The smallest licensed aerodromes in the UK have an air traffic service called the Air Ground Radio Communication Service (AGCS). The fundamental feature of this service is that Air Ground Radio Operators (AGROs) have NO CONTROL over aircraft movements; neither on the ground nor in the air. All traffic movement is managed by means of position reports and pilots' statements of their intentions. AGR is similar to AFIS except that ground movement of aircraft is not controlled by the AGRO, but is solely the responsibility of the pilot in command of the aircraft. Air Ground Radio is simply a means of channelling information, within the station's area of operation, about an aircraft's position and intentions, through a single reporting point.
Air Ground Communications Service (AGCS) is a service provided to pilots at specific UK aerodromes. However, it is not viewed by the UK as an Air Traffic Service because it does not include an alerting service as part of its content. AGCS radio station operators provide traffic and weather information to pilots operating on and in the vicinity of the aerodrome. Such traffic information is based primarily on reports made by other pilots. Information provided by an AGCS radio station operator may be used to assist a pilot in making a decision; however, the safe conduct of the flight remains the pilot's responsibility.
The Club provides training for members wishing to qualify as AGROs. This is a Club qualification only. Members should contact the Club's Air Traffic Services Manager via The Forum for further information. Members who wish to provide an AGCS to the Club are recommended to also read the UK Civil Aviation Authority publication CAP 452 Aeronautical Radio Station Operator’s Guide.
VATSIM does not provide AGRO training or certification.
The correct radio communication phraseology for AGRS aerodromes may be found in the Club's Air Traffic Control Manual and in the UK Civil Aviation Authority's Radio Telephony Manual CAP413. It is important to use this phraseology for clarity and brevity (and in the real aviation world - safety).
The AGRO will pass to pilots information about: -
Departing pilots are expected to report their aircraft type, movement on the aerodrome aprons and taxiways, and when taking off, together with their intended destination and direction of leaving the aerodrome vicinity. Pilots remaining in the circuit (pattern) should also report their intention to fly circuits, including making the standard circuit calls.
Arriving pilots are requested to provide information about their aircraft type, position, heading, expected time of arrival and intentions on arrival within the Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ).
Where there is no ATZ, the area of operation of an AGR can be assumed to be a maximum of 10 nautical miles, or, if any controlled airspace lies near that aerodrome, up to the boundary of that controlled airspace.
Aircraft on the ground at an AGRO manned airfield DO NOT require permission to manoeuvre, or taxi. Pilots report when starting to taxi, the intended runway holding point and (where there is more than one possible route), the taxiway being used. The AGRO MUST NOT give instructions to any aircraft on the ground to manouevre, taxi, take off or land. They simply acknowledge the pilot's report.
Departing aircraft may be asked by the AGRO for position reports at specific locations or altitudes, plus a statement of their intentions after takeoff. Arriving aircraft will be expected to provide information about their aircraft type, position, heading, expected time of arrival and intentions on arrival (as above).