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Radio Technique

jafo20

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I was reading that "Pet Peeves" thread, and I noticed a lot of people complaining about guys saying "with you", "checking on", "on the meter", "later guys" etc. The vast majority of your complaints are valid. Still, I want to point out a some things, so people don't think every Northwest pilot, freighter or Ex Pan-Am guy is a dope.

First the FAR and AIM don't prohibit the use of these phrases. In fact, the AIM says common language is acceptable if it facilitates communications. So, as long as they're not blocking an already congested frequency, they're okay. The experienced pilots who are relaxed and "unprofessional" on the radio near Bangor, ME are disciplined and sharp near Boston. One of the qualities of a professional is that he can adapt to changing situations. These guys aren't doing anything wrong, and they're adapting their comm styles to suit their environment. They slow things down, when they can so they can avoid reading back another person's clearance, etc.

Also, when you hear someone who can't reach ATC to cancel their IFR, pick up a clearance, whatever, it's usually one of the "With you" types who'll relay a clearance or forward a cancellation. (Thanks SWA, NWA, AMF for help.)

Guys who read back altimeter settings with "on the meter", "inches", etc. may have valid reasons for making "on the meter" a habit.

Example:

LMT522: "Ryebread, Lunchmeat 522 level one-six thousand."

Rye : "Lunchmeat 522, Ryebread altimeter 023, climb and maintain 320."


It's not uncommon for people to mistake altimeter settings for altitudes/speeds/headings and vice versa. Saying "on the meter" or something to that effect can save more confusion later.

Again, the vast majority of radio complaints are valid. It's frustrating waiting for some guy to make a speech, just so you can check on frequency. I just want to point out that some of the guys who seem "unprofessional" may know facts and tactics that you and I haven't learned.
 

NYCPilot

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it might be as simple as some wanting to feel like John Wayne on the radio....


"cessna 1234 punching out"
 

pilotmiketx

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It's not the airline guys (mostly) who are guilty of poor radio skills. It's the 70 year old doctor in his Bonanza, the 300 hour "Top-Gun" instructor trying to be cool, and the students/new private pilots who learned from the aforementioned instructor.

There is no excuse for saying "on the meter", or "with you" or "checking in." It's common knowledge that it is redundant and unnecessary. Same reason you don't check on with your aircraft type and location. Call sign and altitude are all that's needed for the controller to do his/her job.

Now I shall add to the list:

"With a flash"
"Identing"
"Uhhhhhhh"
 

NYCPilot

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I second the doctor thing....way too wordy. When I fly with one I just want to jump in and make it succinct.

I actually make it a challenge in saying the least possible in the most concise way.
 

jafo20

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No delay: I know! Look at how much typing I did! My wirsts are sore, and I haven't used any kleenex.

NYC pilot: You're correct for a number of cases.

PilotMikeTX: Agreed about doctors in 310s and Bonanzas. "On the meter" is definitely redundant, but it may save confusion later.

I'm not making an arguement for us all to run around saying "with a flash!", "On the meter", etc. I'm saying there are sometimes reasons for a guy to incorporate some redundancy. Is it unprofessional to verify a clearance to land?
 
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CA1900

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The fellow I was flying with the other day was the NFP. As we're about 100 yards from the runway, tower says "XXXXX, hold short of runway 22 for landing traffic."

I though that was odd, since we weren't there yet and hadn't made any calls, but maybe it was a pre-emptive "Shhhh." No problem, and my FO reads back the hold short.

Not ten seconds later, we finish our checklist, and he chimes in on tower again: "Tower, XXXX ready for takeoff."

"Uhhhh....yeah. Again, hold short of runway 22. Traffic is now on a 1/4-mile final."

AAAAAAAAHHHHH! :uzi:

Actually it came out more like, "Chief, I think that's probably why he told us to hold short for landing traffic the first time." I'm sure the tower was thinking the same thing.


That's a real peeve. If there are three airplanes in front of you taxiing out, or there's a plane on short final, Don't call ready for takeoff! Turbines are assumed to be ready upon reaching. It's right there in the ATC manual. If you think they forgot about you, that's one thing, but look up before calling!
 

NYCPilot

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How about "cessna 54321 number 3 west side, ready to go"

Not only are there 2 in front of him, but several on the east side as well. ATC is aware of both sides and will alternate when feasible (maybe put a jet in front of all small GA).
No need to call if you're not holding short.
 

A Squared

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jafo20 said:
So, as long as they're not blocking an already congested frequency, they're okay. The experienced pilots who are relaxed and "unprofessional" on the radio near Bangor, ME are disciplined and sharp near Boston. One of the qualities of a professional is that he can adapt to changing situations.
OK, the thing is, you don't neccesarily know how busy a controller is. He's not working just one frequency, and he may or may not be making all transmissions over all frequencies. I think you'll find that the center controllers who are working lower traffic density areas are working sectors which cover a whole lot more territory. The guy you talk to in Maine may be just as busy as the guy you talk to in Boston, he may just not sound like it on the one frequency you're tuned to.


Over the years, I've read a bunch of articles written by controllers, from the regular column Don Brown writes on Avweb to ones published in IFR magazine and others and the *one* thing that they *ALL* hate is the extraneous time wasters like "checking in", "with you". Make your initial call up with callsign and altitude, period, just like in the AIM.
 

SkyBoy1981

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CA1900 said:
Turbines are assumed to be ready upon reaching. It's right there in the ATC manual. If you think they forgot about you, that's one thing, but look up before calling!
I agree with the gist of your post....I used to fly with a guy that ALWAYS wanted to call ready for takeoff, even if he's back #20 in line for takeoff. He just wasn't used to operating out of busier airports. With that being said, there are smaller airports that DO expect you to call ready when you are number one, otherwise you will sit there until they get a call from you. You just have to know how to adapt to the facility.
 

Geronimo4497

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NYCPilot said:
How about "cessna 54321 number 3 west side, ready to go"

Not only are there 2 in front of him, but several on the east side as well. ATC is aware of both sides and will alternate when feasible (maybe put a jet in front of all small GA).
No need to call if you're not holding short.

Sounds like someone loves HPN also!
 

dhc8fo

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I am defending the "on the meter" thing....I don't use it regularly or habitually, but when I have been given a lot of info and am distracted with something else (such as dialing in the new altitude he gave me and remembering the crossing restirction and punching in the new direct to wherever all while listening to the altimeter....you guys have been there), I will read back with an "on the meter" just to give that little piece of info something a little different than a blob of numbers so that by the time i do dial it in, i am not dialing in the wrong number. But by then I am asking for it again anyway, so why did i bother writing this??
 

A Squared

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SkyBoy1981 said:
With that being said, there are smaller airports that DO expect you to call ready when you are number one, otherwise you will sit there until they get a call from you. You just have to know how to adapt to the facility.
And therin lies the rub. The preference varies not only form airport ot airport, but from controller to controller.

I fly a large (but not turbine) airplane out of a moderately busy international cargo hub. I have on occasion been ignored when we have not called ready, and even had hte controller ask in a peevish, obviously irritated tone if we were ready yet. I have also had controllers respond in a peevish, irriteted tone when we *have* called ready. If you've got the secret code for determining which controllers want you to call ready and which don't I'd be grateful if you'd share it.
 

A Squared

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dhc8fo said:
I will read back with an "on the meter" just to give that little piece of info something a little different than a blob of numbers ......
So if you're saying on the meter for your own personal clarification, what would be wrong with saying "altimeter xx.xx" instead of "xx.xx on the meter" It is unarguabley clearer (clarity was your justification, right?), shorter and doesn't make you sound like you're trying to be cool.
 
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dhc8fo

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A Squared said:
So if you're saying on the meter for your own personal clarification, what would be wrong with saying "altimeter xx.xx" instead of "xx.xx on the meter" It is unarguabley clearer (clarity was your justification, right?), shorter and doesn't make you sound like you're trying to be cool.

I think it has something to do with my literature background and iambic pentameter ....:eek: did I say that?

i find it easier to say "four zero on the meter" than "altimeter four zero."
 

minitour

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dhc8fo said:
just to give that little piece of info something a little different than a blob of numbers
Funny...I've gotten to the point where I love to just give back the numbers.

Sometimes I think controllers may get mixed up when I toss back a "3 8 in 10 23.25 6552 18L"...but not a problem yet.

And yes...callsign and altitude (and ATIS if it's an approach handoff) when handed off...no "checkin in wit'cha" necessary "Approach, Cessna 1238X 8,000 Bravo" is plenty

-mini
 

A Squared

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dhc8fo said:
I think it has something to do with my literature background and iambic pentameter ....:eek: did I say that?

i find it easier to say "four zero on the meter" than "altimeter four zero."
yes, but "in the meter" is two feet, not five, and meter is not an iamb.

I probably shouldn't admit to knowing that on an aviation board.
 

Big Duke Six

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What I'd like to know is why, if controllers are so irate about unnecessary radio chatter, do some controllers/facilities just expect you'll switch over to Tower freq at some point on the taxi out (smart) while others (DEN ground, for example) spend probably 1/3 of their time telling airplanes to switch over to the Tower (not smart). Some days you can't get a word in edgewise while holding on the ramp, trying to contact Ground for taxi clearance (along with 12 other guys stepping on each other, not even counting the INBOUND airplanes) because the Ground freq is tied up with the Ground Controller himself going right down the line of aircraft already taxiing outbound:

"Frontier 859 monitor Tower 133.3"
"133.3, Frontier 859"
"United 567, monitor Tower 133.3"
"Roger, 133.3, United's 567"
"Champion 2962, monitor Tower now 133.3"
"Turty Tree and a Turd, Champion 2962"
Sound of loud screeching tones as four airplanes call simultaneously.
"Everybody just stand by, I'll call you when I get to you!!"
"Frontier 405, Frontier 405, are you still with me?
"Affirmative, 405"
"Frontier 405, monitor tower now on 133.3"
"Triple three's, Frontier 405, G'Day!"
"Good Day. Who's number 3 at 4E?" (since there are now 5 airplanes stacked up at 4E, unable to communicate)
"Skywest 456 is number 3 at 4E with October"
"Skywest 456, taxi via Lima to Echo Delta, then right on Echo Delta to Mike, Left on Mike to Runway 8"
"Roger, 8 via Lima, Echo Delta and then Mike, Skywest 456"
"And Skywest 456, monitor Tower on 133.3"

AAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHH! Put up a freakin' sign or something, like SFO or LAX.
 
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