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Any Traffic? Please Advise

Source: Wally Moran

Subscriber Question:

"On the CTAF at our airport I often hear inbound pilots make the call "any traffic please advise". My instructor told me this call was not recommended. Why not?" - James H.


"Your instructor is correct. The Aeronautical Information Manual section 4-1-9(g)(1) states:

Pilots stating traffic in the area, "please advise" is not a recognized self-announce position and/or intention phrase and should not be used under any condition.

The reason for this is that the CTAF is a party line and the same frequency is often used by more than one airport in the area. An unnecessary call at one airport could inadvertently block a critical call at another. In the case of non-towered airports, less is better than more. Therefore we all need to keep our radio work short and concise.

Asking for any traffic to advise gains a pilot little useful knowledge. For example, if there is more than one aircraft in the area, and they all respond, then it simply jams the frequency for a time. On the other hand if there is no response to that call it does not mean there are no aircraft in the area, it just means no one responded. There could still be 10 no-radio aircraft in the pattern. So as you can see it simply ties up the frequency and could possibly block a required call at yours or a nearby airport which could decrease safety rather than improve it.

If all aircraft follow the correct procedure any inbound aircraft can learn what radio equipped aircraft are in the pattern by monitoring the CTAF as they should be making the recommended calls. When arriving I try to monitor the CTAF as far out as practical to give me a picture of the traffic.

If we all follow the recommended AIM procedures, that is - when inbound call 10 miles out, entering downwind, turning base, turning final and clear of the runway - there is plenty of opportunity to know who is in the pattern. Of course, there can always be no-radio traffic and a plane on the wrong frequency, so let's all use the recommended procedures but still keep a sharp watch for traffic. If someone has a better idea, get it into the AIM and we will all use it."

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