|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : fai|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : mkg|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : local|
|Qualification||controller : non radar|
|Experience||controller non radar : 7|
controller radar : 3
flight time total : 90
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Primary Problem||ATC Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
|ATC Facility||procedure or policy : unspecified|
2 airports and a frequently used river landing area are within the class D surface area at fai. Pilots using these areas must contact the tower to be in compliance with FARS. In order to streamline the operation at these uncontrolled airports, the facility manager at fai has instructed the local controller(south) at fai to provide advisory service at these airports on fai tower frequency. Further, he has requested pilots inbound/outbound to these airports to remain on tower frequency, discontinue use of CTAF, and rely on fai tower to provide traffic information. These airports are too far from the tower to visually acquire traffic and the landing surfaces are not visible. I feel that this corruption of CTAF procedures is fundamentally unsafe. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following information: reporter states the 2 airports he mentions are chena marina and fouts which is private and does not seem to be shown on the sectional chart anymore. There is no unicom at these airports, so pilots broadcast in the blind and should be using 122.9 rather than the fai tower frequency. While they are required to make position reports once airborne, the problem is greatest when they are on the ground. There is a ridge which runs parallel to the main runway at fai and blocks the tower xmissions so aircraft on the ground at the 2 non tower airports cannot hear the fai tower. When aircraft at these airports broadcast their ground movements on the fai tower frequency they often step on important xmissions from the tower without knowing they are doing so since they are unable to hear the tower. A unicom is not an option since there would likely be no one to monitor and there are few unicoms in use in alaska. Reporter feels pilot education is the great need: an awareness of 122.9 use and when tower frequency should be used. He feels the fai facility is using poor technique in not educating pilots to do this.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: CTLR RPT REGARDING THE USE TWR FREQ FOR NON TWR ARPTS WITHIN THE CLASS D AIRSPACE.
Narrative: 2 ARPTS AND A FREQUENTLY USED RIVER LNDG AREA ARE WITHIN THE CLASS D SURFACE AREA AT FAI. PLTS USING THESE AREAS MUST CONTACT THE TWR TO BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH FARS. IN ORDER TO STREAMLINE THE OP AT THESE UNCTLED ARPTS, THE FACILITY MGR AT FAI HAS INSTRUCTED THE LCL CTLR(S) AT FAI TO PROVIDE ADVISORY SVC AT THESE ARPTS ON FAI TWR FREQ. FURTHER, HE HAS REQUESTED PLTS INBOUND/OUTBOUND TO THESE ARPTS TO REMAIN ON TWR FREQ, DISCONTINUE USE OF CTAF, AND RELY ON FAI TWR TO PROVIDE TFC INFO. THESE ARPTS ARE TOO FAR FROM THE TWR TO VISUALLY ACQUIRE TFC AND THE LNDG SURFACES ARE NOT VISIBLE. I FEEL THAT THIS CORRUPTION OF CTAF PROCS IS FUNDAMENTALLY UNSAFE. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING INFO: RPTR STATES THE 2 ARPTS HE MENTIONS ARE CHENA MARINA AND FOUTS WHICH IS PVT AND DOES NOT SEEM TO BE SHOWN ON THE SECTIONAL CHART ANYMORE. THERE IS NO UNICOM AT THESE ARPTS, SO PLTS BROADCAST IN THE BLIND AND SHOULD BE USING 122.9 RATHER THAN THE FAI TWR FREQ. WHILE THEY ARE REQUIRED TO MAKE POS RPTS ONCE AIRBORNE, THE PROB IS GREATEST WHEN THEY ARE ON THE GND. THERE IS A RIDGE WHICH RUNS PARALLEL TO THE MAIN RWY AT FAI AND BLOCKS THE TWR XMISSIONS SO ACFT ON THE GND AT THE 2 NON TWR ARPTS CANNOT HEAR THE FAI TWR. WHEN ACFT AT THESE ARPTS BROADCAST THEIR GND MOVEMENTS ON THE FAI TWR FREQ THEY OFTEN STEP ON IMPORTANT XMISSIONS FROM THE TWR WITHOUT KNOWING THEY ARE DOING SO SINCE THEY ARE UNABLE TO HEAR THE TWR. A UNICOM IS NOT AN OPTION SINCE THERE WOULD LIKELY BE NO ONE TO MONITOR AND THERE ARE FEW UNICOMS IN USE IN ALASKA. RPTR FEELS PLT EDUCATION IS THE GREAT NEED: AN AWARENESS OF 122.9 USE AND WHEN TWR FREQ SHOULD BE USED. HE FEELS THE FAI FACILITY IS USING POOR TECHNIQUE IN NOT EDUCATING PLTS TO DO THIS.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.