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11 Answers

Communication Pet Peeves

Asked by: 3894 views Flight Instructor, General Aviation

I frequently hear terminology that just seems wrong. A few examples are: Podunk AREA traffic... It doesn't say Area on the chart or in the A/FD and when said quickly blurs the actual name of the field. Why do we add this fluff? Clear of the Active (at a non-towered airport)...Without a tower, there is no Active, it should be clear of Runway 28, which gives much more info to those listening. Taking or Departing runway ZERO Nine...The number painted on the runway is Nine...has anyone ever seen a Zero Nine painted on a runway? Uncontrolled Airport...I don't think most airports are "out of control"...it's non-towered. The only uncontrolled term refers to Class G airspace. "Any other traffic please advise"...this is specifically a no-no per the Airman's Information Manual. It congests the frequency and the assumption is you should have been listening 10 miles out to get a clear picture of traffic in the vicinity. It seems the biggest offenders are the professional pilots. TRAFFIC instead of Podunk Traffic...Since many airports share the same Unicom frequency, omitting the name of the airport can lead to confusion... I'd love to hear other CFIs peeves.

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11 Answers

  1. Ron Klutts on Oct 01, 2012

    “with you” when checking in on a new frequency. Arrrgh.

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  2. Grant on Oct 01, 2012

    I’m guilty of about all of these.

    My 2 cents on the “clear of the active” call is that unless the weather is low, or there’s a major hump in the runway, it’s unnecessary. The other traffic that would be concerned about this is within easy eye-shot.

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  3. Gary Moore on Oct 01, 2012


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  4. Steven P McNicoll on Oct 04, 2012

    “Uncontrolled Airport…I don’t think most airports are “out of control”…it’s non-towered. The only uncontrolled term refers to Class G airspace.”

    The term “Uncontrolled Airport” appears in the AIM 19 times.

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  5. superbird3000@yahoo.com on Oct 05, 2012

    First, it sounds to me like you are being nit picky. Remember that the overall goal of effective communication is to send a message, have it received, and hopefully encourage a response; if there is anyone out there to respond. We have several radio comm Nazis in my training outfit, and I wish both of them would spend more time on more meaningful subject areas because while they think radio calls are the area that need addressed most, they often make other mistakes which could lead to far worse consequences. In many cases, their radio calls are more sub-par than the calls of those they are criticizing.

    As for “podunk AREA traffic” remember that in many cases a local airport CTAF may be used to cover a much larger area than the immediate vicinity of the pattern. For instance, at my home field, airplanes towing banners up and down the river 5-10 miles south of the airport use CTAF to keep track of transiting aircraft to and from the airport (since the river is in a valley, and the most common ways in or out are south and north). That is well outside of what would be a Class D service area, and therefore “AREA” becomes appropriate. I have also found many small fields where CTAF is also used to cover local practice areas (which may be adjacent to the pattern), lengthy approach procedures, etc. Also, I have found through experience that the use of “AREA” will often spur communications from aircraft that were in the area that were not otherwise responding to calls. Since my #1 goal is collision avoidance, if the use of “AREA” is going to increase my chances, then I am all for using it.

    The same can be said specifically for “any one in the area, please advise.” The reason the biggest offenders are usually “professional” pilots, is because most “professional” pilots have enough experience to know that such a statement often produces the same results as use of “AREA.” It tends to get people talking who were otherwise not talking, and again that is the main purpose of communicating.

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  6. Jim Foley on Oct 06, 2012

    @Ron Klutts: I’m just curious, what’s wrong with checking in with “with you?” I’ve flow at 4 different flight schools over the years, and all of them teach to use that term and it’s just about all I ever hear. Is there something in the AIM or PCG that gives a different or technically correct phrase to use?

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  7. MaggotCFII on Oct 07, 2012

    “We have him on the fish finder.”

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  8. Earl Kessler on Oct 08, 2012

    With You … I spoke to a Center controller who cringes each time he hears it. He said it is extra fluff, unnecessary and often he and other controllers joke that the pilot is not “with us…he’s in the plane” I try to encourage using an economy of words so as not to congest the airwaves.

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  9. Micah on Oct 09, 2012

    I’m ok with Zero Nine(r) for the runway, and I actually prefer this. Although Nine should never be confused with One Nine or Two Nine, it’s easy enough to misspeak “departing runway Nine” so that someone else thinks they’ve heard “departing One Nine.”

    I don’t think adding the Zero is superfluous, and I always tell my students to read back the full runway every time they receive a clearance. (There is no such thing as “cleared to land,” as it is always specific to a runway.)

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  10. MaggotCFII on Oct 10, 2012

    Runway “05”, Westover, MA.

    Another ICAO deal, in the Aerodrome Standards Publication, at, see the last sentence.

    “Characteristics A runway designation marking shall consist of a two-digit number and on parallel runways shall be
    supplemented with a letter. On a single runway, dual parallel runways and triple parallel runways the two-digit number shall be
    the whole number nearest the one-tenth of the magnetic North when viewed from the direction of approach. On four or more
    parallel runways, one set of adjacent runways shall be numbered to the nearest one-tenth magnetic azimuth and the other set of
    adjacent runways numbered to the next nearest one-tenth of the magnetic azimuth. When the above rule would give a single
    digit number, it shall be preceded by a zero.”

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  11. DeltaCharlie on Nov 25, 2012

    I’ve been a controller for 6.5 years. I have a list of pet peeves and I’ve used it to screw with people. Here are my top three.

    1. Appending the ATIS code to your callsign. This is really a big deal if your callsign in less than 5 alpha-numerics and doesn’t already end in two letters. Execjet will add Papa to their callsign when they buy a new airplane that is pink slipped, so their callsign might be Execjet six twenty six papa. When you let me know you have the ATIS, say the INFORMATION whatever…..as the AIM tells you to do. I made a guy wait about 5 minutes for a clearance because he did this. No sir, there is nothing on file for you. I knew what he did and I was playing dumb. He probably thought I was a big idiot…but I’m okay with that…hopefully he learned, probably not. I also did this with Flight Check one day.

    2. Not using an aircraft type or November. At the very least, say November. I would prefer you say Cessna or Skyhawk, Piper or Cherokee. There are plenty of controllers that don’t follow the rules, but our 7110.65 paragraph 2-4-20 gives us very specific rules. I can call you whatever you say the first time, or correctly, even if it is just “two four whiskey.” I will cringe, respond November two four Whiskey, and screw with you as much as I legally can. After the first transmission, I must use a legal callsign, even if you never do. Again, many controllers don’t care……but boy I do.

    3. Not using your callsign with EVERY readback. There are very few things that actually require a readback, but you should still say “Cessna one one foxtrot, roger” to anything that doesn’t require a readback.

    I gotta go back upstairs……more later maybe.


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