Learning Radio Skills from Pilots

There is a misconception among new pilots that listening to other pilots speak on the radio is a good way to learn radio phrasing. My opinion is, maybe, but probably not.

Listen to the audio in this 1:10 video. These are all presumably experienced pilots communicating with Peachtree Tower at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK).

Ear-opening, yes? It seems to me that experienced pilots do not necessarily accumulate fundamentally correct radio skills as they progress through their flying career. Some do, but most don’t. I have a few theories as to why this is so, but in practical terms, my theories don’t matter.

What does matter is that trying to learn radio vocabulary by listening to other pilots will teach you slang, poor pacing, lazy enunciation, and phrasing that does not match the FAA’s standards for radio transmissions. We can have a separate discussion on why all of these bad habits can be hazardous, but I think you already know why.

I’ll conclude by referring to a problem that should be very familiar to you. When searching for facts on the internet, you’ll find a lot of information that comes from questionable sources. Assuming what you find is always correct is fatally flawed. The same holds true when you use other, presumably experienced pilots as examples of how to communicate on the radio.

If you would like to read more about this problem and where to find the best examples of radio phrasing, check out my book Radio Mastery for VFR Pilots at Amazon.com.

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Learning Radio Skills from Pilots

There is a misconception among new pilots that listening to other pilots speak on the radio is a good way to learn radio phrasing. My opinion is, maybe, but probably not. Listen to the audio in this 1:10 video. These are all presumably experienced pilots communicating with Peachtree Tower at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK). Ear-opening, yes?

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