At last, we come to the last. In our final aircraft radio call anatomy class, we will look at the remarks section of your radio call. Remarks are always optional. If you make them wisely, they can help you or your fellow pilots in certain situations. I’ll explain with some examples.
“Cessna 5569 Delta*, left crosswind. There’s a flock of birds here at 800 feet, heading north.” Think other pilots in the traffic pattern might be helped by this remark? You bet.
“Eleanor Tower, Tomahawk 273 Charlie Papa, five mile straight-in for Runway 3, touch and go. Student pilot.” Telling ATC you are student pilot will usually help your cause if you are still learning the ropes. When possible, ATC will talk a bit slower to you, and give you more breathing room to complete whatever maneuver you need to accomplish.
“Middleburg Ground, Archer 5143 X-ray, clearing the runway at Yankee. The braking action was fair.” This is an example of a mandatory remark. Anytime, the braking action on a runway is less than good, pilots are obligated to report the braking action they encountered. If you lose traction on a runway, report it.
“Falcon 44 Lima Pirep. Falcon 44 Lima had a loss of 15 knots at 500 feet on climb-out.” When you say “Pirep,” short for Pilot Report, anything you say in your remarks will repeated by ATC to other pilots flying the same flight path as your aircraft. In this case, ATC will alert other pilots with something like this: “Windshear alert. Previous aircraft reported a loss of 15 knots of airspeed at 500 feet on climb-out.”
If you feel a remark would help, by all means add one. Avoid making an extended speech: “Tower, Skylane 62 Victor. Usually when I fly into here I can see the big yellow hangar from over the reservoir, but here I am on a 4 mile final and I still can’t see it.” Instead try: “Tower, Skylane 62 Victor estimates 3 miles visibility.”
There are as many remarks as there are flying situations. While there are a few mandatory remarks, such as reporting less than good braking action, most remarks are optional. Feel free to add a remark to your radio call when you believe it can help you or your fellow pilots fly safely; and, keep your remark brief.
*All call signs, aircraft, and locations in this article are fictional, and designed for training purposes only. Any resemblance to actual people, places, or aircraft are coincidental.