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Suggested Citation:"Summary ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Airport Advisories at Non-Towered Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23628.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Airport Advisories at Non-Towered Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23628.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

AIRPORT ADVISORIES AT NON-TOWERED AIRPORTS Airport advisories, although not always available at non-towered airports, provide useful information to pilots. Although air traffic controllers or Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) provide this useful information to pilots at towered airports, such services are lacking at non-towered airports. Yet pilots remain in need of operationally relevant information, including current winds and runway(s) in use. The non-towered environment introduces its own hazards, so pilots are in need of operationally relevant information to enhance safety of flight. Non-towered airports providing airport advisories upon request (often through the UNICOM frequency) are able to provide this information to pilots. This synthesis examines the provision of airport advisories at non-towered airports with at least 50,000 annual aircraft operations. The managers of 204 airports nationwide that met these criteria were contacted by phone and asked to complete a survey on this topic. The study garnered 165 responses, which equates to an overall response rate of 81%. More than 90% of airports that participated in the study provide information to pilots via Auto- mated Surface Observing System (ASOS)/Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) and wind sock/segmented circle. Approximately one-third (35%) of participating airports provide audible airport advisories, typically through the UNICOM frequency. At 43% of participating airports, common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) serves as UNICOM by sharing the same frequency. According to 85% of participating airports, pilots generally adhere to published procedures, includ- ing traffic patterns. At 97% of participating airports, pilots consistently communicate their intentions over CTAF. At 54% of the airports, radio frequency interference (bleed over) is a problem, whereas 11% of the participating airports report it as only a slight problem. Fully 95% of participating airports agree that audible airport advisories are necessary at non- towered airports. This is true even among the majority of non-towered airports currently not providing audible airport advisories, which indicates the perceived value in audible airport advisories by airport managers. Various lessons learned include the efforts by airport staff to minimize runway incursions, including safety meetings; enhancements to the airfield, whether in the form of light-emitting diode lighting, new service roads that bypass the runway, enhanced runway safety area, or security fencing; encouragement of communication; pilot meetings; safety reminders; limited access; procedural enhancements; driver training; and additional signage. Common ideas to change airport advisories in an effort to improve aviation safety include using proper phraseology, appending ASOS/AWOS broadcasts with current operationally relevant infor- mation as appropriate, and more effectively training personnel staffing the UNICOM station. Key conclusions of the synthesis are: 1. Non-towered airports benefit from having a combined CTAF/UNICOM frequency or a sepa- rate UNICOM frequency on which airport advisories may be transmitted. 2. Non-towered airports equipped with an on-field AWOS or ASOS receive fewer requests for airport advisories. Having an AWOS or ASOS on the field appears to reduce the need for SUMMARY

2 audible airport advisories because AWOS/ASOS enables pilots to obtain current winds and select the appropriate runway based on this information. 3. Placing greater emphasis on the principle that airport advisories are only advisory in nature, rather than required instructions that convey control, is beneficial. The pilot in command remains in command of the aircraft. 4. Although a combined CTAF/UNICOM frequency has been known to cause confusion for pilots, airports with separate CTAF/UNICOM frequencies also have reported confu- sion on the part of pilots. It is beneficial to inform pilots fully about the frequencies in use. 5. To enhance the use of UNICOM and ensure that pilots benefit from airport advisory ser- vices when available, more education of pilots, ground vehicle operators, and UNICOM operators is warranted. 6. Airports may enhance safety by minimizing vehicle/pedestrian traffic on the movement area and ensuring that vehicle operators communicate on the appropriate frequency to announce intentions. 7. The low rate of airports issuing audible airport advisories may be the result of a lack of for- mal training of personnel and an underlying fear of liability by airports. In addition, airports offering ASOS/AWOS (whether appended or not) and/or wind sock/segmented circle gener- ally consider them to be advisories. 8. Managers of these airports feel that by having a “pilot’s point of view,” the UNICOM opera- tor can generate more useful airport advisories. Providing on-the-job training is standard and more effective for those non-pilots hired to staff the UNICOM station. 9. There is limited guidance available and little innovation on the delivery of airport advisories at non-towered airports. 10. It is beneficial to place emphasis on the concept that everyone on the airport can contribute to airport safety, including pilots, UNICOM operators, airport operators, fixed-base operators, and flight schools. All stakeholders have a vested interest in ensuring airport safety. This report does not propose best practices or guidance but offers a synthesis of information from 165 non-towered airports nationwide in the area of airport advisories. Although practices vary and lessons learned differ, themes are identified that will be useful to enhancing safety at non-towered airports nationwide.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 75: Airport Advisories at Non-Towered Airports documents the manner in which non-towered airports provide advisories to pilots regarding winds, traffic, and runways in use. Unlike with pilot advisories, there is little guidance available for airport operators in providing airport advisories. The objective of this report is to aggregate available guidance on this topic and document information from non-towered airports with at least 50,000 annual aircraft operations. The report includes a literature review and a telephone interview survey of 165 non-towered airports. Six case examples are included, documenting effective airport advisory programs in place at airports.

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