A non-controlled aerodrome is one where air traffic control is not operating. This can be either an aerodrome that is always in Class G airspace, an aerodrome with a control tower where no air traffic control service is currently operating, or an aerodrome that would normally have an ATC service but the service is temporarily unavailable (CAR 2 (non-controlled aerodrome), CARs 166-166E, CAAP 166-01(4.1)).
Non-controlled aerodromes where the carriage of radios is required include all certified, registered and military aerodromes as published in ERSA. CASA may designate other aerodromes on a case-by-case basis, as published in ERSA or by NOTAM. CAR 243 details the requirements for pilots of aircraft fitted with a radio to maintain a listening watch at all times.
Pilots are reminded that non-controlled aerodromes include those aerodromes with Class C or D ATC services during the times when such services are unavailable. Pilots should always consult ERSA and the latest NOTAMs for operating times of ATC services at those aerodromes.
Operations at non-controlled aerodromes can present many challenges to pilots who operate into, out of, or in the vicinity, of these aerodromes. These challenges can include:
- complying with standard operating procedures
- fitting into the circuit traffic and
- dealing with threats and hazards that may be encountered.
Non-controlled aerodromes can have a mix of aircraft at any one time, including IFR/VFR, larger passenger-carrying aircraft, smaller general aviation aircraft, agricultural aircraft, skydivers and various sport and recreational aircraft.
At aerodromes where the carriage of radio is not mandatory, good airmanship dictates that pilots of radio-equipped aircraft also monitor their radios and broadcast their intentions in accordance with the minimum required calls. Pilots should also observe local and published noise abatement procedures, circuit direction and curfews.
If a radio is fitted to an aircraft, it must be servicable even though the carriage of a radio is not mandatory.
How to determine where radio carriage is required
Sample extract from ERSA aerodrome chart for Parkes and Noosa
See page 3.25 for further details regarding communication at non-controlled aerodromes.