Have you ever been flipped off?
I have. It happens many times a day on the aircraft radio. Here’s how it typically happens. A pilot tunes a new radio frequency into the standby window of his radio. With the new frequency set in standby, the pilot hits the radio’s transfer switch, flipping the frequency from the standby window to the active window.
So far, so good.
As soon as the new frequency moves into the active window, the pilot immediately presses his microphone switch and starts talking: “Blah blah blah.”
Here’s the problem with flipping and talking. If some other pilot was already talking on the new frequency when our pilot flips and immediately starts talking, he is going to jam the radio. Here’s what that will sound like:[audio: http://atccommunication.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Blocked.mp3]
And here’s the next thing you will hear on the radio:[audio: http://atccommunication.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/blockedTwo.mp3]
There was a phrase I learned when I was growing up. Maybe you have heard this too.
“Stop, look, and listen before you cross the street.” The point of this lesson to children is, don’t step out into traffic because you might get hit.
The same thing can be said when you flip to a new frequency on the radio. Stop, look and listen for radio traffic before you step into the frequency.
- Stop, and think about what you are about to do. Think about what you want to say before you say it, and consider if now is a good time to say it.
- Look, and make sure the radio frequency you want is in the active window. (More on this in a future article. . .)
- Listen for other pilots talking on the radio so you won’t cut them off with your own transmission.
Even if no one is talking at the exact instant you join a new radio frequency, that doesn’t mean you won’t interfere with a conversation already in progress. We can talk about that next time. For now, got any thoughts or experience about getting blocked on the radio?