Non-Tower Operational Procedures – Draft FAA Advisory Circular

The FAA has issued draft Advisory Circular (AC) 90-66B on operating procedures at non-tower airports. This draft is the first revision to the AC since 1993 and contains many changes, including controlled airports when towers are not in operation and drone operation. Drones do not require authorization to operate at a non-tower airport. Although, due to guidelines in which remote PICs are required to yield right-of-way to all other aircraft and avoid interfering in traffic pattern operations, "The FAA expects that most remote PICs will avoid operating in the vicinity of airports, because their aircraft generally do not require airport infrastructure."

The draft contains the following:

  • Recommended traffic patterns
  • Communications phraseology
  • Operational procedures for aircraft, lighter-than-air aircraft, gliders, parachutes, and rotorcraft, in addition to drones
  • IFR operations safety-related advice, wake turbulence avoidance, no-radio procedures, unicom communications, and practice approaches

Also included is a reminder for pilots not to correct other pilots on frequency, particularly student pilots, unless it is safety critical. "If you disagree with what another pilot is doing, and you feel you must discuss it with that pilot, wait until you are on the ground to have that discussion." Lastly, there's a warning that other aircraft might be departing or landing in "the opposite direction to your aircraft due to an IFR departure, noise abatement, obstacle avoidance or runway length requirements."

For training on operations at Non-Towered airports, check out Advanced Aircrew Academy's FAR AIM Review module.

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