In my last article, I said if you listen to your aircraft radio, you might learn something. You’ll hear pilots who get the radio work right. You’ll also hear pilots who make a mess of the radios. You might assume professional pilots always say the right thing on the radio. That’s not always the case.
In this audio lesson, we’ll talk about how professional pilots can make a mess of radio work.
New! Click here for a transcript of the show(.PDF file).
- A member of our Insider’s area of this website emailed me with this question: “I have read/been told that ATC does not like pilots saying “123 Alpha Bravo with you” … yet I hear professional pilots(s) use that phrase all the time after switching frequencies. Just wondering if “With You” does bother controllers..?”
- I asked my controller friend, MT, what he thought. He said what’s most important is to use standard radio phraseology. “When you say something outside standard phraseology,” he said, “you introduce an unintended risk.”
- The pilot expression, “With you” is not in the AIM or the Air Traffic Controller Manual.
- Many pilots say “With you” as a habit.
- Habits are how we produce safe and consistent results flight after flight.
- Not all habits make good sense. Some habits are passed from pilot to pilot; even bad habits. See my article Your Radio Calls Suck for more on this topic.
- Saying “With you” on the radio does not make sense. It’s simply a bad habit–a space filler and a time waster.
- Added 7/12/11: I failed to mention this in the audio lesson. If you are VFR and using flight following with ATC, when you check in on a new controller frequency, say 1. The name of the agency you are calling, 2. Your callsign, 3. Your altitude, 4. “for VFR flight following.” Generally, when handed off from one controller to the next, the new controller should know why you are there, but adding “for VFR flight following,” helps remind controllers who are more used to controlling IFR traffic. There’s more about this in the audio show: “Ask an Air Traffic Controller: VFR Flight Following and Lost” Thanks to Cal for this addition.
- Action Step: Evaluate what others say on the radio. Learn to separate the good from the bad. If there is any question in your mind which is which, don’t hesitate to get another opinion.