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Radio communications

Asked by: 2690 views Airspace, General Aviation, Private Pilot

Need some help, I haven't flown incontrolled airspace for a while and I'm planning a flight from CO80 to KPUB, my question is do I need to contact Pueblo Approach or can I just contact the tower to get permission to land?  I'm really nervous about about the radio communications and any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Troy

5 Answers

  1. Brent on Sep 27, 2012

    KPUB is a Class D airport, so you can call the tower directly without being in contact with any other ATC facility beforehand. If you’re nervous about radio work, then I suggest a few things:

    1) Spend some time eavesdropping. Search for airports you’re familiar with on a site like LiveATC.net, and just get used to listening to what the controllers and pilots are saying to each other. You could even pause the stream after every time the controller speaks and practice what your response would be

    2) I googled for “Class D airport radio script” and got a lot of good hits. The first one looked like a pretty practical walk-through of what to expect: http://flypatchfly.com/radio-communication-with-class-d-tower/

    3) Consider writing down a script for your initial call up to the tower (with blanks for things that might change, like your altitude, distance, or direction), and take that with you on the flight so you can take a look at it right before you call

    4) Finally, remember that controllers are providing a service and you are the customer. By and large, they are a friendly group that wants to help you as best they can. If you didn’t understand an instruction, ask for clarification. If they’re talking too fast, ask them to slow down. You might even consider letting them know that you don’t have a lot of recent experience in Class D airspace. This could give them a heads up that you might need a little extra attention and patience from them.

    There are other resources too, like books on radio use, and simulators that let you talk to fake air traffic controllers while flying a PC-based flight simulator, but I’ve not used any of those, so ymmv.

    Have fun and fly safe!

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  2. Sam Dawson on Sep 27, 2012

    This is free even if you are not an AOPA member. Registration required.

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  3. Earl Kessler on Sep 30, 2012

    Gather your thoughts before pushing the mic button. Just think of your call as between you and ONLY one other person, like a phone call. It may be awkward at first, but you will get the hang of it with lots of practice. One thing you will notice is that you will hear the same terminology consistently. But if you can’t come up with the “right” phrase, speak plainly and the controller will understand what you are trying to convey. Relax. Remember that the principle of Bernoulli always trumps Marconi’s principle.

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  4. George on Sep 30, 2012

    This guy is a air traffic controller as well as a pilot fly’s in southern CA very busy air space
    they are lots of his trip recorded on video in flight.
    i think that this will help you
    fly safe.

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  5. Alex Clark on Oct 01, 2012

    If you don’t use flight following,,, you can do a poor-mans flight following by calling in a couple PILOT REPORTS along the way.
    That way somebody has your position logged into the computer system and you get to spend some radio time away from the busy areas.
    It will help you unwind,
    tell people where you are
    and also help other pilots who will fly through that area…

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