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From Issue 6/80

Say That You're There

The Twin Otter pilot was hopping mad. On final he finds a sander on the runway and has to circle until it's clear. On the ground, he gives hell to the flight service specialist for not clearing the runway. Who's at fault? The pilot is.

Given a letdown clearance to the uncontrolled aerodrome, the pilot was instructed to call immediately on the local mandatory frequency. He didn t call until final. There wasn't time to clear vehicles from the runway.

Many pilots have become complacent in a radar-controlled environment. They have accepted others, doing their thinking for them. They expect the same environment at non-radar-controlled airports, which just isn't available. Flying into uncontrolled aerodromes is a different world. People on the ground can't know you're there unless you tell them. Other aircraft in the area will know your intentions only if you broadcast what they are.

Mandatory frequencies for each aerodrome are published in the VFR and IFR Supplements. Use them to communicate your intentions and get the system to work for you.

Originally Published: ASL 1/1998
Original Article: From Issue 6/80 - Say That You're There

ELT Teething Problems

A reader sent in his story of how his aircraft, parked on a grass strip, recently became the object of an ELT search. Unknown to him his ELT had been activated and was transmitting. We can imagine how he felt when a search aircraft appeared overhead and zeroed in on his downed aircraft. His aircraft was fitted with an ELT operated by a cockpit remote control switch. This switch has three positions: OFF/ARM/ON. The aircraft had been parked with the switch in the arm position. Apparently someone had momentarily switched it to the on position, activating the ELT, and had returned the switch to arm. Once activated, it must first be placed in the off position to shut off the transmissions before returning it to the arm position.

These false alarms can be prevented by turning your ELT switch to the off position before you leave the aircraft. Leave the switch in the arm position only in flight. It's a good idea to put these items in your pre-start and shutdown checklists now.

What about ELT false alarms from aircraft without an ELT cockpit remote control switch? In these installations the ELT control switch is on the ELT itself located to the rear of the aircraft. These aircraft are always flown and parked with the switch in the arm position. Unknown to you the ELT may have been activated by a hard landing, moving the aircraft on the ground, or by maintenance people working on the aircraft.
To ensure the ELT is not transmitting listen out on 121.5 before shutting down.

If you hear an emergency squawk check the switch on the ELT in the rear of your aircraft. This may necessitate opening an inspection panel. Turn the switch to the off position, return to the cockpit and again listen out on 121.5. If the ELT tone is gone then your ELT was the culprit. Now go back and reset your ELT switch back to the arm position and you should be ready for your next flight. Your ELT is now armed but not transmitting. Go back to the cockpit and make a final check on 121.5.

ELT Urgent Problem

As we go to print, another two ELT false alarms! One involved a Cessna 172 parked at Maple Airport and another Cessna 172 on floats docked on a lake in the Kenora area.

Each aircraft was located by search and rescue aircraft in less than three hours and the pilots advised their ELTs were transmitting. It's vital that you make that ELT listening-out check on 121.5 every time you shut down.

Originally Published: ASL 1/1998
Original Article: ELT Teething Problems; ELT Urgent Problem

Updating Your Global Positioning System?

The following was taken from a daily occurrence report:

In IFR conditions, a Saab 340 with 20 people on board was cleared for the approach into an MF [mandatory frequency] aerodrome. It was on short final when the FSS staff observed a Robinson RH22 inbound near the approach path to the runway.

The helo was not in radio contact with FSS and was not monitoring the MF. The Saab pilot was able to land safely and saw the helicopter on short final.

FSS staff approached the pilot of the helicopter after it landed and the pilot said [that] he had been communicating on 118.0 [MHz] (that frequency had been decommissioned [three] years previously). He said [that] this frequency was provided by his GPS equipment, but, on [being] questioned, admitted that the GPS database had not been updated for "a couple of years." He did not consult his copy of the [Canada] Flight Supplement, which was on the seat beside him, because he was "too busy." When FSS staff asked for his name, the pilot declined to give it, and said [that] "[he hoped] nothing would come of this.

Upon departure, the pilot did not file a flight plan; rather, he flew on a company flight note.

Weather at the time of the incident was 700 ft. broken [and] 2000 ft. overcast, [with] visibility 5 mi. in light rain and fog.

Communicating on the right frequency in an MF is mandatory, but it should also be too easy. Having an up-to-date Canada Flight Supplement and looking at it or getting your GPS database updated regularly may cost a few dollars, but a mid-air collision could ruin the day for a lot of people.

Originally Published: ASL 4/1997
Original Article: Updating Your Global Positioning System?

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