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Phil Perry

Sloppy Air Radio Operators.

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Posted (edited)

After reading the thread wrt to Roger, and Ayfirm, I am minded to comment on the terrible state of radio operation in the UK.

 

Being a volunteer Air / Ground radio operator, I hear some very poor procedures from visiting pilots to our small provincial private airfield site.

 

Microlight flying has traditionally been Low cost aviation for the working man / woman,. . but I can't understand why the training of pilots doesn't appears to have extended to Good practice on VHF radio. This appears to extend also to operators of General aviation aircraft, who, it seems tend to use their own 'Pet' operating procedures either from poor training in the first instance, OR what they do at their own base.

 

The whole ethos of Air to ground communications needs to be common to the whole country, and not 'Pick 'N' Mix' phraseology which is confusing and sometimes downright dangerous.

 

The CA produced a Radiotelephony Manual CAP 413 FOR A VERY LONG TIME, since then it has remained '413' but is now administered by a Govt. Qango called 'OFCOM' and NOT the CAA. . .But it is basically the same manual, wth a few niggling updates, BUT it applies to everyone flying within the UK F.I.R.

 

All Pilot radio courses are based upon this publication. So Why, I ask myself are there so many rubbish operators up there ? ALSO THOSE WHO HAVE ABSOLUTELY No idea what they are doing.

 

The first indication I have of a poor operator is when they call our airfield for information but only announce Half of their callsign. The UK uses Four letter callsigns which are the registration of the rcraft, preceded by the letter 'G' So that, when a pilot communicates wth us, he should use 1) the station he is calling, 2) his FULL callsign, and estimated arrival and 3) WHAT HE WANTS OF US., IE, AIRFIELD INFORMATION.

 

This rarely happens. I usually get "Erm ah, this is Golf Charlie delta, what runway are you on ? ? ? I dunno if he's calling us or not ! ! ! as we use a Unicom frequency. . .No idea what direction he s approaching from,. . .no idea of aircraft type. . . no Idea of whether he wants to land, or overfly. . . .No ide of he's actually calling US. . .

 

I think I am becoming a miserable git with a sense of humour failure.

 

'Charlie Delta', by the way, . . .was an aircraft worth around seventy five grand . . .and the trainee pilot was on his second solo cross country navex + outlanding. . . .Feck knows who his instructor was. . . the aircraft was fitted with Sky Demon moving map Nav, had a Mode S txpdr and added ADSB. . .all the bells and whistles but a pilot who was not trained in reasonable comms practice. . .

Edited by Phil Perry

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After reading the thread wrt to Roger, and Ayfirm, I am minded to comment on the terrible state of radio operation in the UK.

 

Being a volunteer Air / Ground radio operator, I hear some very poor procedures from visiting pilots to our small provincial private airfield site.

 

Microlight flying has traditionally been Low cost aviation for the working man / woman,. . but I can't understand why the training of pilots doesn't appears to have extended to Good practice on VHF radio. This appears to extend also to operators of General aviation aircraft, who, it seems tend to use their own 'Pet' operating procedures either from poor training in the first instance, OR what they do at their own base.

 

The whole ethos of Air to ground communications needs to be common to the whole country, and not 'Pick 'N' Mix' phraseology which is confusing and sometimes downright dangerous.

 

The CA produced a Radiotelephony Manual CAP 413 FOR A VERY LONG TIME, since then it has remained '413' but is now administered by a Govt. Qango called 'OFCOM' and NOT the CAA. . .But it is basically the same manual, wth a few niggling updates, BUT it applies to everyone flying within the UK F.I.R.

 

All Pilot radio courses are based upon this publication. So Why, I ask myself are there so many rubbish operators up there ? ALSO THOSE WHO HAVE ABSOLUTELY No idea what they are doing.

 

The first indication I have of a poor operator is when they call our airfield for information but only announce Half of their callsign. The UK uses Four letter callsigns which are the registration of the rcraft, preceded by the letter 'G' So that, when a pilot communicates wth us, he should use 1) the station he is calling, 2) his FULL callsign, and estimated arrival and 3) WHAT HE WANTS OF US., IE, AIRFIELD INFORMATION.

 

This rarely happens. I usually get "Erm ah, this is Golf Charlie delta, what runway are you on ? ? ? I dunno if he's calling us or not ! ! ! as we use a Unicom frequency. . .No idea what direction he s approaching from,. . .no idea of aircraft type. . . no Idea of whether he wants to land, or overfly. . . .No ide of he's actually calling US. . .

 

I think I am becoming a miserable git with a sense of humour failure.

 

'Charlie Delta', by the way, . . .was an aircraft worth around seventy five grand . . .and the trainee pilot was on his second solo cross country navex + outlanding. . . .Feck knows who his instructor was. . . the aircraft was fitted with Sky Demon moving map Nav, had a Mode S txpdr and added ADSB. . .all the bells and whistles but a pilot who was not trained in reasonable comms practice. . .

If you have read any of my posts you will know that or radio procedures are my favourite gripe!

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Callsign abbreviation is a Top Gripe, . . . The current convention is that it's OK to shorten your callsign to just 'Golf' plus the two last letters BUT ONLY IF ATC DOES IT FIRST. ATC never do this at an airfield within controlled airspace, but some Flight Information Service operated provincial fields regularly Do.

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Your response:

"I'm not on the runway. I'm sitting beside a radio set trying to help people."

 

It's tempting, but I try not to take the pi$$ out of them, as it makes us Both look bad !

 

I DID point out to one visitor whose abbreviated callsign ended in 'Charlie Tango', that we already had Another visiting Charlie Tango here. . . and to Please not confuse an old fella on the wireless. . .

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My particular gripe is the student commercial pilots from down the road who give incredibly long position reports with intentions as they fly overhead at 5000+ totally over-transmitting aircraft in the circuit.

 

I also have a sneaking suspicion their radio calls are written out for them prior to departure because a question directed to them invariably receives no answer or a confused “errrh”.

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@Phil Perry - I hear ya! Most GA VFR radiotelephone is simple.. but in m,y check ride to let me get the keys to the new part-owned steed, the decorated ex-RAF PILOT/instructor used very sloppy radio comms - though not as bad as you described... over ‘ere, it is becoming endemic
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I think it is acceptable for ATC to give you a temporary call sign to use rather than your correct sign if there is other traffic which has a very similar sounding call. That used to be written into the book of words, but may have gone by now. It is rather like being assigned a transponder code.

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Posted (edited)
[quote name='Jerry_Atrick'] @Phil Perry - I hear ya! Most GA VFR radiotelephone is simple.. but in m,y check ride to let me get the keys to the new part-owned steed, the decorated ex-RAF PILOT/instructor used very sloppy radio comms - though not as bad as you described... over ‘ere, it is becoming endemic [/QUOTE] I listen to Military comms on UHF, but their procedures appear very different to ours Jerry,. . . Maybe they have to speak in 'Tongues' for security purposes. . .The Yanks operating from Lakenheath / Mildenhall are a real Giggle though . . . [I]'POPEYE WUN FOUR . . . WUN THREE - I GOT YOUR SIX '[/I] Mind you, some of the RAF callsigns which come up on Flightradar 24 are equally amusing. . . I heard some hilarious Banter on Heathrow tower recently . . . with phrases like 'Midkand 174 [B]'COME ON DOWN'[/B] ( What happened to 'Clear To Land' is anyone's guess. . .I don't suppose it's ilegal and it lightens the mood a little when a long string of aircraft are queueing in FA for the same runway. . . A Lovely sounding German Lady pilot said, "LH 414 Cargo, ( Lufthansa Airbus 340 ) , [I][B]'Can I come on down too please ? [/B][/I] Priceless. I admit to committing 'BANTER' occasionally, if appropriate to the situation.
Edited by Guest
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I think it is acceptable for ATC to give you a temporary call sign to use rather than your correct sign if there is other traffic which has a very similar sounding call. That used to be written into the book of words, but may have gone by now. It is rather like being assigned a transponder code.

 

We have two aircraft on our site which use military callsigns, one is is an Aeronca L6 which flew on D-Day, and the only one of the type flying. The other is the Manager's SE5A 7/8ths replica which uses CS3011. This is allowed in certain circumstances.

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I've even used the Authorising Companys dedicated flight number on some International Flights when chartered to do them. Nev

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Posted (edited)

When I wore a younger man's flying suit,. . .I often fantasised using the callsign 'Kittyhawk ONE' Though in what circumstance I couldn't realistically imagine. . .

 

When I was in the Air Cadets, our squadron did an Honour Guard for the Royals, where Prince Philip spoke to the guy standing right next to me, and Her Maj. strolled past so close that I could whiff her perfume. . .

 

Ahhh I remember it well. . .RAF Stafford, 1963,. . ( Stafford was an RAF Base without a runway, so they had to land n the parade ground, and blew a the bins over along with some of our hats with the Westland Whirlwind's rotor downwash. . ) ).Prince Phil had flown the helicopter in himself, and blew some of our berets off in the process. . .BUT I had only just got my 'A' certificate at Gliding, and I'm sure that HMQ would Not have wished to sit in the back of a Glider with me back then. . ( sobs )

Edited by Phil Perry

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Posted (edited)
[quote name='Jerry_Atrick'] @Phil Perry - I hear ya! Most GA VFR radiotelephone is simple.. but in m,y check ride to let me get the keys to the new part-owned steed, the decorated ex-RAF PILOT/instructor used very sloppy radio comms - though not as bad as you described... over ‘ere, it is becoming endemic [/QUOTE] I was most impressed watching Scott Henderson and his Lovely Wife / Navigator doing his 'Flying Around' videos, and the way that they used the station called, at the Beginning and the end of the transmissions leaving no doubt who they were calling, although most of the places they visited in the NT don't seem to have a radio base it certainly helps the RFDS, RPT and all other traffic if they know where you are and your intentions.. . .I don't know why we don't adopt that in the UK, especially when using 129.830 UK wide Unicom for small airfields. But for the first time in history, The authorities have allowed us a 'CHAT' channel. . 129.835,. . .where we can LEGALLY speak aircraft to aircraft. This has always been a NONO in the UK,. . because it would have been useful, and that Isn't what Gubmint wants,. . they like to make things as difficult as possible, but that,. . .is another story ! Now, formatons can communicate between aircraft, which improves safety, and doesn't tie up Air Ground frequencies the way it has done for ages. . .
Edited by Phil Perry

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Our chat channel is 123.45 for old codgers like me who can't remember the frequency of the chat channel.

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Which reminds me the frequency where I trained was 122.1 and 50 years later I have been known to set it by mistake at my home field.

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So, where does the Multicom 126.7 channel fit in all of this?

 

Cheers,

 

Jack.

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Multicom is for anywhere without a CTAF, using the same procedures as CTAF. Chat frequency is for talking crap to your mates, usually when flying on a trip together.

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Posted (edited)

Multicom is for anywhere without a CTAF, using the same procedures as CTAF. Chat frequency is for talking crap to your mates, usually when flying on a trip together.

 

So IF you were flying by yourself somewhere sparsely populated it would pay to make an occasional blind call notifying your position on the Multicom channel?

 

Cheers,

 

Jack.

Edited by Guest

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As I understand it 126.7 is used on the same basis as CTAF, calling 10 miles inbound and other position reports, no need otherwise. Parachute and glider ops will usually have an allocated frequency. Otherwise it is see and avoid.

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Posted (edited)

Our chat channel is 123.45 for old codgers like me who can't remember the frequency of the chat channel.

 

We have been Illegally using 123.45 for three decades, for inter aircraft chat with no callsigns used, as this freq was actually a'Buffe'Channel' in the band and not issued to anyone in particular. . . The Oil Rig Helicopter operators in the North Sea used it for a short time but then gave it up due to the QRM from pilots discussing curries and home improvements . ..

 

So it is nice that the Civil Serpents have decided to allow a free channel for use between flying machines, as this will be Good,. . .as long as pilots don't use it to discuss what type of curry they had last night,. . .

Edited by Phil Perry

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Phil I think you are being a bit unfair. Here are two stories that show pilots MUST be allowed to discuss good curry:

 

On 13 January 2018, a Diamond DA42 aircraft operated by Iroise Aéro Formation, departed from Brest Airport for LeeOn-Solent Airfield in the south of the UK. Once there, it was filled to the brim with Indian Takeaway food, which was then flown to Bordeaux Saucats Airfield, located in the heart of the Pessac-Léognan wine region. Local curry lovers enjoyed an evening of curry, beer, and good company.

 

QANTAS pilots aren’t allowed to eat the same meal in case they get food poisoning, and they often fight over the green chicken curry. Maybe it’s because humans lose up to 30 per cent of their taste and smell in the air, or maybe it’s because Qantas’ first-class recipe is genuinely delicious.

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It's been a general rule for crews to eat different meals in flight and if possible before and avoiding chicken, sushi raw fish etc since at least the mid 80's. Never heard of the loss of smell or taste (usually associated).. The cabin alt is usually not above 8,000 ft but it might have had something to do with spraying insecticide down the rows just before landing on International flights. They smell in the air because the flights are so long and they are nervous and scared You can smell fear.. Nev

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One thing I have noticed watching YouTube is pilots can be talking to their co pilot in a normal and completly understandable way until they press the ptt, then they use their cool pilot voice. They may as well be speaking a foreign language, if I can't completly follow in quite house what hope has a newer pilot got in a less than perfect aircraft. It has made me more aware when transmitting.

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You ARE encouraged to speak slower and use standard phraseology and not be verbose. That helps prevent confusion. which seems to elude the inventive cool dude cowboy , topgun image people.. The other issue is not knowing where they are when asked. Think and listen before you press the PPT button., and press it before you start speaking. Nev

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Another example of my favourite gripe. Sitting watching gliders this afternoon at YWCK Warwick. Glider tug called final for 27, Cherokee 6 called turning final for 27 but was actually final for 09. Tug pilot queried and Cherokee pilot said Oh, sorry I am on 09, but went ahead and landed anyway. Tug pilot orbited until runway was clear and landed. So potential catastrophe avoided, don’t understand this, check compass and also the bloody big number painted on the runway. Slightly different, but same place, same time. A departing Baron asked where the gliders were, tug pilot (I think!) said “ six gliders in the air within probably four miles of the airfield and probably between four and six thousand feet but I don’t know where” That is why I don’t like flying when there are gliders in the air, they ar white, skinny and bloody near invisible and could be anywhere. Fortunately, being retired I am not restricted to weekend flying!

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