Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

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By Fellsteruk
#1780370
Hi all

I know practice is key but given real RT is tricky now not being flying any ideas how to help me master RT?

I’m pretty naff, I think it’s mostly due to cognitive overload when flying my mind goes to mush but there must be a way to get more confidence?
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By David Wood
#1780520
Fundamentally it's about practise. Despite the fact that most of us are reasonably comfortable with the concept of talking into a telephone it's amazing how nervous intelligent, articulate people often get when presented with a radio mic. I think it's mainly around not knowing who's listening and the consequent fear of being thought of as a fool - which has a lot to do with the (wrong) assumption that everyone listening is somehow an expert.

There are a number of things that you might want to remember:

Firstly, like getting frustrated about learner drivers on the road, remember that we were all learners once. So, whilst you might get the odd smart alec who'll roll his eyes if you stumble over the words, most pilots and controllers will recognise that you're doing your best, you're learning, and you're going to get things wrong from time to time. Anyone who doesn't just needs to get over it. Practise, get it wrong; practise, get it better; practise, get it right.

Secondly, don't be frightened of ATC (in the broadest sense of the term: air/ground, information or full ATC). They too had to start somewhere. They do the RT thing for a living and they still often make mistakes. No-one is perfect.

Thirdly, the core requirement of communications is that you communicate. In other words, it matters less exactly how you say something than that you do so clearly and without waffling. There is of course a correct way of saying most things on the radio, but almost no-one complies 100% of the time with every dot and comma of CAP413 (the bible of RT). Yet the world keeps turning. So don't get too wrapped around the axle of perfection; just make sure that you are clear, brief and unambiguous.

Finally, less to do with comms, but more to do with staying alive, remember the acronym FFFFA: First and Foremost Fly the Frickin' Aeroplane. As a pilot that is your absolute priority and it trumps everything else, all the time. It especially trumps the urge to talk on the radio. So if you are too busy to talk, or to listen, or to work out what to say, then ignore the radio and fly the aeroplane. Once you are safe (at a safe attitude, safe altitute and safe airspeed) then settle down and use the radio. You'd be amazed how many pilots get that prioritisation the wrong way round, and some of them die as a result.

All of that boils down to Practise, Practise, Practise.....
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By Rob P
#1780531
The most helpful thing I iearned from an ATCO was when he said

"All I need is who you are, where you are and what you want, just get that across, ideally in that order"

And it really works. As soon as you think "Who am I?" it's almost a reflex to start "G-ABCD is a PA 28 - Heathrow to Fenland"

"Where am I?" (assuming I know) Overhead Lerwick at two thousand feet

"What do I want?" Requesting traffic service.

There you go. Not pure CAP413, But close enough to get by.

Rob P
Last edited by Rob P on Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By T6Harvard
#1780532
I noticed today that higherplane.co.uk, Irv Lee, is offering a RT course online at a very reasonable price for about 5 hours teaching.

I know he posts on flyer, in fact that is probably how I came across his website. I've got his 'Pre-Preflight checklist' which is very useful indeed. Covers tonnes of stuff in a brief run through that makes a great aide memoir.

I am at a very early stage of learning so I have made 'flash cards' for some definitions and rules. Many of the basics are in Irv's checklist and I liked his page on what to consider / gather together before you leave the clubhouse.

What interested me with the RT course was the basic pre-reading that seems to be provided, as i am very new to this, and the hour slot followed by a break to allow for better concentration during second slot after consolidation.

Re practising - You are so right, FellsterUK, practice is obviously a must but I feel a bit of a plonker practising to myself at home. Is part of the problem IRL that we lack the confident voice?! If you say it like you know it off pat, you sort of gain a little right there and then. Ironically, I am not phrasing this well.....

I was also told a top tip that just listening to ATC a lot helps to inculcate the correct order, phrases and style. I used Liveatc.net. Obviously you cannot listen to UK on there and the US controllers are far, far too quick for me, but I found some really good controllers in Europe and enjoyed listening. It feels so much more familiar after a while.
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By Rob P
#1780534
Practice when you are in the car alone

"G-ABCD is a Ford Mondeo, home to the shopping mall, currently on the bypass at zero feet, request traffic service."

Rob P
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By T6Harvard
#1780536
Rob P wrote:Practice when you are in the car alone

"G-ABCD is a Ford Mondeo, home to the shopping mall, currently on the bypass at zero feet, request traffic service."

Rob P


Aw, Bob, do you mean I have to drive from home to the US ('Mall'l? Round here we go to Aldi just before payday, or W8rose just after :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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By Rob P
#1780540
Arndale Centre can substitute for Shopping Mall :lol:

Rob P
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By Irv Lee
#1780564
Rob P wrote:Practice when you are in the car alone

"G-ABCD is a Ford Mondeo, home to the shopping mall, currently on the bypass at zero feet, request traffic service."
Rob P

Visually Following Roads or Instinctively Following Roads?
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By matthew_w100
#1780612
I used to read out car number plates in phonetic alphabet. And then later in morse.

"Where am I" is usually the hardest bit. By the time you've practised the message three times in your head, waited for a quiet spot on the radio, and plucked up the courage to press the "transmit" button you're three miles further on. So don't make it too precise, and be ready to add "just passed... at the beginning.
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By townleyc
#1780618
Seriously, I would mentally plan a flight, then talk myself through calls and responses through the flight.

I still do occasionally in bed if I cannot sleep - usually works!


KE
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By dc3guy
#1780634
I did type up the entire comms of a quick cross country flight and tried to memorise beforehand. And although it was good grounding I don’t think I’ve ever had a flight that’s matched it! Something always comes up on the radio that surprises or confuses a student. The WHO, WHERE, WHAT rule described above is probably the most useful for me personally as you use that a great deal.

I’ve also got in to the habit of asking after engine shutdown for my instructor to explain certain comms events in layman’s terms.

“You know when we we’re at *point A* and air traffic said something I couldn’t understand - can we go through that?”

Or “when you took over with comms, what went wrong?”

Hopefully your instructor will enjoy going through a quick debrief.

And then it’s about Practice Practice Practice - I’m still learning and don’t reply if I don’t know how to. Once you realise air traffic controllers are just humans that understand students need to learn it becomes less daunting.

It may seem like a totally different language but the more you get up there the clearer everything becomes! :thumleft:
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By Paul_Sengupta
#1780645
Rob P wrote:"All I need is who you are, where you are and what you want, just get that across, ideally in that order"


I have issues but I'll bear with you for a moment...

Rob P wrote:As soon as you think "Who am I?" it's almost a reflex to start "G-ABCD is a PA 28 - Heathrow to Fenland"


Right, but you've contradicted yourself at the first hurdle here, by giving additional information, i.e. from where to where.

The Who you are, Where you are, What you want is more for approaching aerodromes. "G-GG is a Bulldog, 7 miles to the south, inbound for landing."

For everything else, there's "Who you are, from where to where, where you are, what you want." which is what you've given. It all then follows that same format.

"G-GG is a Bulldog, from Bourne Park to Sandown, currently two miles south west of Popham, request zone transit and basic service."

As above, where you are can be challenging if all you are over are a load of fields. Speaking personally, sometimes I wait to call up until I'm approaching an identifiable town! :clown:
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By Rob P
#1780655
There's nothing wrong with what you are saying Paul, The above was a simple snapshot example of contacting a unit for a traffic service.

It wasn't an attempt to paraphrase CAP413 in its entirety

Where to where is always useful as it gives an indication of your likely direction of travel relative to the unit you are contacting.

Rob P
Last edited by Rob P on Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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