Coming Up in Radar Contact

May 30, 2016

Next Radar Contact Show, “Mistakes Happen”. We all make mistakes when transmitting on the radio, even pilots like me with decades of experience. Last night, flying from Nagoya, Japan to Honolulu, I got mentally out of synch with the person at the other end of the radio. I made several transmissions that had no connection […]

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Aircraft Color in Place of Call Sign is a Bad Idea

April 24, 2016

“Town and Country Traffic, red and white Skyhawk, 4-mile final, Runway One Seven, Town and Country.” “Town and Country Traffic, blue and white Warrior, turning base, Runway One Seven, Town and Country.” “Town and Country Traffic, red and white Skyhawk, final, Runway One Seven, Town and Country.” Do you think saying your aircraft’s color scheme […]

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Next Radar Contact Show: Call Sign by Color, and Picking Up VFR Flight Following

April 21, 2016

If you’re using your aircraft model and color scheme to identify yourself in an uncontrolled airport pattern, I have a good reason to quit immediately. Let’s talk about that reason in the next edition of the Radar Contact Show. It’s been awhile since we talked about how to make initial contact with ATC when requesting […]

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Common Traffic Advisory Frequencies and ATC as Customer Service

April 10, 2016

This edition of the Radar Contact Show consolidates the previous 3 articles about using a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) and about ATC as customer service organization. If you would rather read about CTAF, you can find the full articles using these links. How to Select and Use the Correct Common Traffic Advisory Frequency It’s […]

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It’s What You Don’t Hear on the Radio that Can Get You

April 7, 2016

In the past I’ve talked about the importance of listening to the aircraft radio to build situational awareness. Nowhere is this more important than in an uncontrolled airport traffic pattern. Here’s an example radio call you might hear in an uncontrolled pattern. “Town and Country Traffic, Piper 525 Yankee Golf, four mile straight-in, Runway 17, […]

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How to Select and Use the Correct Common Traffic Advisory Frequency

April 5, 2016

A pilot named Michael recently wrote to me with this question about the use of a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). “I have a question regarding Unicom’s vs CTAF’s.  I’m an Alaska pilot and I also have some time in Eastern Washington, Oregon and Western Idaho. When I was getting my lessons in that region […]

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ATC is a Customer Service Organization.

April 3, 2016

Confession: Selling a house this month + flying a full schedule = not enough time to produce a Radar Contact Show. Over the next couple of days, I’m going to release a series of articles that will eventually be combined into a single Radar Contact Show. Today’s article will change how you view and work with ATC. […]

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What ATC’s ‘Make Closed Traffic’ Clearance Means

February 27, 2016

“Cessna 9130 Delta, Pensasoda Tower, make right closed traffic. Runway 11, cleared for takeoff.” What has ATC just authorized you to do? More importantly, what has ATC not authorized you to do? The answers are not as straight-forward as you would think. You have declared an emergency with ATC. Then, it occurs to you. You […]

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Radar Contact Preview: Cleared to Land

February 3, 2016

Here’s your challenge. Where does the Aeronautical Information Manual, or the J.O. 7110.65 (Air Traffic Control) specifically say you must receive a “cleared to land” from Tower before landing? I’ll have a complete discussion of the topic, including words from air traffic controllers in the next edition of the Radar Contact Show. On a related […]

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We’d Be Thrilled If You Simply Used Your Call Sign!

January 18, 2016

I’ve spent a lot of time at this website talking to you about how to format your call sign when transmitting on the radio. While focusing on tiny details, I failed to recognize the bigger problem. Many pilots do not even use their call sign when talking to ATC. Time to slay that dragon. There […]

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