Radio Calls

In which I muse on radio calls and runway names.

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Unfortunately for me, I suffer from a bit of ‘mic fright’. This is partly because I seem to have an inability to get the headset mic in the right position to consistently pick up my voice – hopefully getting my own headset will cure this problem somewhat!

In an attempt to get over this ‘mic fright’, I’m going to have a look at radio calls used at a non-towered airfield (such as Lilydale).

Basically radio calls are “Hello, this is who I am, this is what I’m doing, Goodbye”.

All radio calls in non-towered airspace contain the same basic information:

  1. Location (the general area)
  2. Called ID (who I’m calling)
  3. Calling station ID (who I am)
  4. Calling station position (where I am)
  5. Calling station intentions (what my intentions are)
  6. Location repeated

Taxiing Call
Lilydale Traffic
Jabiru 4929
Taxiing runway 36
Lilydale

Entering Runway Call
Lilydale Traffic
Jabiru 4929
Entering runway 36
For circuits [or] for training area
Lilydale

Joining Circuit Call
Lilydale Traffic
Jabiru 4929
Joining downwind [or other positon if applicable – crosswind, upwind]/Runway 36
Lilydale

Turning Downwind Call
Lilydale Traffic
Jabiru 4929
Turning downwind runway 36
Lilydale

Turning Base Call
Lilydale Traffic
Jabiru 4929
Turning base runway 36
Lilydale

Turning Final Call
Lilydale Traffic
Jabiru 4929
Turning final runway 36
[Intention – for touch & go, for full stop etc]
Lilydale

Clear of Runway Call
Lilydale Traffic
Jabiru 4929
Clear of runway 36 [or] clear of all runways
Lilydale

Runways: what’s in a name?

The runway is pronounced ‘Runway Three Six’ not ‘Runway Thirty-six’.

Runways are named after their compass bearing, dropping the last digit. Each runway has two names, depending on which way the planes are flying.

At Lilydale, the runway goes from North (360) to South (180) so it’s called 36 and 18. If you say you’re using Runway 36, that means that you are taking off to the North. If you are using Runway 18, that means you are taking off to the South.

At Lilydale there are two runways, which run parallel. To differentiate them, they are known as 36R/18L and 36L/18R. To determine which is R and which is L, it is based on what you see when looking down the runway from the plane – i.e. 36R is on your right hand side.

The main problem with only having north-south runways at Lilydale is that if there is a crosswind, there is no way of changing to a runway that goes into that wind (or is closer to it). So far though, crosswinds seem fairly infrequent…

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