Today the Common Traffic Area Frequencies (CTAF) in the Matanuska/Susitna Valleys used to communicate the intentions of aircraft to other aircraft to see and avoid in the air and on the ground have changed. The Federal Aviation Administration is notifying pilots of the changes through various means in an effort to alert pilots and to avoid mid-air collisions in the future.
The CTAF frequencies are represented in areas for the following:
Denali-123.65 MHz CTAF
Talkeetna-123.6 MHz Flight Service Station (FSS)/CTAF
Wasilla/Willow-122.8 MHz CTAF
Palmer-FSS/CTAF 123.6 MHz
Knik Glacier 122.7 MHz CTAF
Mat-Su West-122.9 MHz CTAF
Cook Inlet-122.7 MHz CTAF
These changes can best be understood by obtaining a map that is being handed out by the Federal Aviation Administration, or by downloading the maps online at www.faa.gov/go/flyalaska, www.alaskaaircarriers.org or see the latest Alaska Supplement.
The changes were determined by a working group that consisted of the FAA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Alaska Airmen Association, Alaska Aviation Safety Foundation, the Experimental Aircraft Association, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, USAF, US Army, Flight Service, and many users.
The call to action by the Alaska Airmen Association to the FAA over the radio communications frequencies used in the Susitna Valley came after the Amber Lake midair that killed a family of four in August of 2011.
The May 29 changes are meant to keep this from occurring again in the future,” according to Tom George with the AOPA. “We believe these changes and establishment of CTAF Areas will provide clearer guidance on what frequency to use when not in contact with ATC or Flight Service,” said George.
When in doubt, pilots may contact FAA Flight Service Stations, or Air Traffic Control while inflight. There is also an Alaska Aviation Safety Foundation website for feedback on the use of the new CTAF frequency areas at www.aasfonlin.org/feedback
For more information contact Tom George with the AOPA: (907) 388-9955, or Adam White, Government. Affairs with the Alaska Airmen Association: (907) 322-1098.
Rob Stapleton can be reached at: robstapleton(at)alaska(dot)net