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Nontowered airport operations: Are you up to par?Nontowered airport operations: Are you up to par?

Nontowered airport operations: Are you up to par?

Operations at nontowered airports

As operations at your local airport increase with the summer flying season, take extra precautions to ensure your safety, particularly if you fly at nontowered fields. The experts in AOPA's Pilot Information Center recommend honing those basic skills you learned as a student pilot.

For example, obey all airport and runway markings, particularly the hold-short lines. Fight the urge to try to squeeze in your takeoff while someone is on final or before an aircraft has cleared the runway after landing. These actions can help prevent runway incursions. If you need a refresher on runway markings, check out the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's flash cards and Runway Safety online course.

When making your radio calls, keep nonessential chatter to a minimum. Chances are, you can chat with your buddy ahead of you in the Champ after you've both landed. This will help free up the frequency for the increased number of pilots who will be calling in. Also, clarify in your calls whether you are addressing traffic or unicom.

Watch for pilots not following the correct traffic pattern - and make sure you aren't that person by getting an airport advisory. It's also a good idea keep an eye (and ear) out for pilots who might be practicing instrument approaches.

With the increase in operations at the airport, make sure you follow noise abatement procedures to keep those neighbors happy. Look for the procedures at your airport.

For a refresher on collision avoidance, right-of-way rules, communication, weather information, and more, check out the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor Operations at Nontowered Airports .

June 12, 2006

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