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AFIS Training

Aerodrome Flight Information Service

Overview

Many smaller aerodromes in the UK have an air traffic service called the Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS). The fundamental feature of this service is that Aerodrome Flight Information Service Officers (AFISOs) control the movement of all aircraft on the ground within the airfield boundary, but they have NO CONTROL over aircraft in the air.  Airborne traffic is managed by means of position reports and pilots' statements of their intentions.

Club Training

The Club provides training for members wishing to qualify as AFISOs. This is a Club qualification only, but an AFIS qualification can also be obtained with VATSIM. Members should contact the Club's Air Traffic Services Manager via The Forum for further information on these two schemes.

Formal Definition

Aerodrome flight information service (AFIS) is the term used to describe the provision of information useful for the safe and efficient conduct of aerodrome traffic at those aerodromes designated for use by international general aviation where the appropriate air traffic services authority determines that the provision of aerodrome control service is not justified, or is not justified on a 24-hour basis.

AFIS Phraseology

The correct radio communication phraseology for AFIS controlled aerodromes may be found in the Club's Air Traffic Control Manual; in a set of Help Notes prepared by the Club's Air Traffic Services Manager and in the UK Civil Aviation Authority's Radio Telephony Manual CAP413. It is important to use this phraseology for clarity and brevity (and in the real aviation world - safety).

Information Provided to Pilots

The AFISO will pass to pilots information about: -

  • The operational status of aerodrome facilities.
  • The active runway and its condition.
  • The circuit (pattern) direction and altitude.
  • The weather, barometric pressure (QNH/QFE) and runway visible range.
  • The frequencies of navigational aids.
  • The status of Restricted, Danger and Prohibited airspace in the vicinity.
  • The position heading and altitude (reported by pilots) of any traffic in the vicinity which is considered a confliction risk.

Pilot Reports to the AFISO

Departing pilots must report their aircraft type, intended destination and direction of leaving the aerodrome traffic zone.

Arriving pilots are requested to provide information about their aircraft type, position, heading, expected time of arrival and intentions on arrival within the Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ).

Ground Movement Control

Aircraft on the ground at an AFIS controlled airfield require permission to manoeuvre, or taxi.  Before departure this means that the pilot requests permission to taxi to the active runway, and the AFISO gives instructions on the route and holding point.  The AFISO MUST NOT give instructions to any aircraft on the ground to enter the active runway. Entry onto the active runway is at the pilot's discretion only.

Aircraft approaching to land MUST NOT be given landing clearance or instructions.  The AFISO can only issue taxiing instructions to inbound aircraft after they have landed and vacated the active runway. Once clear of the runway, the pilot must comply with the instructions given by the AFISO to taxi to parking.

Airborne Traffic Reporting

Departing aircraft may be asked by the AFISO for position reports at specific locations or altitudes, plus a statement of their intentions after takeoff. Arriving aircraft will be expected to provide information about their aircraft type, position, heading, expected time of arrival and intentions on arrival (as above).

Pilot Responsibilities

  • Pilots should call the AFIS station at least 10 nautical miles or 5 minutes before reaching the Aerodrome Traffic Zone.
  • The pilot is always, in every situation, regardless of the type of control being given, the person responsible for maintaining separation from other aircraft whether manoeuvring on the ground or while airborne.
  • An aircraft MUST NOT LAND if there is an aircraft already occupying the runway, whether that aircraft is landing, taking off, taxiing or crossing that runway. At an AFIS airfield, the pilot must ascertain that the runway is clear before landing. The AFISO may provide information (e.g. "G-ABCD runway xx occupied").
  • Departing aircraft must give way to landing aircraft, and should only enter the runway if there is no risk of causing any landing aircaraft to abandon its approach.