Air Traffic Control Reaches Far Out

headIf you grew up in the 1970’s or 1980’s “Far out” means something to you. Far out also means something to you if you plan to work with air traffic control. In this show, I’ve got a rule-of-thumb that determines how far out from the edge of controlled airspace you should try and make contact with ATC. Far out!

How about something useful that’s free! Okay, whatta ya got? I have got a free 220-page workbook for you that teaches how to think your way through any radio transmission to air traffic control. The workbook, a companion to my original book Radio Mastery for VFR Pilots, is a compete training package. Listen to the show to learn how you may get a free copy of the workbook.

See questration? Maybe, maybe not. On April 6, 2013, under a federal program of sequestration, the first of more than 140 airport traffic control towers was scheduled to close. Now, the FAA says, “Maybe not.” Tune in to hear what it all might mean to you and your airplane.

This week’s Question of the Week is not a question. It’s a very cool audio quiz. I’m going to play a series of radio exchanges between a pilot and ATC. Can you pick out the correct and incorrect radio transmissions made by the pilot? Test your listening and evaluation skills right here. It’s all part of a very different and intriguing edition of Radar Contact. Let’s go!

Show Notes:

  1. I recommend contacting ATC 5 miles before crossing into controlled airspace.

  3. If you don’t get ahold of ATC before reaching the boundary of controlled airspace, enter a holding pattern outside of the airspace.

  5. In some cases, all you have to do is make radio contact with ATC and that is good enough to enter the airspace.

  7. You can determine the boundaries of controlled airspace by looking at the depiction of the airspace on a sectional chart.

  9. Class Bravo airspace is different from other types of controlled airspace. You must be specifically cleared to enter Class Bravo before entering.

  11. Want a free 220 page workbook on radio training from me? You will have to do just a little bit of editing work to get one. If you would like to be part of a team of 10 pilots that help me edit the workbook in exchange for a free copy, write to me at by April 15, 2013.

  13. If you think you would like to get a copy of the workbook, don’t delay. I’m going to snatch up the first 10 qualified pilots or student pilots who write to me and then the door closes.

Your Question of the Week:

Listen to the following 10 radio exchanges between ATC and a pilot. Try to determine if the pilot makes a correct or incorrect radio transmission in each of these instances. I’ll identify each set of radio exchanges by number. You may mentally note, or write down, whether each numbered exchange has a correct or incorrect transmission in it. Hint: Some of the errors the pilots make are subtle and tricky. You may need to replay some of these radio exchanges.

When you think you have identified all of the errors, go to There you will find an answer key identifying each correct and incorrect response, as well as a full explanation about why each radio call was either correct or incorrect. This one is extremely tough. Good luck.

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