Landing at an Uncontrolled Airport
There are two “types” of uncontrolled airports, both of which have different rules and procedures.
An uncontrolled aerodrome is one where a control tower does not exist or is not in operation. For example, Buttonville is an uncontrolled aerodrome while the tower is closed (between 2300-0700 local time).
Because the traffic is not controlled, it is important that users of the aerodrome follow the procedures exactly. This ensures that your actions are predictable to other traffic that may be coming and going.
Aeordromes with a MF specified in the CFS must use this frequency when communicating your intentions to other pilots in the area. This can be a UNICOM or a RCO or a FSS.
In most cases you will be directing your calls to “radio”. For example, if you’re landing at Muskoka, you’d be broadcasting your radio calls to “Timmins Radio”. In this example I usually make the call as “Timmins Radio at Muskoka”.
There is a set of calls that must be made in an MF control zone:
– 5 Minutes before entering the zone. Give your position, altitude, and intentions on how you plan on entering the circuit.
– When joining the circuit
– When on the downwind leg (if applicable)
– When on final approach
– When clear of the active runway
This ensures that everyone else in the area knows where you are and what you’re going to do.
When it comes to joining the circuit, there are only two ways:
– Mid-Downwind Leg
– Straight in Downwind Leg
However, if there is traffic advisory available, you may enter the circuit by using the method outlined in the ATF section below.
Aerodrome Traffic Frequency
Aeordromes with an ATF specified in the CFS must use this frequency when communicating your intentions to facility responsible for the airport. In most cases this is an UNICOM.
In most cases you will be directing your calls to “traffic”. For example, if you’re landing at Peterborough, you’d be broadcasting your radio calls to “Peterborough Traffic”
The same set of calls that you must make at a MF aerodrome are needed at an ATF aerodrome.
When it comes to entering the circuit, your options are as follows:
– Straight-In Downwind Leg
– 45° to the Downwind Leg
– Straight-In Base Leg
– Straight-In Final Leg
(Similar to your options at a controlled airport).
Things To Consider
– If no ATF or MF are published, use 123.2 Mhz
– Some pilots operating under VFR at many sites prefer to give commercial IFR and larger type of aircraft priority. This practice, however, is a personal airmanship courtesy, and it should be noted that these aircraft do not establish any priority over other aircraft operating VFR at that aerodrome.
– IFR Approaches may be made at an uncontrolled airport. If you are a VFR pilot, try to get familiar with what is involved with a “circling approach” so you will understand what an IFR aircraft will do when trying to land at this airport.