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Radiotelephony requirements

Radio broadcasts

A broadcast must include (CAR 166C):

  • the name of the aerodrome
  • the aircraft’s type and callsign
  • the position of the aircraft and the pilot’s intentions.

All pilots of aircraft carrying a VHF airband radio should make broadcasts as required depending on traffic in the area in accordance with the following table:

Circumstance (non-controlled aerodromes)Pilot radio broadcasts
The pilot intends to take offImmediately before, or during, taxiing
The pilot intends to enter a runwayImmediately before entering a runway
The pilot is inbound10 nm or earlier from the aerodrome, commensurate with aircraft performance and pilot workload, with an estimates time of arrival (ETA) for the aerodrome
The pilot is ready to join the circuitImmediately before joining the circuit
The pilot intends to carry out a straight-in approach; or join on base legOn final approach at not less than 3 nm from the
threshold before joining on base
The pilot intends to fly through the vicinity of,  but not land at, a non-controlled aerodromeWhen the aircraft enters the vicinity of the aerodrome (ad defined)

Radiotelephony requirements outside controlled airspace

AIP ENR 1.1, AIP GEN 3.4

The callsign of the station or service being called must be included at the beginning of each exchange on VHF and HF. For examples, see the table below.

For initiating communication to a unit or station


Pilot transmission

Unique to Australia (ICAO Silent)

Military specific

If your callsign is IMZ and you wish to:
Initiate communication with another aircraft in the area with the callsign BUQBravo Uniform Quebec, India Mike Zulu
Initiate communication with ATS, for example Brisbane CentreBrisbane Centre, India Mike Zulu
Request operational information on FIS frequencies (AIP ENR 1.1)Flightwatch, India Mike Zulu

All transmissions between aircraft should be prefixed with the aircraft callsign. When calling FLIGHTWATCH add the frequency in use to the initial transmission. This assists the operator in monitoring multiple frequencies.

When initiating a transmission with ATS, an ATS unit will respond using your callsign followed by their callsign. In the absence of an instruction to ‘stand by’, this response by the ATS unit is an invitation for the aircraft calling to pass their message (AIP GEN 3.4).

For initiating a broadcast of information intended for multiple units and stations


Pilot transmission

Unique to Australia (ICAO Silent)

Military specific

If your callsign is IMZ and you wish to transmit a broadcast to all stations on the frequency including:
Location specific information, for example,  at Wellcamp CTAF (AIP GEN 3.4)All stations Wellcamp, India Mike Zulu
AIP GEN 3.4 – 34Wellcamp traffic, India Mike Zulu
General informationAll stations, India Mike Zulu

When broadcasting information, you must include (CAAP 166-01):

  • the name of the aerodrome
  • the aircraft’s type and callsign
  • the position of the aircraft and your intentions.

The standard broadcast format for low and medium-performance aircraft is (AIP ENR 1.1, CAAP 166-01):

  • location ‘traffic’
  • aircraft type
  • callsign
  • flight rules (if IFR)
  • position and intentions then
  • location.

Where more than one aerodrome is used on a CTAF frequency, prefixing the message with the location followed by the word ‘traffic’ (for example: ‘Caboolture traffic’) and then adding the location again on its own at the end of the message (for example: ‘Caboolture’) helps to confirm the location.

Read-back requirements AIP GEN 3.4

Pilots must transmit a correct read-back of ATC clearances, instructions and information which are transmitted by voice. Apart from the first item of the list below, only key elements of the following clearances, instructions, or information must be read back. Ensure you include sufficient detail to indicate compliance (that you have adequately understood the message):

  • an ATC route clearance in its entirety, and any amendments (‘rest of clearance unchanged’ is not required to be read-back)
  • en route holding instructions
  • any route and holding point specified in a taxi clearance
  • any clearances, conditional clearances, or instructions to do any of the following manoeuvres on any runway:
    • hold short of
    • enter
    • land on
    • line-up on
    • wait
    • take-off from
    • cross
    • taxi or
    • backtrack on
  • any approach clearance
  • assigned runway, altimeter settings, directed to specific aircraft, radio and radio navigation aid frequency instructions (an ‘expectation’ of the runway to be used is not to be read back)
  • SSR codes, data link logon codes
  • level instructions, direction of turn, heading and speed instructions.

The controller will listen to the read-back to ascertain that the clearance or instruction has been correctly acknowledged and will take immediate action to correct any discrepancies revealed by the read-back. Reported level figures of an aircraft must be preceded by the words ‘flight level’ when related to standard pressure and may be followed by the word ‘feet’ when related to QNH.

Standard format

The standard broadcast format for low and medium performance aircraft is as per the following example:

(Location) traffic
Parkes traffic
(Aircraft type)
Cessna 172
Zulu Foxtrot Romeo
One-zero miles north inbound, on descent through four-thousand  two- hundred, estimating the circuit at three-six

Variety of callsigns used AIP GEN 3.4

Pilots should be aware that a variety of radio call-signs are in use. For example:

Passenger transport
Q-link 2719
Jabiru 5234
Stallion 22
Law enforcement

Polair 5

November 1 5 Yankey
Zulu Foxtrot Romeo

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New rules come into effect from 2 December 2021 that cover the general operating and flight rules. We are currently updating this guide to reflect the new rules. A new version will be available to download from 2 December.
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