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8 Answers

Any tips on how to better ATC communication?

Asked by: 5373 views Instrument Rating, Private Pilot

Now that im flying IFR   ATC  communication has gone to another level and im finding it hard to keep up  , im stumbling  on my words , i feel like its too much information at a time. Any tips or help would be greatly appreciated. 

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8 Answers

  1. Micah on Mar 13, 2011

    Spend time listening to others communicate. If you can, sit in back while someone else conducts their IFR training. This will help you see what their thinking and should help you understand what they are doing and what they are communicating. (Bring your charts with you if you do this.)
    Listen to others on a service like liveatc.net. Pull up a local chart for whichever channel you’re listening to and imagine where the aircraft you hear are flying and why they’re communicating what they are. http://www.liveatc.net/

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  2. bubba on Mar 13, 2011

    I second the liveatc.net recommendation.
    I had a student that was a really smart guy, but still had trouble on the radios in the IFR environment. In his case he was trying to figure out everything that he needed to do at the same time he was reading back the instruction and that’s what caused the issue. So I recommended that he quickly read back what ATC says and then think about what they just asked you to do. If something was screwed up with their instructions you can always come back and ask for a clarification.
    With time it will become second nature.

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  3. John A Lindholm on Mar 13, 2011

    Topflight….  am curious, are you IFR training or do you already have your IFR on your pilot certificate..??

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  4. James MacGregor CFI on Mar 14, 2011

    One thing I have noticed is you will get a better response if you are more staccato then legato as they would say in music.
     I have some students that say things very meek their words flow into each other, these guys will geta slower response fromATC, I can get on the horn and say things very clearly and sharply with confidence and get a noticible diffrence in my communication with the controllers.
     Biggest thing is be confident when you speak.

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  5. Topflight on Mar 14, 2011

    Thanks alot Guys appreciate it. @Jonh A…. I am IFR training at the moment.

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  6. Heather McNevin on Mar 14, 2011

    If possible, I’d recommend visiting any ATC facilities near you.  Get their contact info from the AFD or FSS, call them up (since security is involved) and set up a time to come get a behind the scenes look.  Secondly, relax.  If you’re nervous, it impedes your ability to communicate (I’m a controller too, I hear this a lot).  We both speak English, I won’t have you intercepted and shot down for a mistake in phraseology, we can have a normal conversation.Little secret – Controllers say the same things, over and over.  It just sounds magical because we say it fast and with authority.  A clearance is just reading you the conditions with which you may depart.  You know what you filed, so it isnt  a suprise if you get cleared via that route.  Listen for things that change, altitude is big to hear. So basically:N21CY (you already know who you are) cleared from the Brainerd airport (you know where you are – I hope) to the Minneapolis airport (you already know where you wanted to go) via the GEP5 arrival (I hope you filed this if you need to be on it). Climb and maintain 8000 (always listen and read back altitudes) squawk 1234 (this is new information).  The only information you need to know is 8000 feet and squawk 1234.  Much less complicated than the whole clearance.Approach clearances also come at a rapid fire rate but its the same type of thing:N21CY (you again) 8 miles South East of the outer marker (I hope you already knew this) turn left heading 330 (new info) maintain 4000 until established on a published portion of the approach (all you need to remember is 4000) cleared ILS runway 31 approach PIR airport (you were on vectors so you expected to be cleared and I hope you knew what approach and airport already so very little of this was new).  So again, just know heading 330 to join, 4000 till established.Listen to ATC freqs as often as possible.  Also, getting flight following is good practice, since you will talk to a controller and they will change you to the next controllers freq just like an IFR flight.  Good luck!

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  7. Earl Kessler on Mar 16, 2011

    I have written a syllabus on the topic.  It is too long to publish here, but if you want a copy email me at earl@vastaviation.com and ask for Radio Dos and Don’ts and I will happily provide it for free.

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  8. Earl Kessler on Jul 31, 2011

    I have received a lot of requests for my Radio Dos and Don’ts syllabus.  I have posted it on my website for anyone to access: 
    Please take a look and leave me a comment.
    Earl Kessler

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