ATC Clearance Read Back Quiz Results

The pop quiz score so far:

A quick note about the results I’ve been getting for the pop quiz on ATC clearance read backs, posted last week. While quiz takers are completely anonymous, I do get an overall summary of the results. Here is what I’m seeing so far

For more than half of the questions, quiz takers are selecting the read back that is the most verbose. There are 2 questions on the quiz, (I won’t say which 2, to avoid spoiling the quiz,) where 50% of quiz takers selected the longer, but incorrect answer. I know conventional wisdom says, when given a multiple-guess test, the longest answer is usually the correct answer. Not necessary so in this case, and here’s why.

Brevity is Important

When talking with air traffic control, the main goal is understanding. The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) says so right in the very first section of the chapter on radio communications. Two sentences below that statement, the AIM says this: “Brevity is important.”

By all means, say what you need to say to be understood, but try to say it in the least number of words possible. Sometimes replying with your call sign only is the correct response. Sometimes not. I’ll have more on this in a future article.

Take the Challenge

If you haven’t tried the pop quiz on ATC clearance read backs, give it a shot here. You can even cheat and go straight to the answers.


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