Thursday 20 June 2013 04:12 UTC
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Flew into an airport (VFR) the other day. Approach was busy but not very busy. After my initial call, I was told to expect holding at X and be on a good lookout for three other aircraft there.
When I arrived at X, I said I would start holding.
Approach said negative, continue towards the field and expect left base join.
So I continued and approach told me to contact the tower.
When I changed frequency I could not check-in. The tower was far too busy sorting out circuit traffic and ground movements.
I stayed on frequency hoping that I would be able to check-in eventually. Instead, 5-8 minutes passed and I ended up almost at midfield downwind. Still could not check in. Fearing I would conflict with circuit traffic I did one orbit while keeping a good lookout. Still could not check in. Then I was about to go back to the hold at X and re-contact approach. However tower got back to me and asked me to join left base.
I landed without incident but got very scared on that orbit fearing it would have messed up the approach sequence or hit someone else.
This airport was equipped for both IFR and VFR operation.
Maybe location dependent, but at my field I'd have done the left base join (assuming I'd got the picture and didn't expect to conflict with anyone ect ect), and gone around if I hadn't had a clearance by the time I was over the numbers. I wouldn't have been too surprised to hear "... break break G-ABCD clear land" on very short final without having yet said a word.
On the basis that the tower controller knew I was on the way, knew I was on frequency, knew what I'd been told to expect, and could call me when I came to the top of his priority list.
Is that wrong?
I'd do similar to Gertie. At Liverpool, if they want you to only go as far as a certain point (approaching from the south, the south bank of the Mersey is often used) then they will state that that is your clearance limit before telling you to change frequency to tower.
If it was equipped for IFR, presumably it had radar. You'd already been identified by approach, so if they really needed to get in touch, they knew who and where you were.
5-8 minutes seems like a long time not to be able to get a word in - depends on the type but you'd have covered perhaps 10nm or more in that time. Sounds like you were handed over to tower rather early!
If Timothy had his way, you would know me as Daniel.
If in doubt, just call the tower later on and have a chat to the controller on the phone after the event. Always an excellent way of sorting things out, and you will get a different perspective on what happened.
I know it's a silly username. If you've met me, I probably introduced myself as Josh...
I did think about just going to left base and turn final and expected to be cleared to do just that.
But having read about the deadly accident at Coventry airport between two aircraft a while ago, and considering ATC wasn't overloaded at the time, I was worried about a repeat at this airport and so decided not to do it in the end.
EDMA, VFR and IFR equiped, can get quite busy at times, so there have been moments when I am in the circuit that I can't get an word in as fast as I would like.
from the initial post, I'm assuming this took place in a CTR, and it is my understanding, that you aren't allowed to do anything without permission from the Tower to do so. So I see the orbit done critically.
It all depends on what traffic is around for my decision to: a) continue the circuit with the expectation that I will get short clearance (as was mentioned above) or b) continue the downwind leg until the other approach traffic has moved far enough along for me to turn onto base.
I would also take up the suggestion to chat with the controller to discuss this.
PPL-Student: 52:00 Total, of that 1:30 solo, Cessna 150 41:01, Cessna 172 10:59. All Exams passed.
IMHO orbiting at a controlled field without being asked to is not a wise thing to do. Presumably you couldn't announce your intentions as the radio was busy.
The course of action which is least likely to put you into conflict with other traffic would be to continue in the circuit and be prepared for a go around if the landing clearance isn't forthcoming (as others have said).
Sent from my high horse
JB is absolutely correct there and orbiting at an uncontrolled field (anything other than full ATC) is an even more unwise thing to do.
There are two ways to argue with a woman.
Neither of them work!
A handover tells you the tower know you are there.
Next time continue and expect " break break G-XXXX cleared to land" etc and as has been said, go around if you don't get it.
CPL, IMC, FI(A)... And a beige devil.
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