Radio Communications, Facilities and Equipment

Font Size: Larger /Smaller


Oddball Approaches
VOR approach that turns into a visual approach

Duplex Operation
Not used much anymore, but it is still out there
Check the VOR freq box, if you see an R or a T then you know your in duplex territory
R stands for receive only
T stand for transmit only
Call FSS on 122.1
They talk back on 113.3, the VOR freq
Waimea HI

ATC radar sends out a signal (interrogator)
Transponder sends out a signal back (reply)
Every time the light flickers you just got interrogated
Must be checked every 24 calendar months
If it’s in the plane and not placarded it has to be on
Mode C is required above 10,000msl, class B, 30NM mode C ring and class C

The Encoder
There are 2 types:
Blind encoders
May use solid state transducer or aneroid wafers
Encoding Altimeter
Use aneroid wafers
This unit feeds your pressure altitude into the transponder signal (mode C)
Wired into the transponder
Connected to the same static lines as the altimeter
ATC radar computer then translates it back into msl
This is why it’s important to have a current altimeter setting that matches what ATC is using
Regs say the altimeter and encoder have to be within 75 feet of each other

Phonetic Alphabet
You should have this memorized

Communication Facilities
Flight Service Stations
RCO Remote Communications Outlet
Remote transmitting antenna
Used to contact FSS
Usually for airborne communications
GCO Ground Communications Outlet
Also a remote transmitting antenna
Placed so that pilots on the ground at a specific airport may communicate with FSS or ATC
4 key clicks will get you ATC
6 key clicks will get you FSS
RTR Remote Transmitter Receiver
Used to contact terminal ATC facilities

The Clearance Process
The FSS briefer takes your flight plan and loads it into the computer
If you electronically file this step is skipped
The computer system then sends a “strip” to the tower or ARTCC serving the airport of departure and the center whose domain you’re in
Delivered 30 minutes prior to ETD
If not opened it drops out of the system after 2 hours

Operations at Class E Airports
Clearance is received via radio or telephone
Issued with a clearance void time
Aircraft must be airborne within the void time
If it includes a release time, do not takeoff until after the release time
You can ask for specific void times when filing the flight plan

Towered Airports
If clearance delivery is available you must use this frequency to get your clearance before contacting ground
If none is available use ground freq

Clearance Copying
C – clearance limit
R – route
A – altitude
F – frequency
T – transponder code

Clearance Shorthand
Develop your own shorthand
Taxi 36 hold short 4
Upon missed approach turn left heading 180 climb and maintain 3000
Climb to 4000
Descend to 3000
Left turn heading 350 maintain 3000 until established cleared ILS 32R approach
Cleared to PELLY via direct climb and maintain 4000, departure frequency 126.4, squawk 5521
Hold southeast of PELLY on the 144 mag bearing from, maintain 4000, expect further clearance at 16:45 or sooner at pilot request

Common Phraseology
“Radar service terminated” resume normal position reporting (nonradar)
“Resume own navigation” means you are off vectors and are responsible for your own nav
“Radar contact” means you have radar flight following, that’s it
“Pilot discretion” your choice when executing said clearance

Terminal Radar Approach Control
This is what Grant Co is
Goes out to about 30 NM and 10,000 feet
Address them as approach unless directed otherwise “contact departure”
If you get a “hold for release” call from tower it means they are clearing the airspace for your takeoff
As soon as the computer picks up your transponder, your flight plan starts ticking
Your data block includes N#, aircraft type, altitude and airspeed
They do have limited weather with the radar
Light aircraft should avoid level 3 or higher

Tower Enroute Control
Usually applies to traffic below 10,000 feet
Established where busy airports are close to each other
Instead of being handed off to Center, Approach control hands off to Approach control
Descriptions are in the AFD
The Approach Control Area
The route
Highest altitude
Minimum Safe Altitude Warnings (MSAW) projects what your path is 2 minutes ahead
If your low, the controller will issue a warning

Air Route Traffic Control Center
They have limited weather radar data with only 3 levels visible to the controller
Divided into low and high sectors, when it’s not busy, you may hear the same guy talking to traffic miles and miles away

Center Approach/Departure Control
Center will handle any other airports not controlled by TRACONs
when center issues a heading, direct route or says “direct when able” the controller becomes responsible for terrain and obstruction clearance
The further the airport is away from the radar antenna, the harder it is to provide accurate vectoring
They set the range on the scope to 125 NM so outside of that and you probably won’t get much vector assistance

ATC Weather Display
A lot less accurate than the WSR-88D dopler used by the NWS
Light precip they can’t even see on their scopes
So data from NEXRAD may be superimposed on the scope
May be 6 minutes old
If this isn’t available then a lesser accurate system is used which gives
Moderate 30 to 40 dBZ
Heavy to Extreme >40 dBZ
Can’t detect turbulence
Can’t detect tornados
Can’t detect wind shear
Can detect when the mother in law is in town because of the high reflectivity of such a large mass

Weather Avoidance Assistance
You may request a deviation to avoid bad weather
It will usually come in the form of a vector for weather
You may also initiate the request by telling the controller how far you would like to deviate off course “request a turn 30 degrees right to avoid these build ups”

Control Sequence
Call FSS and get a standard IFR weather briefing
ATIS for current conditions
Clearance Delivery for all your clearance needs
Ground Control for taxi clearance
Tower for takeoff clearance
Departure Control control around the terminal area
ARTCC center takes care of enroute stuff
EFAS/HIWAS for enroute weather updates
ATIS for info on what runway is in use and wx
Approach control where you will get your approach clearance
Tower cleared to land
Ground control cleared to taxi to parking
Unicom for rental car to get to the $100 hamburger place
Bail bondsman phone number to get out of jail when having too much fun at the hamburger joint

Print Friendly, PDF & Email