How should a pilot report their position when approaching a non-towered airport?

On the common radio frequency, state the airport, helicopter tail number, distance, direction and altitude.

The following is an example radio call, “Danville traffic, helicopter 725A, five miles to the south, at 1800 feet, inbound for landing, Danville.”

Stating the airport, such as “Danville traffic” alerts pilots in the area that a relevant radio call is about to be transmitted.  Stating, “helicopter” and tail number allows the pilots to know it is a helicopter so that they could anticipate the type of flight activity.  Stating “five miles to the south” provide the other pilot a general location to start looking for you.  Stating the altitude further helps other pilots identify the helicopter’s location.  Do not state altitude before general direction and distance as other pilots need to be looking in the general direction first and it is hard to remember items while flying.  Stating “inbound for landing” informs others to know the intention on the flight.  At this point, the specific runway or direction does not need to be stated.  Wait to hear if others are already in the pattern and/or what runways they are landing.  Ending with “Danville” helps other pilots confirm if the call was for their airport or another nearby airport that maybe sharing a common frequency.

Reference(s):

AIM 2018 4-2-1

Other Airport and Helicopter Topics

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