In the US, CTAF frequencies can be shared between several uncontrolled airports. That is, a pilot around airport A can hear the transmit of another pilot utilizing airport B. The question is can a pilot using the shared CTAF frequency and clicking the Pilot Controlled Lighting (PCL) affect the lights of all nearby airports using that same CTAF?


1 Answer 1


In theory, this could happen. The consequences may not be severe - wasted power, some light pollution, and a false impression from seeing the lights alone that an(other) aircraft is trying to use the airport when in fact it isn't.

However, it may be less likely than you think.

For one, an aircraft in the air, even at pattern altitude, is going to have a much better path of radio propagation to another aircraft in the air, than an aircraft over one airport may have to a ground antenna at another - in simplistic terms, the radio horizon has doubled. Ideally (for example in planning towers for a cellular phone network) frequencies are not re-used within the range of expected propagation, but only beyond it - however, in the aircraft-to-aircraft case you have doubled that over the air-to-ground case.

For another, an aircraft receiver is designed to be able to pick up weak signals. In contrast, the receiver and decider for pilot controlled lighting may have an intentionally high signal threshold, to only trigger on strong nearby transmissions, and not on distant ones, random radio noise, or weak harmonic interference from transmitters on non-aviation bands or unintended emissions from non-radio equipment.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .