TopCat wrote:I just get the sense that IRL, the listening squawk is a bit of a chocolate teapot from the pilot's point of view. So having it pushed as something genuinely useful is counterproductive, and we'd be better off with more clarity.
My personal ranking as a pilot, from worst to best:
- Nordo: Nice quiet cockpit, but any infringement is likely to be dealt with severely due to perceived poor airmanship (especially if radio equipped)
- Basic (Chocolate Teapot) Service: Lots of radio chatter and some radio work causing constant distraction for no real benefit, and possibly increasing the likelihood of infringing as a result. Very unlikely (IME) to pre-emptively warn of an infringement, but will help you after you infringe. You gain a more favourable viewing by the Powers That Be for displaying some airmanship.
- Listening Squawk with Mode C: Not much radio chatter. Will not warn you about an infringement before it happens. Will try to help you after you infringe, but will have to call you by location not callsign, hence more need to pay attention! May reduce the severity of the infringement, and seen as a sign of good airmanship by the Powers That Be.
- Listening Squawk with Mode S for a LARS sector: Lots of radio distraction, mainly from other pilots asking for a BS. Might warn you about an infringement before it happens - about the same chance as a BS. Will call you by callsign and help you after you infringe, and you gain a favourable viewing by the Powers That Be.
- Traffic Service: Huge amount of radio workload - technically at every turning point, and before changing height. Might warn you about an infringement before it happens - maybe just slightly more chance as a BS, not still not very high in my experience. Will help you after you infringe, and you gain a favourable viewing by the Powers That Be.
- Listening Squawk with Mode S for the airspace you might infringe: Not much radio chatter, and you will not be warned that you are about to infringe. You will be called very quickly and by callsign to help you if you do infringe, and you gain a favourable viewing by the Powers That Be.
At the risk of putting words into a controller's mouth, my guess
is that ATC would probably order them 1-3-4-6-2-5, not least because of the difficulty of making contact with a squawk-no-talk pilot who also forgets to listen.
Note also that "Listening Squawk" is more correctly referred to as an FMC (Frequency Monitoring Code) these days - they are exactly the same thing, but it seems to cause confusion with some of the pilots I fly with.
Of course, a whole load of the accidental infringement "problem" would go away if we didn't insist on splitting the UK air traffic system across different, competing controllers operating on the two sides of an imaginary line drawn on a chart with no "grey" area between them.