View Full Version : morse shmorse

31st May 2002, 10:25
Any thoughts on the best way to learn morse code for IR training?

31st May 2002, 14:51
Probably the best way is to get someone (who knows it) to send it to you (using a cheap key/buzzer arrangement)... although I have used ready-made (prerecorded) training tapes (with random letters/numbers sounding at gradually building speeds).

There are, for some letters, catchy sing-song phrases to help you remember them. Short words/syllables = dits. Long words/syllables = dahs

If I remember correctly...

Fit A Fai- ry .._. di, di, dah-, dit (F)

Here comes the queen --.- dah, dah, di, dah- (Q)

Hope this helps.

31st May 2002, 16:34
At the risk of getting 'Busted Big Time' for advertising (not that they're anything to do with me). A few chaps I know mentioned a program called, I think, Morse Cracker from Transair as being quite good and quite cheap to buy.

Don't know if this will help?........

31st May 2002, 21:45
My thoughts for what they are worth!

I bought a tape from Oxford Air Training School (some yaers back now). I found that 15 minutes per night was about the optimum time to spend listening and learning. More than 15 minutes my mind would wander and I learned little more. It took me about 3 weeks I think and required perseverance.

A few tricks to help that I came across:

E, I, S, H.

Elephants . dit
In .. dit, dit
Straw ... dit, dit, dit
Hats .... dit, dit, dit, dit

C Chase me Charlie - . - . da, dit, da, dit (Use the rhythm)
Q already mentioned
D Dad did it - .. da, dit, dit

I am sure that others can give you more.

Good luck.

Pub User
1st Jun 2002, 00:56
Go to Google search engine (it's the best) and search for a Morse tutor programme. There are hundreds, and some of them designed specifically for pilots, ie slow 3-letter groups. The best bit - they're free.

Robert Cooper
2nd Jun 2002, 04:41
There is a good morse tutor for downloading on the following site:


Good luck.


Young Paul
2nd Jun 2002, 21:22
Yankee doodle -.--

V is Beethoven's V'th for victory ...-

B is another Beethoven symphony -...

Any way of remembering, even if it is completely meaningless, will do the job.

2nd Jun 2002, 21:34
OTOH...the Coast Guard and US Navy stopped using Morse years ago...as have cruise ships, tankers, freighters....well the list goes on.
In aviation...now? When all the codes are on the charts? Better to teach the guys about the FMS/FMC...much MORE valuable.

As usual, the Europeans are...behind the times.

Seems that they have "just" discovered ....GPS. Don't trust it tho...some sinister plot by the DOD to...turn it off.:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Stan Evil
3rd Jun 2002, 11:16
411A there's all sorts of things in aviation that you can look up in a book BUT when you're bouncing around in a single/twin piston in the dark trying to do the Coconut 3 STAR into a VORDME/ILS to 22R or whatever your workload will be increased to breaking point if you've got to read those little dots and dashes on your cluttered chart. I've watched trainees with finger trouble set up the wrong beacon and, although they knew the coding was wrong, they couldn't fault analyse the situation because they couldn't relate what they were hearing to another beacon. Even though there's no ground exam in Morse in JAA anymore I'd strongly advise people to get some working knowledge of Morse.

WX Man
3rd Jun 2002, 20:32
The most important aspect is the order in which you learn it. Starting with the E (.) and T (-), the going to I (..), N (-.) etc.

There are plenty of free morse tutors out there. But if it's for a CAA PPL/IR (there is no JAA one yet if I am right, which is why you are asking?) the be advised that the morse is S----L----OOOOO-----W. At 6 wpm, it's almost a different language.

Note that on that subject, it's important to recognise the letters as sounds not as dots and dashes.

Useful practice is walking around translating car numberplates into morse.

Young Paul
4th Jun 2002, 14:04
411A - As far as the DOD conspiracy is concerned - do you really think we ought to operate airliners using primary navigation equipment which could have its accuracy downgraded with no warning or explanation?

I agree about being behind the times, though. I don't see why in these days of cheap and reliable electronics that it isn't possible to broadcast the station identifier - and, for that matter, a reminder of the frequency and the lat and long at the same time!

6th Jun 2002, 12:53
A couple of decades ago there was a nifty little gadget on the market for ham radio operators called the "Datong Morse Tutor". It generated random 5-character groups of all letters or mixed letters/figures, at speeds from a few words per minute to in excess of 30 wpm.

I used it to get my marine commercial operator's speed up to exam standard. It worked well. Look in the ham radio magazines for second-hand units, or find your local ham radio club and ask if anyone has one or knows someone who has and who would be willing to part with it (and almost all of them will)

Wee Weasley Welshman
6th Jun 2002, 15:26
411A - whilst I normally refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man on this occassion I will make an exception.

As a JAA instructor teaching people to become commercial pilots I ALWAYS made my students learn morse code even though it had been removed from the syllabus requirements.

It is Sooooooo easy on test to mis-dial a freq or press the wrong ident button. If all you are doing is listening to the beeps and muttering "thats idented" the examiner will fail you with relish.

And good on him.

A few weeks ago I was flying into Nice. Its a bitch of an approach as there is a complicated noise abatement (The Riviera) that uses several nav aids. ATC often give unhelpful vectors and restrictions and on this occassion threw in a runway change with a circle to land.

I tell you that in the space of 2 minutes I had to tune and retune 7 different navaids. As well as monitoring how the other guy is getting on, running checklists and talking to ATC.

Without a good working knowledge of morse I could not have verified the idents in those conditions. In fact I twice cocked up a frequency only to catch it on the ident. Its a BASIC SKILL and I cannot for the life of me understand why it was dropped from the JAA syllabus.

Referring to a chart to find that ident would have overspilled my capacity during that approach no doubt about it.

I once listened to a VOR called TNT radiating as TST. Easy to spot when your ear jars with what you were expecting. Hard to spot if you are having to process audible info into visual...

I find it curious your jibe at Europe being... behind the times. Most often we accused of being to far ahead re Airbus technology. Not to forget it was us that invented the jet engine, jet airliner, supersonic airliner etc. etc. ;)

Not sure about having just discovered GPS. We are not keen to use it as a sole reference nav system and stop maintaining the NDB VOR network. The DoD do retain the ability to turn it off. Do you imagine they would have a moments hesitation in doing so were the US being attacked with GPS guided munitions?

Additionally as you read this a salvo of nuclear weapons may be airborne above Kashmir. What effect the EMP on civilian GPS signals?

But thats really another thread.

Every trainee pilot who is serious about being a professional will arm himself with the simple ability to understand morse by ear.

Download for free one of the many programs and you can master it within a fortnight doing an hour an evening. I did and it has stood me in good stead.



6th Jun 2002, 17:42
I hope that morse is never replaced by a voice ident. It's far easier to discern the morse ident in crappy receiving conditions or from a weak signal than it is with a voice ident.

As for learning it or not I'm equivocal. Handy? Yes. Necessary? No. Not now that charts & plates have the morse ident printed next to the letters.

Wee Weasley Welshman
6th Jun 2002, 20:24
I think it is NECESSARY in training so as to avoid simple mistakes under test pressure.

For such a small investment in time and effort its a very very worthwhile skill to have.

411A's ridiculous assertion that FMC training would be more valuable is laughable.

Which FMC? Which software update? Operated to which SOP's?

A better candidate for Initial Sim and Line Training I cannot think of than the FMC!


compressor stall
7th Jun 2002, 02:32
Back to the original topic...

there is also an a4 page with all the letters and the morse dots and dashes superimposed on each letter so that you can visualise the shape of the letter in dots and dashes.

Makes sense when you see it and it works...

I have no longer got my copy, perhaps if someone has one they could scan it to here, or post a link?



7th Jun 2002, 07:21
Try this link...

G8 MZY (http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cushman/morsecode.html)

Amateur radio is one of the areas where Morse still flourishes. On the HF bands, CW (morse) will still be readable when voice transmissions have long since been lost in static.

However, a word of warning when learning Morse. Don't fall into the same trap I did. Learn the individual letters by their sound and not as a series of dots and dashes. The dots and dashes method works for learning the letters, but won't help when you have to decipher a transmission. Hearing a sound and then trying to convert it in your head to dots and dashes is a habit that is hideously difficult to break.

Liquid Lunch
7th Jun 2002, 12:39
I agree 100% with WWW and WX Man.

Morse is an invaluable skill that should be taught at FTOs and the Morse test should be brought back, I think. I canít see how you can identify a beacon without it. And anyway, the way I see it is that if you are PIC you want to be sure you have the right beacon selected so as not fly into a cloud full of rocks by tracking the wrong beacon and killing yourself, itís in your own best interest to know it.

I was lucky to know Morse before I started my training. However, if there is any advice that I can give you it is as WX Man writes you must end up being able to receive Morse as a sound or a musical note if you like and not as a series of dots and dashes and trying to convert them into text as your doing the Doogle A22 departure.

All the best and have fun with it, it is something worth having under your belt.


7th Jun 2002, 21:12

Very basic working knowledge of morse, not a bad idea....proficiency, complete and utter nonsense, just like most of the JAA licensing requirements....yes indeed, living in the past.
And...as FMC/FMS are now installed in nearly all new aeroplanes, what better study aid could there be for new pilots? 'Tis called practicality, something the ARB/CAA/JAA never really learned.
Wonder if LORAN (A) is still on your tests? Would not at all be surprised. Pressure pattern navigation perhaps? Yep, done that many years ago....now out of the picture, as is the JAA. They are indeed sadly...behind the times.

Wee Weasley Welshman
7th Jun 2002, 21:30
411A -


Very basic working knowledge of morse, not a bad idea....proficiency, complete and utter nonsense,

++ Well what use is anything if you are not profficient?

And...as FMC/FMS are now installed in nearly all new aeroplanes

++ And what about the thousands of commercial public transport aircraft in which they are not? Not to mention the FMC failure I sufferred TODAY?

what better study aid could there be for new pilots?

++ All new pilots operating an FMC need to be trained in its use. By their airline, using their unique procedures, on their aircraft type, using the software update found on their fleet. Trying to teach a 'generic' course would cause more harm than good.

Wonder if LORAN (A) is still on your tests?

++ No it isn't.

++ You tried to make out Morse is a waste of time. It isn't and you know your argument is weak.

++ If you admit that I will be pleasantly suprised.


8th Jun 2002, 02:02
Well WWW, I guess that we'll just have to agree...to disagree.

Still think that basic FMC/FMS theory (as in what the "box" can/cannot do for the pilot) would be far more practical for the younger guys, especially those that are headed for public transport operations.

The JAA (CAA) reminds me of the guy that, when asked what time it was, described the inner workings of a clock.

8th Jun 2002, 02:22
ramsrc makes a useful point about fluency ... doesn't matter whether we are talking about learning morse, touch typing, another language, or whatever .... until we get to the stage of bypassing the internalised translation process step, fluency, confidence, and speed cannot be obtained ..

As to whether we should all be umpteen wpm fluent in morse is a moot point .. but, having learnt it years ago and got to a basically comfortable competence, it does worry me just a little to see IFR pilots having to look up the dits and dahs on a chart to check the ident for a particular aid ..

8th Jun 2002, 14:16
The "Black Cat" Morse program is for Macs only! :(

West Coast
8th Jun 2002, 21:35
I do have to agree with 411 as far as the level of proficiency
needed on Morse code. I however cannot agree with his manner. Not all on this side are like him.
I am in complete agreement with you, it is easy to twist in the wrong freq on a navaid, I have done it as have most pilots. I back it up by listening and matching what I hear with what is on the chart.
As I live near the border with Mexico, my Spanish is pretty good. It is however a second language, and I make errors. Morse code is a second language for pilots. In the heat of battle, you might hear what you want to hear, rather than whats being transmitted. This is why I match it as its playing to see whats on the chart.
Despite having memorized all things LAX, I still pull out the arrival/DP/appch chart, etc. I am in and out of there 2 to 3 times a day, but I still verify what I am doing against them as opposed to memory.

9th Jun 2002, 06:17
Well West Coast, if you did not have that arrival/departure chart out, and a check airman or FAA inspector noticed....you would likely find your license suspended...and for a very good reason. Several years ago, noticed that the co-pilot did not have his chart in plain sight...so I sent him back to the sim...for retraining...and I did the sim....he was not a happy camper, but he learned a valuable lesson...in addition to learning not to be a smart a@@.
I personally believe in being very hard with these guys.. new guys must learn how to do it right from day one...otherwise big time trouble lies ahead.

Wee Weasley Welshman
9th Jun 2002, 13:34
411A - a spectacular illustration of appallingly poor CRM.

You seem to have used the Sim as a weapon of punishment - Which is wrong.

You faulted the FO and you sent him to the Sim which you ran - Which is all wrong.

I am glad my airline isn't like that!


10th Jun 2002, 00:57

Well actually, he was due anyway, I just moved it up two weeks. This particular fellow was one of the 1500 hour "know it all" co-pilots that Captains run into from time to time. I did his initial line training as well, and he took longer than others in the program, but the company stuck with him because they felt he had potential.
If it had been up to me...he would have been gone after two weeks....because of a very poor attitude.

A bit off the subject, but consider this scenerio. Approaching an airport (one that is operated into many times) with one east/west runway, multiple approaches available (ILS, VOR, NDB) the courses of which overlap to a great extent. Some pilots I have noticed only have the chart available for one of the published approaches, the others stay in the binder. Now, if the ILS trips off (for whatever reason) then clearance for a VOR or NDB approach will be received, sometimes on short notice.

Those pilots that have been properly trained will have ALL the charts at the ready...for the unexpected. Some clearly have never heard of the six P's...as in...
prior planning prevents pi@@ poor performance.

West Coast
10th Jun 2002, 05:45
For one, as per my post, I do have my chart out, everytime
Second, I don't believe you. Unless you have alot of pull, and with an attitude like yours, I am sure you don't. Sending someone to the sim takes alot more than than what you have said. A couple of key strokes and you are a 747 captain, a few more and your a space shuttle commander, the net is a great place isn't it. Are you related to the gov, or to walter mitty?
Things just don't add up in your posts. You know just enough to be taken with a grain of salt, but the content of your posts screem imposter. Everyone knows of lousy captains, but your described actions in this post and others are so over the top that you could not remain on anyones seniority list. I challenge you to tell me what airline you fly for. I know many pilots at every major. If you are a task master as you describe, it wouldn't be hard to verify if you are indeed a airline pilot, or even a pilot.

10th Jun 2002, 06:39
West Coast--
Personally, I could not care less if you don't believe.
My last assignment was for a very well known charter carrier in Europe/Middle East, as Senior Check & Training Captain on the three engine wide body fleet.
Prior to that, check and training Captain in middle-eastern and south asian carriers, all heavy jet aircraft. If you have not flown overseas, you would have never heard. What makes you such an expert?
If you want my resume, you must be prepared to need my services and pay BIG bucks.
Are YOU a pilot, by any chance?

West Coast
10th Jun 2002, 08:11
No expert, but smart enough to throw up the BS flag when I see it.

Sorry, my jet only has two engines as opposed to your imaginary 3 holer. A 1500hr copilot...hmmm. Theyr'e called First Officers by many, not all, but most. A FO on a heavy acft, coming up on a years service, yet only having 1500 hrs, possible I suppose. We have exclusive use of our sims, we still pay over 600/hr for it. My airline has pretty deep pockets, even now. Yet we wouldn't consider blowing money like that. Two weeks later and you can terminate him on his probey ride if needed. To the best of my knowledge, a new base month cannot be established from a remedial, so nothing is gained by doing it. Kind of handy you claim to work for a foreign carrier you won't name. Makes it easy to sidestep questions. Bottom line, a sim ride isn't given to people for not having a chart out, especially when the annual is only two weeks away. 1500 hrs, coming up on his annual, must not of had much experience to begin with. Also must not have flown much over the year. Real captains take this into account when they size up the FO(copilot) The kicker is that you did his remedial sim. That is a laugh. No one, but no one is allowed to do the sim on someone they had a problem with as you described. Management just wouldn't allow it Even if by some wierd twist of the schedule you ended up assigned to it, a PROFESSIONAL pilot would excuse himself. Professional standards committee would be all over the LCA, and management would feel the heat of the union for allowing it. In a non union carrier, its an invitation to litagation

Wow, I was right. A few keystrokes and you did fly heavies.

As I read your posts, always there is something that stops me. Sometimes its the context of your message, other times its the wording you use. Taken as a whole, it leads me to believe you are a fake.

Try me, I might have heard of the airline. If not, I can find out about it online, a phone number, a point of contact. Did you fly L1011's for the guv?

Wee Weasley Welshman
10th Jun 2002, 09:08
West Coast - I agree.

How many people get a RHS in a widebody in the US with a logbook sporting a maximum of 800hrs?

Similarly you would need to be virtually the Chief Pilot to get someones sim detail brought forward and have yourself assigned to the detail.


10th Jun 2002, 16:50
As you clearly operate in the protected world of the UK, you of course would not realise that some foreign aircarriers (not US)have now (and in the past) a need for their own nationals as pilots, and training programs are designed around just such a scenario. For example, one particular carrier in south asia found that, after the new pilot had obtained his CPL, instrument and multi-engine ratings, passed a battery of appitude tests and intensive interviews, they were deemed suitable for placement in wide-body three engine heavy jet aircraft. Systems ground school and intensive simulator details were followed by prolonged line training (200 hrs) after which the new guy was assigned as a second officer (Flight Engineer) on the aeroplane. After one year approximately, they were promoted to First Officer (co-pilot for the benefit of West Coast), sent back to the sim for a minimum of 32 hours (trained to proficiency, not a set number of hours) before being assigned to the line. Once assigned to line training, an absolute minimum of 200 hours were completed with a minimum of two line training Captains before being released for regular line flying, and then only with experienced line Captains. By the time these guys were released to the line, they had approximately 450 hours (in total) behind the pole, 200 of which were in their current machine.
You see, it is indeed possible to train new guys from third world countries (not just from the UK) to be highly proficient in their trade. Experienced training Captains are required for this exercise, and are given VERY wide latitude in their assignments. If, for example, I found that a new guy needed to be sent back to the sim (for whatever reason), then they were sent, no questions asked, period. No pilot unions got in the way, because these guys realised that the opportunity was quite special indeed.
I enjoyed these assignments...and will have another, very shortly.

It would appear that West Coast has only operated in the USA, and has little (if any) understanding or experience of what goes on with foreign aircarrier operations (quite different from the good 'ole USofA). Not everywhere are airline operations organised around labor unions, many of which have only one idea, other than higher pay. Perhaps he (or maybe a she) should broaden his horizons just a bit. Who knows, perhaps he might actually learn something....
Perish the thought.

Just to keep on the thread, these new guys had a working knowledge of morse...and this proved quite effective.

West Coast
10th Jun 2002, 19:40
Go ahead and paint your picture. I said it was possible, especially
as you claim to work for a foreign carrier. Its never one thing with you 411. Its the overall picture you present. The sim thing, your attitude, your actions. A professional pilot just doesn't do the things you claim. A reputable airline wouldn't allow your antics.

Back to the morse code thing

10th Jun 2002, 21:22
Oh yes, forgot to mention, in one SE Asian carrier I worked for, there was a requirement for both the F/O and F/E to have a working knowledge of Morse....Navigators (yes, WestCoast, the astro variety) as well, seem to remember there was a test for this.
In this particular carrier, F/O's were brought directly into the RH seat on the B707....with 'round about 175 total hours, as I recall.
Sim training was followed by base training (yes WestCoast, in the aeroplane)...an absolute minimum of forty circuits were required, and proficiency needed to be demonstrated (outboard engine inop) before the new F/O was released to line training....where he was supervised by a training F/O, 5,000 agl to 5,000 agl for the first twenty sectors or so. At that point, the training F/O disappeared, and a training Captain was assigned for an additional (minimum) two hundred hours.
Training standards were tough indeed...but nearly all passed OK and are now senior 747 Captains..and this carrier is now the largest in SE Asia, and quite reputable.
Senior training Captains can do wonders for a new airline, provided they are given a free hand....and many are.

West Coast
11th Jun 2002, 06:35
And that means what.....

All of that, if true could be drawn off the web, or second hand.
The salient point of my posts are that you are a fake. I continue to believe that.

Finished with you.

11th Jun 2002, 07:10
It means WestCoast, that you appear to know little if anything about airline operations, especially overseas...

West Coast
11th Jun 2002, 07:22
Just make sure that doesn't get out to the FAA okay?

Wee Weasley Welshman
11th Jun 2002, 10:33
411A - as I said:

"How many people get a RHS in a widebody in the US with a logbook sporting a maximum of 800hrs?"

Asia of course is different. Same in the Middle East.

One hears stories about tyrannical training departments in these regions from time to time. Something which your postings perpetuate.


11th Jun 2002, 18:47

All airlines have training budgets.
In the past, airlines like SQ could afford to train their guys to proficiency in the aeroplane...never mind the cost, because they desperately needed the guys.... PROPERLY trained and on line, pronto.Training programs were designed, training Captains hired...to get on with the job in the minimum time possible, tyranical or not.
Now of course, the "bottom line" rules, so training is done at the minimum cost possible...and guess what, nothing much has changed. Most guys pass, a few do not...and there is nothing in that all important training budget for extra time for the guys that need it.
So, training Captains must have the attitude...shape up or ship out. Period.
'Tis a hard cruel world, ain't it?

West Coast
11th Jun 2002, 22:19
"Nothing in that all important training budget for extra time for the guys who need it"

But enough in the budget for some one to be sent to the sim for not having a chart available, and only two weeks from the annual.
You make it easy to prove my point, your a fraud.

12th Jun 2002, 01:10
Well WC,
The company said goodby to the concerned co-pilot, last year I believe. He was simply...not suitable, as in "bad attitude."
You must know the type...always late for check-in, gives the other crew members a hard time, cannot follow standard operating procedures...well the list goes on.
Funds waisted on a misfit, that could have been spent on someone who was interested.
Companies outside the USA, especially the non-union types, simply do not waste time on whinging guys. They are sent...bye bye.
'Course, a bit more difficult to get rid of misfits in the USA, but where there is a will, there is a way.
And, he could not understand Morse...a bad omen.