Today, my instructor and I were practicing landings - touch and go's.
We are at an untowered airport, KLGD. Wind was favoring runway 30.
There's been some fires in the area; we checked the NOTAMs and there was no TFR in 50 miles of the airport.
There was 2 single engine air tankers (SEATs) and a larger jet tanker operating out of the airport off the same runway.
Many times, the fire traffic would overfly the field from the NE, join the downwind and we'd turn downwind from base from crosswind a ways behind them. A few times we extended our downwind to about twice as far out to let one take off ahead of us or to give space when they were doing a base and final in front of us.
Once, one of the tankers finished taxing and held short at A2 for 30 about as we turned from base to final (as usual, we did a touch and go).
Another time, a tanker turned downwind behind us and somewhere around turning base another tanker on the ground held short at A2 for 30. We could/would have extended our downwind to let them go, but didn't want to delay the SEAT in the pattern behind us. Shortly after we turned final, the tanker on the ground called the SEAT in the pattern behind us and got permission to go before he landed. We did our touch and go, and then turned crosswind early so they could take off sooner (and fly runway heading, then turn right to the North/East).
We made sure to always call crosswind, downwind, left base, final, "on the go" (touch and go) to try to coordinate with them.
It was good practice - crosswind landings got a lot better today. And we got to practice wake turbulence avoidance each time a 4 engine tanker was in the pattern ahead of us.
I thought the day went well until I talked to the fuel guy at the end of the day. He said some of the tankers were pretty annoyed when they had to hold short for a touch and go. He said maybe I should use runway 35 (which is left traffic like 30). (I'm open to the suggestion, but have concerns about how to keep traffic apart when you have two active runways with overlapping/intersecting patterns). That was the first I heard of it, nothing on the radio seemed to indicate any urgency - every thing was very standard calls of pattern positions. That being said, in my mind a student practicing landings is lower priority than a full fire tanker ready to go when things are burning somewhere.
In a towered airport, if something is higher priority, ATC can make that decision. But at a non-towered airport, there is no one to do that for us; it is up to the pilots to coordinate.
In reviewing the flight lesson and the day in general, my question is: in non-towered scenario, is there any consensus or standard phaseology for coordinating or communicating priority, and second, if I am on base or final, what are my options to allow higher priority traffic that is holding short of the runway to take off ahead of me? What about the "squeezed" scenario where I have priority traffic in the pattern behind me and traffic holding short on the ground?