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VFR Joins - Passing all the Information

Explaining joins, the thought occurred that it is strange we arent always automatically passed all the information. Now I know we will have looked at the plate but .. .. ..

all we need to know is the runway, the type of join ATC require of us (cross wind, overhead, base etc), the circuit height, and the circuit direction. So, we are always told the join and the runway heading, but often the circuit direction and height is not included in either the ATIS or the instruction. I wonder why not and whether this would be a good thing?

Around here we never join. Maybe we did in the past, can’t remember, but that must be a loong time ago. We are just cleared (left/right)downwind/base/final runway XX. At AFIS units we just get runway in use, and then “runway free” when we can land, but we never join anything. Maybe some of the oldies in the tower say cleared to join downwind etc?

Three “joins” today. One overhead, nobody else at airfield. Landed with a tailwind component to light crosswind due to misreading the windsock.
I made calls and looked out for non-radio traffic.
Two at an ATC with radar airfield. Told to “report” various positions, – then “cleared” to land runway ##.
Left and right circuits actve, 1000’, with a Saab turboprop doing 2000’ circuit touch-and-goes, and jets arriving and departing.
I don’t see what other information ATC could give.
Trust them 98%, listen to everyone, and look out.

Maoraigh
EGPE, United Kingdom

Maoraigh as i mentioned why not include circuit height and direction?

but often the circuit direction and height is not included in either the ATIS or the instruction

All circuits are left unless otherwise stated in the AIP/VAC. I have heard instructions like “join base” (implies join base leg – LH circuit) or “join right base” (implies join base leg – RH circuit).

Circuit heights are always 1000ft AGL unless otherwise stated in the AIP/VAC. One can’t easily instruct aircraft to join base at say 700ft as every aircraft has a different performance.

Also some airports have multiple runways and different circuit heights and directions for different classes of aircraft. Adding all that to a radio or ATIS can cause confusion and extra workload.

Last Edited by James_Chan at 22 Jul 07:03

One problem which shows up awfully clearly when ATC is not present and it is A/G or AFIS, is that so many pilots don’t know how to use the radio, or avoid using it until almost short final in the hope that they can jump in before someone else… Throw in the huge pressure which renters are under to get back on the ground and you get all kinds of stuff going on.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Light aircraft circuit heights may differ from helicopters (lower) and larger aircraft (higher).

Maoraigh
EGPE, United Kingdom

I think of it the other way around.
Why do we need so much information to join an airfield ?

In the US, 99% of the time you do a 1000’ AGL left hand circuit. You just need the frequency and the airfield elevation. Great, that’s what is written on the chart !
You do your circuit the way you like, super-tight or B52-style.

Radio chatter is so needlessly busy at unmanned fields. I don’t want any more info passed.
I had yet another example yesterday, transiting over Etrepagny LFFY. 4 aircraft and the freq was almost 100% busy

Just like guys mentioning their number of POB at each radio station. We don’t care

James_Chan wrote:

All circuits are left unless otherwise stated in the AIP/VAC. I have heard instructions like “join base” (implies join base leg – LH circuit) or “join right base” (implies join base leg – RH circuit).

Circuit heights are always 1000ft AGL unless otherwise stated in the AIP/VAC. One can’t easily instruct aircraft to join base at say 700ft as every aircraft has a different performance.

True, but places were it isnt there is no mention on either the ATIS or by ATC (usually).

My point is that on the ATIS why not say " circuit height, 1,000 feet, 20 left hand circuit" – it is a small addition, it is essential information, and of course it is in the AIP but why not include it in the ATIS. I agree I would far rather hear it on the ATIS to reduce the work load and radio time on frequency.

How often have we seen traffic going the wrong way, or on the wrong side and at the wrong height? I think this would help.

Last Edited by Fuji_Abound at 22 Jul 20:08

Unless you read/hear something else, left hand at 1000 AGL and lookout should do it ?

ESSEX, United Kingdom
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