Tower Info

Lights on for Safety

Lights on for safety (bird strike avoidance) during takeoff, landing and low altitude operations is a standard operating procedure for all professional pilots, whether commercial airliner, military or corporate. However, it is not a procedure often followed by recreational pilots. The fact is, that birds are very well equipped to use their exceptional visual acuity to avoid danger. Therefore, we strongly recommend that all pilots use this ‘lights on’ strategy to reduce the possibility of a bird strike and its potentially devastating outcome.

YPK Operations

A/C departing the zone southbound should remain well west of Hwy 15 to avoid inbound a/c from the Cloverdale area. A/C departing eastbound off 26L are reminded to depart off the downwind and remain well south of the Golden Ears bridge to avoid inbound a/c. To avoid frequency congestion state your intentions on initial contact. When calling ground, try to do so from a location visible to the Tower.

Polarized Glasses

(From the FAA regarding polarized glasses) Polarized lenses are not recommended for use in the aviation environment. While useful for blocking reflected light from horizontal surfaces such as water or snow, polarization can reduce or eliminate the visibility of instruments that incorporate anti-glare filters. Polarized lenses may also interfere with visibility through an aircraft windscreen by enhancing striations in laminated materials and mask the sparkle of light that reflects off shiny surfaces such as another aircraft’s wing or windscreen, which can reduce the time a pilot has to react in a “see-and-avoid” traffic situation. (, 2009)

More info: FAA publication: Sunglasses for pilots: beyond the image.

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FAA pilot safety brochure: Pilot vision.

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Nav Canada’s forecasts and observations

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Circuit Pattern

Pilots are reminded to be aware of the size and shape of their circuit pattern. Many pilots tend to follow landmarks instead of conforming to a normal circuit pattern. This can be dangerous because it adds other variables to your approach that controllers may not be expecting. An example of this is on the approach to runway 18. Pilots on the right downwind tend to widen out to the Pitt River Bridge. Then when they turn base they follow the Lougheed Highway on a slanted right base. The left circuit creates the opposite effect where pilots tend to widen their base leg to follow the Lougheed Highway.

When transiting the zone via the Pitt River route (refer to the CFS for a map) pilots are reminded to follow it precisely or request any deviations you may want, including overflying Douglas Island and then direct southbound toward Boundary Bay.

When controllers are busy, which seems to be much more common lately, it’s very important that when you are unable to make radio contact with us because we are busy talking to other aircraft, do not enter the control zone without a clearance. Orbit outside the zone, preferably somewhere not over a typical approach, until you can get through to a controller to get clearance. Entering the zone only compounds our problem and creates very unsafe situations for both you and all other pilots in the zone.

When departing the airport for either CYXX or CZBB it’s very important for you to be specific regarding the route you’d like. For example: “… tower we’d like a touch and go and then Boundary Bay next.” This is fine and we assume that you are departing off the crosswind because you did not ask for a straight out departure. Imagine our surprise when you depart westbound and conflict with our other in-bound traffic!! Also when departing for Abbotsford, we generally expect you to depart eastbound off the standard downwind so if you want to follow the freeway or over fly Langley it makes our life easier and your flight safer … if you want a different departure route just ask so we can plan accordingly.

When 08R and 08L are active, on the ATIS, controllers include information about the runway length remaining on 08R from C Taxiway. Our manual of operations dictates that we must give you this information if offering you an intersection departure. Please inform the ground controller if you are able to depart from the intersection or whether you need the full length. This saves us a lot of ‘talk time’ which is really important on busy days.

Our other consideration for busy days is to try to limit the length of your calls while still including all pertinent information.