When To Speak Up over Unicom

Adding an additional piece of information or two can help.

Tip Small Plane Unicom

Tip Small Plane Unicom

Gary Rosier

We've all cursed the guy prattling on for what seems like forever over the Unicom frequency as he supplies us with every last detail of what he's flying, what he's doing and what he plans to do next. Meanwhile, we can't get a word in edgewise to let other pilots know we've just entered the downwind.

It makes sense to keep our transmissions over the common traffic advisory frequency as brief and to-the-point as possible, but there are times when adding an additional piece of information or two can help other pilots breathe a little easier.

A case in point is a recent departure I made from a surprisingly busy non-towered airport in Upstate New York. There were about six airplanes operating in the pattern, unusual for a Wednesday morning in winter. There was one airplane ahead of me on the taxiway, a Piper Warrior, that announced his intention to depart the area to the southwest. I also happened to be departing the area to the southwest, in a faster airplane no less. I knew that if I only announced my direction of flight, this poor pilot would be worrying the whole time about being run into from behind. So I announced my intention to depart the area to the southwest at 4,500 feet.

Sure enough, about 10 minutes after departure I caught up with the Warrior, which was on the same heading but cruising at 3,000 feet. I'm not sure if he made the decision to stay at 3,000 based on the information I supplied, but I'm sure he appreciated knowing where I would be.

Get exclusive online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.

We welcome your comments on flyingmag.com. In order to maintain a respectful environment, we ask that all comments be on-topic, respectful and spam-free. All comments made here are public and may be republished by Flying.