View Full Version : The Lack of Excellence in Radio calls by airline pilots

29th Sep 2008, 13:11
Is it my imagination, or has the heavy recruiting by some airlines led to a steady degradation of radio procedures by pilots who should know better?

OK, so despite AIP clearly laying down standard radio procedures almost word for word, the radio waves in Australia abound with a proliferation of "Giddays", "Giddevenings", 'See youse laters" "Outa nine for five thou" and just recently some LLC clown that signs off at each frequency change with a "Thanks for yer help."

Jesus wept...where have all the real professionals gone? By that I mean those who aim for excellence. Is there no pride in the job anymore? The pilots that prided themselves on correct and concise radio phraseology. Nothing superfluous. Surely the line training of new recruits to an airline must also include discipline in radio calls to ATC? Or is it a case of training captains just can't be bothered to insist their charges cut the crap and act in a professional manner on the airwaves. What a marked contrast to the correct and concise radio procedures by air traffic controllers.

Capt Wally
29th Sep 2008, 13:33
'A37575' R/T procedures have been going down hill for ages now, and where did 95% of the airline pilots come from ?? GA, there in lies the root problem. Nobody was born an airline pilot, well there coming:sad: so the problem stems way back before the airlines got 'em. ATC aren't always perfect either they are human also but for a start it would be nice to get the 'big players' off 121.5 !! We are fortunate here in OZ that our airspace allows us to be more casual due being so quiet but that's no excuse for not being pro about it.


Capt Fathom
29th Sep 2008, 13:41
Gidday A37575 Catch ya later :uhoh:

29th Sep 2008, 13:55
One might ask who is responsible for R/T standardisation?

I suggest it is CASA - who have done little or nothing over the past decade since the last major change to phraseologies

There is no standardisation at either the flying schools or in the airlines by training Capt's. CASA leaves it to the operators and trainers etc. Not even CASA folk these days have the real experience to know what the issues are!

Another case of they don't know what they don't know perhaps?

I don't believe there is anything wrong with being polite with the odd greeting etc., so long as it is kept for the appropriate time/s. Sometimes it is just not appropriate and sometimes it is - just have to use your professional judgement for those occasions.

We certainly dont want to copy the Yanks with all their verbage, but then on the other hand we don't want to be as 'formal' as the Poms!!:mad:

CASA is the problem and perhaps the answer (?):ugh:

Over and out!!:sad:

29th Sep 2008, 14:04
Are we really all that worried about a simple G'day or G'evening as long as the important parts are clear, concise and all the necessary stuff is included?

I always just thought it polite in a way. I know we're all going for professionalism but that extra 1 second just seems like its not going to make that much of a difference except to help say to the ATC guys "We appreciate you being there for us!" or anyone else we might be talking to. I understand not giving correct responses like repeating information that doesn't need to be repeated or having conversations on area frequencies and such but i just don't see how that extra 1 second is going to make all that huge a difference.

If you really want to get up someone i suggest aiming for the 'Ummers', the 'Arrers' and those who need to read back instructions 3 times to get it all right!! Not those who seem to be trying to be polite :P

Tee Emm
29th Sep 2008, 14:16
Interesting that RAAF pilots keep their radio procedures clipped and concise. Better discipline I guess? And that is surely the key to the propensity of civilian pilots to pepper their calls with lots of nice and warm niceties. Lack of radio DISCIPLINE.

29th Sep 2008, 14:30
Big Difference between Millitary and Commercial

In Australia (mainly) I cant see and issue with:
"G'day *** Ground" (or what have you)

And when it came up about ATC making jokes on the air, I belive the person who brought it up and asked the ATC not to do it, ended up being slammed by pprune members saying that he was a veteran ATC at sydney (I Think)

..... double standards?

29th Sep 2008, 14:31
It is all to do with standards - your own personal standards!!! It's not up to CASA or the airline (although, they should set the example).
It is real easy to be a yobbo in the way you speak, the way you dress, the way you drive/fly, your demeanour, etc. It's not hard at all.
But to have high standards takes a lot of hard work. Not many people want to put in the EXTRA effort required to be professional.
There is no exam on professionalism. It is another form of PRIDE.
I believe that a "Good Morning" etc is quite acceptable, followed by the laid down phraseology. I say the laid down phraseology, because in just about all cases, this cuts out all ambiguity.
Read some of the FAA accident reports and the R/T is atrocious.
R/T must be clear and concise and not open to interpretation.

29th Sep 2008, 14:32
Yeah terrible...quick, everyone quit flying and get off the airwaves...

It's simple...they are paying peanuts, sc###ing them all up the a###, so whats the natural product you get from that?

Waters wet - sky is blue - women have secrets...guess what? No one gives a rats!!!

29th Sep 2008, 14:54
In many parts, not Australia, where pilots are exposed to all sorts of non standard phaseology ie USA purely because there is no time to dot the I's and cross the T's and places where 2 languages are spoken depending on the colour of the tail.

PLUS the GA life in remote areas where actually using the radio could be deemed as non standard.

PLUS the fact that many training captains are training less experienced people where, really the radio jabba is the least of the problems

It isn't the fact that people dont want to be professional it is purely so many other factors that accumulate to producing a little less Perfect Radio use.

Christ! As long as the guy/gal who says "seeya" or "morning" can fly A to B safely and professionally then really who gives to rats!

"Thanks for your help":ugh:

Chimbu chuckles
29th Sep 2008, 16:06
Well at my airline radio discipline is a biggy indeed. I speak to mates who are trainers and checkers in Australian airlines and they just :ugh: at trying to instill and maintain standards.

It is primarily a self discipline thing and many young people today just point blank don't comprehend that concept. The drive to fill seats simply means that radio phraseology is not a make or break item in the curriculum the way it was years ago.

Having said that it is NOT the pleasantries that should get up anyone's nose it is the constantly displayed lack of knowledge of standard radio phraseology. It is the large % of pilots, from across the aviation spectrum, who read back everything rather than merely those items required.

Mr. Hat
29th Sep 2008, 17:29
I personally don't do the g'day thing. I find that ATC often say it but i prefer not to reply (do feel a bit bad for not saying g'day back). I always try to do it all by the book including the phonetic thing to a degree.

To top it off I'm not from the military. Does that make me a special GA pilot?

Led Zeppelin
29th Sep 2008, 20:32
How about you all get off your moral "radio call" high horse and concentrate on educating the idiots who transit CTAF's without any radio broadcasts.:mad:

Avalon is a prime example.

29th Sep 2008, 20:59
On guard,
I assume AU is your abbreviation for Australia, not Auckland.When calling 128.6 the East of Sy arrivals sector, we are required to ascertain the current SY Atis you have. Then we are required to update the Atis to you as it changes. I have had aircraft call about 3 Atis behind.
The logic behind this is that we usually have the time to update you of the changes.
This is for expediency, think of the situation where you trundle through the 155nm of arrivals airspace blissfully unaware of the changed wind, runway condition,etc, call Approach to be told that the ATIS is changed, Approach probably wont have time to read out the whole ATIS. You then copy the ATIS and realise the runway you have been given is now unacceptable due operational requirement, and throw the whole sequence into disarray.
On arrivals frequency we usually have the time to give the changes, and then pass on to the flow , operational runway requirements so they can adjust the sequence. Calling Approach is not the time to for you to get nasty ATIS surprises, and the flow/Approach to be getting operational runway changes.

29th Sep 2008, 21:48
Led Zep

How about you all get off your moral "radio call" high horse and concentrate on educating the idiots who transit CTAF's without any radio broadcasts.http://static.pprune.org/images/smilies/censored.gif

Avalon is a prime example.

Mate they are making them for sure.............just on which frequency:rolleyes:

The Butcher's Dog
29th Sep 2008, 22:13
Personal standards are one thing but it really is something largely dependant on Check and Training vigilance - if they don’t worry about it then you can bet neither do the crews – you can tell when you hear the various callsigns as to the standards that apply.
“G’day” “Morning”, “Evening” at the address or completion of a freq watch is fine, but what is really amazing is the continued use 121.5 as a chat freq or keying the mike with some nauseating game show mimic “b’boing” – gosh it is fun to hear that!:hmm:

29th Sep 2008, 22:22
I don't really mind what you say so long as you say it s-l-o-w-l-y, I only really need to know where you are and where you are going to be next.
( talking G.A. now ) The new CPL clowns who want to let you know that 'real' pilots speak as fast as they can, are a proper menace - and dangerous.

29th Sep 2008, 23:08
Well having done my CPL in more recent years, I have the experience of Instructors not knowing the correct phrase or phrases. If they dont know, how on earth am I supposed to pick up good habits? I'm not talking about a fresh Gr3 either. My IFR instructors also had some differing Idea's about how things should be done.

The main thing I noticed was a a difference between what should be said and what was actually said depended on what local little things had evolved in that particular area.

I tried to make calls by the book but would be told to say something else or miss things out completely.

Any thoughts on that?

29th Sep 2008, 23:36
O.k why do we in Australia say "clear" when given T/O & Ldg clearance I know it seems nitpicking but the Ali cante "sic" accident(KLM 747 and another aircraft collided on r'way) the report and later changes to JAROP
Proc's dictate that "clear" only be used for an aircraft which is clear of the runway.
Seems we in Oz are not willing to learn from others.

30th Sep 2008, 00:30

Any thoughts on that?

The only reason for ATC at all, is to stop aircraft hitting each other, so any dialogue that works to that end is OK by me, but we don't want long boring speeches, hence concise, standard phrases have evolved, also, not all radio comms. are 5 by 5, and some have language and pronunciation problems too, and in the G.A. world some little aeroplanes have bloody awful radios,so having a standard phrase for a request, or answer, helps if some of the words are garbled - you can often fill in the gaps from the bits you did hear, then ask for a repeat to confirm, whereas in 'free speech' you wouldn't have a clue.

When I started GA flying after a long gap, and in a new Country, I was told that my calls were not quite what the locals were used to, but at least I'd made my intentions clear, and that's really what it's all about.

Best of luck ( and pls. speak s-l-o-w-ly and deliberately !! having to say pls. repeat wastes everybody's time )

30th Sep 2008, 00:45
You boys and girls should come on out here to the Middle East and Africa.....awesome RT! Stunning!

30th Sep 2008, 01:29
I like to keep my transmissions concise and to the point so i can get back to the paper. Garfield is one lazy cat.... :ok:

30th Sep 2008, 10:51
Radio calls have probably gone down hill along with pay and conditions. Pay peanuts - get monkeys. Some days its like trying to decipher Cheeta the monkey's gobbaldygook from the movie Tarzan!


Tee Emm
30th Sep 2008, 10:54
Personal standards are one thing but it really is something largely dependant on Check and Training vigilance - if they don’t worry about it then you can bet neither do the crews –

Agree. And it only takes a few seconds to admonish (if necessary) the culprit each time he opens his mouth inappropriately. This may cause immediate friction in the cockpit with airlines that promote a shallow cockpit gradient policy or "matey" attitude on the flight deck - but the radio discipline must be upheld.

When all is said and done (now there is an example of superfluous speech...) radio discipline starts from the new instructors at flying schools even if they are inexperienced and sporting sunnies over the head and new gleaming gold epaulletes signifying their status. If they project a contempt for radio discipline their students will naturally follow their lead. The buck stops at the Chief Flying Instructor and his responsibilities for discipline among his instructors.

Tee Emm
30th Sep 2008, 11:06
and in the G.A. world some little aeroplanes have bloody awful radios,

There is usually nothing wrong with the radios in GA aircraft that could not be rectified if the owner/operators wrote up the defect. It would help if ATC made it quite clear to the transmitting pilot that the serviceability of a specific radio is unacceptable. Faced with a fully justified ATC rebuke, it may be the ammunition the pilot needs to gather up the courage to write up the defect in the aircraft maintenance release. Because of the inevitable flak from owner/operators aimed at the pilot that dares record a snag, - and remember job security may be at risk - it does take a certain amount of principle and courage to record defects. If ATC can understand this pressure on the pilot, it may enable the pilot to have blame deflected.

Jenna Talia
30th Sep 2008, 12:28
Jet Blast Topics that don't fit the other forums. Chill out with a joke or get stuck in a heated debate. Stay out if you are faint hearted and always blame the Americans/French/British

Fits perfectly in its original forum, it is not a joke, there is no heated debate and not offensive to the faint hearted.

WTF has this legitimate thread been moved to Jet Blast? :confused:


30th Sep 2008, 13:08
When I was instructing for the military at a certain base in UK (as a civilian employee) they had one instructor in the tower who was monitoring the RT. If anyone uttered anything which was considered non-standard they would get a polite call from the "RT police" on the phone after landing. Very often the offender was hardly aware of what he/she had said. Within a very short period of time the standard of RT rose dramatically and the "RT police" had virtually nothing to do!

This was NOT done to catch anyone out but just to improve the standard of RT and everyone was quite happy with it.

It's only the bad RT that is noticed on a busy frequency but sometimes I am shocked by the standards displayed by a minority of our professional colleagues. I was on a certain Manchester frequency a few nights ago when two a/c started having a chat - they were (quite rightly) firmly put in their place by the controller.

My pet one is those that call for the "Weather" on the ground. The Jeppesen (from ICAO) and CAP 430 (in the UK) both state it's "Request Departure Information" and, in my opinion, they are not the same thing. Rant over!