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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Air Traffic Control Tips, Goodies, and Presents

December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or if you prefer, Seasonally Adjusted Greetings. I come bearing gifts of good cheer, ATC tips, techniques, and other goodies. Normally, I’d tell you what’s in store for this edition of Radar Contact. Instead, slip off the ribbon, tear away the wrapping paper and look inside. Show Notes: Rudolf is fully […]

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Six Reasons Why You Should Use a Radio Headset

December 3, 2015

Are you still talking to ATC using a handheld microphone? If so, you might as well fly with one hand tied behind your back. Here are 6 reasons to drop that microphone and start using a radio headset. A radio headset frees one hand from holding a microphone. Let’s face it, flying is a hands-on […]

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Aviation Headsets < $400: What We Know So Far

November 25, 2015

The results of the survey about aviation headsets costing less than $400 are in. The survey asked, is there an economical headset that feels good on the head, provides good audio quality, and holds up over time? The answer in this week’s show. Questions asked in reader and listener email   “Tiring of hearing “tally […]

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When to Make Position Reports in an Uncontrolled Airport Traffic Pattern

November 10, 2015

Radar Contact is back! In the first show after a months-long break, we’ll talk about when to make position reports in an uncontrolled pattern. You may think you already know the answer, but if you look at the confusing mess in the Aeronautical Information Manual, your confidence may be shaken. No matter. I’ll give you […]

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Monitor the Tower

October 29, 2015

Recently, someone asked me, “What should I do when the ground controller says, ‘Monitor the Tower?’” This individual thought it meant, continue to communicate with Ground on one radio and listen to Tower’s frequency on a second radio. This makes sense when you think about how the Aeronautical Information Manual recommends monitoring the guard frequency […]

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Speed Kills–On the Radio

October 21, 2015

It’s not so much speed that kills a good radio transmission. It’s the side effects of speed-talking that destroy a perfectly good radio transmission. I have a case in point. Two nights ago, I was flying into JFK. This was at an extremely busy time at an airport that is already one of the busiest […]

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Look Out for VFR Pop-Up Traffic

October 18, 2015

Explain this to me. I was on the cockpit jumpseat as we were descending into San Francisco International yesterday. Inflight visibility was good, though the sun was blinding as it sank towards the western horizon. Suddenly, Norcal Approach said, “Airliner 521 Heavy*, expedite a right turn, heading 280.” The Pilot Flying complied. A second and […]

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