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AFIS - when is it chosen?

Does anyone know how AFIS comes about? Is it mandated on the number and type of movements?

I was out in the states at an untowered airport that has around 100K moments each year all on Common Traffic Advisory Frequency. It’s pure VFR and it appears to work very well.

Sometime back I was at an AFIS airfield in Herefordshire and although I don’t know how many movements they have a year for the few hours that I was there it was dead.

Must be a significant additional expense which based on my brief visit didn’t appear to be warranted. So does this happen?

I’m quite certain there isn’t one answer, as it varies so much from country to country. AFIS hours isn’t directly tied to movements although presence of AFIS could be related to when a certain % of movements occur.

France also seems to do very well without for many airfields, while Germany needs someone (does the German name for it mean AFIS?) needs to be present whenever an airfield is open.

LSZK, Switzerland

AFAIK, EASA only put out rules for AFIS, namely their radio phraseology and left it to the national agencies to define which field needs an AFIS. Comparing the US to Europe will fail, as common sense is not common across more than one continent at most ;-).

Germany will get AFIS with EASA phraseology, so expect changes at the affected ‘INFO’ places using ‘Flugleiter’. And No, don’t expect it to become easier ;-).

Last Edited by MichaLSA at 11 Jan 14:21

Last I heard the type (Radio/AFIS/APP/…) depends on the number of movements, type of ops (CAT/NCO?) and the complexity of airspace + proximity of CAS/airport (Redhill/Gatwick?).


Bathman wrote:

I was out in the states at an untowered airport that has around 100K moments each year all on Common Traffic Advisory Frequency. It’s pure VFR and it appears to work very well.

In US, there is no AFIS, AG, Fluglighter…it’s either TWR/ATC or CTAF/UNICOM

In France, provision of AFIS depends on count of traffic, commercial, airspace:
- VFR airfields (e.g. LaBaule, Quiberon…) with busy commercial VFR training, parachuting, gliding
- IFR airfields (e.g. Havre, Cherbourg…) with light commercial IFR activity

I went to Ft-Lauderdale (KFXE) on day NOTAMed without ATC: mix of runways with tailwheels, bizjets, pistons…making blind calls

Last Edited by Ibra at 11 Jan 14:48
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

There used to be a sort-of-AFIS in the USA, I had to learn about it during the PPL in the late 90s. I think KCXO/Conroe still had it then, but I’m pretty sure it had gone before the turn of the century. It was provided by the FSS on the field, and did a lot of the things that AFIS does (apart from give things like taxi instruction). Using it was encouraged but not mandatory.

Andreas IOM

I am sure AFIS or FISO are gone from US with ‘area or remote ATC/FSS’ plus AD AWOS/ASOS (automated weather observing system), there is AFIS in Alaska, the A means ‘automatic’ like ATIS

Last Edited by Ibra at 11 Jan 15:32
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

I’ve never flown in Alaska but never saw or heard of anything resembling Junior ATC or AFIS when flying in the US in the 70s and 80s. Perhaps outside of Alaska it was a local thing at airports having FSS on site, as was sometimes the case back then.

Re automatic weather (AWOS or ASOS) I’d guess probably half of US airports large enough to have based aircraft have it, in which case there’s no need to ask the FBO owners 12 year old daughter for the altimeter setting and wind when inbound, as one did years ago At airports where there are no FBOs (and perhaps no based aircraft, only a transient ramp) there is unlikely to be AWOS and you do still need to look at the windsock if you think the wind is strong enough to matter. I inadvertently landed with a 5 knot tailwind a couple of weeks ago… oops.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 11 Jan 15:54

In Czechia, the choice between INFO (AFIS) and RADIO (A/G) is up to the aerodrome operator. Out of 80+ VFR aerodromes, about 7 decided to have AFIS.

Last Edited by Ultranomad at 11 Jan 16:02
LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

Interestingly the German wikipedia entry for AFIS links to FIS, which is of course whole another thing.

In Germany there is no distinction between A/G and AFIS. In fact, if you want to be cynical you could say that the way some Flugleiter and pilots act, there is no distinction between AFIS and ATC either…

But of course that is not the truth and the number of Flugleiter who treat their airfield like their own fiefdom is steadily declining and was never as high as suggested on forums. Most are service-oriented and can – legally speaking – not give you any instructions except for telling you where to park your plane.

Last Edited by MedEwok at 12 Jan 07:15
Low-hours pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany
39 Posts
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