FAA to Pilots: Know the Radio Standard Phraseology

At your service.
Someone pinch me, I must be dreaming. A couple of weeks ago, the FAA published two draft proposals that will change the way you and I will train for our Private Pilot Certificate and for our Instrument Rating. If the wording in the proposals gets integrated into the regs, you will have to demonstrate to your FAA examiner that you can reliably communicate with ATC using standard radio phraseology. Is it enough to write this requirement on paper? Will pilots use standard phraseology after they pass their checkride? Find out in this week’s show.

Contrary to popular belief, there are no terse regulations relating to a Tersa. In fact, a Terminal Radar Service Area has no regulations specific to the airspace. You still have to know how to communicate with ATC when operating inside of a Tersa. I’ll show you how.

Ummm. Uhh. What will I talk about next? Umm. Uhhhhhhhhhhhh. You’ll have to tune in to uhhhhhh, find out. Run that, uhh, thingamabob that plays this podcast.

Show Notes:

  1. Up til now, all you needed to know about radio communication in order to get your private pilot’s certificate or your instrument rating was how to squeeze the transmit key on your microphone and speak. Now, according to a new proposal put out the by FAA 2 weeks ago, you may have to demonstrate you know standard radio phraseology when communicating with ATC during your checkride.
  2. The link to the FAA’s draft proposals for new training and certification standards, and pilot comments, is here.
  3. Unless the FAA enforces the new standard after a pilot passes his checkride, the training and certification standards won’t change a thing. In my opinion, absent enforcement, only pilots with self-discipline will continue to use standard phraseology after the checkride is passed.
  4. There are no specific rules governing flight inside a Terminal Radar Service Area (TRSA.) Part 91 is always in effect, but there are no airspace regs for TRSAs.
  5. You do not even have to talk to ATC if you fly VFR inside a TRSA as long as you stay out of the Class D airspace inside the TRSA.
  6. If you do make contact with ATC, you can say “Negative radar service” to avoid having to follow ATC instructions outside of the Class D.
  7. If you do participate in radar service, you will get radar sequencing to the primary airport as well as separation from all other participating aircraft.
  8. When you hear a pilot say “Uhh” on the radio, that’s a sign the pilot started transmitting before he knew what to say. It’s unprofessional and it takes up value air time on the radio.
  9. The best way to avoid brain lock when keying the microphone transmit button is to practice your radio calls before you fly.
  10. I have a new workbook, Radio Mastery for VFR Pilots Workbook, on sale at Amazon.com. The workbook trains your brain for VFR radio work.
  11. Using the workbook, you’ll read a flying scenario, visualize the circumstances, write the correct radio call, and then practice saying the radio call out loud. It’s multi-modal training for your brain that ensures long-term memory of vital radio transmissions.

Your Question of the Week:

You are flying VFR in a Terminal Radar Service Area. You are inbound to the primary airport inside the TRSA and you are taking radar vectors from air traffic control. The approach controller advises you that you are seven miles in trail of another aircraft, who is also inbound to the airport. ATC calls that airplane you are following and says, “Descend and maintain 4,000.” Here’s your question: Given the radio transmission you just heard from ATC, is the airplane you are following operating VFR, operating IFR, or is it impossible to tell.

When you think you know the answer to that question, go to the link ATCcommunication.com/answers. There you will find a complete answer to this week’s question, along with a complete explanation of how that answer was derived.


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