Tuesday 21 May 2013 22:45 UTC
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I flew from Wiltshire to Barton yesterday, and return. 1:45 each way in a N-S line up/down England.
The only people I needed to talk to were Barton (and I could have arranged a non-radio join if I'd been so inclined). VFR, obviously.
Now, as it happens I chose to ask for a Basic service from Bristol, Gloster and 1/2d Green (on the way up - closed on return), and to listen in to Manchester with the appropriate squawk when transiting the LLR. Shawbury were closed. Class G most of the way, so no drama, but my point is that on no occasion was the radio actually required by me or other airspace users in order that I safely complete my mission.
So I do view emphatic statements like "essential", "menace" and "always required" as either hyperbole or a lack of understanding of relative priorities.
I don't advocate "no radio", but like transponders it is horses for courses, and if the lack means that you cannot realistically operate in certain areas than that's part of the individual's mission trade-off. But it's not a one-size-fits-all condition.
In Morley's example, I would have aborted the flight.
I assume as it was Steve's OP that we are talking somewhere heathen down south.
I'd only fly non-radio down there after much careful planning, probably not 'on the hoof' after getting a "strength 2"
Up here in E Anglia I'd be able to fly quite happily on a standard "Show people the seals" bimble - so no reason to scrub.
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Indeed, some aircraft can cost as little as £4000-5000. Thus that's a massive proportion of the cost of the aeroplane.
And that doesn't include fitting.
Even with your average £25k spamcan it's still a large cost that someone has to pay. Could you magic up £4k just like that just because your existing radio sometimes doesn't work all that well? What about the new alternatives won't fit in the panel and you have to have new bits or a new panel redesigned?
Good grief, what would one do in areas of the world where one is unable to communicate on any frequency due to range or terrain? It's almost too scary a situation to think of.
There's a time and place for radio contact. There are numerous times and places where it's not needed. You may feel comfort in wasting time and effort in trying to get a non-existent basic service in these areas but I would rather focus my efforts on the A and N bit of "aviate, navigate, communicate". If I'm flying in a busy part of the UK or in an area where a service from ATC will help me, then that is a different story.
One rule does not fit all.
The original question.. No, I wouldn't have flown if radio was mandatory at that airfield.
In the OPs example I'd have sorted the comms before departing.
I love the times I take to the sky and simply enjoy being up there. Bimbling. Radio off....unless the battery has run out or I've left it at home. Basic service a totally unnecessary distraction. The gliders, the paramotors and the birds at the levels I like to inhabit may be squawking but most unlikely to be on the radio.
Guess that makes me a menace; I can live with that.
Not sure how a radio would help me in fog, an AI might do me more good, but not got one of those either for bimbling.
Horses for courses.
Imagine what you might try if you thought you could not fail...
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