Airport Familiarization

The Punta Gorda Airport is owned and operated by the Charlotte County Airport Authority. Having a three letter designation of “PGD”. The Airport and Commerce Park are located on approximately 1934 acres, three miles Southeast of the City of Punta Gorda.

The Punta Gorda Airport has three runways. The primary runway 4/22 is 7,193 feet long. The secondary runway 15/33 is 5,688 feet long, the third runway 9/27 is 2,636 feet long. There are three main taxiways, A, C & D. Taxiway D parallels runway 15/33. Taxiway C runs from the main ramp across 15/33 at mid field then changes to A which parallels 4/22 to the north. The Airport has three aircraft parking ramps. The north ramp is west of taxiways “F “, the main ramp is west and midfield of runway 15/33 and the south ramp is south of the main ramp.

 

TOWERED AIRPORTS

If your airport has an air traffic control (ATC) tower, it is a towered airport whenever the tower is operating. Pilots and vehicle drivers wanting to enter a runway or taxiway (movement areas) must first get permission from the tower.

As an operator of a vehicle, you must have authorization from ATC before you enter any part of the airport movement area. When the tower is in operation, you must utilize a two-way radio for communicating with and receiving instructions from air traffic control.

 

Radio Communications Procedures

  • Ensure the availability of a radio capable of transmitting and receiving on the airport’s ground control frequency. Perform a “radio check” to assess your radio’s operability at the start of each shift.
  • Each vehicle should be designated with an identifying call sign, and be marked and lighted appropriately.
  • Know the standard Air Traffic Control (ATC) phraseology and never use Citizen’s Band (CB) lingo or law enforcement ‘ten’ codes.
  • Think about what you are going to say before calling the controller. Know your call sign, location on the airfield and where you intend to go.
  • When the controller is busy, it is best to simply call the tower with your identification and wait for the controller’s response.
  • Read back of all runway holding instructions is required and must include the phrase “Hold Short”, the runway’s identifying number and your call sign.

With a little practice, radio communications are not difficult. If you are ever unsure about what the controller said, or if you don’t understand an instruction, ask the controller to repeat the communication by transmitting “SAY AGAIN”.

A controller, even one who is extremely busy, would rather repeat and explain instructions than have a misunderstanding lead to a runway incursion. Don’t proceed thinking that the instructions will become clear once you drive a little farther.

When you contact the tower before an operation, you will receive instructions on how to proceed. Be sure you understand your route, stopping points and holding positions. If you are not sure where you are going and would like turn-by-turn directions, ask the controller for “progressive” taxi instructions.

 

When the control tower is closed

When the control tower is closed, the airport is referred to as non-towered. At a non-towered airport, you do not need controller permission before entering a runway or taxiway. Should access to a taxiway or runway be required for operational needs, a radio tuned to the airport’s common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), usually called UNICOM, will be ON to monitor the air traffic.

 

Below are some best practices for operating on an airport when the tower is closed:

  • When you approach the runways and taxiways, STOP, LOOK both ways, and LISTEN for aircraft that are landing or taking off. Vehicle windows should be open to do this properly.
  • Alert others when you are using a taxiway or runway by always making an announcement on the radio before you enter. Be specific with your location and intentions.
  • Always yield the right-of-way to taxiing aircraft and give them plenty of room. If an aircraft is headed toward you on the same taxiway, move out of the aircraft’s way.
  • Always carry a radio tuned to the airport’s Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) or UNICOM.
  • If an aircraft is about to land on a runway that you need to cross, stop well clear of the runway. Continue to yield to the aircraft until it has landed and taxied off of the runway.
  • Be aware that some aircraft at non-towered airports may not be equipped with radios.
  • Before you cross a runway, ensure that no potentially conflicting aircraft are taxiing, landing or taking off. Be aware of aircraft at non-towered airports that frequently make touch-and-go landings (immediately after landing, full power is applied and the aircraft takes off again).
  • If your vehicle has a rotating beacon, be sure to turn it on anytime you are on the airport surface. Turn on headlights as well, being careful not to blind any pilots in the area.
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