Radio Procedures in Non-Controlled Airspace

Non-controlled airspace is open to a number of different aircraft types. From training aircraft and light sports aircraft to larger passenger aircraft, there is a lot of activity to be aware of. Good pilot-to-pilot communication is essential to assist “see-and-avoid” traffic separation and keep everyone safe in the sky.

 Make Your Broadcasts Count

When it comes to ensuring your radio call is effective, attention to detail is essential. Following this list will help make sure all of your broadcasts are clear and can be understood by other pilots:

  1. Listen before you speak.
  2. Check the volume, squelch and frequency are correct.
  3. Pause at the beginning and end of a transmission to avoid ‘clipping’ transmissions.
  4. Use standard phraseology, speak slowly and clearly using plain language.
  5. Avoid clutter, make only appropriate calls.

A good tip for ensuring the correct information is transmitted is to remember WHO, WHERE, WHAT

  • WHO are you talking to, WHO are you
  • WHERE are you now
  • WHAT are you doing

When SHOULD you make a broadcast

In non-controlled airspace, you should make any call you feel necessary to increase situational awareness for yourself and other pilots. This can include calls such as:

  1. Before take-off or during taxiing.
  2. Entering/Clearing an RWY.
  3. Departure.
  4. Inbound.
  5. Turning onto each leg of the circuit.
  6. Overflying or in the vicinity of a non-controlled aerodrome

Various aerodromes also have minimum required calls that will be listed in the relevant ERSA page for that aerodrome. For example, the ERSA entry for Bacchus Marsh states that all powered and gliding aircraft should call when turning onto Base leg.

For more information on radio procedures in non-controlled airspace, please see the pamphlets available near the safety noticeboard or click here.