OPS Links




Group 1 HQ
P.O. Box 25436
Scott AFB IL 62225

Lt Col Randy Mitchell






What Does Roger Really Mean?

For most of us, we learned to use the word "Roger" early in our aviation career. We learned that it simply means that we heard and understand what the other person said. We were clearly taught that it connotes no permission or authorizations. For whatever reason, we then go through our career or hobby of flying and hardly ever use that word. And we seldom hear it spoken by ATC!

So what happens when we have a problem on the airfield and we tell ATC that we need to do something and they say "Roger?" What does that mean? Let me give you a recent example.

A C-210 received ATC clearance to taxi via Taxiway Juliet and to cross Runway 1/19. En-route, the C-210 pilot advised ATC that the aircraft just blew a tire. The pilot requested to exit the aircraft to inspect the wheel. The Tower authorized the pilot's request and asked the pilot to advise if he needed help.

At this time, a C-172 reported inbound with a request for full stop landings or touch and go's on Runway 1. The tower cleared the C172 as requested. (Can you see the Runway Incursion scenario developing?)

The C-210 pilot came back on the frequency stating he had a wheel come apart. The Tower asked his intentions, and the C210 pilot said if he moved the aircraft it would do damage and requested to go to an FBO. (Getting to the FBO from the damaged C-210 would require a runway crossing.) The Tower responded "roger." The pilot responded, Thank you very much.

The Tower then observed two men on foot walking towards the runway. The tower called the C-210 several times with no response. The Tower, after observing the men crossing the actual runway told the inbound C-172 to go around and enter right traffic for Runway 1, later changing clearance to land on Runway 5.

It appears to me that with the additional stress caused by the blown tire, when the pilot made his request to go to the FBO, he expected the Tower to give him a "Yes" or a "No", and when the Tower replied with a simple, "Roger," he forgot his early training that "Roger" is not an authorization -- and started hiking!

Fortunately, the pilot of the C-172 executed a proper go-around and landed safely on another runway.

The Aeronautical Information Manual is the authoritative source for proper aviation communications. You might want to take an opportunity to review communication procedures in the AIM.  But most of all, remember your early training - "Roger" only means that someone heard what was said; it does not give authority to do something.

Remember that crossing any runway, whether in an airplane, a vehicle, or on foot, always requires a specific authorization from ATC.

FAA Known Icing Letter

How to Become a CAP Pilot


Please use the following as a guideline in making flight plans under the Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) that we will be experiencing with the Presidential visits.

The TFR is a two ring design.

INNER RING (normally 10nm)
- The inner ring is basically a no fly zone for General Aviation (GA) aircraft.
- If you read the fine print of the TFR, you will see a procedure to follow if you plan to fly into the inner ring. This procedure requires advance notice (min 48 hours) and TSA screening at a remote airport prior to departure.

OUTER RING (normally 30nm)

- Requirements for flight in the OUTER Ring area:
- - Limited to arriving or departing local airfields
- - *Transit operations may be authorized
- - Must be on active VFR or IFR flight plan
- - Squawk discrete code obtained from ATC
- - Two-way communication with ATC
- - No loitering

- Operations not authorized in the OUTER Ring:
- - Flight training
- - Practice instrument approaches
- - Aerobatic flight
- - Glider
- - Parachute
- - Ultralight
- - Hang gliding
- - Balloon
- - Agriculture/crop dusting
- - Animal population control
- - Banner towing
- - Model aircraft
- - Model rocketry
- - Unmanned aerial systems

ILWG Procedures to be followed in the INNER ring:
- If you aircraft will be positioned at an airport that will have a TFR INNER Ring over the airport, contact the ILWG/DO for permission to move the aircraft to a field not in the Inner Ring prior to the start time of the TFR.

ILWG Procedures to be followed in the OUTER ring:
If you are at a tower controlled airport, the tower will assist you as much as they can to make sure you are complaint with the TFR procedures, if you are flying out of an Uncontrolled airport, be very careful to pay attention to the instructions below and any additional information you have been given by Flight Service or the ATC radio contact.

1) If you are a current IFR pilot, file and open your flight plan prior to takeoff.

2) If you are a VFR pilot:

2.1) File a flight plan with flight service.

2.2) Just prior to starting your engine, re-contact flight service and get them to contact ATC for your BEACON CODE and to OPEN your flight plan.

2.3) Enter your beacon code into your transponder.

2.4) Follow your normal checklists for startup, taxi, runup and takeoff.

2.5) Prior to takeoff, re-check to make sure your transponder is on "ALT"

2.6) Contact ATC after takeoff identifying your aircraft, altitude and direction of flight.

2.7) Follow ATC instructions as long as they do not cause a danger to the flight.

2.8) Follow any additional instructions as they were given to you from Flight Service.

3) In all cases, do not conduct flight training, Orientation rides or Pilot Profiency flights inside the TFR.

4) If you are planning on Orientation rides, plan to ferry the aircraft to an airport outside the TFR, have ALL the cadets meet at the remote airport and conduct all your flight operations for the activity at the remote airport.  (Do not carry cadets with you on the ferry flights.)

ILWG Procedures to be followed in the event we need to do SEARCH and RESCUE inside the TFR:

- The ILWG ICs that are rated as a level 2 IC will run any missions requiring activity inside the TFR.
- Your IC will provide you with detailed instructions on what to do, and who to contact for this special flight activity.
- The NOC and AFRCC have coordinated with the 1st AF (1AF) and they are in turn coordinated with Secret Service (SS) to provide the approval chain in the event that we need to fly inside the TFR for search and rescue.

If you have any additional question, please email me at etempleton@ilwg.cap.gov and I will get you the information you need.

Maj Eric Templeton

Counterdrug Missions

CAP joined the "war on drugs" in 1986 when CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to be used to stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States. Today, CAP has similar agreements with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Forest Service. CAP has made major contributions to the Counterdrug fight by providing aerial reconnaissance, airborne communication support, and airlift of law enforcement personnel. In 1997 alone, CAP units flew nearly 40,000 hours in support of Counterdrug efforts.


In 1944, the U.S. Forest service introduced their new mascot, and one of the most well known mascots ever, Smokey Bear.   The well known catch phrase of that bear is one we must now modify and use for aviation purposes.

On February 1, 2009, the International Compas-Sarsat Organization ceased satellite monitoring of 121.5MHz.   This move was made because of the number of false ELT signals, and the availability of new 406MHz ELT's which are more accurate than the 121.5 models.   The problem is that only about 15 percent of the U.S. general aviation fleet is equipped with the new 406MHz ELT's.   This means that 85 percent of the general aviation aircraft, including those used by SIU-C are still equipped with the older technology which is no longer monitored by satellite.

The Search and Rescue community can no longer rely on satellite coordinates to give an initial fix of where to begin a search.   They now have to rely on pilot reports of ELT signals.   To this end, when you are flying, please monitor 121.5, especially if you will be at a higher altitude in the practice fields, or on a cross country.   If you hear an ELT sweep on 121.5, note the time and your location and altitude, and tell ATC.   They can get in touch with the search and rescue community and begin to locate the signal.

When you report an ELT signal to ATC, please include all of the following information: The time the signal was first heard, the location where the signal was first heard, and altitude signal was received at.   The time the signal was received is important because it gives the search and rescue community an idea of how long the ELT may have been going off, which will give an idea of the survival possibilities for a downed aircrew.   The location where the signal was received is important for obvious reasons.   The location can be in terms of nearest navaid bearing and distance, navaid cross radials, or latitude and longitude coordinates.   Approximate bearing and range from an airport or landmark will also work, but the more precise the location data you can provide, the more likely a search and rescue effort will be fruitful.

Altitude of detection is an overlooked component, but extremely important.   The altitude of detection of the signal, more than anything, will limit the search area for a downed aircraft.   An ELT is a VHF transmitter, meaning it only works on line of sight.   This means the higher the altitude of detection, the greater the potential search area.   If an aircraft detects an ELT signal at 10,000 AGL, the potential search area is 15,000 square nautical miles.   If the signal is detected at 5,000 AGL, the search area drops to less than 3,500 square nautical miles.   The lower the altitude that an ELT is detected, the smaller the search area is, and so the greater the probability of a happy ending at the end of the day.

One more report is important.   If you hear an ELT, please report it to ATC.   Include the time, location, and altitude of detection.   As you fly along, please continue to listen to the ELT signal.   When flying, you may reach a point where the ELT signal is no longer audible.   This point is just as important to search and rescue operations as the initial detection, because it further limits the search area and increases the probability of finding a downed aircrew.   If you descend in your flight and hear a change in the ELT, or can still hear the ELT at the lower altitude, please also report that.   If you descent and lose the signal, that tells searchers the range at which the ELT is from your position.   If you can still hear the signal at a lower altitude, you decrease the search area when you report an audible signal at a lower altitude.

There will still be false alarms with any ELT.   406 MHz ELT's will reduce the problem, but not eliminate it.   Those who are able to may want to consider upgrading their ELT to a 406 MHz model with GPS encoding.   This will send GPS coordinates and make searches much more localized.  

For our safety as a flying community, we need to begin to monitor 121.5 on all flights.   Monitoring 121.5 is a simple step that we can all do to improve safety in aviation for everyone.  

We must now rely on one another more than before.   We must watch out for each other.   If you detect an ELT signal, please report it.   Every little piece of information provided increases the likely hood of finding a downed aircraft.   Remember that if an aircraft is down, and you hear the ELT sweep, the life you save may be your friend or family.


Steven Goetz
2d Lt, CAP
Commander, Williamson County Composite Squadron



To request CAP emergency support, Please call

CAP National Operations Center 888-211-1812

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Copyright firearsn 2007, 2013.
Last revised: 20 August 2013.