It’s a beautiful day, the weekend is here, and the world’s aloft. Collisions should be top of mind. Besides looking out the window, the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) is one of the best tools we have to listen and broadcast positions when entering, leaving or staying in the pattern.
Unfortunately, the CTAFs at many nontowered airports are a mess. If just two airports share the frequency that’s workable. But when several occupy the spectrum, especially when one on the party line is a busy, the radio loses much of it’s lifesaving potential.
What worked 20 years ago may not work today. If you’re flying at a radio-saturated location, how about working with the authorities to make the frequencies usable? Pilots, corporate operators, flight schools, instructors, and the insurance community all have a vested interest. Perhaps the CTAF operator, FBO, or municipality whines about needing new ground radios since the old ones cannot be converted or about how the local pilots will be confused because Podunk Municipal has always been on 122.8. These concerns pale in comparison to what a maidair collision will do to the airport’s reputation.
If your CTAF is overcrowded, do something about it! AOPA has guidance on how to this at http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/air_traffic/unicom.html. Be sure to put your concerns in writing/email so that a paper trail is evident. It’s amazing how accountability encourages responsibility in public officials.