Flying Field Etiquette

August 2010

Preface: The following are points of etiquette.

Compliance is encouraged, but is not mandatory.


1. Airborne aircraft have priority over those on the ground.

Since the pilot of an airborne aircraft must keep his eyes on his plane at all times, he can’t be expected to see what is happening on the ground. Courteous pilots with aircraft on the ground will inform pilots of airborne planes about aircraft on the runway. They should call out, “ON THE RUNWAY”, if they are taxiing out for takeoff, then call out, ‘TAKING OFF”, as they take off. After landing, a courteous pilot will expedite moving his aircraft off the runway and will call out, “RUNWAY CLEAR”, as soon as his plane has cleared the runway.


2. Airborne aircraft which experience an engine stoppage, or electric planes who’s batteries are low, have priority over all other model aircraft, whether on the ground or in the air.

When a fellow pilot experiences an engine failure, his plane is coming down whether he likes it or not. Courteous pilots would afford him every opportunity to land his plane safely by keeping airborne aircraft away from his and by clearing the runway of aircraft on the ground. If he is unable to make it back to the runway, then helpful pilots would carefully note the location of the downed aircraft and assist with its retrieval if requested.


3. Pilots should venture out on the runway only when necessary.

Generally, the only reason for a pilot to be on the runway when other aircraft are flying would be to retrieve his own aircraft if it cannot be taxied back to the pits. A courteous pilot will clear his aircraft from the runway as quickly as possible. When he goes to retrieve his aircraft, he should call out “ON THE RUNWAY”, then as soon as he has removed his plane from the runway, he should call out “RUNWAY CLEAR”.


4. It’s best not to converse with a pilot flying his plane from a flight station. 

Some pilots need 100% concentration while they are flying, so carrying on a conversation with them could jeopardize their ability to safely control their aircraft.


5. Pilots of airborne planes should inform their fellow pilots of their intentions to use the runway.

For the benefit of pilots of both airborne planes and planes waiting to take off, a courteous pilot intending to land his plane should call out “LANDING” and direction (ie. right to left or left to right) as soon as he enters the downwind leg of the landing pattern. It would be helpful also to let his fellow pilots know if the landing will be a ‘TOUCH AND GO” or a “FULL STOP” landing. Sometimes when there are a good number of planes at the field flying, the use of the runway is at a premium, so a courteous pilot would voluntarily limit his touch- and-go landings.


6. Student pilots need some extra consideration during dual instruction.

It is very helpful to a student if he can learn in a sky that isn’t heavily populated with speedy aircraft doing aerobatics. Sometimes it is also helpful if a student, and his instructor, can stand behind his plane on the runway when he is learning takeoffs. A courteous student pilot, however, would not abuse these privileges.


7. Aerobatics should not be performed at a low level over the runway.

The landing strip is primarily reserved for landings and takeoffs, so low-level aerobatics would prevent
someone from using the landing strip for its intended purpose. In addition, low-level aerobatics over the landing strip constitutes a hazard to occupants of the flight stations and pits. There is plenty of room over the trees beyond the landing strip for aerobatics. Exceptions would be made for demonstration flights.


8. Engine noise makes flight instruction very difficult.

Prolonged engine run-ups directly behind or near the flight stations are distracting. If more than an
engine start and quick check is necessary, then a courteous pilot will take his plane to a pit area some distance away from the flight stations to do further work on his engine.

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