ATC IssuesA place where pilots may enter the 'lions den' that is Air Traffic Control in complete safety and find out the answers to all those obscure topics which you always wanted to know the answer to but were afraid to ask.
When asked by ATC "XXX Squawk Ident", do you need to reply to the transmission or just press the Squawk button because ATC will know on their screen if you are identing? I know both happen in the air, was wondering what ATC is expecting and if there is any requirement to read that back (and I am not referring to a busy frequency situation where it may be good RT courtesy to refrain from replying). Thx
I cannot think of many situations, if any, where it would be good R/T procedure not to reply, except when the other party has finished the conversation. If I asked someone to squawk ident I certainly wanted a response to be sure that aircraft had received the instruction. How about:
I don't mind either way. If I tell an aircraft to squawk ident and then I see him identing, thats good enough for me. With frequency congestion the way it is these days, one less call suits me fine. Although I am partial to the american C-130's response of "Flash with the flash". (for those not dealing with the yanks, the callsign of a lot of the hercs is FLASH).
I think the pilot should reply in some manner. It takes several seconds for the ident to appear on a processed display, especially when using SSR from a remote source, so it reassures the controller that you have initiated an ident, so he/she should wait for it, otherwise controllers might ask again only for it to appear as they ask!
18.104.22.168.1 The flight crew shall read back to the air traffic controller safety-related parts of ATC clearances and instructions which are transmitted by voice. The following items shall always be read back:
a) ATC route clearances;
b) clearances and instructions to enter, land on, take off from, hold short of, cross, taxi and backtrack on any runway; and
c) runway-in-use, altimeter settings, SSR codes, level instructions, heading and speed instructions and, whether issued by the controller or contained in automatic terminal information service (ATIS) broadcasts, transition levels.
So it doesn't really say that a read-back of SQUAWK IDENT is mandatory, but I would say it would be good airmanship to do so (WILCO). What if the wrong aircraft starts squawking ident and the ATCO misidentify the wrong aircraft, not so good eh?
Unless you use this rule:
ICAO PANS-ATM Doc. 4444, Chapter 12
22.214.171.124 TO REQUEST THE OPERATION OF THE IDENT FEATURE
a) SQUAWK [(code)] [AND] IDENT;
e.g SQUAWK 1234 IDENT, read-back required reference c) above
Dr. E, you highlight a good point. There are things that happen or are good to do but ICAO doesn't specify it in SARPs or PANS. Does that mean we shouldn't do it?
Maybe that's why the UK has gone further than ICAO. The UK's CAP 413 says
The ATS messages listed below are to be read back in full by the pilot/driver. If a readback is not received the pilot/driver will be asked to do so. Similarly, the pilot/driver is expected to request that instructions are repeated or clarified if any are not fully understood. Taxi/Towing Instructions Level Instructions Heading Instructions Speed Instructions Airways or Route Clearances Approach Clearances Runway-in-Use Clearance to Enter, Land On, Take-Off On, Backtrack, Cross, or Hold Short of any Active Runway SSR Operating Instructions Altimeter Settings VDF Information Frequency Changes Type of Radar Service Transition Levels
Now maybe it's undesirable to deviate from ICAO but in something like this I'm 100% behind the way the UK has gone and expanded the ICAO words. Perhaps you don't completely agree with the UK rules but if they are followed within the UK there will be fewer misunderstandings.