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Joining the visual circuit in your country

Actually, could be ATC if outside controlled airspace.

EGKB Biggin Hill

Inverness is, and Stornoway and Wick often are, ATC outside controlled airspace. I join as instructed by ATC. It’s never been overhead.
Oban is ATIS. I join as asked. It’s never been overhead.
If an A/G airfield, I join as suggested by Radio, or overhead.
Dornoch, and sometimes Wick, are uncontrolled, and I join overhead, and try to conform to the CAA diagram. (If ceiling allows.)

Maoraigh
EGPE, United Kingdom

Biggin is ATC and usually requires an overhead join.

But having said that, the point of my article is not principally how to join the circuit, but how to get into and out of an IFR environment from and to a VFR airfield, regardless of the service provided at the airfield.

For example, if you plan IFR to Redhill, which is ATC, you will probably by dumped at Detling, or maybe transferred to Thames Radar and dumped a bit closer, but any which way it will end up with being “Remain outside CAS and free-call…”

EGKB Biggin Hill

Timothy wrote:

AFIS, a/g or untowered.

Don’t know what a/g is, but at AFIS you just “join” wherever the AFIS dude wants you to. Could be “report on base” or “report on downwind” or at some geographical point. Untowered has no particular way, but the practice is to talk blind on the radio and tell what you do.

a/g = air/ground

Given that he has no legal obligation other than to observe and give information (even if some folks at some airfields try to play ATC) i find this perfectly ok.

He hasn’t an obligation to give anything, the only obligation he has is to take emergency measures in case of a crash and write down takeoffs and landings.

mh
Inside the sky.
EDXE, EDXF, Germany

wherever the AFIS dude wants you to

The “AFIS dude” should not, technically, have a say in this. He might say what is generally preferred at the airfield but shouldn’t get involved in what you are going to do on the day.

The trouble is that in practice this varies a lot between airfields and between individual “dudes” at airfields, leaving low experience pilot fellahs with confused expectations as to what to expect and what their obligations are.

EGKB Biggin Hill

No, technically he has no saying, but he has an overview of the entire situation and is therefore the one who is best qualified to lead the traffic. Sometimes he/she simply say “runway free” at first contact. Then you can do whatever you want (in principle), but it is a message to everyone else that the runway is “mine” untill I have landed and taxied off, or have departed, whatever the case should be.

The expectation is therefore very clear. You shall not use the runway before you get a “runway free” from the dude/dudess This is SERA (Norway style).

It works just fine. Last Saturday one of my students did his first trip to an AFIS airport, he did everything right without me interveining.

Anyway, what I meant was that there is no predefined way to do things, no predefined way to enter the circuit, not at an AFIS airport. At a controlled airport there is. The most common enter clearance you get is cleared downwind. You are then supposed to enter midfield at a 45 degree angle or thereabout, if nothing else prevents it.

mh wrote:

He hasn’t an obligation to give anything, the only obligation he has is to take emergency measures in case of a crash and write down takeoffs and landings.

He has to give information to certain public authorities,
and, if instructed, to the airfield owner

;-)

...
EDM_, Germany

LeSving wrote:

Sometimes he/she simply say “runway free” at first contact. Then you can do whatever you want (in principle), but it is a message to everyone else that the runway is “mine” untill I have landed and taxied off, or have departed, whatever the case should be.

I would not expect that anywhere – maybe now I do in Norway. First contact could be a fair distance from the field ?

And I would certainly not believe that the runway is yours ;-)
If I hear that you are at a certain distance to the airfield or, as an example, on the downwind leg, I might still roll up and take off.
Would that not be OK (in NOrway) ?

...
EDM_, Germany
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