Print version: Non-conformance with uncontrolled or unattended aerodrome circuit procedures can be fatal [PDF 476 KB]

Issued 12 August 2019

A recent spate of incidents and accidents, including the loss of life at an uncontrolled aerodrome, has prompted the Civil Aviation Authority to issue this safety message.

Pilots operating at an uncontrolled or unattended aerodrome must comply with the published circuit directions and procedures in the NZAIP Volume 4 for that aerodrome.

These procedures are established to ensure the greatest possible safety for pilots when they are joining or vacating an uncontrolled or unattended aerodrome.

Advising local traffic via a radio call that you are joining or vacating ‘non-standard’ is not acceptable and does not absolve the pilot from complying with the published circuit direction. This applies to operations of all types, however, some agricultural and helicopter operations may be exempt under certain conditions.

Adherence to the rules, coupled with the use of standard radiotelephony procedures and a good lookout scan, is essential to ensure flight safety. Never assume that you are the only aircraft in the vicinity of the aerodrome, even if no other radio communications from aircraft have been heard.