"report left/right base"

Mateo303

Well-Known Member
scenario: I am inbound VFR. Call tower with position and current ATIS and they come back with:

"Cessna xxx, report left/right base". Nothing more.

Do they want me to enter the pattern normally mid-field downwind and report when I am turning base, or enter on the base leg and report?

I heard this the other day and it was a bit unclear.
 

HiDef

New Member
scenario: I am inbound VFR. Call tower with position and current ATIS and they come back with:

"Cessna xxx, report left/right base". Nothing more.

Do they want me to enter the pattern normally mid-field downwind and report when I am turning base, or enter on the base leg and report?

I heard this the other day and it was a bit unclear.
I always give pattern entry instructions, ie "Enter left base rwy 20 or enter left downwind rwy 20". Thats the way it should be done so as to avoid confusion. However if I heard another controller just say, "report left base" I would be expecting the pilot to proceed straight to a base and not enter the downwind at a 45. For some reason the Air Force taught me the whole "report" thing without issuing entry instructions and when I got into the contract and FAA world I learned the proper way of using enter then report, not just report.

Another thing, if you were already on say, an extended base and they just told you to report base, you may be number one for the field and not have any other traffic to follow. If you were not number one I would expect the controller to say, "enter left base rwy 20, number two, follow Cessna..." or, "enter left downwind rwy 20, number two, follow Cessna".

HD
 

Hacker15e

Dunning–Kruger Observer
For some reason the Air Force taught me the whole "report" thing without issuing entry instructions
Most Air Force Bases have pattern instructions that are established by the local sup to the AFI. These pattern instructions are usually unique to that particular base. As I pilot, I have to read and learn these procedures at each base I go to. Unfortunately they're usually NOT standardized between bases, which means hitting the books every time I PCS.

After makng the initial check in with tower, they'll either tell me to "report initial" or "report base". Even if I get "report base", I know that the arrival procedure is to fly up inital then pitch out. Hearing "report base" instead of "report initial" doesn't tell me to actually do anything different...all it does is save a radio call when I hit initial. Otherwise, when I say "Eagle 11, 5 mile initial" the controller will simply come back with "report base" anyway.

So, I think that the unique circumstances at an AFB with very specific published VFR pattern instructions breeds less-directive comm.
 

Mateo303

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the information. This was at an airport with an air force base which may explain why I got that instruction.

Off topic: I did my first solo xc to this airport and ended up in the pattern behind a C-130. "Caution wake turbulance" takes on a whole different meaning when its only your third time alone in a plane. I think I landed half way down the runway to stay above his glide slope/touch down point!
 

HiDef

New Member
Thanks for the information. This was at an airport with an air force base which may explain why I got that instruction.

Off topic: I did my first solo xc to this airport and ended up in the pattern behind a C-130. "Caution wake turbulance" takes on a whole different meaning when its only your third time alone in a plane. I think I landed half way down the runway to stay above his glide slope/touch down point!
I thought of something else too. If you've been vectored by an approach control to the rwy, a lack of pattern entry instructions by the tower is normal since approach usually tells you where to enter the pattern and to then contact the tower. Tower will then either clear you to land or just have you report base, downwind, etc...However if your initial call to a class D tower is 10 south inbound to land, entry instructions should be given.

HD
 

HiDef

New Member
Most Air Force Bases have pattern instructions that are established by the local sup to the AFI. These pattern instructions are usually unique to that particular base. As I pilot, I have to read and learn these procedures at each base I go to. Unfortunately they're usually NOT standardized between bases, which means hitting the books every time I PCS.

After makng the initial check in with tower, they'll either tell me to "report initial" or "report base". Even if I get "report base", I know that the arrival procedure is to fly up inital then pitch out. Hearing "report base" instead of "report initial" doesn't tell me to actually do anything different...all it does is save a radio call when I hit initial. Otherwise, when I say "Eagle 11, 5 mile initial" the controller will simply come back with "report base" anyway.

So, I think that the unique circumstances at an AFB with very specific published VFR pattern instructions breeds less-directive comm.
I agree, the overhead is it's own unique procedure with detailed instructions in the AFI 13-2??....I can't remember. I think the overhead is one of the few times the word "enter" is not used. You simply tell the pilot to "report initial" or "report __mile initial". Fighter bases are much more structured than the AMC base I was at too (faster jets, more of them, etc...). We were joint use with a lot of civilian traffic on our east side so we needed to give explicit instructions per the 7110.65. My only real point was that all controllers should practice the published phraseology to avoid any confusion whether they're military, faa or contract.

HD
 

PilotBeckfizzle

Well-Known Member
Does a clearance to land supersede the reporting point? I got jumped on the other day for not reporting base after I was cleared to land (I've done it dozens of times, 1st time controller got pissed). I figured the controller must know where I am since he cleared me. What's the low down on this?
 

LawnGnome

Well-Known Member
If you were told to report a certain point in the pattern or from the airport and the controller cleared you at the same time...you still should report where the controller told you to report.

Some controllers call this a "paper stop." Just giving themselves a reminder to double check everything one last time before you touchdown.
 

Juliet Lima

New Member
Does a clearance to land supersede the reporting point? I got jumped on the other day for not reporting base after I was cleared to land (I've done it dozens of times, 1st time controller got pissed). I figured the controller must know where I am since he cleared me. What's the low down on this?
Was this at that same military base?? If I give you a clearance to land I better have already included all instructions for entry, traffic, etc prior to issuing the clearance. If not, I wouldn't clear you. Maybe it's just personal preference but I wouldn't make it a practice to clear you to land just to have you report base or 3 mile final or anything else.

Reason I ask about the military base is because military controllers get into the habit of hearing the base turn report. It's at least an Air Force requirement for the pilots to report their base turn. Nowhere is it mandatory for a GA pilot to report base, unless previously told to do so. IMHO base entry is the only time you should really need a base call. If your doing right/left traffic a base turn report is pointless. It's too late to affect some sort of spacing or sequencing since you'd already be committed to the turn.
 

polo708

New Member
scenario: I am inbound VFR. Call tower with position and current ATIS and they come back with:

"Cessna xxx, report left/right base". Nothing more.

Do they want me to enter the pattern normally mid-field downwind and report when I am turning base, or enter on the base leg and report?

I heard this the other day and it was a bit unclear.
The controller didnt give you enough info but since standard pattern entry is a 45 degree entry to the downwind the safe thing would be to do that, then report base. If he wanted you to enter direct to the base he should have said "ENTER left base".
 

n9088d

New Member
This brought up a couple questions for me...

1. Does being issued a clearance to land waive the position report requirement? For instance, if I report 10 south inbound for landing and the tower says "Make straight-in runway 36, report a 2 mile final." And then when I'm on a 3 mile final (and haven't yet reported my position) the tower clears me to land, do I still have to report a 2 mile final once I get there?? Or can I disregard since I'm cleared to land anyway.

2. Does the tower always expect a pilot enter the downwind (when instructed or appropriate) on a 45? What if I am south of the airport preparing to enter a right downwind to runway 18 (see pictures attached). If I'm already perfectly lined up for the downwind can I just fly straight into it? Or am I required to swing out and then turn back in on the 45 as shown in the 2nd picture attached?? Thanks!
 

Attachments

braunpilot

What day is it?
1. Does being issued a clearance to land waive the position report requirement? For instance, if I report 10 south inbound for landing and the tower says "Make straight-in runway 36, report a 2 mile final." And then when I'm on a 3 mile final (and haven't yet reported my position) the tower clears me to land, do I still have to report a 2 mile final once I get there?? Or can I disregard since I'm cleared to land anyway.
I looked through the AIM but it doesn't get that detailed about it, I think. I do not report the two mile final than. If they get to me before I get to them than they know where I am and I do not believe it is important. They have superseded my instructions so why report it. Especially if they get busy all of a sudden.

2. Does the tower always expect a pilot enter the downwind (when instructed or appropriate) on a 45? What if I am south of the airport preparing to enter a right downwind to runway 18 (see pictures attached). If I'm already perfectly lined up for the downwind can I just fly straight into it? Or am I required to swing out and then turn back in on the 45 as shown in the 2nd picture attached?? Thanks!
I just enter the downwind. Usually ATC will tell me where the upwind traffic is if they are departing the runway and If I am running into the pattern why do the whole 45 out parallel 45 in just be in the same position only 30 seconds to a minute late. That's what I do.
 

polo708

New Member
if you want to be 'legal' then swing out and enter on the 45-entry. If something were to happen between you and traffic upwind/crosswind then you can easily be blamed for it. BUT if you just joined the downwind then usually a controller wont say anything, especially if there is no traffic.

As far as reporting goes... if you are asked to report it then report it. There may be more going on than you know of.
 

TripSix

Well-Known Member
The controller didnt give you enough info but since standard pattern entry is a 45 degree entry to the downwind the safe thing would be to do that, then report base. If he wanted you to enter direct to the base he should have said "ENTER left base".
I agree. Since the controller told you to report left/right base, how you get there is up to you. Granted, if it was a right base some sort of entry instructions should have been given as well, as only left turns/entry can be omitted. "Make right traffic, report base" or something along those lines. Still, since it's not specified where to enter the traffic pattern you get to pick. Either report entering the base directly, or report turning the base from the downwind.

As to reporting points, it's been a bone of contention for as long as I've been a controller. A lot of it is technique in regards to what the controller is actually looking for/doing by issuing the instruction to begn with. If I am asking a pilot to report something, it's not to reference that aircraft, nor a reminder to issue that pilot a clearance. It's part of my mental checklist to ensure the other factors in play are what they need to be.

If for some reason I issue a pilot a reporting point, and they do not have a clearance, and then I go bact to issue a clearance prior to that reporting point, I personally do not care if they don't give the report and normally will state as such "NXXX, RWY XX, cleared to land, no need for the base report." If they report anyway, that's fine too. Wrong, right, or indifferent: check the AIM for the 100% answer. If however, I still need the report, while issuing the clearance I'll restate the request using emphasis for clarity. "NXXX, number 4, follow traffic ahead in the downwind, runway XX cleared to land, report turning base." Something to that effect. That leaves no question about "should I or should I not report" and it's served me well.

But again, that's just me - personally. I've found over the years that adding in a quip of phraseology to leave no question to what it is that I'm expecting is more efficient that cleaning up the mess when it doesn't go as anticipated...and that goes for a lot of things other than reporting points and pattern entry procedures.
 

gatorbuc99

Well-Known Member
if you want to be 'legal' then swing out and enter on the 45-entry. If something were to happen between you and traffic upwind/crosswind then you can easily be blamed for it. BUT if you just joined the downwind then usually a controller wont say anything, especially if there is no traffic.

As far as reporting goes... if you are asked to report it then report it. There may be more going on than you know of.
You can always request a "zero degree entry" into the downwind. That's prefectly legal. I can't imagine a local controller having a problem with that, as long as you remain on your side of, and remain well clear of, the centerline...therefore, traffic upwind shouldn't be a factor. However, if there are a lot of airplanes in the pattern, it might be prudent to enter on the '45' for added visibility for yourself and the controller alike.
 

polo708

New Member
Its legal to request anything you want so I dont see your point? Also, Ive never heard the term zero degree entry in my life.
 

gatorbuc99

Well-Known Member
I should have said that's perfectly prudent, as opposed to legal, but you know what i meant. Zero degree entry/direct entry into the downwind...can be requested and made. You might not have heard it but others have
 
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