Unicom Question: Line up and Wait?

If you are lining up and waiting on a runway, and you’re on Unicom, do you wait until you’re ready for takeoff (after lining up and waiting) to announce your takeoff, or do you announce takeoff upon entering the runway?


I believe the proper way is to announce taken off before entering the runway. I could be wrong. But since the other command is hold short when entering for take off. I would use that.


I announce takeoff when I am entering the runway so people know I’m on the runway. I don’t know if that’s right, though. It seems better so people know your on the runway.


In real life, a line up and wait is not normally needed for untowered unicom/CTAF airports. Traffic flow is so quick and smooth there is no use to line up and wait under normal conditions. However in IF, anytime there is no ATC online, a unicom frequency will be used. Even busy airports. That said, sometimes it is useful to be able to line up and wait on unicom in IF. If a line up and wait is deemed necessary, I usually announce takeoff, line up, wait for other aircraft ahead to either exit runway (if landing) or to lift off the runway and have a positive rate of climb (if taking off), then I set power for my takeoff.


If you’re entering the runway, you usually have the ability to back taxi so you would say “Cessna 123AB back taxi runway 36 for departure”

If you just say “Cessna 123AB departing runway 36” and you’re actually still on the taxiway, you’re going to have the potential to run into some serious problems. You might think it is up to other people to be safe, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you’re at an uncontrolled airport. People go blasting around the pattern, enter on final, wrong altitudes, and some don’t even go the right way. If one of these pilots aren’t paying attention or don’t care enough, you can say you’re departing and 2 minutes later they’ll assume you’re in the pattern and they’ll come blasting through to land without even looking for you. If you’re down on the ground having engine problems right as you’re taking off, what happens if you can’t get the plane up in the air or if you have to put the plane back on the runway? You aviate, navigate, and then communicate. It’s not so easy to communicate when you’re trying to stop an airplane with only a hundred feet left on the runway, and especially not when someone is on their way in and already switched their radio off because they think they have the runway made. It’s not a requirements to communicate at all in uncontrolled airspace in the U.S.


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