A Student Pilot's thoughts about the recent SR20 crash - Can I just "leave"?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by jbrinker, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. jbrinker

    jbrinker Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2015
    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Auburn, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jbrinker
    After reading most of the comments in the ginormous SR20 crash thread, it seems like the pilot likely got overwhelmed at the very least. Fuel exhaustion may also have been an issue, and that may directly follow from being overwhelmed.

    As a low time student (25hrs), ready to solo, and having been "behind" a few times (well more than a few...) during training I understand how this can happen. Especially when in controlled airspace and being given instructions that may be unclear, or not correctly understood. Combined with loss of situational awareness, and/or disorientation - and I can see how this could happen.

    Suppose as a post-solo student I'm flying my solo XC (or heck, just a low-time PPL heading to a new controlled airport) and I get into a similar situation. Big airport, un-cooperating winds, a few go-arounds, and then I become confused/frustrated. Is it OK to just "fly away" and what is the best, clearest, easiest way to communicate that intention to ATC?

    Aviate, navigate, communicate... I know. But when in controlled airspace, whats the clear call to make (short of declaring an emergency)?

    Something like "podunk tower, bugsmasher 1234, student pilot, I'm unclear on instructions and request vector to somewhere safe to get my bearings"

    Thoughts? This seems like something that perhaps a student/low time could think about ahead of time and maybe rehearse mentally so as to know how to address a confused/disoriented situation.
     
    Ravioli and Archammer like this.
  2. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    23,226
    Location:
    Alabama
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    Pretty much what you wrote. Confess you're confused to the controller and want to go somewhere so you can get it together, divert somewhere else, whatever. Just make sure you know your fuel status and you have the juice to do something else. When dealing w/ ATC, keep it simple. They are there to help and will go the additional miles to do so.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
    arkvet, Velocity173 and Archammer like this.
  3. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith En-Route

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,611
    Location:
    Prattville, Alabama
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fresh Prince of PrattVegas
    That is spot on.
     
  4. Archammer

    Archammer Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,321
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingSchmidt
    Exactly! That is a great briefing item to add to the toolbox.

    The perfect word was used by mscard88 as well, "confess". That is a very important keyword in those situations. I assure you that every single person on that radio is there to help in whatever way they can, and if they can't help, they know someone who can. Don't get overwhelmed, and stop the cycle immediately! Confess to the situation, ask for help, reset to square 1 and start a new sequence of events for a better outcome.

    We all get into sticky and dangerous situations in our lives. If aviation doesn't make you humble, then nothing will. Confess, and reset.
     
    ircphoenix and mscard88 like this.
  5. orange

    orange Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    805
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Orange
    Absolutely the best thing to do when over your head, and what she should have done, instead of forcing it. Maybe fuel was an issue. If so, why leave yourself so little wiggle room? But yes, basically, get out of the frying pan to get your head together and reset. There is no standard phraseology for this, but I'd say something like "Tower, I'd like to depart to the (any direction) , reset, and make another approach. Or is there another field nearby where the winds are more favorable?" But pilots can be very egotistical and won't admit "defeat". I think it's one of those problematic attitudes that can kill you that they teach us to avoid.
     
    arkvet likes this.
  6. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    16,749
    Location:
    kojc, kixd, k34
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Matthew
    Yep. Anytime you get to the point where you tell yourself, "Self, I need to take a timeout and get my stuff together", tell the controller that's what you are going to do. If possible, have an idea ready in case the controller comes back with, "Say intentions."
     
  7. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    20,310
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    Just let the tower know what you need, all else fails, declare and emergency and just TELL THEM what you're doing AS you're doing it.

    "Tower, cessna 123, we'd like to exit your airspace to the east"

    Or if it's a Delta airport, "tower cessna 123 would like to exit your airspace vertically" hang out over top for a while

    All else fails, if you're REALLY behind that plane, just do whatever you need to do to keep safe.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  8. Caramon13

    Caramon13 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    2,259
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Romeo
    Heck yeah, get out of there if you feel uncomfortable.

    I like to practice touch and go's at KSRQ, but I know when it's getting busy because they start extending downwinds, calling for 360s, etc..

    In that situation I'll just ask to leave the airspace and go somewhere else to do them. Now, obviously don't just "fly away" without telling anyone, as that could be a bad idea with arrivals, etc (unless its an emergency of course). But definitely ask to depart the airspace and when you feel more comfortable, come back.

    I used to think ATC was pretty much my boss in controlled airspace, that I HAD to land on the runway they were using and that I had pretty much no choice.

    One flight I went up with an instructor and ATC was pretty much using one of the two in-use runways for all flights (maybe to help with workload, I dunno). We requested the runway that wasn't being used and it was a crossing runway to the one in use. Controller tried to force it and much to my surprise the instructor said "Unable, we need runway XX". That was the first time I realized that as PIC you really are the authority up there. If you want a runway, you ask for it (even if it's not in use). And in our case yeah it took a bit more vectoring and probably more work from ATC, but we got our runway.

    Point is, you are PIC. ATC works for you, not the other way around. If you are uncomfortable, let them know. I've NEVER spoken to a controller (approach or otherwise) that didn't try to work with me.

    And yeah as @James331 said, do whatever it takes to get down safely, tell them about it afterwards. An emergency isn't a time to be nice and request things, it's time for action.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  9. jbrinker

    jbrinker Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2015
    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Auburn, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jbrinker
    So, to the declaring of an emergency - Clearly this is to be done only when the you know what hits the fan, but if I'm really that disoriented, there's a 737 coming in and other traffic, and I'm in situation overload - I declare. Whats the repercussions for that? Say she declared for those reasons... and they moved traffic and she managed to fly it onto runway 6. What happens to her? This is one of those things Ive read about at various places - i.e. many pilots are very reluctant to declare EVEN when they really need to. Because they are not sure if they are "allowed" or are scared of the repercussions.
     
  10. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    20,310
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    Well, other way around, do what ever you need to do THEN tell them.

    Aviate
    Navigate
    Communicate

    First priority is always
    Save your
    1 Skin
    2 Tin
    3 Ticket
     
  11. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    3,176
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bob Gardner
    The instrument pilot's solution would be to say "Request delay vectors (while I get my act together)." I like your solution.

    Bob Gardner
     
    whereisrandall likes this.
  12. Caramon13

    Caramon13 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    2,259
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Romeo
    Right :) but sometimes telling them isn't an option. For example, engine out 300 ft above the runway, or lost communications/electrical or even an engine failure. There's a reason "Communicate" is last. I'm with ya though, if you CAN communicate, you should.

    Fixed my post above heh
     
  13. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,765
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    The magic word(s) is "unable" or "I need more time."
     
  14. Caramon13

    Caramon13 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    2,259
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Romeo
    I don't understand this myself. It must be a MACHO thing, or the aircraft equivalent of not asking directions when lost. If you think it's an emergency, that's all that matters.

    91.3 gives you the right to do what you need to to get out of whatever perceived emergency there is, period. Also, if you don't think it's an emergency you can declare "PAN PAN PAN" which is an urgency condition.

    Check out the FAA publication here.

    Taken from that link:

    An aircraft is in an urgency condition the moment that the pilot becomes doubtful about position, fuel endurance, weather, or any other condition that could adversely affect flight safety. The time for a pilot to request assistance is when an urgent situation may, or has just occurred, not after it has developed into a distress situation. The pilot in command (PIC) is responsible for crew, passengers, and operation of the aircraft at all times.

    Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91, section 91.3 allows deviations from regulations during emergencies that allow the PIC to make the best decision to ensure safety of all personnel during these contingencies. Also, by declaring an emergency during flight, that aircraft becomes a priority to land safely. Pilots who become apprehensive for their safety for any reason should request assistance immediately. Assistance is available in the form of radio, radar, direction finding (DF) stations, and other aircraft.
     
  15. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    1,716
    Location:
    New England
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cajun Flyer
    You know, as tragic as the Houston accident was, I have a feeling it's going to result in some saved lives. There are so many solid lessons to be taken from it - for all of us... low hours, high hours, pilot or controller.
     
    tuwood likes this.
  16. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2014
    Messages:
    1,893
    Location:
    NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    exncsurfer
    Yes, it seems a simple 'request extend upwind' could make all the difference, regroup, get speed up, straight and level, then figure it out.
     
  17. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    12,434
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan
    What you wrote would be fine, if you feel uncomfortable tell them what is going on and they should work with you. NEVER let ATC fly you, they are just there to guide and organize the airspace, they are not the PIC.
     
  18. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    8,623
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    All of the above. Especially the "if you Need to do something NOW, do it now.
     
  19. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    27,566
    Location:
    Land of Savages
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    steingar
    Says me if you're on your third approach maybe its time to leave and either sort things out or land elsewhere. And yes, even if you're in the biggest class Bravo there is, you can request a departure from the area.
     
    John Bussard likes this.
  20. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    4,051
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Shawn
    As Bob mentioned...the easiest way to communicate that without needing to blurt out that you are overwhelmed is "Request delay vectors (to get situated)". That is pilot speak for I need to be somewhere in a low workload quiet place to get my crap together before proceeding and will let ya know when I am ready.

    Common request in IFR ops when there is a lot you need to be 100% sure of before shooting an approach, so applying that to a VFR situation would be understood easily by ATC.

    As far as unclear on not understood instructions, that is where plain old English comes into play. No fancy lingo or phraseology needed...just ask for clarification ANY time you are not 100% sure what they are telling you. Adding "student pilot" or "new pilot" to the call is EXTREMELY helpful...they will slow down and make sure you understand.

    You have the perfect example in your post:

     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  21. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    12,346
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    If ATC gives priority for the emergency then you would have to write a report to the manager of the facility within 48 hrs but ONLY if requested by them.

    I wouldn't consider that a repercussion but a paperwork formality. My hide is more important than worrying about a lousy report.
     
  22. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2014
    Messages:
    2,321
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GliderDude
    Most important rule in aviation is AT&T.
    (aka PIC priorities: Ass, Tin, Ticket)
    Remember that and you'll do fine.
     
    Ravioli likes this.
  23. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,149
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DFH65
    I know some may not agree but I used the "student pilot" card every time as a student. If nothing else it slows them down.

    Confession time here. I didn't have much towered experience when I did my long cross country a looong time ago. I was instructed by the tower to enter the downwind but I was on the right traffic side of the runway and had aways flown left traffic so I thought cross the runway enter the pattern. Well I got yelled at of course by the controller as I should have when I headed to fly over the runway. Was embarrassed as anything but no harm no foul no call this number I think the "student pilot" card saved my bacon.
     
  24. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    4,051
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Shawn

    Actually the opposite...everyone should agree with this. Adding "Student Pilot", "New Pilot" and/or "Unfamiliar" to your call were the best terms my CFI ever taught me especially when going into new or unfamiliar areas. ATC will go from super pilot jet jockey mode to slow down and be sure you understand and keep an extra eye on you mode. They don't want to repeat something any more that you wanna ask for clarification. They often become a LOT more helpful vs assuming you are a seasoned pilot who know exactly what to expect.

    Heck, I just used "unfamiliar" with ATC just last week. Was flying through SoCal, wound up in a high workload period in heavy traffic and ATC gave me instructions to fly to a VFR visual report point that I did not know...could have looked it up but was busy in the cockpit and responded with "SoCal, unfamiliar with [XXX]...request vector, Skylane 123" and they immediately responded with "Fly heading 230" which was much more useful at that time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  25. txflyer

    txflyer En-Route

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    4,509
    Location:
    Wild Blue Yonder
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fly it like you STOL it ♦
    I can't add anything to all this good advice.

    Fly the plane is what I was taught years ago. Everything else is secondary. If you stall or run out of gas shame on you bad pilot. That's on you and nobody else.

    If I were so discombobulated I thought I might crash, if I must I would high tail it out of there and talk later and face the consequences if that's what it takes to stay alive.
     
    arkvet likes this.
  26. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    4,051
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Shawn
    And since concern of fuel has been brought up as a possible overload factor, another underused term is "minimum fuel" in your call to ATC. It is not declaring an emergency, but it is a term that they will understand to mean that you do not have enough fuel on board for undue delays and need to get on the ground without getting jerked around.

    a. Minimum Fuel.
    The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and the Pilot/Controller Glossary both provide the following definition, which states that, Minimum Fuel:

    “Indicates that an aircraft’s fuel supply has reached a state where, upon reaching the destination, it can accept little or no delay. This is not an emergency situation but merely indicates an emergency situation is possible should any undue delay occur.”
    “Minimum fuel” declarations are essentially advisory in nature to air traffic control (ATC). FAA Order 7110.65R,
    Air Traffic Control, states in paragraph 2-1-8, Minimum Fuel:
    “If an aircraft declares a state of “minimum fuel,” inform any facility to whom control jurisdiction is transferred of the minimum fuel problem and be alert for any occurrence which might delay the aircraft en route.”

    Note: Use of the term “minimum fuel” indicates recognition by a pilot that his/her fuel supply has reached a state where, upon reaching destination, he/she cannot accept any undue delay. This is not an emergency situation but merely an advisory that indicates an emergency situation is possible should any undue delay occur. A minimum fuel advisory does not imply a need for traffic priority. Common sense and good judgment will determine the extent of assistance to be given in minimum fuel situations. If, at any time, the remaining usable fuel supply suggests the need for traffic priority to ensure a safe landing, the pilot should declare an emergency and report fuel remaining in minutes.
     
  27. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,171
    Location:
    TX - the friendliest state
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lou
    First of all, JB, great question and good answer you came up with. No shame in asking such questions ahead of time.

    And great answers, guys. It shows that the PoA CAN pull together and provide good advice. I am proud of us for once. :D

    While I have never had to use the words "student pilot", I used "unfamiliar" twice, I believe. Just to let the controller know that I am not a pro at his airport and might need a little bit of help. No negative repercussions and it all worked out perfectly fine. :)
     
    arkvet and Archammer like this.
  28. geneseib

    geneseib Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    654
    Location:
    Eldridge, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gene Seibel
    Some 40 years ago on one of my first solo flights, I returned to my uncontrolled home field on a Saturday morning to find the sky filled with traffic, as opposed to the usually empty pattern during my weekday lessons. I guess it was a panic attack. I had a grip on the throttle with one hand and the yoke with the other. Could not even reach for the microphone. I turned away from the airport to sort it out. Calculated how long I would live with the fuel I had. Gradually I relaxed and went back for a good landing. I've never had such an experience before or after. Yes, definitely fly away and sort it out.
     
  29. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    5,357
    Location:
    New York City
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skip Miller
    That is true in my experience. I was on my way to Danbury KDXR to take my practical test. That airport has a habit of hiding behind some hills surrounding the airport! After fussing around I declared to the tower that I was going to withdraw to the nearby VOR (CMK) and vector myself in. He came back with "squawk xxxx, I'll vector you in" Very helpful in a somewhat nervous situation! How am I going to pass the practical if I can't find the airport??? Well I got there and although the DPE was 4 hours late, I passed!

    -Skip
     
    RotorDude likes this.
  30. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    27,182
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iFlyNothing
    You absolutely can just leave, and you should do so if you're in a bad spot. Generally, if you've had to do a second try, that's ok. If you have to do a third try... you should be going elsewhere. As she proved, third time is not always the charm.

    I saw posts that she was "experienced" because she had 400 hours in the plane. I've seen plenty of people who have 400 hours in type and still lack stick and rudder skills.
     
    Velocity173 likes this.
  31. mjburian

    mjburian Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,277
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Marty
    The DPE was 4 hours late because he couldn't find the airport! ;-)
     
    Mike Smith likes this.
  32. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,320
    Location:
    Saratoga, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    arnoha
    This was buried in there, so I thought I'd draw this out. If you're behind, don't worry about the right phraseology. Often, the mental effort to "say it right" will block you from either saying it all or, worse, from flying the plane. Get it perfect when you have the luxury for it, but just get it out otherwise. Just a part of communicating third, not first.
     
    Palmpilot likes this.
  33. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2015
    Messages:
    13,572
    Location:
    My own special place.
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Canis Non Grata
    On my second solo flight, my instructor told me to fly out to the practice area and then come back and do three landings. When I called in to the tower, they had me make a straight in to the runway that was aligned with where I was coming from. The winds were practically straight across that runway and were a little gusty. Even though I was a little concerned, I accepted that clearance. I was correcting all the way in and as I began my round out, things got squirrely and I was headed for the grass, runway lights and a taxiway sign. I quickly added power and went around. I was rather surprised by how quickly things went south but also by how I managed to miss hitting anything. Pure dumb luck.

    The tower seeing my go-around came on and instructed me to make left traffic for the same runway. Huh? I calmly (ok, maybe not so much) asked for the other runway which was aligned with the wind. They obliged me. Whew! My landing was smooth as glass and I felt much better. I taxied to the ramp where my instructor was waiting. He had been watching and also listening to the tower frequency so when I began to explain what happened in a somewhat embarrassed manner, he said "I know... great job". I was a bit surprised, thought about it for a second, realized that he was right and said "thanks!".

    That taught me that one should never accept a bad instruction set in the first place and you would be an absolute fool to accept it twice. There are almost always options. My lesson was cheap and I was a bit lucky. Others have not been as fortunate.
     
    John Bussard likes this.
  34. tuwood

    tuwood Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Messages:
    361
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    tuwood
    If you're really stressed, you can just talk to them. As long as you communicate to them it's all that matters. "Tower, I'm getting stressed and need to leave the pattern to cool off. Thanks"

    On one of my early solos I had a bad landing attempt and my heart was racing like crazy and the adrenaline was flowing. I just told the tower I was going to make a little wider pattern to burn off some adrenalyn from that last stellar landing attempt. The controller laughed and said no problem and to make it as wide as I wanted because the pattern was clear.
    They even gave me a "nice job" after the next landing.

    Another thing I strongly recommend is scheduling a tower visit/tour. I spent over an hour just talking to them and learning what they do and how they do it. I asked them all kinds of questions about various situations and what they would prefer. It really helped me break down the barrier of intimidation when it comes to talking to the tower.
     
    bikert likes this.
  35. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2015
    Messages:
    2,986
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Sundog
    I heard a pilot declare (rough runner, loosing power) and approach started peppering him with questions. His epic response was "Hush! I'm busy."

    If you're butt-clenched scared: Don't be a jerk, but be assertive. Decide what to do, do it, and if time permits, tell ATC what you have decided. You aren't asking permission, you're informing them - you're the authority.

    The controller is doing this every work day of his/her life; after about five years or so, he/she meets the generally accepted definition of expert - bet the controller can sort it out without your immediate help, or even response.
     
  36. Farmboy

    Farmboy Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    56
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Farmboy
    This is solid info that should not be overlooked. High stress or high saturation, if it gets busy don't worry about providing long drawn out explanations. Short and concise is all you need.
    And if you don't believe me, go listen to Sully's replies before setting down in the Hudson River. "Unable" and "we'll be in the Hudson" were two stand-alone replies to ATC during a seriously time limited and high cockpit saturation event.
     
    eman1200 likes this.
  37. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Messages:
    3,395
    Location:
    North Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lindberg
    The immediate repercussion is that you get to live. Anything the FAA does after that point will pale in comparison to the potential repercussions of NOT declaring. It bears repeating, the moment you are unsure that the flight is going to end safely, it is an emergency. From there on out, get all the help you can.
     
    TylerSC and Farmboy like this.
  38. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    16,951
    Location:
    Dallas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Spike Cutler
    This. Nutshell.
     
  39. bikert

    bikert Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Messages:
    346
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bikert
    Yes! This was the best advice I ever had as a student when I was getting flustered talking to ATC. My instructor at the time just looked at me and said. "Stop. It's just a person on the other side. Just talk to him." Such simple advice but it worked with me.

    If you're in trouble, or confused, or whatever, just talk to the controller. They will help you. Don't worry about the correct terminology.
     
  40. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    2,690
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ircphoenix
    On my checkride I was going out to Van Nuys. The tower gave me instruction to make right traffic for 16R. I was entering the pattern, decelerating rapidly, descending, when the tower then says "make short approach runway 16R, cleared to land." I thought about it as I'm trying to get entry under control for about 1/2 second, keyed up, and replied "unable." Controller had me cross over and make left traffic for 16L. I saw my checkride flash before my eyes as I was SURE the DPE was going to criticize me for not being able to do as instructed by the tower. Instead out of the corner of my eye as I was transmitting, I saw my DPE nodding his head, and as we entered downwind he asked "Why'd you say you were unable?" I replied "I felt like I started getting behind the airplane, and adding a short approach when I'm already behind seemed like a bad idea." He said "You made exactly the right call."

    On my first solo cross country, which was also my long cross country, I had just departed San Bernardino airport enroute to French Valley. I had gotten behind the radio a bit, and I was trying to switch to regain flight following. I got outside of the delta, and entered an orbit as I tried to catch up. I got the radios squared away, but I was having issues maintaining my desired altitude without sinking below it or ballooning above it. On one of my turns March AFB (who I was up with) said "Hey... just confirming you said you're going to French Valley?" My reply was "Yes sir. Just a student pilot trying to get my altitude squared away before I resume my course around your airspace." His reply "Hey! We appreciate it! Let me know when you get back on track and if there's anything you need from us." Then later when I was over the ridgeline, he called me out of the blue "Everything alright out there?" Affirmative. "Just checking. You dropped off the scope there for a sec-- oh. There you are." He also helpfully offered me vectors to the airport. I deliberately stayed just outside the Charlie, which I think he appreciated.

    That's when I learned that student pilot, new pilot, or unfamiliar are the most powerful words you can add to your radio traffic.

    Also... this post got away from me. I feel like @denverpilot now. ;)