Radio calls and airmanship

I was asked to add in a page to cover radio calls . From the menu there is a seperate page for “Blind” Radio Calls, but i have added a few examples here to give an overview …

There are different types of airfield radio control.


The bigger airports (Such as Edinbugh/Glasgow/Dundee and Inverness) have Air Traffic Control (ATC).  Pilots are not allowed to enter an airport zone without clearance from ATC, and will be under full control at all times. ATC will give permission to enter controlled airspace, instructions for height, direction and runway to use. Control continues after landing and ATC will instruct the pilot where and when to taxi and park.

ATC are located in the Airport Tower and may have more than 1 frequency/controller. Calls to ATC are suffixed with “approach” or “tower”  (i.e calls are made to and from “Glasgow approach” or “Edinburgh tower”)


(Flight information Service Officer) controlled airports (such as Oban) maintain full control for aircraft on the ground, but cannot instruct flying aircraft or while on runways, (but they can offer advice and information for pilots) Calls to an Aerodrome Flight Information Service  suffix “information” is used (i.e calls are to and from “Oban Information” AFIS airports will have a dedicated radio frequency.


Airports/airfields that have AIR/Ground cover do not offer any instructions on the ground or in the air.  They will supply information on request (such as favoured runway / air pressure / wind speeds etc) Flight at these airfields are strictly at the pilots own risk.  Calls to Air/Ground  would have the suffix “Radio” (i.e Perth Radio) AIR/Ground airfields will have a dedicated radio frequency.

Unmanned airfields

Airfields with no radio at all  should really be treated the same as Air Ground – in that you should transmit all intentions / positions as normal, but expect no response. These are known as “Blind Calls”. Extra vigilence should be made while watching for other aircraft, as not everyone adheres to these rules for an unmanned airfield. Its always good airmanship to make normal calls on approach, circuit or departure, even if you think no one is listening. Another pilot may be doing the exact same thing and assuming no one is there.  Blind calls should be made on the safetycom frequency  (135.480 MHz)  ** See more info HERE


Most of my experince using the radio has been at Perth airport (Air/Ground) Perth are very professional with their calls and circuit patterns as it can be very busy. There are student pilots there for flexwings, Fixed wings, Gyro’s, helicopters and a very busy GA aircraft training school. This is on top of the frequent flyers and visitors, so is a great place to learn to get it right.

An example of radio calls i would make at Perth with a local flight:

Taking Off

1. ME:  “Perth Radio, this is Golf Charlie Charlie Echo Whisky on the apron, requesting airfield information and radio check”

2. PR: “Golf Charlie Charlie Echo Whisky, readability 5 – Runway in use is zero 9 QNH is 1013”

3.ME: “Runway zero 9, QNH 1013 – 1 pob (person on board) 3 hours endurance for a 1 hour local flight”

4. PR: “Golf Echo Whisky”  (just confirmation)

5. ME: “Golf Echo Whisky – taxying to Bravo for checks”

6: 4. PR: “Golf Echo Whisky”  (just confirmation)

after checks and made sure runway is clear

7. ME: “Golf Echo Whisky entering and backtracking zero 9 for departure

8. PR: “Golf Echo Whisky”  (just confirmation)

9. ME: “Golf Echo Whisky – taking off zero 9”

10: PR: may give wind speed and direction

11. ME: “Golf Echo Whisky – leaving the circuit to the North, remaining on frequency”

12. PR: “Golf Echo Whisky”  (just confirmation)


Inbound to the airfield:

1. ME: “Perth Radio, this is Golf Charlie Charlie Echo Whisky inbound from the south 5 miles to run requesting airfield information”

2. PR: “Golf Charlie Charlie Echo Whisky, runway in use is zero 9, QNH is 1012, currently 2 in the circuit.

3.ME: ” Runway zero 9, QNH 1012 – will report in the overhead, Golf Echo Whisky”

4: ME “Golf Echo Whisky, now in the overhead, descending dead side for a crosswind join for zero 9”

5. PR: “Golf – Echo whisky”  (just confirmation)

6. ME: “Golf Echo Whisky – now crosswind for zero 9 “

7. PR: “Golf – echo whisky”  (just confirmation)  ** maybe – not always if busy

8. ME: “Golf Echo Whisky now downwind for zero 9

9. PR: “Golf – Echo whisky”  (just confirmation)  ** maybe – not always if busy

10. ME: “Golf Echo Whisky – final for zero 9 to land”

11. PR: “Wind zero 85 – 8 knots”

12. ME: “Golf Echo Whisky – vacated zero 9