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.
I would also like to suggest that it would also make other pilots on the frequency aware of your status and make allowances for it eg: Not crowding you on final approach, expecting you to do the unexpected, etc.
As a PPL student, I was curious to find out what a Tower or Radar controller would do/say differently if I introduced myself on the frequency as 'student G-ABCD'.
As a radar controller (well any controller I guess!) it highlights straight away that you are a PPL student with low hours and therefore may need a little extra care and attention. For example, giving information a bit slower over the RT, not asking you to do things that you may not have come across before and generally keeping an eye on you to make sure you are okay.
I've found on busy LARS days that it really helps, but to be honest, most the time students are very good - in fact better than some people flying around with a licence...
On initial contact with an ATSU, student pilots, who do not yet hold a licence and are flying solo as part of their training, will prefix the aircraft callsign with “Student”. Once acknowledged it should normally not be necessary for student pilots to use the prefix in subsequent transmissions until making subsequent contact with another ATSU.
Student pilots may also re-iterate “Student” on the RTF if they feel they are being instructed to do something with which they are unfamiliar.
It should be noted that, although this prefix is primarily intended for use by ab initio students, the prefix will also be used in other circumstances where, for example, the holder of a valid licence is returning to flying after a significant absence and is undergoing renewal training.
ATS personnel shall acknowledge the initial call, as in the example above, using the “Student” prefix and should make due allowance for the limited experience and ability of student pilots in determining the pace and complexity of information and/or instructions delivered by RTF.
Taken from the manual of air traffic services, I'm sure your instructor will inform you prior to going solo but you should use the prefix.
the prefix will also be used in other circumstances where, for example, the holder of a valid licence is returning to flying after a significant absence and is undergoing renewal training.
The PPL / integrated course is the only training that involves supervised solo flying. Everything else is 100% dual training. Therefore, the prefix "student" should only be used for solo students on a PPL / integrated course. In all other cases the student will either be accompanied by an instructor or hold a licence.
Licence holders may be rusty however, the prefix student is not designed to warn people that the pilot may not be 100% capable of completing the flight safely.
It is designed to let ATC know that it is a student who lacks experience (not skill) and should not be given "unusual clearances" eg orbit on final which they may not have the experience to refuse.
If people other than solo students on the PPL / integrated course use the prefix then the benefits will be diluted.
On initial contact with ATC use the callsign Student GABCD, all subsequent transmissions with that unit you can drop the student bit....a good idea and makes us ATC folk aware that you maybe a wee bit nervous and to slow things down and maybe not give you too much info in the one transmission.
I know a lot of the students flying out of Cumbernauld indeed use it whilst talking to myself at Scottish Info and it does indeed make me more aware and I therefore try to make life as easy as possible for the student involved
When i hear student as a prefix, basically i would not expect/ ask them to do anything unusual/out of the ordinary. Being such a small airfield if something was needed that i was not sure if they had done before i would contact the instructor, check with them and then fully brief the student. Any sort of wobble in their voice or doubt in my mind then i just keep eveything standard. 99.99 times all the pilots in the circuit or joining/departing understand whats going on and make any adjustments as required.