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**college Paper On Flight Communication*

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Apr 9, 2002
Hey boys my name is Erica, Im a junior at UMass Amherst. Im writing a paper for my business communications class on successful communication between the flight instructor and student. If anyone of you studs could think of any examples where a communication error resulted in a screw up or whatever, I would really apreciate it if you relayed the story to me. Im havign trouble finding direct examples of in flight communication errors between the flight instructor intitially or ultimately leading to consequences of some kind. Ok, Thanks!
~Erica : )
School Paper


You need to pick up FAA publication AC60-14 Aviation Instructors Handbook. This is the guide CFI's use to get certified. It will give you valuable insight to the CFI/student relationship.

There is no shortage of data/reports on communication breakdowns. We call that poor CRM. Just do a search and you will have more than you need.

Good Luck
Proper phraseology

Erica, (Tom426),

Proper phraseoplogy, which is not clearly understood at the level which you are talking about, is paramount in effective communications.

For example; the number 2 and the words "to," and "too," are somtimes confused. The number 4 and the word "for" are also misunderstood.


Instructor says, "climb to five hundred feet."

Student may hear, "climb two five hunderd feet."

If they have traffic above them, you can see the conflict about to occur.

Similar sounding words may also cause problems.


On final approach, the instructor is concerned about a low power setting and says, "power, power."

The student, instead of adding power, calls the control tower and then begins scanning the area because he hears, "tower, tower."

I suggest you obtain an Aeronautical Information Manual at your local airport and read the section about phraseology. It could be a great topic for your paper.

Hope this helps,
What was the classic one, where the airline crew is ready to depart, the flying pilot pushes up the thrust levers, and says "takeoff power." Then the non-flying pilot pulls the thrust levers to idle. Perhaps "set takeoff power," would be less ambiguous.
Cruise Checklist:
Lean Mixture For Cruise

Lean Mixture (all the way)

Followed by "oops"
Instructor-student communications

I'd just add that linguistic differences can compound problems with instructor-student communications. Ask the folks in Florida who number foreign students as their customers. I was one such instructor. Some of these students come over here barely able to speak and understand English. Not only do they have trouble communicating with their instructors, they have a great deal of problems communicating with ATC.

Try searching the NTSB's site, www.ntsb.gov , for examples.

I found a couple of reports about instructors and foreign student helicopter pilots:



And one other on an airplane student:


Hope this helps a little. Good luck with your paper.

I dont know the entire scope of your paper, but you might be overlooking the type of instructor-student communication.

At my school, there are many great instructors here, however some people just do not have the skills or tolerance to be teachers. Sometimes these instructors are just there to get those coveted hours in any way, shape, or form. Most of the time they mean well, but the relationship in the cockpit, if stressed can possibly result in very severe consequences. These instructors just do not have the patience to sit next to a learning pilot. During training, it is important to be encouraging in addition to offer advice. While it is important to let the students make some mistakes (so they can learn from them) it is also important to treat these mistakes as nothing more.

I like how she buttered us up to get our comments ;) Well I'll go ahead and share a little story about one of my first students.

We where practicing landings on a very wide runway (thank god). It was a slight crosswind, maybe 7 knots or so. On final everything was looking very good, it was his first time doing crosswinds, so I was talking him through it. When I felt it would be appropriate I instructed him to "add some rudder" what I neglected to say was which rudder. Of course he put in the wrong rudder and not just a little, but all of it. I managed to recover and land the airplane on the very edge of the runway, but I learned my lesson, be very very very specific.

By the way, if you want actual situations, feel free to PM me. I have plenty to draw from. I would say lol, but some of them not funny at all.


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