Jump to content

Afraid to talk to ATC ?


Goldy
 Share

Recommended Posts

Credit given to Vertical Mag which put out this survey last week:

 

Will you go out of your way to avoid talking to Air Traffic Control?

Yes

11.94%

No

61.19%

Sometimes

26.87%

 

I read that as 40% of pilots have reservations about talking to ATC. Do you?

Do you know who they work for?

Do you understand why they exist?

 

Just some advice, but if find yourself afraid to talk on the radio or talk to ATC, I would suggest you make an effort to go out to some new airport or airspace and just fly around it a bit. Expose yourself to ATC at every chance and get over it!

 

As a student, we all had to overcome the radio intimidations. If you plan to fly for a living some day, this fear could hold you back.

 

If you ever want to feel intimidated, come out and fly in LA for a day. I've had 4 traffic alerts at one time, and one 45 min tour can take me from Class D into Class C to Class G, some E, LAX Class B and back again!

 

I'd love to hear what some pilots are afraid of....

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Goldy I think you may have misinterpreted the data. I avoid talking to ATC sometimes just cause its easier to make the transition to an adjoining airport under the shelf. Not cause I'm afraid but because I'm lazy. Ha ha

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an aversion to my initial contact with destination approach control at my home base. Almost always I include in my initial contact the coded letter ATIS report. Far too often on their reply they ask if I have copied ATIS. Grrrrr.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing special about class C, basically a larger, busier class D. Class B you need to hear the words "you are cleared to enter class bravo". remember that and you should be good. Each Bravo airspace has it's own characteristics, routes, reporting points, etc. It's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with these, both on the chart, and if possible, from the air. Go fly with a cfi who knows the area and have them train you up. If it's an area you will be operating in often it would be well worth the money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not "afraid" until they start getting irritated with people. Even then I just get impatient. Students usually take the brunt of it. ATC usually has no idea whats going on inside a cockpit or what may or may not be happening. It's just a learning process. If all else fails, I just use plain language and keep it short as possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I avoid talking to ATC whenever I can, but its just because its more peaceful flying without all that chatter in my ears.

 

There certainly are times for that, in my opinion (in more remote areas sometimes there simply is no one TO talk to). But around busy airspace is not one of them. The chances of mid-airs in busy areas go up exponentially. Keep your head on a swivel and keep the radio dialed to the appropriate freq, even if you are just listening. Don't be part of the problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a new student with little experience but can understand where y'all are coming from. Although I plan to communicate as much as needed plus a bit extra when in doubt about something.

Interesting topic, I recently attended a safety siminar after an accident that happened in march. Being a new student it sure encouraged me to communicate a good amount to understand all of the surrounding happenings.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another thing to consider guys, this has always been a problem, especially in congested areas like greater Los Angeles, or the area around Seattle, where there are lots of controlled airspaces and only a few small channels of uncontrolled space in between or around or under the shelves. No one wants to talk to ATC. People avoid it. Whether they are scared of it or they just don't want to hear all the chatter in their ears, they get condensed in these uncontrolled regions. Now you have a concentrated number of aircraft, in a small space, and none of them are talking to each other! Talk about a bad combination!

 

I wouldn't say it's a growing problem, it's probably ALWAYS been a problem. But it certainly is not getting any better.

 

My question to everyone is, do you value peace and quiet over situational awareness? If there are optional ATC services for the area you are flying in, you should use them. If there is a CTAF for an area you are flying in, use that as well. Even if you don't hear anyone, make position calls. There may be someone there listening, but not talking. Make yourself heard. Make your position known. Communication is a critical component of safe flying. A lot of pilot's develop an aversion to talking on the radios and it creates dangerous trends like the one I described above.

 

I have had several near mid-airs with aircraft that were avoiding controlled airspace and were not talking or listening on the appropriate CTAF. Conversely, I have had several MORE potential close calls avoided because I was able to communicate with another aircraft using the appropriate frequencies. It's always a good feeling when you are able to communicate effectively and avoid a potentially dangerous situation. I simply don't understand why people have an aversion to that...

 

Now, If I am planning a route and there is a class D in my way that I can easily skirt around, I probably will. No need creating more traffic for the controller to deal with than they've already got. But you can guarantee I will be listening to the frequency when I go by.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no issue talking to ATC, or even keeping them tuned in while transitioning close to a busy airspace.

 

Depending on the specific airspace and where I am going I may prefer to avoid flying in their airspace just due to time constraints. I've had several instances where I thought it would be quicker to transition through an airspace, only to get vectored around and have it take longer than if I had just gone around their airspace to begin with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There certainly are times for that, in my opinion (in more remote areas sometimes there simply is no one TO talk to). But around busy airspace is not one of them. The chances of mid-airs in busy areas go up exponentially. Keep your head on a swivel and keep the radio dialed to the appropriate freq, even if you are just listening. Don't be part of the problem.

 

Ironically, of the last three "too close for comfort" calls I've had with fixed-wingers (all in the same day) the only one which required me to alter course at the last minute, was the one which I was on with ATC (I guess they didn't notice we were too close?)! The other two I was giving position reports on, and listening to, the area CTAF (I don't know who the fixed-wingers were talking to, if anyone?).

 

Come to think of it, a year or so ago while flying at night with my CFI, we came dangerously close to a fixed winger while on with ATC (again, I guess they didn't notice we were getting too close?)!

 

I guess we're all just "Human".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ironically, of the last three "too close for comfort" calls I've had with fixed-wingers (all in the same day) the only one which required me to alter course at the last minute, was the one which I was on with ATC (I guess they didn't notice we were too close?)! The other two I was giving position reports on, and listening to, the area CTAF (I don't know who the fixed-wingers were talking to, if anyone?).

 

Come to think of it, a year or so ago while flying at night with my CFI, we came dangerously close to a fixed winger while on with ATC (again, I guess they didn't notice we were getting too close?)!

 

I guess we're all just "Human".

 

Very true. I certainly have had my close calls while talking to ATC as well. And there are always those D-bags that won't talk on the CTAF. All I am saying is, don't be one of those D-bags. ATC does not always work like it is supposed to. Some of it is due to old equipment, a lot of it is due to lack of participation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a new student with little experience but can understand where y'all are coming from. Although I plan to communicate as much as needed plus a bit extra when in doubt about something.

Interesting topic, I recently attended a safety siminar after an accident that happened in march. Being a new student it sure encouraged me to communicate a good amount to understand all of the surrounding happenings.

 

Pretty much you were my target audience on this post. Bad enough that we have older pilots that don't know what a radio is for, hopefully we can bring up new students with a better understanding and without any fear of communications. BTW- Sounds like the seminar you went to was over at Dennis's place?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Up and comer here as well. I've received a LOT of experience on radios when I was in the military. I never had a problem talking then, and I don't have one now. My biggest problem was trying to figure out what they were telling me when giving me clearances. My initial radio calls were good, and then they'd give me a take off or landing clearance and I'd get lost. Once I figured that out, I have no problems.

 

As far as contacting them in reference to an emergency, or anything else for that matter, after having watched some of the Pilot Stories over on AOPA, I definitely will not give calling ATC a second thought.

 

I just find it rather amusing that in school they harp on using proper terminology at all times (and understandably so), but yet I listen to recordings from liveatc.net or even some of those pilot stories and I hear casual talk all the time. Makes me wonder just HOW serious it is to use proper terminology 100% of the time...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certain frequencies, if you become familiar with, you will find if they are busy freq's or not so busy. You will have more latitude on the not so busy freq's. The busy ones, listen up good until you are sure you have a break, then do your initial check in. If you talk too quickly you will block other transmissions. Also keep your transmissions short and sweet. The only possible exception is the handoff from tower to departure, usually they are expecting you to check in as soon as you get the freq dialed in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Up and comer here as well. I've received a LOT of experience on radios when I was in the military. I never had a problem talking then, and I don't have one now. My biggest problem was trying to figure out what they were telling me when giving me clearances. My initial radio calls were good, and then they'd give me a take off or landing clearance and I'd get lost. Once I figured that out, I have no problems.

 

As far as contacting them in reference to an emergency, or anything else for that matter, after having watched some of the Pilot Stories over on AOPA, I definitely will not give calling ATC a second thought.

 

I just find it rather amusing that in school they harp on using proper terminology at all times (and understandably so), but yet I listen to recordings from liveatc.net or even some of those pilot stories and I hear casual talk all the time. Makes me wonder just HOW serious it is to use proper terminology 100% of the time...

 

This is straight out of the AIM. I think it pretty much sums everything you need to know up.

 

"4-2-1. General

a. Radio communications are a critical link in the ATC system. The link can be a strong bond between pilot and controller or it can be broken with surprising speed and disastrous results. Discussion herein provides basic procedures for new pilots and also highlights safe operating concepts for all pilots.

b. The single, most important thought in pilot‐controller communications is understanding. It is essential, therefore, that pilots acknowledge each radio communication with ATC by using the appropriate aircraft call sign. Brevity is important, and contacts should be kept as brief as possible, but controllers must know what you want to do before they can properly carry out their control duties. And you, the pilot, must know exactly what the controller wants you to do. Since concise phraseology may not always be adequate, use whatever words are necessary to get your message across. Pilots are to maintain vigilance in monitoring air traffic control radio communications frequencies for potential traffic conflicts with their aircraft especially when operating on an active runway and/or when conducting a final approach to landing.

c. All pilots will find the Pilot/Controller Glossary very helpful in learning what certain words or phrases mean. Good phraseology enhances safety and is the mark of a professional pilot. Jargon, chatter, and “CB” slang have no place in ATC communications. The Pilot/Controller Glossary is the same glossary used in FAA Order JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control. We recommend that it be studied and reviewed from time to time to sharpen your communication skills."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Ironically, of the last three "too close for comfort" calls I've had with fixed-wingers (all in the same day) the only one which required me to alter course at the last minute, was the one which I was on with ATC (I guess they didn't notice we were too close?)! The other two I was giving position reports on, and listening to, the area CTAF (I don't know who the fixed-wingers were talking to, if anyone?).

 

Come to think of it, a year or so ago while flying at night with my CFI, we came dangerously close to a fixed winger while on with ATC (again, I guess they didn't notice we were getting too close?)!

 

I guess we're all just "Human".

 

I agree that it is annoying to be talking with ATC and get too close to other aircraft, but I believe ATC will be the first to tell you that the ultimate responsibility for scanning and collission avoidance falls on the pilot. They are just there to help, workload permitting.

 

An airport I use daily has the same problem as what this thread is talking about. Small, uncontrolled airport with a medium amount of traffic, where lots of people (for some reason) love to do low altitude flybys or circle at 500, and never make any type of radio call. Even with TCAS, there are some aircraft that don't show up due to lack of, or malfunctioning transponders. All I can do is curse at them under my breath and keep scanning for others as I make an approach.

 

It would be nice if everybody made radio calls and monitored airports, but until then (and even after) be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Make calls, and scan like your life depends on it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certain frequencies, if you become familiar with, you will find if they are busy freq's or not so busy. You will have more latitude on the not so busy freq's. The busy ones, listen up good until you are sure you have a break, then do your initial check in. If you talk too quickly you will block other transmissions. Also keep your transmissions short and sweet. The only possible exception is the handoff from tower to departure, usually they are expecting you to check in as soon as you get the freq dialed in.

 

The airport I fly out of gets pretty busy at times. Some times I can get right on, other times I end up holding short of the taxiway entrance for what seems like an eternity. Almost to the point where I feel like I might as well just set down because tower is too busy to give me takeoff clearance from the inactive runway right next to the helipads. Prior to entering airspace, when they are busy, I figured out the trick is to listen for tower, then wait for the other aircraft to respond and right after he finishes is read back with his call sign/tail number I'm quick like a bunny to pull that trigger and spout off my request. Is it bad that I find it amusing when I have to do that? Almost like it's a game haha.

 

 

This is straight out of the AIM. I think it pretty much sums everything you need to know up.

 

"4-2-1. General

a. Radio communications are a critical link in the ATC system. The link can be a strong bond between pilot and controller or it can be broken with surprising speed and disastrous results. Discussion herein provides basic procedures for new pilots and also highlights safe operating concepts for all pilots.

b. The single, most important thought in pilot‐controller communications is understanding. It is essential, therefore, that pilots acknowledge each radio communication with ATC by using the appropriate aircraft call sign. Brevity is important, and contacts should be kept as brief as possible, but controllers must know what you want to do before they can properly carry out their control duties. And you, the pilot, must know exactly what the controller wants you to do. Since concise phraseology may not always be adequate, use whatever words are necessary to get your message across. Pilots are to maintain vigilance in monitoring air traffic control radio communications frequencies for potential traffic conflicts with their aircraft especially when operating on an active runway and/or when conducting a final approach to landing.

c. All pilots will find the Pilot/Controller Glossary very helpful in learning what certain words or phrases mean. Good phraseology enhances safety and is the mark of a professional pilot. Jargon, chatter, and “CB” slang have no place in ATC communications. The Pilot/Controller Glossary is the same glossary used in FAA Order JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control. We recommend that it be studied and reviewed from time to time to sharpen your communication skills."

 

I suppose that clears it up for me. Now that you posted it up, I remember reading it, I just didn't put too much thought into it since I want to learn the RIGHT way to communicate any ways.

 

I do have a question regarding phraseology in reference to new airports. Lets say I fly a XC to a new airport, don't know anything about it other than what I've found in the A/FD. If I wanted to land there, what would I request? Just to land on the active runway?

 

I'd ask my instructor, but I'm sure he has GOT to be sick of me by now. I'm not flying again until mid May and I've been hounding him about all kinds of stuff. Most recently was trying to find out what all needs to go into a CFI book and in what format (he let me borrow his, which was more than I expected). I'm only a private student right now, but I've heard how much of a pain that book can be to make so I'm building it as I go along that way all I need to do later down the road is just make revisions. He's been extremely willing to help, which is awesome, but he's got a 3 week old son now so I kind of want to leave him be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do have a question regarding phraseology in reference to new airports. Lets say I fly a XC to a new airport, don't know anything about it other than what I've found in the A/FD. If I wanted to land there, what would I request? Just to land on the active runway?

 

I am not the most experienced in XC, But if you look at the A/FD you can usually see a layout of the airport. If you do not you can always go to google maps and take a look at the airport, and the surrounding area. I figure out where I want to land and then ask to "land at the ramp west of runway 36" etc. It is also a smart thing to say "unfamiliar" when entering the airspace, this will give you more detailed directions when needed from ATC.

 

Like I said there may be some better tips from more knowledgeable pilots, this is just from my experience as to what works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What you ask for depends on what you want to do. You are flying a helicopter so you can land wherever you want. If you are landing at an FBO, when you call tower tell them you are whatever distance from whatever direction landing at FBO with whatever ATIS. Sometimes they will clear you straight in to wherever you are going, other times they will set you up for the active runway or taxiway and make you taxi. Just do what they ask you. Make sure you read back any landing clearances or hold short instructions. Once you get familiar with a field and are more comfortable/confident, you can start making specific requests that may help you get in and out faster or safer. Most tower controllers understand that we have capabilities that airplanes don't, and they let us be the judge of what is safe or unsafe. If a tower controller ever asks you to do something you are not comfortable with, tell them you cannot comply and suggest a suitable alternate. There is another paragraph in the AIM that covers ATC for helicopters, I suggest you read that one too. As much as most instructors harp about making "perfect" calls, I find it's better to teach students to be adaptable, as ATC can be highly fluid, and if you get stuck in a mold, when things start to get wonky you might clam up and not know what to say. Just remember, use the proper terminology as much as possible, but say whatever you need to to get your point across.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...