View Full Version : Santa Maria HF c alling for REECH-1005

26th Dec 2004, 10:49
Hi Guys,

On December the 21th I flew from Amsterdam to the Dominican Rep.
In contact with Santa Maria HF I was asked by ATC to call REECH-1005, because he was too late with reporting for about an hour!
All a/c in the SXM area were asked to call this 1005 on guard and 123,45.
Does anybody know how this was ended?
Merry X-mas!

Skylark3 :ok:

26th Dec 2004, 10:57
C/S REACH 1005 - USAF Transport/Military charter callsign. Not surprised to hear his, their R/T is appalling.

Bear in mind they may well be on a 3 pilot 26 hr day!!!

26th Dec 2004, 13:06
Not surprised either, these guys never seem to know where they are coming from or going to! RT is dangerously bad, scary to think they are US military. Have heard ATC calling them repeatedly on many occasions.

26th Dec 2004, 13:17
Reach is the callsign for USAF Air Mobility Command and their civilian contrators. It wouldn't surprise me if it was a Southern Air or Kallita, as they have a lot of new pilots who have never made a crossing before going to work there.

Not a slam or a flame on Southern or Kallita pilots, in general because I wouldn't completely rule out the USAF or Atlas.

26th Dec 2004, 17:33
Apalling is an understatement.

Flying over Turkish airspace all frequencies are filled with US military aircraft that have no clue about ICAO RT procedures or phraseology. One is hard pressed to get a call in as the yapping is constant.
To make things worse are the air to air refuelling operations that are done on a low altitude and there seems to be a problem hearing what Ankara is saying.

Most culprits are actually military and not contractors...


Semaphore Sam
26th Dec 2004, 18:22
When I flew these trips (in what was then MAC) we were controlled by discrete radio entities across the N. Atlantic and Pacific...as I remember, Loring, Lajes, and a few others that now slip my mind. When did this stop, and these flights start calling Santa Maria, Prestwick, etc, directly? I also remember that we had no selcal; we were 'expected' to spend 7 hours listening watch on HF. This was 'done' by turning the volume way down until a scheduled call was necessary; unless reception was unusually good, you'd be hard pressed to hear these calls. Had we not turned down the volume, none of us would ever pass an FAA hearing test today. Possibly same problem 30+ years later, that is, USAF too cheap to install selcals? Anyone remember "SkyKing SkyKing, this is Fuchu Fuchu, do not answer do not answer break-break....etc"?

26th Dec 2004, 18:37
I remember the same thing, I retired off the C-141B in 1993.
To my understanding the replacement for the C141 the C-17 had no selcal either.
The military expected you to go deaf listening for these calls on crossings.
Every medical your hearing test were worse, this plus the normal noise.
As far as ATC and the Military I doubt they were wrong.
I bet if you check your Notams you will find that A/R was scheduled at certain alltitudes in this area.
I would blame Turkish ATC not the military.
Their English is not as good as you would expect.
But then again neither is my Turkish.
Since I have a home there now I am trying to improve my Turkish.
They think their English is perfect.
Go figure.

26th Dec 2004, 20:58
Turk controllers...I don't know which has the poorest English, Turks or Thais.

26th Dec 2004, 21:31
Turk controllers...I don't know which has the poorest English, Turks or Thais.

both better than the USAF in my experience!!

The Sandman
26th Dec 2004, 21:53
Well Moggs I'd guess that just about sez it all for your experience".

Norman Stanley Fletcher
27th Dec 2004, 00:55
We live in a period when it has become fashionable to knock virtually every aspect of American existence. Fuelled by such dismal organisations as the BBC, we get a staple diet of anti-American propaganda and gradually we join the 'in crowd' of regailing our friends with tales of American ineptitude and foolishness. Half truths, sweeping generalisations, and comparing the worst of them with the best of us all combine to give a very incomplete and inaccurate picture of reality. Before you know it, everyone is sharing their little anecdotes of how bad the Americans did this and that, and how great they themselves were in such and such a situation. A ready audience gleefully accepts it all as true and thereby confirms their deeply held prejudices and so it goes on.

This thread is a fine example of such foolishness in action and is sadly so predictable - "the yanks are all such dorks, the Europeans are just so fantastic at all they do, etc, etc...." A more balanced reflection, which needless to say will not happen, would lead people to realise that there are times when representatives of all nations do not perform as well as they should and other times when they exhibit a level of excellence most of us can only dream of.

Incidentally, I am British through and through and spent many years in the RAF listening to my colleagues saying how bad the yanks were at just about everything. Initially I believed all the propaganda myself, but over a period of time I came to realise that although not perfect the American record in aviation is simply incredible and one with which no other nation can compete - least of all anyone in Europe. It is only recently that the Europeans have started to compete on even terms in commercial aviation with the excellent work of Airbus. They are still many years behind America in virtually every other sphere of aviation.

I am not asking for everyone to bow at America's feet, but I am suggesting that the views expressed on this thread (and indeed many others) are imbalanced. In my mind the holders of these views have the same level of credibility that would be given to people who declare with absolute certainty that all blacks are stupid or all Frenchmen smell of garlic!

27th Dec 2004, 02:32
NSF--Thank you for that post.

Listen up guys, I'm an American who made his first Atlantic crossing in October.

I had never used HF or an INS before.

My R/T *was* horrible.

Today it's much better.

Just because you've been crossing the Atlantic and Turkey for 30 years doesn't mean everyone else has been as well.

Cut me a little slack, eh?


27th Dec 2004, 03:36
Zero Zero,
Hope they have updated those HF radios with Selcal.

27th Dec 2004, 04:33
I'm not military, I fly for a (sometimes) military contractor and we do have SelCal.

I can't imagine anything worse than constantly monitoring HF. What a nightmare.

27th Dec 2004, 08:25
"Listen up guys, I'm an American who made his first Atlantic crossing in October.

I had never used HF or an INS before."

Does your company / FTO teach you anything????

27th Dec 2004, 09:03
Well, I am an American, and I can say that Americans have horrible RT habits.

It's something that I harp on. I hear horrible slang being used, from both civil and military. I've even heard Naha Control go into a panic because a United used the words "going down" for reporting a descent.

Come on dorks. You think you sound cute, but you sound like asses to the rest of the world.

27th Dec 2004, 09:34

I don´t think many people make a big deal of bad RT if it´s your first atlantic crossing and things don´t come out fluently.

It´s the the constant use of slang by the so called ´more experienced´ pilots what annoys people and confuses controllers. Example: "Delta/United/AA 123, checking in at flight level three one oh."

Cultural sensitivity is not an America´s strongest point. :sad:

27th Dec 2004, 09:54
I asked a C5 driver who stopped off on at EGPK en-route to the Balkans a few years back about the SELCAL situation as they were never appended to H/F readbacks. Answer was that the aircraft were equipped but SOPs forbade their use, so as outlined in previous post, listening watch required. NIGHTMARE!

Most Ocean ATCOs aware of this will always try to raise a RCH c/s thats been out of touch for a while on VHF 'Guard' through the closest aircraft. 9 times out of 10 this solves the problem.


CarltonBrowne the FO
27th Dec 2004, 10:59
Having flown in both Europe and the US, I can suggest a possible explanation.
In Europe, there is the expectation that R/T is being carried out in a foreign language: English is not the native tongue for most Europeans. To alleviate this, a common phraseology has been adopted. This common phraseology has a small vocabulary, to keep it as simple as possible.
The US situation is different. As the majority (still around 80% I believe, although the number is decreasing) of world aviation happens within the US, most voices you hear on the R/T within US airspace are native speakers of English. There is not the same requirement for strict phrasing.
No one gets R/T right the first try, and Yank-bashing will not encourage visiting aircrew to learn...

27th Dec 2004, 11:07
Blah, Blah, Blah. What a bunch of whiners. SKYLark asked a question about a possible dire scenario. No-one has answered it, or even addressed it. Does anyone know anything about this original thread!!!

27th Dec 2004, 11:11
From my experience the general standard of radio work from aircraft with the Reech call sign is appalling. They fly around our neck of the woods regularly and they are stuffing things up all the time. Very few know how to give a standard position reports and subsequently centre has to chase them all the time. This is with VHF coms and in a country where English is spoken everywhere. I shudder to think how they handle flying around on HF in places where English is not the primary language.

For a group of people who fly all over the world their radio work does not inspire confidence that's for sure.

27th Dec 2004, 12:23
I am a British pilot and when I fly in/through the USA I change my RT to fit in with US rules and regulations as I have been taught by my airline and as is laid out in our North Atlantic brief.

Do US pilots flying in Europe afford us, not just the same curtesy, but legal requirement?

27th Dec 2004, 12:30
...for your contribution:

<<Does your company / FTO teach you anything????>>

They taught me a lot of things. If I blow a position report it's my fault, not my instructor's.

I'm sure your first one was perfect.

27th Dec 2004, 12:31
Hi fmgc,

Interesting, could you please give some examples of this R/T switch? Something on the line of "overshooting x going around"?



Lou Scannon
27th Dec 2004, 12:51
sfunny...but I can't remember hearing any complaints about the Eighth Army Air Force R/T when they started to cross the Atlantic to set up bases in the UK in 1943!

27th Dec 2004, 13:00
Well for example:

Appending "Heavy" to the call sign,
Rather than being xyz seven nine three four being xyz seventy nine thrity four, and
saying descending one six thousand rather then sixteen thousand.

27th Dec 2004, 13:14
Yes.. the "Heavy" suffix...
Thanks indeed..


27th Dec 2004, 13:46
I fly in the US all the time. Pretty amazing how it all works out when everyone speaks english of some sort. Last I checked that was an ICAO requirement also. Quit being so stuck up and anal retentive. You get irritated because someone says sixteen in stead of one six thousand?

I used to get all fired up when someone would say "Taking the active for takeoff" at uncontrolled fields. Where are you taking it, and who are you to decide what the active is? Then I realized that I was just being an obnoxiuos, stuck up anal retentive European. I grew up in Norway, came to the US when I was 18.

Anyway, you are not perfect, I am not perfect, life is to short to worry about totally irrelevant crap. Lighten up and try to get along.

Happy Festivus form a non-religous norseman living happily in the religiuos right cooky christians america.

27th Dec 2004, 15:10
Norman Stanley Fletcher

Well said !! Time out on knocking everything American - they are our friends and allies so for all those Know - It -Alls who NEVER made a mistake or were NEW to something just wind your necks in and give the guys a break!!

God Bless America !!

oh ! Yea and Queen Elisabeth II

Willit Run
27th Dec 2004, 15:17
what are you suggesting? There are tons of major airline guys who have never used an INS or HF radios. Alot of these folks come out of GEE whiz type airplanes that don't have the range to need an HF or they don't go places that require position reports. Many folks have used nothing more than VOR's and fancy FMS units. You can't fault them for that. We have had a lot of folks the past couple of years who were amazed at the antiquity that keeps planes crossing the ocean very reliably and accurately. It ain't difficult or rocket science. You have to remember that our country is rather large and many folks spend there entire career and never leave vhf coverage. Folks, lighten up a bit, we all had to do this the first time, and ain't no one born a captain as much as some of you want to believe that!

27th Dec 2004, 15:46
Never mind a bit of slang?

Whats the difference between "We are at take off" and "We are taking off"?

2 747's at Tenerife airport and some 400 lives. KLM made the call, a more or less direct translation from Dutch to English.

Standardised RT is vital, even more when we operate in non english evironments.


27th Dec 2004, 16:44
I realise we are diverging from the original thread here.

Hopefully, all is well with REACH 1005, and it was nothing more than a frequency change faff, and no harm was done.

It has, however, highlighted some interesting points on R/T standardisation. The Tenerife incident was also an exercise in terrible CRM, but it does highlight how non-standard phraseology can lead to deadly misunderstandings.

I regularly teach my copilots (sorry, mil speak!) that to be understood, drop all non-standard phrases, and try to use correct pro-words. If the ATCO has english as a second language, using slang words and phrases will just confuse, the same as it would if they did it in return.

As far as never crossing the pond, or using an INS before, for anybody holding an ATPL, or FAA equivalent, it is basic assumed knowledge. Does a company SOP not cover Atlantic Procedures? We are all professional pilots. If we are following new procedures in a different environment, a bit of route study/flight planning should be in order.

In this job where so many lives are at risk, not knowing relevant procedures is unacceptable.

Yes, we all make the odd mistake on the radios, but if there is any doubt, there is no doubt - don't asume, check! We have all heard people responding "Roger" to height/altitude clearances, and it scares the c**p out of me sometimes, especially when you have just heard the same guy mess up a call or two. Not everybody has TCAS, and IFF's can fail, so it is imperative to know where everyone is.

I agree, this has turned into a bit of Yank bashing, but it was not intended so. I guess that as they are the largest group out there, you just hear them more often.

Random Electron
27th Dec 2004, 17:05
One think that has not been mentioned (or at least, I could not spot it) is the case of a HF blackout.

I have been at 40 West flying East and it took me all the way to 30 West to re-establish a HF Link.

I think we eventually got Dakar to relay to Gander & Shanwick for us.

Reach 1005 just might have been in the same black hole.

Funny things, those pesky sun spots / solar flares!

Oh, and I agree too. If we continue to 'Yank bash' the way some people are doing, we could end up with the same reputation as the Australians with their 'Pom bashing'.

How about we give it a rest?

27th Dec 2004, 17:58
Some very valid points here, from both sides of the argument (political and aviation...hmmm).

Having flown the 777 with a US major back to familiar previous haunts, I have frequently intervened on behalf of the non-handler to sort out a radio [email protected] caused by non-standard verbiage and/or foreign accents. Arriving into Narita and CDG spring to mind.

Here's another point not yet mentioned about REACH traffic:

Due to the undermanning strains on the US military, a lot of the support flying is being done by Guard and Reservists, a lot of whom have irregular experience of overseas flying. Just a thought. Some of the radio work is being done by Navs (older transports), also with limited experience outside of Springfield or wherever.

Somebody else made the remark '...don't they teach you...?' ref. civilian ops. As I have pointed out on other threads, the emphatic answer is no ; the US carriers are cutting training to the bone under financial distress. International training is a lip-service skim-over of minimal content and zero understanding-checking. Many of my collegues are shocked when I tell them how involved route training is elsewhere in the world.

As an aside to the above, I think the Jep Manuals are way inferior to the Aerad En-route guides in terms of ease of use and readability. I've suggested to my carrier that they invest in a set for each 777, but to no avail.

The political overtones in many of the US related postings gets tiresome and obvious....write to Dubya instead of bleating here.

27th Dec 2004, 18:27
I first got into the North Atlantic more than 30 years ago. Before this event, my employer gave me the most thorough brief that I have ever had anywhere.

We even had to listen to actual recordings of American ATC recordings taken by our predecessors at such places as JFK and ORD so that we could get used to the "local language".

In those days, the entire IFR ATC clearance in the USA for the entire flight in every last detail had to be read back ABSOLUTELY VERBATUM. (In those days there were no SIDs or STARs).

Which reminds me of the BOAC "Atlantic Baron" who actually had the temerity to tell the JFK Controller that he had now demonstrated how quickly he could read the clearance so could he now kindly demonstrate how CLEARLY he could read the clearance!

Single Side Band was just being invented and SELCAL was many years over the horizon. We had to listen constantly to HF on AM but I would have to say that it was much less stressful maintaining a listening watch in the Atlantic than it was on HF east of Cairo!

Anyway, the first time I tackled the Atlantic I was a bit worried about getting the RT correct but I had been very well prepared so it was fine, thanks to my company training.

When I moved employers and joined GK, I discovered that they already used the North Atlantic section of my previous employer's Flight Planning Document as the best piece of information on the subject that existed.

Who produced this document?

The Royal Air Force.

27th Dec 2004, 19:07
it seems the military and airlines have common problems. When money is tight, training is cut to the bone, and then we amputate a limb, . . . until finally something gives.

The bottom line with R/T is the skipper. Whether the radios are being manned by the co/FO or a Nav, it is our responsibility as captains to ensure the procedures are correct. If the FO is new to HF's, then run through the call before he transmits.

If the captain has not got a grip of the procedures he needs, then IMHO he is not fit for command.

27th Dec 2004, 19:59
Anyone who has ever flown in the Atlantic will have a hundred stories to tell.

I have frequently been up as far as 72°N and have called "Sob Story" or "Sea Bass" on 122.1. These guys were on the Ice Cap for 9 months with no break.

I used to ask them if they would like to speak to one of the girls. Can you imagine the result!

The Manchester based girls were by far the best. They seemed to understand what 36 guys in a radar dome might be doing!

One day, we were talking to "Sob Story" and the controller asked me if I was going to LAX? "Indeed I am" said I. "Do me a favour and call my wife in Huntingdon Beach and tell her that I am OK and will be home in 29 days".

"No problem" says I, "Give me the phone number".

"XXX-XXX-XXXXX" said he.

Before I could even answer, an American voice came up and said, "Could you please run that number past me again"!

Now I am sure that this was meant as a joke, but if you were in Sob Story for 6 months, would you rather have a good British voice or what?

27th Dec 2004, 20:21
Where's "411A" when you need him?

And, we still don't know what happened to Reech 1005

27th Dec 2004, 21:11
Lou Scannon can't re-call any complaints about the 8th Army Air force R/T in 1943? I can! Try, "Where were you in '39?" "Is this a re-run of the 1917-1918 war?" I'm a 'Yank'o'phile' but come into the real world, Lou.

27th Dec 2004, 23:38
In all candor I have heard some hopelessly fast, slang-filled and long transmissions from US pilots in third world countries, particularly Central and South America.

"Ahhhh, Bogota, this is aaaaahh Trans Global Flight 555 Heavy, we got your Booze News and we'll be parking in corrosion corner over there on the cargo ramp, can you tell us where we stand in the batting rotation? Nice night tonight, ain't it...."

- instead of -

"Bogota Approach, Trans Global 555, information Whisky, Parking Cargo, request sequence."

28th Dec 2004, 00:37

You come from a great nation, but the standard of R/T from REACH callsigns IS appalling.

I think this is due to American (notably different to the Queens' English) being the only language in your airspace. This leads IMHO to lax phraseology, as all can understand most extraneous phrases.

28th Dec 2004, 09:31
Oh come on Huck, Trans Global was just being friendly :}

I would imagine an ATCO hearing something like that after a loooong day listening to standard phraseology should relieve some stress, or at least put a smile on the ATCO's face.
Robots are standard, humans not, but things should be measured by the surrounding circumstances.

Best Regards

28th Dec 2004, 13:16
The origional question appears to have been answered and Reach 1005 hopefully is OK. What does seem to have followed though is a general slagging.
There could have been a number of possible explanations for the missed check out of a frequency. Priorities in the a/c loss of communication due to range, equipment failure, emergency not neccesarily aviation related,and yes poor procedures as well
NSF's defence of the US is a lonely though very valid one, there are many segments of aviation communications nowhere near the US or US crews, worldwide that are not up to a uniformally high standard and it would be nice if they were better, but we use them fly with them and get on with it.
Some densely travelled areas demand a higher standard and the inexperienced do stand out accordingly when they venture there. I can think of a lot of Europen crews who don't normaly venture across the pond who might well be a little lost in the New York, Atlanta, Dallas, LA, areas. Different accents and local practices delivered at high speed can be confusing. Just because one is familiar with London Paris Rome ATC can start to be confusing down near Damascus, Cairo, Jeddah, Karachi, Bombay.
Those who worked for good companies that gave decent Atlantic crossing training were lucky, those who were thrown in at the deep end know how intimidating it could be and would have prefered to have had the opportunity.
The 'Queens English' gamekeeper is spoken by millions who live nowhere near the Sceptered Isle and whose accents differ quite radically, as do in fact millions who actually have that privilige! And I daresay that there may well be the odd professional or two!!! in Reach who might give you a run for your money. IMHO of course.

28th Dec 2004, 14:07
No slagging. Just happens every day over Turkey.


West Coast
28th Dec 2004, 17:47
The proper measure is not how many pilots are irrated by those damn Yanks and their non standard phraseology. Its how many incidents/accidents ahve occured. The way its played out by the Euros, US planes should be falling out of the sky. Simply not happening. That along with our far inferior pilot training in both the civilian and mil sectors, its amazing little johnny makes it to grandma's house on the airlines.
I always find it amazing to listen to the pompous arses here talk about US RT and then listen to Speedbird crossing the US and hear the same slang we are accused of. I guess the pack comes off when no other nigel can hear them.

28th Dec 2004, 18:49
I always find it amazing to listen to the pompous arses here talk about US RT and then listen to Speedbird crossing the US and hear the same slang we are accused of. I guess the pack comes off when no other nigel can hear them.

Not wishing to get into pointless point scoring but that is utter tosh. I have been flying under a Speedbird callsign in and out of the USA for nearly twenty years and have rarely met a colleague who doesn't stick pretty rigidly to standard phraseology.

28th Dec 2004, 20:31
I was fortunate to come up at an outfit which still had their Chief Navigator until 1997. We all learned a lot from him about flying in different parts of the world. He had originally retired as a C-46 Captain and stayed on after 60 as a nav. If a position report or any other R/T wasn’t standard or correct it was noted on our nav line checks. If truth be told I think I learned more by way of tribal knowledge than the FAA, my airline, or the military ever taught me. That’s why the Captain’s are the ultimate teachers. If all else fails watch “The Twilight Zone”, episode 54-“The Odyssey of Flight 33”. Best R/T at 30 west you’ll ever hear!:O

28th Dec 2004, 21:18
Was taught by my airline back in the 70's when I first started with a carrier that "No-one (outside of the cockpit) sees how you operate but a reputation of the carrier is formed by others by the correct use of R/T".

How often is the impression/judgement of an airline made or spoiled by one aircraft using poor R/T?

I insist that my F/O's use correct terminology and write the position report out longhand and read it if he/she is unfamiliar.

Good example of incorrect useage is on 126.9 in the dark regions:

Jepp and Aerad spell out the call as being prefixed by:

"All Stations (Spoken once) this is ........"

How often do we hear "All Stations, All Stations.....", or
"All Stations, Traffic Information....."


Wise words I thought.

West Coast
28th Dec 2004, 21:57
"rarely met a colleague who doesn't stick pretty rigidly to standard phraseology'

To who's phraseology? Talk here of adjusting to host country RT. As an example, rarely if ever do I hear a Speedbird heavy refer to themselves as Heavy despite US procedure to do so. Plenty of with you at 3-7-oh check ons. Plenty of "Roger" when it should require a read back. Plenty of verbose readbacks of simple things such as turn right/left heading xxx. The only reason I notice these things is because of the crap I read here. Otherwise they blend in with everyone else and our lousy RT. Must be some particular point crossing the pond Westbound when the ties loosen up a bit. Not just you, same for Virgin, Air France, etc.

28th Dec 2004, 22:46
Although I tend to agree that many ATC procedures and phraseologies in the US are lagging or lacking, I tend to agree with the "Heavy" suffix, as we have many light GA aircraft in the same airspace. With good SA, a light airplane's pilot will hear the "Heavy" suffix and be aware possible wake turbulence. I know it is not necessary outside the US.

I didn't mean to have my post about new commers to the NATS as being incompetent. Everyone did it the first time, and we all STILL make mistakes, on occasion. All I can say, before doing that first position report: preparation, preparation, and preparation.

Why don't these US carriesr (I know Atlas does) have a class on INTL RT and position reporting, to include reciting simulated reports in front of the class? Why don't individual pilots take the time to recite a report in front of the refrigerator, while grabbing for a beer? Laziness on both counts. I did the refrigerator thing because I worked for a non-US carrier and I didn't want to look like a fool on my first day at work, or therafter.

Also, I love the reference someone made to the "Booze news," when to referring to having ATIS information Whiskey. That sounds like a trucker on a CB radio whenever I hear that, and not a professional pilot.

I know, all of my US counterparts are going to flame me as a fuddy duddy, a stick in the mud, or even worse, but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

As far as what happened to the Reach flight in question, I'm certain we would have heard by now if anything terrible had happened. I think this thread has merits of its own, without the Reach outcome known. Carry on.

Valve Kilmer
28th Dec 2004, 23:45
American slang - C'mon guys. IMHO french or spanish ATC "gossip" between local operators, is what we should address as an flightsafety issue.


28th Dec 2004, 23:49
Short & to the point:
Standard & correct RT phraseology is vital.

If there's space available for banter and a laugh fine but the instruction and response bit must be beyond doubt.

Oh, and for the FO: if you aren't sure of what ATC said, don't ask the captain; request a 'say again'. Ole skip may think he got it first time but you both have to ;)

29th Dec 2004, 08:25
american military a/c are hardly going to make it clear where they come from and where they are going too, to civilian controllers, they call as a curtesy to civilian atc units but are in constant contact with their controllers, awacs etc.

29th Dec 2004, 09:50
Just listen to some of you from both sides of the Atlantic. I find it saddening to see some individuals who post on here are unable to turn an intelligent debate into an 'us' and 'them' slagging match that would be laughed at as pathetic by a bunch of kindergarten kids, never mind supposedly fully grown adults who claim to be 'professionals'. :hmm:

Having flown on both sides of the Atlantic I can tell that some of the complainers on this thread, whilst criticising the US pilots of bad RT when over on the EU side of the pond have never actually flown on the US side (except maybe when they did their hours building). I am also ashamed to say that I have heard many UK pilots from the EU side communicate with non-English ATC in an appalling manner. Some pilots don't seem to be able to fathom that perhaps a more clear and enunciated method of communication may be better understood, especially when trying to communicate anything that is not part of the 'normal' patter.

The number of times I have cringed when flying with someone who assumes a rapid fire, mumbling into the mike is going to be understood by the controller and ends up just as a time consuming, repeated communication. Non-English speaking controllers can be just as bad when they try to pass heavily accented instructions too fast or with a lot of background noise.

When it comes listening to the standard comms from pilots, there is little or no distinction between US, UK or pilots from anywhere else. When there is a problem it can be from any of those groups and there is no one group who infringe the 'rules' more than any other. Of course, those with a xenophobic tendency will pick on one incident and of course make up some sort of statistic and claim that it happens all the time.

Those of us who have had to cross the Atlantic will remember the first time they had to use the HF to request a clearance or make their first few position reports. I'm sure most of you god-pilots out there did it without any trouble and word perfect the first time. Sadly, us lesser mortals may have had to turn to our colleague and ask "what did he just say?" or asked the controller to "say again" or fumbled the sequence or something terribly dangerous like that! :rolleyes:

The same happens one the US side of the Atlantic when many UK and other non-US pilots have to use the RT over there. Most of us manage to adapt to the US way of communicating whilst still keeping as much as possible to our own standards. It is a requirement that we use the rules of the host country and in the US it is standard to append "heavy" if you are not in the cruise and operating that size of equipment. Over here it is not necessary but if a US pilot does use it... so what? Judging by some of the comments on this thread that makes the pilot a lesser human and not worthy of professional consideration. Perhaps those of you who take that attitude should widen your horizons a bit.

As for West Coast getting all upset by this, I have to say that I can't blame him. The number of time that we manage to hear someone 'cocking it up' on the US side is about the same as we hear it over here. Unfortunately it happens to all of us from time to time. Why some of you are getting so upset about it is amusing and sad. You can't change the world overnight but judging by some of the responses to this thread there are a few toys being thrown out of the pram precisely because of that. Hopefully, the silent majority who read threads like this one can learn and appreciate the problems and apply the necessary standards in due course.

So, let's leave out the petty bickering and whingeing from the 'Mr Angry's of Purley' and try and focus more on ways of getting a better standardisation. "Go ahead" ;)

29th Dec 2004, 19:00
Although I have been out of touch for a year or two, we were required to be trained and re-currently checked on MNPS and RVSM procedures before any transatlantic flying. Non-ICAO differences in altimetry, phraseology, and general procedures were thrown in at the same time.
Is that no longer done?

29th Dec 2004, 21:16
I'm with WestCoast and Danny here!

I used to teach my newbies "Get it right = Say it once!" as well as "Engage brain before pressing tit". In other words, learn the correct format, then apply it and you probably won't need to repeat yourself. Also "Rhythm, Speed, Volume, Pitch" when using HF; imagine you're talking to a deaf old aunt or a senior army officer, so speak in a way which will modulate the HF properly (particularly the old rubbish we had!) and not too fast either - so that the poor chap at the other end gets the message first time.

Mind you, certain nationalities asking for the rounders scores on 123.45, or endless 'ride reports' is another matter! As also is "Hello, New York, it's the Birdseed *** at 340 right behind the Virgin...." which I once heard :yuk:

We were military users of a mainly civil RT system. So it was only courtesy to play by their rules!

Oh well, back to "Golf Alfa Good Morning" on VHF LARS which is about my lot these days.

30th Dec 2004, 00:52
How come its ok for reech to miss calls for a long time but if the limeys try that over the us we are likely to be shot down!

30th Dec 2004, 04:49
Was the limey leaking oil? :D

30th Dec 2004, 05:03
Everybody makes mistakes, some deliberately practise non-standard RT. Its never a single nationality. I'd much rather hear all the hot air on this thread being used in favour of a much better system than HF, there has to be one!

It won't go up!
30th Dec 2004, 07:47
As a Controller, I think the majority of RT is poor, especially in high-density airspace. For example, there are a number of items that require a read back the rest could be reduced to 'Wilco' and 'Roger' depending on the message; instead we get the complete readback, which wastes our time trying to talk to the next crew. On other occasions we get just a ‘Roger’, which requires us to challenge the crew to ensure they received and understood the previous message. Further, I would not say that any particular nationality or airline is worse than another, although General Aviation tends to be the most demanding.

30th Dec 2004, 14:45
HI all, just a quick follow-up. Recently separated (this year) after ten years flying USAF C-130s all over the world. The problem is indeed what one post mentions. The AF has yet to install SelCal on its 130 fleet. We were (and still are) forced to continuously monitor HFs that, in accordance with generally accepted government contracting practices, are of inferior quality. End result? Repeated radio calls that you can hear because the 130 crew cannot receive the reply.

Trust me, as annoying as it may be to listen to them from another aircraft, the AF crews are infinitely more annoyed...


30th Dec 2004, 23:25
BusyB > I'd much rather hear all the hot air on this thread being used in favour of a much better system than HF, there has to be one!<

SatCom, Data Link as a starter?

All proves that speech RT is probably one of the worst communications systems - all the more reason to stick to standard phraseology etc.

31st Dec 2004, 06:01
I was taught NATS proceedures by TWA people who had flown the Connie across the Atlantic. I was taught to do it right. I still occasionally make mistakes.

One night a couple of months ago I flew from WAW-DUS-MXP. I worked the radio on those legs and I was a disaster! The guy flying had to cover for me on 75% of the calls. I just wasn't used to flying around Europe. It takes a while to adjust.

Unless you are operating exclusively onutside the U.S., it's difficult to maintain proper radio disipline(the U.S. ATC system being weak in that regard). Maintaining currency in that area of operations is difficult if you don't do it frequently.

I can't speak for the military but it seems many civilian operators in the U.S. just don't take communications seriously enough.

Always trying to improve.TC

1st Jan 2005, 01:21
The USAF lost again...:{ :{ :mad:

My tax dollars at work, training the few who, by this time, should sure as hell know how to make position reports in a respectable fashion, and not sound like an eight year old child, doing so.

Good grief......:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

PS: Affirmative action at work.:mad: :p

LightTwin Driver
1st Jan 2005, 11:39
Must say that there is far too much inane "chat",especially in US airspace.
Why do US carriers insist on asking for ride reports every 5 minutes,even when the air is as smooth as a baby's behind ?
And why do we have to be subjected to "Have you got the score for the big game please"-you know the one,when the Boston Badgers are playing the Pittsburgh Potbellies

1st Jan 2005, 12:00
I gather that someone once tried asking London Information for the result of some footie match or other - and was very quickly told "NO!"

But a call was received a few years ago at Brize Ops asking which horse had won some particular race..... As it came from a certain red Andover and was of great interest to the horse's owner - their rather important passenger - the Ops guys quickly checked the teletext news to find out!

I sympathise with those USAF guys who don't have SelCal - it must be dreadfully fatiguing having to listen to all the HF noise for hours at a time in something slow like a C130. Surely it's a safety hazard? Or have they got some gucci automatic position reporting data link?

1st Jan 2005, 17:57
Ferrying light airplanes many moons ago listening to HF for hours was the norm. Longest flight I ever did was 18h 6min.

Our HF system was at best rather crude and you could not get it hooked to the aircraft audio system.


Semaphore Sam
1st Jan 2005, 18:11
Hi Beagle
I flew MAC from '71-'78, over 100 hrs/month, sometimes...usually involving a Pacific or Atlantic leg. Selcal was not provided, and as I said, had we not turned down the volume between required calls, and hoped for the best, I'd have busted FAA physicals hearing exams starting 27 years ago. This might give some insight as to why USAF flights don't respond (quickly, or at all) to HF calls. Very bad practice, but all the alternatives were bad. $800 for toilet seats, but no selcal!

Also, back then, were were told in '72 that HF would no longer be used in the North Atlantic after '75...or was my hearing that bad already!

1st Jan 2005, 18:38
>>Also, back then, were were told in '72 that HF would no longer be used in the North Atlantic after '75...or was my hearing that bad already!<<

Yep, I remember exactly the same prediction in the '70's "don't worry son, this will all be on the satellites in five years..."

Kinda like a few years ago when they were going to shut down all ground based navaids in the U.S. and go to GPS.

1st Jan 2005, 18:42
American carriers ask for ride reports because they can be sued for turbulence-caused personal injury - and even threatened with FAA violations - happened to a UAL whale crew back in the nineties.

LightTwin Driver
2nd Jan 2005, 12:29

American carriers ask for ride reports because they can be sued for turbulence-caused personal injury - and even threatened with FAA violations - happened to a UAL whale crew back in the nineties.

Fair point,but then so could European carriers.
I suppose the culture is different in the States where it seems you can be sued for even breaking a finger nail !!

Is it a FAA requirement to know the result of the "Big Game" too ?

(Are there any "Small" games played?)

4th Jan 2005, 16:31
Hi Guys,
I started this topic a few weeks ago and since that time I was flying.
Now I come back and see all these posts!! :D
But my actual question was... Did anyone hear about the Reach1005.
I think the American RT is quite operational. No problem with it at all. Their controllers are always very helpfull and willing to give directs.
I dont mention that in Europe! Well... Less atleast!

Its dinndertime here... Everybody take care in 2005 and happy landings

Cheers :ok:

Semaphore Sam
4th Jan 2005, 18:59
Well, Skylark3
Figure. If you haven't heard of a USAF transport down in the last few weeks, he made it ok. Also, your question concerned his lack of response....if you've read the posts, as you inferred, you'd have concluded that it's highly likely he wasn't monitoring his HF ver efficiently, for physiological reasons (Pain in the Ears), and thus missed the call(s). This has been going on for at least 35 years, and there must be some good excuse for the US military knowingly endangering their own and other enroute aircraft by not providing Selcal in HF areas.

Latte tester
5th Jan 2005, 22:16
zero zero, don't think for one minute that those previous responses are from "perfect" pilots. Some of them might not even be pilots...
I have recently heard absolutely terrible R/T from various Flag Carriers during an Atlantic crossing and I strongly doubt if any of them were born with an ATPL pinned to their crib.
We all have to learn somewhere and we all make mistakes somewhere along the line, hopefully not big ones.
Live and learn:ok:

14th Jan 2005, 23:33
Sorry for the late reply, I've been busy crossing the Atlantic. Three times in one week!! You can bet my R/T is quite polished by now.

Now if I could just learn to stay awake!;)

Flying Guy
15th Jan 2005, 06:01
Your comments about the childish taunting that occur regularly in these forums is right on the mark. I am appalled at the bashing that regularly goes on among "professional" pilots.

If the frequency is guiet at 2:00 AM the occassional "Have a nice day" by the pilot leaving the frequency or "happy landings" by the Turkish controller to the departing flight is not out of order, or a safety issue in my opinion. Notice I said "if the frequency is quiet."

Relative to the "Reach" aircraft, I have spent more than an hour on more than one occasion trying to get somebody on HF in the middle of the ocean to no avail. Sometimes, you just can't get through. So you try to get a relay and do a position report in the blind. We have all been there!

15th Jan 2005, 08:56
Couple of days back heard Jeddah controller going crazy calling a reech aircraft, with no reply, for at least 20 mins. The guys climbed from FL220 to FL330 without clearance. Lots of aircraft vectored out of his way. It then took about 10 mins for these guys to understand their routing, blocking the freq for everyone else, embarassing is not the word. Nobody was surprised cause they do this stuff all the time, ask anyone who flys in the gulf region. When you hear them you pay extra special attn to TCAS.

15th Jan 2005, 13:41

Please stop overreacting !

I've been flying intercontinental for 14 years now. These "reach"guys do quite a good job on R/T.

Stop bugging them please.

16th Jan 2005, 20:03
For what it's worth chaps if you do not reply to the R/T in U.K especially in the Upper Air ,certain wheels may start to be put in motion.Ironically it is our U.S cousins who appear to be the worst offenders. :sad:


17th Jan 2005, 10:22
For what it's worth, I can recall a retired captain from a US major airline telling me that at times, some of the most difficult ATC to understand were instructions given by Scottish and Welsh controllers in UK airspace, on account of their strongly accentuated English!

I've often heard virtually unintelligable RT emanating from a certain UK lo-cost airline due to a combination of excessively fast speech and word slurring. IMHO the problem of poor RT isn't the fault of any particular group or nationality of flyers.

Astra driver
18th Jan 2005, 16:35
So here we are slagging off folks for poor R/T on a thread titled
"Santa Maria HF c alling for REECH-1005"
A case of the pot calling the kettle black, perhaps?

20th Jan 2005, 09:47
Strong accents is one thing but not replying or listening is another ball game especially when it leads to an altitude bust of 10000ft. Thats plain crazy and unforgivable!

3rd Mar 2005, 17:44
Interesting thread!

For a start I'm sure that the RCH1005 made it okay. As I spend most of my time these days listening to the HF aero bands around the world (the Caribbean net being my current favourite) I can assure you it's nothing unusual for a US mil flight to go 'AWOL' for a while, much to the annoyance of the operator trying to work it.

If you think the USAF are bad, have a listen to the US Navy. The C130 and P3 flights across the Pond from/to Lajes give New York and Santa Maria OAC's some real headaches. Many times you will hear them (OAC's) repeatedly calling them trying to establish contact. The operator's at Santa Maria are much more tolerant than the New York operator's that IS for sure.

There are a couple of female operator's at New York that have a patience level of around 0.1% - get it wrong more than once and you'll hear about it! Without a doubt, the most frustrating part for the operator is when they call you and you don't bother to reply - it's a real no-no and pretty damned ignorant.

As far as the selcals go that one of my 'specialities' let's say. It's been my hobby for as long as I can remember and I can often tell the operator/pilot what the selcal code is before they even give it over the airwaves!

I think of all the US forces fleets that the USAF KC10's were the first to start getting selcals and that was around 2000 I think. All the KC10's are now selcal-equipped.

The KC135's were next up and I believe that all the ones still in service are now selcal-equipped although I still have a long way to go before being able to claim I know all the selcal > tail no. tie-ups.

The C17's were next up and these caused me some real headaches trying to work out which selcals belonged to which tail's as some of them were saying they have two different selcal units on board!! Madness! Even then, after repeated selcal checks from the ground station they still couldn't get them to work!

The C5's then followed after that and these selcals fell into a nice pattern across the C5 fleet.

Next up were the C141's and recently they've started fitting selcals to USAF C130's some of you will be pleased to know! It's very early days yet but RCH1015 was heard across the Pond en-route Mildenhall on 27/1/05 and had selcal KRBS. It was seen at Mildenhall soon after and tail number was 87-0024, a MC130H model. So if any of you USAF C130 pilots are gonna be flying some distance over oceans/deserts, see if you can get that one!!

Over in the US Marines stable, they've been fitting the C130J's with selcal units for a while (the C9 Skytrain's are all selcal-equipped) and it seems the US Navy are fitting selcals to their new KC130J's too as 'RAIDR 11' was noted on HF on the Caribbean 15/1/05 with selcal LSJR. This is from VMGR-352 and may be tail 165736 - very long shot though.

Have a look here : http://www.selcalweb.co.uk/usforces.htm