August 30, 2007

Flying in Uncontrolled and Controlled Airspace

lake_in_the_hills_3CK.jpgOn Saturday I toured the control tower of Chicago Executive Airport with some fellow aviation enthusiasts. During the tour the controllers talked about how they use the radar to ensure safe separation of aircraft in their airspace. Then they explained for the non-pilots how pilots interact with each other to ensure safety when flying at the airport after the control tower closes or at uncontrolled fields. This served as a great reminder for my flight that day which was from a controlled field to an uncontrolled field and back.

After the tour I flew in a Cessna 172SP from Chicago Exec. (KPWK) about 20 miles northwest to Lake in the Hills(3CK) airport, a small single strip uncontrolled airport. Here I flew around the pattern six or seven times while working on crosswind landings. At times there were as many as four aircraft working in the pattern. At an uncontrolled airport there is no tower so all radio equipped planes communicate over the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) providing position reports and intentions for the other pilots.

At one point I was at pattern altitude when another pilot announced his intention to over fly the airport and then to enter the pattern on the downwind leg on a forty five degree angle. Nothing strange there other than the fact that he announced his current altitude of approximately 1,900 feet which is the same as the pattern altitude. This put him on a collision course with the plane behind me in the pattern that was currently on the downwind leg. When over-flying a field to enter the pattern you should be flying above the traffic in the pattern to alleviate any potential danger. Luckily the other pilot made the decision to exit the pattern and let this idiot land before resuming his pattern.

As a pilot you always need to look out for yourself and assume that all other pilots are a potential danger to you. But, this becomes ever more important at uncontrolled towers.

Upon returning to Chicago Executive it became quickly apparent that traffic had picked up at the airport since I left. Turns out the up tick in traffic was due to a series of flights that were part of the Young Eagles program were arriving at the same time as I was.

I circled Lake Zurich two or three times just waiting to get an opening to start my communications with the tower. I was told to proceed inbound but that I may need to circle from time to time as I was sixth in the order for landing. Sure enough on downwind for landing the tower asked that I please perform a 360° turn to provide greater spacing between aircraft before landing.

It was fun going from a busy uncontrolled field to a busy controlled field and getting a chance to work on both types of radio communications.

Posted by at August 30, 2007 12:29 PM
Comments

WOW!! Your seem to have a thrilling experience on air. As you said ur lucky to have a chance to work on both types of radio communication.Not many pilots get that opportunity.

Posted by: Annie at September 6, 2007 10:25 AM | Reply

WOW!! Your seem to have a thrilling experience on air. As you said ur lucky to have a chance to work on both types of radio communication.Not many pilots get that opportunity.

Posted by: Annie at September 6, 2007 10:25 AM | Reply

Hi,good site!

Posted by: Jatatieptiona at April 23, 2008 10:54 AM | Reply

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