following the FAA recommended procedures for operations at
nontowered airports, pilots help to ensure that traffic flows
in an orderly and safe pattern. Aircraft without radios have
to be especially careful to adhere to published procedures
so that all aircraft in the pattern can effectively employ
the "see and be seen" concept. For aircraft with
radios, communication enhances traffic pattern safety and
involves not only transmitting one's intentions, but also
listening attentively. The following ASRS reports deal with
radio communication issues at nontowered airports.
following two reports, pilots chose to use a runway that
was contrary to the wind direction and prevailing traffic
flow (a procedure that is certainly not recommended). If
such a procedure is used, then cooperation, common sense,
and courtesy require that the pilot clearly communicate
his/her intentions and listen for opposing traffic.
finishing our takeoff checklist at the run-up area by
Runway 26, we taxied to the hold short line (waiting
for a C172 to land) and announced that we were holding
short of Runway 26 for takeoff. The winds were southwesterly
at seven knots... After waiting for the C172 to clear
the runway, we announced that we were taking Runway
26 for departure. Upon starting our takeoff roll, we
heard a garbled transmission about Runway 8. We immediately
queried on CTAF if there was traffic on Runway 8. After
no response and no visual sign of an aircraft, we again
called on CTAF and asked if there was an aircraft calling
about Runway 8. Again there was no response. At about
65 knots (rotation speed was 71 knots), we made a visual
sighting of a twin Piper rolling on Runway 8. Immediately
we began a rejected takeoff and announced, "Rejecting
on Runway 26," on the CTAF. During the reject,
we maintained directional control and pulled safely
to the right side of the runway. The Piper stopped and
pulled off on a taxiway.
factors include the failure of the Piper to communicate
clearly and utilizing the wrong runway per winds and
traffic. Also, the Piper's landing light was off, making
him difficult to see in a see-and-be-seen, high-density
wind was from the southeast at ten knots. I announced
on CTAF that I was taxiing onto Runway 11 for departure.
After taxiing onto the runway and starting the takeoff
roll, a Cessna announced on CTAF that he was taking Runway
29 for departure. I immediately asked him to hold his
position as I had already started my takeoff on Runway
11. He did not respond and continued to taxi onto Runway
29 at which point I aborted my takeoff. As I came to a
stop, I noticed that he was starting his takeoff roll.
I made an immediate 180-degree turn on the runway and
exited at the nearest taxiway... He passed approximately
100 feet above me and about 50 feet laterally. I asked
him on the CTAF if he had seen me or heard my radio transmissions.
His response was that he had not. When I informed him
that he had created a conflict, he seemed indignant, as
though he had not done anything wrong. I also suggested
that taking off downwind was not a safe procedure. His
response was that it was his prerogative... I believe
that by choosing to takeoff downwind, he created a potential
collision conflict by opposing the prevailing flow of
layout and terrain features may also be factors that affect
departures from nontowered airports. The following report
addresses a takeoff situation in which it is imperative that
pilots be especially vigilant and take the time to ensure
that other aircraft are aware of their presence and intended
wind was light and variable... After broadcasting on the
UNICOM frequency that I was taking Runway 1 and departing
to the north, I entered the runway and proceeded with
a normal takeoff. Just after lifting off, I noted an aircraft
on takeoff roll on the same runway, but in the opposite
direction (Runway 19). I immediately began evasive action
by turning right and continuing to climb. The other aircraft
continued a straight-ahead takeoff. I had been monitoring
the UNICOM frequency and heard the transmissions of other
aircraft, but nothing from the aircraft on Runway 19.
The primary contributing factor to this event is that
the terrain is such that aircraft in the run-up and initial
sections of both runways (Runway 01-19) cannot see one
another. Under conditions of light and variable winds,
plus light traffic, there can be ambiguity about the runway
in use, leaving it to the pilots to communicate on UNICOM.
In the event of no transmission by one or both aircraft
or simultaneous transmissions by the aircraft about to
takeoff, you have to rely on see-and-be-seen. This can
only apply when you see the full runway, which is not
report, an aircraft taking off at a non-towered airport
conflicted with an aircraft landing on the opposite runway.
Among the lessons learned: a little gremlin in the cockpit
can cause a big problem.
looked for activity to indicate the active runway. The
radio was quiet. Wind was calm... Runway 5 was downhill,
out of the sun, and also in the direction of the wind
tee. I decided to use Runway 5... I made a "...takeoff
Runway 5, north departure..." announcement on CTAF,
looked and listened for traffic, pulled onto the runway,
and accelerated... As the wheels got light, I saw a landing
aircraft directly opposite on Runway 23. He was rolling
out about 2,000-3,000 feet ahead of me. Since I was almost
airborne, I continued the takeoff, lifted off as soon
as possible and tracked well right of the runway. I passed
the other aircraft as it turned off the runway and radioed
an apology. There was no reply. I continued on, wondering
all the while how I missed the landing traffic. Radio
switches and indications were correct, yet I heard nothing.
Then I noticed a small toggle switch at my left knee,
the speaker "On-Off" switch that I never use.
I toggled it on and heard transmissions.
I did not expect landing traffic and I saw what I expected,
a clear path. Later I asked my three year old if he had
touched anything. "Yes," he said, "a little
coordinating with other aircraft in the pattern regarding
their landing sequence, this EMB-145 crew encountered unexpected
opposition. The First Officer takes up the narrative as
they entered the downwind:
entered the pattern for Runway 4 and called our positions
(downwind, base, and final) on the CTAF frequency. When
we were on short final, a King Air pulled onto Runway
22 and proceeded to takeoff without making any radio calls.
We immediately executed a go-around, sidestepping to the
right of the departing aircraft. We called on the CTAF
frequency, but got no response from the King Air.
in position on the runway at a non-towered airport is a
dangerous practice that is strongly discouraged, especially
when there is another aircraft on final.
entered a right downwind for Runway 8. It was a busy Saturday
morning and I was following a C172 turning base. When
the C172 was abeam my right wing, I turned base (and reported
my entry and all turns on UNICOM). I turned final, reported
my turn, and then a Mooney reported, "...taking the
active, Runway 8 at ZZZ." I reiterated that I was
on final for Runway 8, but the Mooney went into "position
and hold" on the runway while the previously landed
C172 continued to roll out and then exit the runway. The
Mooney then started its takeoff roll and I realized that
we would not be clear of each other. I initiated a go-around
and informed the Mooney that I was on the upwind, abeam
his right wing. There was no reply.
Pilots need to understand that there is no such thing
as "position and hold" at an uncontrolled airport.
You must wait until aircraft are clear, both in front
and behind your takeoff path.
coming into the VFR pattern from an instrument approach
procedure can present unexpected traffic conflicts at a
non-towered airport. Aircraft transitioning from IFR to
VFR or from a practice approach, may arrive from an unexpected
direction, may cross over the field on a low or missed approach,
and may be late to establish communication on the CTAF frequency.
following report, an aircraft going around from a practice
approach was later than normal getting "in tune"
with aircraft in the pattern.
had just completed a touch-and-go and was halfway down the runway,
about 50 feet AGL climbing, when my instructor said, "%&$@"
and then, "I have the airplane." Upon releasing the
controls, I looked back and saw a King Air about 200 feet behind
us making a missed approach. The aircraft passed on our left,
high. My instructor asked the pilot's intentions. I do not recall
his response. My instructor then asked him if he had seen us
on final or heard us on CTAF. He responded that he had tuned
his radio to the incorrect frequency and heard no traffic...
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Jimmy Holmes joined the staff of the Aviation Safety
Reporting System (ASRS) in 1999 as an Aviation Safety
Analyst. Jimmy was a pilot for a major air carrier
for 31 years and has accumulated more than 23,000
flight hours in a variety of aircraft, including the
DC-6, B-727, DC-10, B-737, B-767, and B-777.
to his airline career, Captain Holmes flew in the
U.S. Air Force where he served as a T-29 Mission Pilot
for the navigator training program and as a Forward
Air Controller flying the O1-E in Vietnam and Laos.
Jimmy logged over 400 combat missions earning several
dedicated putterer, Jimmy spends much of his personal
time on woodworking projects ranging from custom furniture
Alerts Issued in November 2005
or aircraft equipment
facility or procedure
procedure or equipment
policy or maintenance procedure
November 2005 Report Intake
Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots