Handlheld radios are now inexpensive.....buy one....learn to use it.

WLIU
10-23-2013, 12:46 PM
I agree that everyone should try to have a radio. Today's problem is frequency saturation since somehow it has become common to hear folks calling inbound from 15 miles away and the always idiotic (unless you are flying a specific model of high speed lawn dart) "Traffic in the pattern please advise" call.

So while more radios might be helpful, more concise and to the point statements by pilots will avoid the constant squeal of pilots stepping on each other producing a channel where no one gets through. All of the blocked transmission that are so common on a nice Saturday do nothing for safety.

This problem might be regional. can I speculate that Unicom in Wisconsin might be less saturated than the same frequency in the northeast or in southern California? That difference might shape different poster's perception of the issue.

Best of luck,

Wes
N78PS

Sam Buchanan
10-23-2013, 01:32 PM
I agree that everyone should try to have a radio. Today's problem is frequency saturation since somehow it has become common to hear folks calling inbound from 15 miles away and the always idiotic (unless you are flying a specific model of high speed lawn dart) "Traffic in the pattern please advise" call.

So while more radios might be helpful, more concise and to the point statements by pilots will avoid the constant squeal of pilots stepping on each other producing a channel where no one gets through. All of the blocked transmission that are so common on a nice Saturday do nothing for safety.

This problem might be regional. can I speculate that Unicom in Wisconsin might be less saturated than the same frequency in the northeast or in southern California? That difference might shape different poster's perception of the issue.

Best of luck,

Wes
N78PS

Yep, the "traffic please advise" call is not only idiotic but specifically stated in the AIM as unacceptable radio procedure.

I'm sure unicom congestion is regional, but even when congested I will always pay attention to a call identified as originating from the airport where I am located.

Jim Hardin
10-23-2013, 04:06 PM
well that was a total waste of keystrokes :eek: