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I have noticed that some ex-service pilots I have flown with will acknowledge a radio transmition by clicking the PTT button twice. Is this something that is or used to be used while flying in the service? I have never seen it before, and I would certainly not have known what was going on if I had been on the other end of the conversation.



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Yes, you'll hear this occasionally. Sometimes it will do...everyone knows what this means. However, while you are starting off, don't get into the habit of doing this. It's generally bad practice. Also, you might make mistakes on when to use it, and like you said, it is pretty unhelpful to others listening. Stay with the standard methods of communication. Readback the required information always. As you get more experienced with RT, you'll get a feel for what is appropriate.


However, I have done it. There are times when it you don't want to take airtime, but just want to acknowledge a communication. Think of it as the equivelent of a 'nod'.


As for its history, well, it is commonly agreed that for carrier wave-only communications, two clicks is the same as 'Affirmative', or 'Roger'. So, I guess this is where it stems from.


Anyway, like I said, it is not a standard. Same for those 'cool' (usually ex-military) calls like, "Tally-ho!" or "No Joy," instead of, "I have the traffic in sight," or "Negative Contact." This is not standard, and has no place in civil aviation, even though we all know what it means.



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You never acknowledge ATC traffic in this manner. However, when talking on a more "relaxed" frequency with other aircraft, it is a fairly common practice. So when I tell another aircraft I have him in sight and he acknowledges verbally, then I might add something like, "I'll stay to the north of the freeway" it would not be uncommon to get the two clicks as an affirmative response. Remember, some of these pilots are on the air, on radio, on TV, talking and really cant acknowledge verbally. Others in EMS, Fire or PD, may be talking on a public safety radio frequency and they can't talk on all radios all the time.


If in doubt, you can always repeat your traffic and wait for the verbal reply..

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Hi folks,

I see your point, but I use the double klick quite often - well, I'm ex military ;-)

Normally after the landing clearence the tower passes the wind shortly prior landing - that's a good situation to use the double click.

Or when the frequency is busy, airliners coming in and out, managing the initial call and getting told, that tower will call me later - just the double click and the tower can go on passing clearences to the others - no time wasted....


"Flying Bull"

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My post was written to an ab-initio student, who asked the question. In that respect, I am very careful to ensure that it is correct w.r.t the regulations / law / standards / approved practices.


As I mentioned above, the double-click does has its place, and I use it myself at times. OK, maybe I was too strong in calling it 'bad practice that you'll occasionally hear!'.


Anyway, the emphasis of my previous post was to suggest that it was not standard RT technique, and that over time, experience would tell you when and when not to use the 'double-click' acknowledgement. Though, when starting off, you should keep to the published methods of RT. Nowhere in the PGC, AIM or FARs (other than for radio failure instances) is the 'double-click' mentioned.


I have heard people using this all wrong. Some students start doing this (they hear others doing it), but they don't really understand yet what items should be read back. Then the habit becomes embedded.


My favourite was to hear Brent, a controller at Space Coast Regional (HAI), giving a vertbal lashing to some warbird flying-weekend warrior , for doing exactly that; double-clicking taxi assignments and hold short assignments! (Is Brent still there?) Good for him I say. There are students at that airport.


So, I don't like to encourage this practice...I guess even through this email forum, we are (should be) still role modelling good practice to others with less experience.


Hope this makes sense.




As for a standby instruction, well, there's a pet hate...I don't even bother to acknowledge this, even with double clicks!. The whole point is that the controller has established 2-way, but has other priorities. No Need to Reply!...just personal opinion.


Example of someone not standing by!


ATC: N34343D, standby.

N34343D: Roger, N34343D standing by! OR "click-click"



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Hey Joker right on. To all the students/low timers out there - it actually takes MORE time double clicking the mic when you need to be reading stuff back. Each time you do this I have to go back to you and reiterate the clearance rather than just giving it once. This causes more frequency congestion than if you would just acknowledge the clearance the first time. It does not take much time to say on the mic "8HH cleared to land", remember a clearance is not valid unless it has been acknowledged (with a readback). Get into a good habit now and I guarantee at least IFR training with all the readbacks will be alot easier.

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I stick with my original comment "You never acknowledge ATC traffic in this manner"


Double clicks are perfectly appropriate when communicating one aircraft to another...dont even try it with an ATC in the Los Angeles area.



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