Landing circuit at a controlled airport

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ahramin
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Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#1 Post by ahramin » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:52 am

Question for the VFR tower guys:

Arriving from the west, on initial contact tower says "cleared left base for runway 00".

What is my clearance limit? Where do I need to make my next radio call?
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#2 Post by ScottS » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:56 am

Not a controller, but I will throw two cents in just to hear myself type.

I think I would do a quick check in on base if I didn't hear anything further after I was established as cleared. I am trying to think if this situation has occurred for me without some further direction like "you are number two behind the Cessna on final".

Assuming is never a good thing, but I would think common sense is that you are now cleared into the circuit so a turn to final would be expected if you didn't hear anything else (i.e. with no further clearance you wouldn't continue on past the extended centre line nor turn back and orbit on base!). The next required clearance would be landing (and if you don't get it, you are going around).

I have been cleared to the downwind, and unless the controller has said "I'll call your base turn", I have turned base and final without the tower giving me any grief. I assume I was not breaking any rules
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#3 Post by Chris M » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:13 am

I've done the same. Doing circuits in Ottawa I would call downwind and then continue the circuit like normal unless told otherwise. If I turn final and haven't been cleared yet I'll give them a call as a reminder.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#4 Post by photofly » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:42 am

EDIT: read manops, changed my mind.

MANOPS343.1:

Issue a further clearance to an aircraft that reports at the limit of its initial clearance in the following form:
A (Aircraft ID)
B NUMBER (sequence)
C (Approach instructions, such as position, type and if significant the colour of the aircraft to follow, if not number one on the approach)

However also:
344.2 Issue a landing clearance without waiting for a request from the aircraft.

Working it backwards then, call when you reach the base leg, in your scenario. However if I got no reply I'd still turn final as normal.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#5 Post by Lotro » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:23 pm

The AIM also says:
RAC 4.5.2
"Once established in the circuit as cleared, the pilot is to advise the tower accordingly"
By that logic you should report established.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#6 Post by Mayor_McCheese » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:31 pm

If I've cleared you to the left base, I would expect a call when you're on the base. I would then issue a sequence if I can't clear you to land yet.

When I'm issuing that initial clearance, I almost always throw in "report joining" or "report established" just to avoid any confusion.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#7 Post by AuxBatOn » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:18 pm

Lotro wrote:The AIM also says:
RAC 4.5.2
"Once established in the circuit as cleared, the pilot is to advise the tower accordingly"
By that logic you should report established.
The AIM is non-regulatory and the CARs don't mention this so it is not mandatory. Having said that, if comm time permits, people should report entering the circuit.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#8 Post by ahramin » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:39 pm

Thanks all. It's obvious I need to review my VFR procedures.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#9 Post by Redneck_pilot86 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 11:36 am

Coming into Whitehorse (non radar control zone) I am almost always cleared to a base or downwind to the active, and asked to report 5 miles back. At 5 miles we either get cleared to land, or #2 to traffic on base, vehicle on the runway, etc. if I don't hear back at 5 miles (never happens) I am going to join the circuit as cleared, and fly it right to short final. Do exactly as you would do in a comm failure scenario.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#10 Post by thenoflyzone » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:03 pm

ahramin wrote:Question for the VFR tower guys:

Arriving from the west, on initial contact tower says "cleared left base for runway 00".

What is my clearance limit? Where do I need to make my next radio call?
Your clearance limit is left base. You call on left base. Even if you forget to call and you dont get any further sequencing instructions from TWR....

MANOPS 343.1 Note says...

"An aircraft that reaches the limit of its clearance without further clearance being issued can be expected to continue with the circuit."

So that is what us controllers expect you to do. Turn final, and wait for the landing clearance. Maybe make the call to TWR that you are on final, in case we are busy with something else.

If you don't get any sequencing instructions from TWR once on base, it is most likely because you are #1.
Redneck_pilot86 wrote:if I don't hear back at 5 miles (never happens) I am going to join the circuit as cleared, and fly it right to short final. Do exactly as you would do in a comm failure scenario.
Precisely
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#11 Post by looproll » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:17 pm

what did you do? :lol:
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#12 Post by ahramin » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:03 pm

Well I'll start by saying that I didn't realize cleared left base meant call left base. So I joined the circuit and when I got to final I would have called final but you know how it is, always too much blabla going on and I'm really not the type to step on someone in order to tell the tower something I (mistakenly) assume they already know. As I expected, once I got short final a landing clearance was issued followed unexpectedly by an angry comment about clearance limits. Thinking about it later I figured when I'm cleared downwind I call downwind, so when I'm cleared base I should call base. Thought the AvCanada crowd would have more info though :).

Thanks for the MANOPS reference Thenoflyzone, that's exactly what I was looking for.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#13 Post by photofly » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:58 am

followed unexpectedly by an angry comment about clearance limits.
So... what was he or she expecting you to do? Enter a hold :roll: ?
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#14 Post by looproll » Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:25 am

photofly wrote:
followed unexpectedly by an angry comment about clearance limits.
So... what was he or she expecting you to do? Enter a hold :roll: ?
yeah, really


sounds like a grumpy controller
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#15 Post by ahramin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:22 am

The controller was obviously expecting me to call base, which I failed to do. Not an excuse for snarkiness in my opinion, but I learned something I wouldn't have if no comment had been made so I'm not complaining.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#16 Post by Braun » Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:55 pm

ahramin wrote:The controller was obviously expecting me to call base, which I failed to do. Not an excuse for snarkiness in my opinion, but I learned something I wouldn't have if no comment had been made so I'm not complaining.
No matter the situation being rude/condescending on the frequency so never acceptable from pilots or controllers. I absolutely hate it when controllers do it to pilots and vice versa. As a Nav Canada controller I do apologize for behaviour which makes us look bad. Sometimes people forget who they work for.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#17 Post by Rookie50 » Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:44 pm

ahramin wrote:The controller was obviously expecting me to call base, which I failed to do. Not an excuse for snarkiness in my opinion, but I learned something I wouldn't have if no comment had been made so I'm not complaining.

To me "cleared left base / downwind means exactly that, and nothing more. Onus is on the controller, then, it would seem. There are airports here where the controller says "report left base" which is obviously different. Crystal clear. I've forgotten a requested report the rare time, and earned one or 2 annoyed comments over the years, and deserved.

I don't report anything extra unless told, frequencies are jammed busy enough, I assume they will ask if position or altitude reports are needed. Don't generally have issues here.
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Re: Landing circuit at a controlled airport

#18 Post by anofly » Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:31 am

As a pilot (sorry)I prefer a gentle chiding when I don't meet expectations. I agree and dislike greatly any spankings that might occur on freq , either way. I have found by far, the majority of controllers do everything they can to stay cool, and many do a bit of polite teaching along the way. I once showed up ykf on a sunny sunday , and it was a three ring circus, stay out of zone, etc, cleared in I witnessed a student pull onto a runway in front of a landing aircraft, and it was clear the controller was rattled... I called the tower , found out how many were in there, told them they were doing a great job from my perspective and paid for three lunches at the restaurant. They were in shock. Wouldn't hurt a few more of us "cessna 172 sky gods" to show some appreciation now and again to the folks that help us move around safely.
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