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Guest rcritz

Are radios required on all aircraft?

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I was out flying for real this weekend and was about to depart at an uncontrolled airport. Just before crossing the Hold short line, this little tail dragger comes out of no where over the threashold. It looked like either a home built or a really old airplane. He was not making any announcements in the pattern. So he was on the wrong freq. or he didn't have a radio. He was also doing really steep, short approches. I looked in the FARs for required day VFR equipment on aircraft and radio was not listed. Am I missing something? How can aircraft not be required to have radios. This guy was a danger to himself and everyone in the pattern. DAVID C. FREEMANCONTINENTAL VIRTUAL AIRLINESHouston

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David,Aircraft are not required to have a radio if they VFR and not operating in controlled airspace. Uncontrolled airports are not controlled airspace if the weather is VFR. Many older aircraft ( Cubs, champs, etc )and ultralights do not have electrical systems so they can not have a radio. Many people with these type airplanes will use a hand held radio but it is not required. This is why pilots should be (and use to be) taught to very carefully visually check the pattern before entering the runway. This is best done by making a taxing turn to check the downwind, base and final. Those of us that operate out of and into uncontrolled airports have to be more vigilent for traffic for this reason.Regards,Ed Weber a.k.a tallpilot(Thousands of hours of flying small airplanes and even airliners into uncontrolled airports)

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Hi David,An aircraft without a radio can operate in the U.S. in Class E or D airspace (considered controlled airspace) without a radio. A radio isn't required for Class E operations and if you have a radio failure, you can still operate at an airport with a control tower (Class D). See this reference for more information:http://www.faa.gov/atpubs/aim/Chap4/aim0402.html#4-2-13There's also a good FAA Advisory Circular on operating at non-towered airports.Vigilance is required at non-towered airports and I recommend a slow 360 degree turn on the ground before taking the runway to scan for possible traffic in the pattern.John

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Thanks for the info guys. Good learning point for me. I still think the practice of not using a radio is dangerous. This airport is one of the busiest uncontrolled airports I have been at. Usually 3 or four aircraft in the pattern at one time. It could probobly use a control tower. No excuse though. I should have been better prepared. There are alot of experimental aircraft that operate out of there. In case you are interested it is GTU, just north of Austin. I will definatly keep a better eye out in the future. Thanks, DAVID C. FREEMANCONTINENTAL VIRTUAL AIRLINESHouston

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David, If you are a pilot, a question like that shows a shocking lack of knowledge of the flight requirements in controlled and uncontrolled airspace. It also reflects pretty badly on the CFI who taught you and the DPE who gave you your check ride. If you are a student, the question is less shocking, but if your CFI hasn't told you about radio requirements and reiterated the idea that NORDO's exist at many uncontrolled fields, you might be advised to look for another CFI. Bob

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I ask a question and get an impolite response like this. I am not a student. And no, I don't remember that particular tidbit of info being taught to me. I was, however taught to look and I did. The reason no one got hit and there was not a runway incursion is because I looked. Now I have to sit here and defend myself for asking a fricking question. My fault. I am sure that you remember everything you were taught in flight school. I am also most certain that you have never made a mistake in the cockpit. I am not a professional pilot. But I fly as much as possible so I can learn from my mistakes. Maybe I should just go back to my real job of leading soldiers defending your freedom, who allow no it alls like you to make fun of people who ask questions because they want to be better pilots. I can tell you for sure that it takes more guts to ask a question that are not sure of than to just be unsafe. Thanks for the help Bob!DAVID C. FREEMANCaptain,United States Army(A real world job that is harder than flying)

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A couple of more things here. Even if you have a radio, you are not required to use it at an uncontrolled field. Now I don't think that it is a very good practice to skip position reports when approaching a non-towered airport, but the regs don't require you to self announce.Lastly, I've read several times that in an aircraft without an electrical system (such as early tube and fabric taildraggers), that a handheld radio is next to useless. The reason being is that the engines electrical system (magnetos and wires) are not shielded therefore interfering with the use of the radio. Thanks Captain for defending our freedom of speech, even if it does allow people like Bob to take an uncalled for poke at someone.Tim13

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It's a very good question, and it's obvious everyone should use whatever means are available to avoid any injuries whatever. Herb Morse, Lt Cmdr, Ret, USN, ex Base Safety Officer, NAS Oceana. But also in love with sims :-)

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You have to agree with Bob that a pilot is supposed to know the regulations related to his craft...While the requirements towards radios may be obscure (as almost every aircraft has and uses them) that doesn't preclude having to know about them.In other countries, other regulations apply of course.In the Netherlands, a radio is mandatory I believe (radio operating license is mandatory for pilots, which would be kinda useless if radios were not).

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I agree with Bob on that issue also. There is no excuse for not knowing a rule. What I don't agree with is promoting the fear of asking questions. I ask questions because I want to be a better pilot. I think that the real danger to aviation safety is creating an environment where people are afraid of ridicule if they do not know something. EVERY PILOT MAKES MISTAKES, from airline captains to 80 hr private pilots like me. Its the people that don't learn from mistakes that are bad pilots. Even worse are the ones that don't admit they make mistakes or don't ask questinos when they are unsure of something. I would ask you guys to post here, the last mistake you made in the cockpit. Or pull out the some books tonight and read until you learn something new then post here what you learned. Have a great day and keep learning.DAVE

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Hi Dave,I'm a pilot too, and frequently fly into Class G airports (although I'm based at a Class D airport with a control tower- KBJC).Maybe the first answer you got sounded a little blunt, however I have to agree with him. Turning this into a more positive than negative comment:I won't repeat the rules regarding radio requirements that others have stated above. However- since a Class G airport never requires that an aircraft have a radio, or a Class E airport also doesn't require one when the weather is above VFR minimums, it's very important that you know that other planes may not have a radio, and therefore may not hear you, or you won't hear them. While you should be commended for noting the traffic landing before entering the runway area, the aircraft without the radio had the right of way, as he was landing. Had you been in the unfortunate position of taxying onto the runway in his path, you would have been in a runway incursion situation, an FAA violation that could strip you of your ticket if there had been an incident ot accident resulting from it- even though you used your radio, and even though the other a/c did not have one. It's extremely important in a Class G or E environment (above VFR minimums) that you assume that no-one has a radio.Take care,Bruce.BJC, Jeffco, CO

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Bruce makes some very good points.I would add that you should exercise vigilance even at towered airports. I fly out of a class C airport (KOAK) and have had some "interesting" experiences, like being told to position and hold on one runway and then a few minutes later being cleared for takeoff on another. ATC folks are usually very good at what they do, but they are only human.Radios or not, it's important to be on the lookout and paying attention on the ground and in the air.For some good information on runway safety, check out:http://www.aopa.org/asf/In particular, the interactive runway safety program is a great referesher.I also recommend downloading the "Operations at Nontowered Airports" PDF. It's contains some very useful info and is available at:http://www.aopa.org/asf/safety_topics.htmlJohn

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Interesting discussion you guys have going here. To back up Bruce and John...As a pilot myself, I did all of my primary training at an uncontrolled field (Detroit Berz-Macomb, KUIZ.) We use 122.8 as a unicom frequency, and I have to say I absoutly hate listening to it. There are so many airports around Berz that use the same unicom and most of the time it is mess of shrieks as people step all over each other.From talking to many pilots and students, if you train out of a controlled airport you learn to use the radios real fast. Especially at Battle Creek (KBTL) where Western Michigan University has about 30-40 aircraft comming and going each hour. Now, if you train out of an uncontrolled airport at first, it can be intimidating the first time you call up the tower, as it was for me. One thing that has really helped me use the radios is working on my instrument rating, where you almost constantly are talking to controllers, especially practicing those approaches.One thing that my first CFI pounded into me is to be on a constant lookout for traffic, controlled or not. Good or bad, depending on how you see it, at uncontrolled fields I was tought to anounce only when entering the pattern. Most people, I would say, are tought to announce every time they turn the corner in the pattern, and taking off, clear of the active, etc. and this is fine. My instructor's take on it though is we only get like 4 freqs to use at uncontrolled fields. Basicaly 122.7, 122.8, 122.9, 123.0. These freqs are pretty congested, in addition, he feels that some people are so preoccupied with making anouncements that this can be a distraction. They feel that it is a safe guard if they announce, they assume that other pilots are going to see them and they won't have to be so careful in watching out themselves. My instructor told me a story once of a gentalman that was coming in the pattern and was making announcements. We had three school planes in the pattern and they were doing their thing. All of the flight instructors have pretty much the same philosophy of keeping your eyes out the windows, so they were not saying much on the radios. At one point this pilot even asked if his radios were working ok. It was funny, he asked if his number 1 COM radio was working and even asked if COM 2 was working.My point here is not to debate over radio calls and what is good and bad. My point is that I think that we all should remain vigilent in making sure that we keep our eyes peeled for traffic. Take care and safe flying!C.J. StarrPPL, instrument studentA pilots license is a license to learn, if you don't learn something new each flight there is a problem.

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Hi C.J,I also learnt at a Class G airport (2V2). I'm also doing my instrument, one of the reasons I joined a flight club at BJC, I want to get the max exposure to radio work. How far are you along in your IFR? The Class D at BJC has a ceiling of 7,999 feet. The overlying Denver Class B goes from 8,000 up to 12,000'. Working with Denver Approach can be fun too.Some good points that you and JR made there in this thread. We must always be vigilent.Bruce.

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Good observations. I learned at a towered airport and did much of my training in and around Kansas City's Class B. Maybe my instructors were so worried about training me for class B operations and operations at towered aiports that they forgot the imprtance of operations at non towered airports. I am never nervous about going into towerd airports or even class B and C primary airports. You bring up a great point when you say it may depend on where we were taught. Good to see another Michigander in the Forum. Go Wings.DAVE

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I must say that it is good for the wings to win another cup indeed! Currently I have about 30 or so hours of hood time. I am really interested in getting some actual instrument time, I think that I only have a couple of tenths or so. The big thing for me is the cross country time. That 50 hours is killing me. I still need about 20 more. I am running out of places in Michigan to go :-). The other day we went down to Goshen, IN. They have a great FBO and free lunch on Fridays.Take care guys!-CJ

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Hi CJ,I'm about the same, I have 20 X-country PIC hours. Those 50 hours will be a long time!Bruce.BJC, Jeffco, CO

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Did you all look into a Part 141 school? I don't think you need all of those hrs under 141. Lots more required ground time though. I don't plan on doing my instrument until I am done with my military commitment. Then I will use my GI Bill and do Instrument/Commercial and up to CFII with a multi rating. GI Bill pays 60% of training costs at a Part 141 school.DAVE

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Dave,Western Michigan University, as with most University programs has a 141 school. I am not doing my training there because financial reasons and I want to get into airport management. I can save money going to a 61 operation. The requirements are kind of goofy I think for 141 schools. I know at Western they divide the flying into 4 classes. You start with Private, then do some Commercial, then Instrument, then finish your commercial multi-instrument. As far as hour requirements, I am pretty sure that the commercial takes less...maybe the instrument as well. I am not really sure. One of my best friends is an instructor now for them and I could as him. Each school might be a little different as the curriculim is approved by the FAA in each instance. They have a lot of control on standizations and SOPs and lessions. It sounds like the GI Bill deal you have is a good one. I wish Uncle Sam would pay for my training :-). Take care,-CJ

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Just be glad there is no longer the 200 hour total time minimum required for the instrument rating.... :)

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