Practice Area CTAF


Well-Known Member
After reading about the unfortunate event involving a mid air between two training aircraft this past week, one of the posters comments regarding a CTAF frequency for the practice area raised my interest.

I think a CTAF frequency for a practice area is a terrific idea, and its something I would be interested in lobbying to my airport. There are three flight schools at my airport, and although there is no designated practice area, the same common one is used by all three flight schools.

How would you go about proposing this idea, and to who would you propose it to? Airport Manager? Tower Chief (contract tower by the way). Local FSDO?



#lighttwin Mafia
I think you should go to the CP of all schools at the field and present them with this info. Just ask if they have there students and instructors monitor fingers while flying in the area and make calls once in a while.


New Member
How would you go about proposing this idea, and to who would you propose it to? Airport Manager? Tower Chief (contract tower by the way). Local FSDO?
There is already a frequency allocated to air-to-air and it's 122.75, per the AIM.


Well-Known Member
Yea maybe the best avenue would be to chat with the owners of the other two flight schools, and see if they would be interested in working out a self announce system when in the same practice area.

"Knuckles and Fingers". :banghead: No offense.


Well-Known Member
Recommend that you resist the "five fingers" frequency. It isn't FCC approved for this purpose.
Believe me. I won't be teaching or encouraging my students to use, or ever even say "five fingers" or any other florida flight school cessna fighter pilot phrases.


The Great Gazoo
Check the aim, there are published frequencies for air to air communications. 123.3 and 123.5 for flight training as an example. 122.75 for air to air between fixed wing aircraft can also be used.

AIM 4-1-11

Gah, I was a little late, got distracted when there was only one reply :(

Roger, Roger

AIM table 4-1-3 designates 123.3 and 123.5 for aviation instruction frequencies. My Skool of Flite has 5 designated practice areas around our home airport, and we use 123.5 to communicate while maneuvering out there. It should be fairly easy (if the other Chief Instructors are onboard) to set up something like that for your airport area.


Well-Known Member
don't forget the other local airports. If you get it implimented at your school, then it only does your students the good of advisories. Get the word out to the others as well if you can


Well-Known Member
we have so many practice areas up here that we use 122.75 and 122.85. 123.3 and 123.5 are also use for different purposes.


Aeronautics Geek
To give you an idea, we have 20 practice areas here at UND Aerospace, which we use 122.75 and 122.85 as a common frequency in. Of the 20, 2 are aerobatic areas which use the radar facility to monitor traffic, as they are "varying altitude at great rates." We also have 4 of the areas for helicopters only, and they also use a different frequency.

On top of that, we also have different standard altitudes to use enroute and returning for the fleet. This is an attempt to avoid head on collisons as aircraft are leaving and returning to KGFK. As a point of matter, we have parallel runways, and I have been number 12 for landing. That's rare, but it's very common to have 5 or 6 aircraft in each pattern with another 10 aircraft or so inbound and outbound at a time.

I would recommend using the common frequency and common cruising altitudes to and from the practice area. Also use a common departure procedure or route that avoids populated areas to reduce noise. If everyone agrees to this, I would advise tower so they can more easily route traffic around you. We have air service with Northwest and FedEx here and they never wait for landings. They occasionally have to wait for takeoffs, but that's more due to the GA around here. Of which we have a fair bit too, that also never waits. So considering the fleet size, common freq and altitudes work quite well.

To clarify, there are max and min altitudes in some of the practice areas, but not many. Make sure the other training schools use something like this:

Practice Area Name
Aircraft ID
Location (NE quadrant, South Side, etc)
Immediate plans (maneuvers, chandelles, spins, etc)
Practice Area Name

Good Luck!


Well-Known Member
In the SoCal area there are many practice areas which are noted on charts and have different frequencies. Certain areas were put forth after mid airs. It is very sad that known areas used for training may only be noted on charts following a horrible occurence. If I were flying somewhere new to me I would like to know of any training/practice areas.