Very High Frequency (VHF) radio communication capability is limited, especially along coastal areas and in mountainous terrain. The reduction in aeronautical services, such as the decommissioning of Flight Service Stations (FSS) and Remote Communication Outlets, has also contributed to this problem. Pilots operating in these areas cannot obtain up-to-date weather information nor relay current weather information to an FSS for the benefit of others.
SR 12 - Recommend Transport Canada review the capabilities of existing VHF repeater stations (Highways, Forestry, Coast Guard, etc.) to determine if additional VHF frequencies could be installed to improve communications, especially the dissemination of weather information.
Pilots continue to tie up common VHF frequencies (122.8, 126.7) with unnecessary conversation. This precludes other pilots who need to report their position or obtain information relevant to their flight from doing so. Pilots should switch to a discrete frequency when they want to chat to each other. It is poor airmanship to use the common frequency for irrelevant conversation.
SR 13 - Recommend Transport Canada publish an article in the Aviation Safety Letter and Aviation Safety Vortex newsletters to remind pilots to eliminate unnecessary conversation on common VHF frequencies.
IA 13 - Recommend pilots exercise good airmanship by eliminating unnecessary conversations on common VHF frequencies.
FSS Specialists broadcast wind, altimeter and runway information to each pilot even if the information has just been relayed to another pilot moments before. This increases congestion on the assigned frequency especially when there is a lot of traffic in the area. If a pilot has already heard the airport information, and tells the FSS Specialist that he has the information, it would decrease congestion on the frequency if the FSS Specialist could relay only the traffic information. Pilots stated that they would also prefer to have the traffic information first, followed by the airport information, since the traffic information is more significant. Requirements contained in the MANOPS document may need to be revised to allow this flexibility.
SR 14 - Recommend Flight Service Station (FSS) Specialists, on initial contact with the pilot, give traffic information first followed by the balance of the required information, and if the pilot advises that he has the information, i.e. the wind, altimeter, and active/preferred runway, the FSS Specialist should relay only the traffic information.
IA 14 - Recommend pilots inform FSS on initial contact that they have the "numbers".
Frequency congestion is a problem in areas of high activity and certainly during peak seasonal operations. Pilots are often unable to acquire flight information when they require it because of this congestion. Transmissions from pilots flying at higher altitudes are broadcast over a large area and interfere with transmissions from pilots flying at lower altitudes who are trying to contact another FSS on the same frequency. Generally Visual Flight Rules (VFR) traffic is operating at lower altitudes, most often below 3000 feet above ground level. Aircraft at these lower altitudes would benefit from a distinct radio frequency from that used by aircraft operating at higher altitudes. Pilots crossing the designated altitude would broadcast their position and intentions on the frequency assigned to the area to which they are transitioning. Frequency congestion and interference was also noted as a problem where aerodromes with an Aerodrome Traffic Frequency (ATF) are close together.
SR 15 - Recommend NAV CANADA assign a new high altitude enroute frequency and designate 126.7 as a low altitude enroute frequency to reduce frequency congestion.
SR 16 - Recommend Transport Canada allocate additional frequencies for ATFs to reduce the overlap of transmissions between aerodromes and relieve the congestion and interference on the designated frequency.
Where no other service such as FSS, UNICOM, or Community Air Radio Station is available, pilots can contact radio-equipped vehicle operators where there is a mandatory frequency or aerodrome traffic frequency to determine the runway status or the presence of other vehicles or aircraft. Many uncontrolled aerodromes have no services available or the ground station has limited hours of operation. If these services are not available, maintenance vehicle operators who are on site should be able to provide pilots with information about runway conditions, vehicle and aircraft traffic.
SR 17 - Recommend that maintenance vehicles at uncontrolled aerodromes be equipped with VHF radios and vehicle operators be trained to provide vehicle-aircraft conflict information and runway condition information where no other service is available.
Pilots are broadcasting position reports and controllers are requesting pilots report over geographic points that would be familiar only to local pilots since they are not published on VFR charts nor in the Canada Flight Supplement (CFS). Itinerant pilots are unaware of these reporting points and there is potential for aircraft conflict.
SR 18 - Recommend Transport Canada publish an article in the Aviation Safety Letter and Aviation Safety Vortex newsletters to remind pilots, when making a position report, to refer to a local geographic point only if it is published on a VFR chart or in the CFS.
IA 18 - Recommend pilots refer to a local geographic point when making position reports only if it is published on a VFR chart or in the CFS.
SR 19 - Recommend NAV CANADA publish an article in the Aviation Safety Air Traffic newsletter reminding controllers that they should not request a pilot to report over a local geographic point unless it is published on a VFR chart or in the CFS.
Many communities in remote areas of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Quebec have established Community Aerodrome Radio Stations. During limited hours of operations, these stations are manned by Observers/Communicators who have been trained to provide flight information, including local weather, altimeter setting, runway conditions, vehicle and aircraft traffic. It is in the community's interest to provide this service since it makes the aerodrome and consequently the community more accessible to medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and routine flights. These services should be promoted at more northern aerodromes.
SR 20 - Recommend NAV CANADA promote the benefits of having Community Aerodrome Radio Station Observers/Communicators in northern aerodromes where the service is not presently established.
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