The 7 Deadly Sins of Radio Communications

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Mooney Fan, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    One thing I have had to get used to flying in the Southeastern U.S. (Prior time was out West) are the abundance of Un-Controlled fields who share the same CTAF frequency with 122.7 being the absolute worst. And the endless radio chatter is mind numbing. So I'll leave this here... And for the record, I am only guilty of (2) of these lol.... and it's not number 3. That one is a personal foul subject to flogging

    https://studentpilotnews.com/2012/05/09/the-7-deadly-sins-of-radio-communications/
    -----------------------------------

    But most of all, avoid some common mistakes. There are a few things that can instantly make you sound less professional–let’s call them the 7 deadly sins of radio communication. These phrases should not be in your aviation vocabulary:

    1. “With you.” If you’re flying cross country, you’ll get switched to a new controller every so often. Sometimes it’s a new approach control or center, sometimes it’s just a new sector in the same facility. Regardless, a check in should be short and sweet: “Cincinnati Approach, Cessna 12345, 4000.” There’s no need to say “with you at 4000.” It seems like a small thing, but it’s wasted airtime and most controllers don’t like it.
    2. Roger is not a read back. If ATC clears you for something, they usually expect a readback of that clearance, just to make sure both sides understand what’s about to happen. Simply saying “roger” may sound cool, but it’s not a readback. If ATC says “Cessna 12345, New York Tower, taxi to runway 22R via Papa, Alpha, hold short of runway 31R,” they want to know that you heard each part of that–in fact, it’s required. “Roger” is going to get you chewed out.
    3. Starting every transmission with “ah…” or “and…” We’re all human, and sometimes the brain freezes when we key the mic. But some pilots regularly start every communication with “ah” or “and,” as if it adds some airline captain quality to the remarks to follow. Don’t do it. Again, airtime is valuable, and there’s no benefit to be gained from these little pauses. Think before you start talking and you’ll be more confident.
    4. TMI (too much information). If you’re at Middle-of-Nowhere Municpal on a Sunday night and there is no tower, nobody needs to know that you’re taxiing from the ramp to taxiway Alpha. Certainly if you’re crossing an active runway or starting your takeoff, a radio call is a good move, but focus on communicating important information. A good question to ask is, “how will this next radio call affect other pilots?” If it won’t, keep quiet. You might tie up the radio for a neighboring airport that uses the same frequency.
    5. Using local landmarks for position reports. Flight instructors are sometimes as guilty as anybody on this one. Imagine you’re inbound to an unfamiliar airport without a control tower. You dutifully call up and say, “Jones Country traffic, Cessna 12345, 3 miles east, 45 for left downwind runway 24.” Anybody who’s a pilot will know exactly where you are and what your intentions are. Now another airplane says, “Jones County traffic, Piper 54321 is over the red barn for downwind.” While locals may know where the red barn is, as a transient pilot you are completely confused by this report. So avoid local landmarks and keep position reports based on distance to the airport.
    6. Using IFR fixes at a non-towered airport. This is the IFR equivalent of number 5, and it’s just as bad (if not worse). You’re a 15-hour student pilot on your first solo when you hear, “Stevens County traffic, Learjet 12345 is at KWIPS on the RNAV approach.” You have no idea what an RNAV approach is, much less KWIPS. Again, it’s a meaningless position report for a VFR pilot. Much better to say, “Stevens County traffic, Learjet 12345 is 5 miles northeast, straight in on the RNAV approach for runway 26.”
    7. “Any traffic in the area please advise.” Certainly the worst of the 7, this one is arrogant, wasteful and should be punishable by prison time. OK, maybe not the last part, but there’s simply no place for this phrase on the radio. You often hear it when an airplane first switches over to CTAF at a non-towered airport. But if want to get an idea of the traffic flow, listen to CTAF on your #2 com radio before switching over. Or, just listen for a minute before announcing your intentions. This takes up far less airtime and is much more considerate. It is not the responsibility of others in the pattern to announce their position every time a new airplane gets close.
     
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  2. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    122.8 is a popular chat room in my area of NC.
     
  3. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Same here, just to your south.
     
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  4. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    122.7 reminds me of my grandma's party line from back in the day
     
  5. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Heh heh I flagrantly violate the "with you" rule but so do the big guys.

    Note that "over" and "out" are defined in the Pilot-Controller Glossary but nobody ever uses them.
     
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  6. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    As a student pilot currently at a non towered airport...I don't dispite any of this, I am not experienced enough to do that but I can say where some of it comes from.

    I'll start from the most understandable reason a student might do it.

    7) "any traffic please advise" I'm a low time student right now. When we are about to enter the runway i am so dependent right now, because though my instructor has kind of explained, he hasn't gone into the detail I would like, I am just not getting the big picture yet, so we are a holding alpha, he tells me to turn right, check the skies, turn left (direction we will taxi) check for incoming aircraft, announce to the local "entering and backtracking runway XX For departure" and enter the runway.

    This is one of my biggest fears. I haven't put together yet how far away a plane coming for landing might be that could be out of sight for me at the moment and yet if I take too long, I'm in the way of?

    I have never uttered phrase number 7 but I feel the desire to do it, and only don't because my instructor knows. But I don't. Alone, I would not do it out of arrogance (not sure why that description crept into the the tirade) but out of being extra careful. I don't know how long after I went over to freq. someone already just announced they are on approach, etc.

    I believe that this phrase is redundant and not necessary, but I have a ways to go before I can trust that I know who is where and doing what.

    I understand the other ones, and also like them. Local landmarks, IFR phrasing, not good. "Ah...um" not good.

    4) this one was on my "cheat sheet" for radio calls one instructor sent me. The same phrase actually. Start up the plane, "xyz traffic, Nxxxx, request radio check 119.1" (ok that makes sense) but then "xyz traffic, nxxxx taxi from hangar to holding alpha" my next instructor said "there is literally nobody else taxing, so this is not necessary" so I get the idea it is situational. There are times when it is good to do of lots of airplanes taxing all around you.

    I did wonder if it is acceptable to answer "Roger" for a radio check reply. My nature is to say "thanks" when I get a radio check reply...how do you do that or should you ?

    And if you don't get a reply, it could just be nobody else around...so..what? You just assume the radio is ok?
    I guess you have to.
     
  7. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Controllers don’t care about “with you.” They don’t care about hearing “roger” either when a read back isn’t required. Just so happens the author picked the only situation (runway assignment, entering runway & hold short) that ATC is required to get read back on.

    The rest of the stuff isn’t worth getting worked up about. I don’t do those things but it doesn’t bother me either.
     
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  8. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    KLNA is the worst I have ever flown out of for violating the "local landmarks" one. Everyone is either "over the white roofs" or the "Boynton Inlet".
     
  9. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    At least you quoted someone who in #7 correctly said "Non-towered" instead of "Un-controlled."
     
  10. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    To sound cool, you should reply with "Rodney".....


    One thing that bugs me are the people that start speaking and key the mike at the same time, resulting in a big pop in my headset which skeers the holy ned outta me....
     
  11. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If I am in the pattern and hear an initial check-in say for instance, Bugsmasher OICU812 is 5 miles east, 1500' for a 45 entry etc., I will give my position in the pattern. Tuning in early is key. When receiving flight following I will usually cancel at 15nm and switch to advisory. Just my 2c
     
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  12. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    If I'm shooting a practice RNAV approach, I'm going to use fixes, because that precisely locates me for other folks who may be planning to shoot the approach as well. I'm not so concerned about VFR pilots in the pattern until I'm at or inside the FAF, then I'll use distance, relative position and intentions.
     
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  13. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Uncontrolled is acceptable terminology, existence of hyphen notwithstanding

    6.1 Airports Without Operating Control Towers. Airports without control towers or airports with control towers that are not operating. These airports are commonly referred to as non-towered or part-time-towered airports. Another term commonly used is “uncontrolled airport.”

    https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_90-66B.pdf
     
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  14. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    Only if you assume that all aviation radio traffic is over VHF, which it is not. Lots of us out over oceans using HF where you can't hear the other person's carrier so you don't know when they de-key their transmitter without an "over".
     
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  15. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ah. Good to know.
     
  16. Dana

    Dana Line Up and Wait

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    Except in Hollywood movies...
     
  17. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    There are very few instances in which ATC expects a verbatim readback...taxi instructions is one. Clearance to land on a shortened runway under LAHSO is another. "Wilco" is the appropriate response to a clearance such as that in the OP. All that "Roger" conveys is "I heard your transmission."...it is not a commitment to take any kind of action. Advisory Circulars 90-42 and 91.73B are instructive.

    Bob
     
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  18. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    What about VFR pilots who may be approaching or departing the airport area?
     
  19. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    ~10 years ago I used to drone around in US Navy P-3 Orion's between Kwajalein and Wake Island supporting MDA. The crew would let me have some stick time in the left seat which I logged lol. Talking to San Francisco radio on HF was a borderline act of futility
     
  20. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    5 miles is still outside the traffic area. Even if I'm not on an an approach, I'll announce once at 10, once at 5 and spend the rest of the time listening until on the 45 or whatever entry.
     
  21. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've been to both Kwajalein and Wake Island in the DC8.

    Diego Garcia is also interesting. Airspace is uncontrolled below FL245.

    Most interesting IFR clearances I've ever received was the standard clearing going into Kwaj or Wake. About 200 miles out we'd be Sel-Called by SF Radio with the following, "ATC Clears [callsign] to Cruise FL390 to the Kwajalein airport, Report arrival, Read back." 200nm and SL to 39,000' is a lot of airspace for one airplane...
     
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  22. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I have said it before, and I’ll say it again.
    The verbiage you guys have may be spot on, but the truly experienced pilot is not judged by the verbiage. Rather the demarcation is the cadence and fluency of what is said.
    The controllers can tell.
     
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  23. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I constantly hear many guys stumbling over the correct words...

    It’s not uncommon for me to check in with a bit of laughter and saying “well we are finally here checking in at FL370”. (Or something to that effect).
     
  24. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    What about “last call” while departing?
     
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  25. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    No opinion on that one.... truly never even heard that one.
     
  26. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    Although I do not use "With You", where in the FARs, AIM or other FAA official rules or advisories is the phrase called out?

    I hear it often, never bothers me.

    The "Any Traffic In The..." seems to called out in the AIM or someplace as bad. On our busy 122.8 on a nice Saturday or Sunday you'll hear it a time or two but rarely does anyone respond.

    The only one that bothers me is your #6. I am not instrument rated, don't know the fixes or your actual intentions. Sometimes they end with low approaches opposite the active runway direction...aargh!!
     
  27. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    If I am approaching an unfamiliar airport and you report over the lake I think I can rather readily determine exactly where you are.
     
  28. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm gonna start doing that, it sounds cool.
     
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  29. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    This really is a non-issue. We have controllers on here that fly and they even use it when they're flying. I've come to see nobody really cares.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  30. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Very common down here at nontowered airports.
     
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  31. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    Hearing that more and more, especially from the big flight schools. Apparently some young CFIs at the local puppy mills think it's useful and are teaching it to their students. What's the appropriate response to "Last call" ... "Promise?"
     
  32. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude

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    Started hearing that a few years ago. Meaningless noise in my opinion.
     
  33. jbDC9

    jbDC9 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yep, Items 1 thru 7 are pretty much nails on a chalkboard to me. Plus the "last call" thing. Who cares??

    But, another one that bugs the crap out of me are the guys that say stuff on the radio, but you just can't understand what they're saying. Whether they talk too fast or mumble talk, sometimes it's just unintelligible. Usually it's guys talking too fast... like they'll try to say the name of the airport on a pattern position call, but they say it so fast you have absolutely no idea where they are. So, sometimes I'll ask "what airport was that?", or "say again, slower this time...". Yeah, it clutters up the frequency, but when guys talk like that, it's just meaningless noise...
     
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  34. sarangan

    sarangan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Announcing fixes doesn't help anyone, VFR or IFR, except for those who have memorized the fix names. Just say "5 mile out on a straight-in for runway 26". Anyone who is flying a practice approach should know you which fix you are at. Everyone else near the airport would also know what you mean.
     
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  35. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    Then there are the bizjets who call Podunk Unicom on CTAF from FL380 (i.e., line-of-sight to the entire Western Hemisphere, and all the other airports on the same CTAF) to arrange for fuel (with Prist, please), oxygen, lav service, lodging, transportation, feminine companionship, no blue M&M's in the candy jar, eggs over medium for breakfast, and call Mr. Bigwig's wife at 212-555-xxxx and tell her he arrived safely somewhere else. :mad:
     
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  36. IK04

    IK04 Pre-Flight

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    Despite the nearest city having a different name, it is odd how I have heard at least 200 places named "And."
     
  37. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen Pattern Altitude

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    I’ve never understood why some folks get so twisted over “with you”.
     
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  38. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Your not with me, I am particular of the company I keep.
     
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  39. Heftiger

    Heftiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don’t agree with the example for 4.
    More than once I have announced my intentions to taxi from the hangar to the run up area (to what I thought was nobody) followed by a position report from a pilot who wasn’t talking. I think it gives people the opportunity to know that somebody is there, moving around, and they need to be talking.
     
  40. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    It's silly, it's foolish, it wastes airtime. Call departing the pattern in which direction, then stop talking.

    Never heard it until a couple of years ago. Now i sometimes ask for another beer when I hear it . . . . But service is poor, no one has delivered any to my plane.