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Thread: IFR Practice Approach CTAF Communications

  1. #1

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    IFR Practice Approach CTAF Communications

    Hello, please help settle a friendly hangar argument about CTAF location announcement best practices surrounding IFR practice approach communications arriving at an uncontrolled airport?

    1st pilot broadcasts on CTAF airplane location referencing distance & direction from IFR navaids (ex: at Arket inbound VOR 12 approach);
    2nd pilot broadcasts on CTAF airplane locations referencing distance & direction from airport (ex: 5 mi west inbound Rwy12 low approach).

    Airport & plate referenced is KLVN VOR 12.

    I looked in the AIM for IFR vs. VFR CTAF lingo but was unable to locate best practice guidance. Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    I use direction and distance from the airport/runway and "straight-in" if on the final approach course, or "maneuvering" if performing a procedure turn. Most other pilots, unless they're intimately familiar with the IAPs for that airport, will have zero idea where you are based on fixes that appear on an approach plate. No Sport or Recreational pilots will understand where you are; only those with higher certificates and an instrument rating might know your position. Every pilot will understand, "Po-dunk traffic, Cessna 12345 is 5 miles out on final for runway XX, maneuvering for a straight-in simulated instrument approach, Po-dunk."

    Also, I would avoid IFR-specific lingo. Terms like "procedure turn," "final approach fix" or "over the marker" are virtually meaningless to non-instrument rated pilots.

    Particularly while flying fast equipment, it's a good idea to include time remaining until landing. Most pilots will mentally turn distance into time based on the speed they're used to, which means that a jet averaging, say, 170 knots will arrive a lot sooner than many GA pilots expect after making its 10-15 mile call. So, a traffic call would sound like, "Po-dunk traffic, Freight Hauler 215, a Boeing 767, 15 miles east for a straight-in approach to Runway XX, landing in five minutes, Po-dunk." Then similar calls at 10 miles and 5 miles, at a minimum.
    Eric Page
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  3. #3
    MEdwards's Avatar
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    A very good question. Also a pet peeve of mine. I’ve never seen any FAA rule or guidance on this. There may be no “right.”

    But I’ve always thought the first pilot was being pretentious, rude and obnoxious. I fly practice IFR approaches at my airport, but the next day I couldn’t recite the names of all the waypoints in the area. On the other hand, “5 miles SW” tells me right where to look for you every time. An exception might be if you’re over a major nearby navaid like a VOR that everybody should know about. Saying you’re on an IFR approach is a good idea because it provides some information to some people about your likely behavior and plans.

    My opinion. Anybody seen any FAA direction?

    Mike E

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by rayds View Post
    Hello, please help settle a friendly hangar argument about CTAF location announcement best practices surrounding IFR practice approach communications arriving at an uncontrolled airport?

    1st pilot broadcasts on CTAF airplane location referencing distance & direction from IFR navaids (ex: at Arket inbound VOR 12 approach);
    2nd pilot broadcasts on CTAF airplane locations referencing distance & direction from airport (ex: 5 mi west inbound Rwy12 low approach).

    Airport & plate referenced is KLVN VOR 12.

    I looked in the AIM for IFR vs. VFR CTAF lingo but was unable to locate best practice guidance. Thank you for your help.
    There is guidance in the AIM for this exact subject, para 4-1-9 (g)(4).

    There is also an Advisory Circular pertinent to this subject, https://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/.../ac_90-66b.pdf
    Last edited by martymayes; 05-09-2021 at 11:47 AM. Reason: clarity

  5. #5
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Good find, Marty. That AC covers the ground pretty thoroughly.
    Eric Page
    Building Kitfox Series 5
    Member: EAA, AOPA, ALPA
    ATP: MEL / Comm: SEL, Glider / ATCS: CTO
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  6. #6
    Mayhemxpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post

    There is also an Advisory Circular pertinent to this subject, https://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/.../ac_90-66b.pdf
    Thanks for posting this
    Chris Mayer
    N424AF
    www.o2cricket.com

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