Don't turn down the volume on the radio.

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by Silence isn't golden, Jul 31, 2020 at 5:03 PM.

  1. Took my wife, my daughter and her boyfriend up today for a short flight. Coming back to the airport to land and do all the right things call several miles out, enter on the 45 and call all my turns. Didn't see anyone or hear anyone which is not unusual at my home airport. I look before turning base and then start my turn and as I do another plane is already on base but in tighter than me and shortly after he turns final. So I go around. Come back in and land.

    I went over and talked to the guy. I asked was he on a non-standard pattern as I never saw him. He said nope standard pattern. I said were you on the radio because I never heard him. He said yes he was on the radio. I said did you hear me? He said yes. I said I just don't know what happened. So we talked through it a bit more. Thankfully he was super helpful as I was sincerely eager to find out where the problem occurred.

    So two things, I don't know how I didn't see him when entering the pattern and apparently joined the pattern relatively parallel to him. He was flying a fairly tight pattern so he was well inside me. So lesson there some times under certain circumstances planes are just hard to see if they aren't exactly where you think they are suppose to be. So look harder. So then why didn't I hear him. Finally I figured it out I had turned down the radio to explain something to my passengers a short time before that and never turned it back up. UGH!!!

    I apologized to the guy a couple of times. Thankfully he said he saw and heard me the whole time so there was no danger. See and avoid was working on one side any way. He just didn't know why I was doing what I was doing. Had I had the volume up I would have known he was there even though for whatever reason I didn't see him. I think not seeing him was mostly a timing thing without the audible clue he was there. Had we both been NORDO that might have been more problematic.

    In any case my new policy I am just not going to turn down the volume on the radio and wait for clear spots to talk. Unfortunately around here there are several fairly close airports that share a frequency and there can be a lot of chatter on a nice day like today.
     
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  2. timrb

    timrb Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Or, for that matter, if they aren't exactly where they think they are. I once traded position reports with another pilot as we both approached an uncontrolled airport. We were mildly puzzled that we never saw each other, but I presume he eventually figured out he landed at the wrong airport.

    Tim
     
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  3. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    Same, same ... I turned down my radio on such a day (crisp and windy February), tried to get info from an airport I was approaching, saw a twin take off in what I'd call the wrong direction (but assumed it was correct given that nobody would T/O downwind, right?), tried to land, got nailed with a quartering tailwind gust, and scraped wing paint and propellor on the runway. 120 miles from home. Still have the prop as a souvenir.
     
  4. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep, I turned down the radio so I could talk to my wife on her first flight in a small plane. What happened next was that I took a turkey buzzard in the wing. I had been in the middle of making my first position call when I interrupted it by saying "Bird" (followed by an expletive). The guy at the unicom heard that, but I didn't hear his response since the radio was turned down.
     
  5. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    BTDT, did this calling into a delta, luckily I figured it out when I heard no one talking and got it fixed before I had to start circling outside his area. I apologized to the controller and all was well. Leave that volume up.
     
  6. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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  7. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    I turned down the volume one time with a passenger after landing. I refueled and forgot to turn it back up. I was holding short of the runway preparing to depart and a plane filled my windshield as he landed. I scan for traffic before entering a runway, but it was certainly a valuable lesson.
     
  8. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Yeacht! Better:

     
  9. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff

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    If I want to turn a radio down I turn it off. A dark display gives you a fighting chance to correct the situation prior to a blunder.
     
  10. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    I usually turn it down or off. But I also usually check the AWOS/ASOS before switching back to CTAF, so it'd be obvious if the volume was down.
     
  11. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    Before transmitting, if you haven't heard any transmissions recently, break the squelch first. That verifies that you have everything set correctly to hear the radio and gives you a chance to adjust the volume.
     
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  12. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    On my radio (Becker) the squelch is only adjustable with a screwdriver with the radio removed.
     
  13. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    There's no button to momentarily break the squelch? Without that, how would you pick up a weak signal?

    The Becker units I see on their web site have an "IC/SQL" button which breaks the squelch.
     
  14. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Typically, I will just tune a quiet frequency (121.5). I never touch the volume.
     
  15. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    Come to think of it, you're right, it's on the power knob (off/sq/on), I just never use that feature...I leave the radio itself on all the time and use the power switch on the panel.