Recently, a discussion on the student pilot forum Rising Up, raised the issue of being embarrassed by making a mistake on the aircraft radio. The student pilot who said this in the forum thread said he mis-heard a frequency change given by an air traffic controller and it embarrassed him.
Here’s a little secret about making mistakes on the radio. We all make them. Sure, we strive for perfection, but we are human. Mistakes come with the territory.
Experience Does Not Matter
I’ve got over 14,000 hours of flying time, military and civilian, single and multi-engine, prop and jet, private and commercial. I still make at least one mistake on the radio per flight. If I’m flying with another pilot, that other pilot usually makes at least one mistake on his leg of the trip.
Controllers Are Human Too
Here is another thing to consider. Air traffic controllers make mistakes too. For example, it’s not unusual to have a controller give the wrong frequency when switching our flight to the next controller’s sector.
Give yourself a little breathing room. Mistakes happen.
Next time, we can talk about the FAA’s hear back program. It is designed to trap mistakes on the radio and improve safety.