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-   -   Standard of RT in USA (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/518923-standard-rt-usa.html)

mary meagher 17th Jul 2013 14:05

Okay, here comes another anecdote, just to keep the conversation friendly.

As a British Pilot, I took the RT,course, practiced the patter, and made a habit of listening on Channel 9 when flying UA as a pax. Approaching London, was delighted to hear the following exchange.

American pilot politely and properly requested Direct to Bovingdon.

Heathrow Director politely and properly declined.

American pilot asked again a few minutes later, also according to the Queen's English as she is spoken over here.

Heathrow replied "Sorry, sir, cannot approve that routing as it would take you through a danger zone."

Speedbird pilot, unidentified, chipped in: "Go for it!"

Linktrained 17th Jul 2013 14:25

Not always "Pretenious..."
I had mentioned earlier the possibility for confusion between a "HAMPTON 4 DEPARTURE" and "HAMPTON FOR DEPARTURE".

The read-back by the Anglophone F/O was quickly queried by a busy Idlewild Control. The Scotophone Captain was word perfect at once. Congratulations to both.

Leaving this embarrassed F/O wondering if another number could or should be used. ( It was my first trip !)

West Coast 17th Jul 2013 14:25


Next time might I suggest you simply call the tower after parking if you have a comment. If you're about RT standardization, then surely you can see the folly of making comments on frequency. A reply on frequency can be perceived as simply being a smartass (which given your comments at the next airport, it was) while a call with a well reasoned explanation can go a long way towards a remedy.
US ATC had the JS experience taken from them post Sept 11 up until fairly recently. Even now the program is not user friendly and the few controllers I interact with have pressed their boss'es for the time off to get into the actual JS so they can see things from our perspective. Feedback such as you tried by my estimation is appreciated, but it's about how you do it as much as what your saying.

West Coast 17th Jul 2013 17:41

I understand your point, I disagree with the way went about it.

BEagle 17th Jul 2013 18:09

We used to take baby VC10K pilots to the US to expose them to a number of new situations - high temp / mil ops / busy civil ATC etc.- all achievable within a few days.

I found US RT 'different', but never impossible. Civil Center controllers were mostly fine, as were airport controllers, but many military ATIS readers were an idiotic liability.

Landing at Honolulu the crew was told "Next available, Ground point 9 when off". To me, sitting on the jump seat, that was blindingly obvious; take the next exit, then call Hono' Ground for taxying instructions on the VHF ground frequency which ends in .9. But no, the crew blundered off onto the next exit, then turned straight onto the taxiway without calling Ground, causing a 747 to come to rather a rapid halt, then struck up a conversation with the busy local controller...:rolleyes:

Only issue I ever had could be summed up as "Speak fast, speak twice!". Rapid clearance delivered at a tobacco-auctioneer's pace, ending in "Readback" isn't helpful - crews will often ask for a repeat. But they should be ready to note it down, of course.

"xxxAir checking in at 360" I thought was a great idea - it let us know that he wasn't at our level. Equally "xxxAir passing 280 climbing 360". But when I did the same, my training captain said it wasn't necessary "Because ATC already know that!". Well, they might - but other aircraft won't and it all helps to build SA!

But please - no 'rounders' scores on 123.45 on the ocean!

J.O. 17th Jul 2013 18:20

But please - no 'rounders' scores on 123.45 on the ocean!
Same goes for UEFA and the EPL, please. BTW, no one has played rounders in close to a century.

Lonewolf_50 17th Jul 2013 18:27

"xxxAir checking in at 360" I thought was a great idea - it let us know that he wasn't at our level. Equally "xxxAir passing 280 climbing 360". But when I did the same, my training captain said it wasn't necessary "Because ATC already know that!". Well, they might - but other aircraft won't and it all helps to build SA!"
The voice report used when switching freqs from one controller to another with altitude included, IIRC originated in the days when not all airspace was radar covered.
Even with radar coverage, if the controller you are checking in with does NOT copy your transponder, for whaterver reason, at his end or yours, alerting him to your altitude is a good thing.

I need to check voice reports again in the AIM to see what has chnaged since I used to teach this stuff. I agree with you on the wisdom of those reports.
However, "checking in at" is probably not the right report. (Again, I need to look this up).

Format from memory: "Houston Center, XXXAir NA556, Flight Level 250 (or one's altitude when FL is not appropriate)" is the standard call. If this has changed, I'd be curious as to why. Short, sweet, and to the point.


Looks like it is mostly the same, and I'd be interested to know if this is not the same in ICAO procedures.
From the 2012 edition of the AIM:
5-3-1.b.2. The following phraseology should be utilized by pilots for establishing contact with the designated facility:
(a) When operating in a radar environment:
On initial contact, the pilot should inform the controller of the aircraft’s assigned altitude preceded by the words “level,” or “climbing to,” or “descending to,” as appropriate; and the aircraft’spresent vacating altitude, if applicable.
1. (Name) CENTER, (aircraft identification), LEVEL (altitude or flight level).
2. (Name) CENTER, (aircraft identification), LEAVING (exact altitude or flight level), CLIMBING TO OR DESCENDING TO (altitude of flight level).
NOTE− Exact altitude or flight level means to the nearest 100 foot increment. Exact altitude or flight level reports on initial contact provide ATC with information required prior to using Mode C altitude information for separation purposes.

(b) When operating in a nonradar environment:
(1) On initial contact, the pilot should inform the controller of the aircraft’s present position, altitude and time estimate for the next reporting point.
(Name) CENTER, (aircraft identification), (position), (altitude), ESTIMATING (reporting point) AT (time).
(2) After initial contact, when a position report will be made, the pilot should give the controller a complete position report.
EXAMPLE− (Name) CENTER, (aircraft identification), (position), (time), (altitude), (type of flight plan), (ETA and name of next reporting point), (the name of the next succeedingreporting point), AND (remarks).

BEagle 17th Jul 2013 19:28

Personally I'd bin the 'dangerous dative'! As in 'to or for'. Thus 'Climbing FL280' rather than 'climbing to 280'. Was that 280 or 220? Similarly, was that 'for' or 'four'?

'XXXair passing FL 220 climbing FL 280' or 'XXXair maintaing FL320' or 'XXXair passing FL320 descending FL220, ready for lower when able' seems simple enough.

But we really don't need to get too fussy....

philbky 17th Jul 2013 19:29

A comment from a listener
As a non pilot but someone who has been listening to HF comms since the late 1950s and VHF since around 1963 in various parts of the world, as well as having spent many hours riding jump seats before 9/11, I've heard many different ways of delivering and reading back clearances and have been able to observe first hand the reaction of crews to non standard terminology. I've also read too many accident reports where non standard phraseology has played a part because of the confusion caused.

I spent a good few years facilitating discussions between various national ATC providers including the North Americans, regarding training and standards and have seen the way certain European providers train their own candidates, as well as those of other nations. Seeing the way training was done in the US, in the 1990s, highlighted a good number of differences in approach which came as an eye opener, even after years of listening to the usual rapid fire delivery of the graduates and watching traffic at various US airports.

From a non professional but well informed observer's point of view, standardisation and clarity should be paramount in an environment which is growing exponentially and where far greater numbers of flights are flying through a wider range of national airspaces with a variety of ATC accents, crewed far more frequently by a two man team, often almost strangers to each other and ever more frequently of differing nationalities.

I've heard some excellent and some appalling RT over the years but the worst still has to be one heard years ago in the southern US, approaching a very busy hub airport.

An airliner based at the hub was instructed to descend to 180, and turn right 20 degrees and report the heading.

If memory serves the read back was "OK, xx xxx down to south and go west.". The controller came back with two clicks of the mike button.

Fortunately such ridiculous shorthand is rare.

West Coast 17th Jul 2013 19:51

Hopefully the sports score are on the decline with the preponderance of ACARS.

ehwatezedoing 17th Jul 2013 20:03

Originally Posted by Basil (Post 7945526)
As we were rolling out about 90kn, ATC decided to pass us our taxi clearance at machine gun speed. I ignored the transmission until we'd cancelled reverse and then called for a repeat, remarking that it would be better to have left it until we'd finished our landing.

Talk about that!
When I'm on the DC3T some don't even wait to see our tail wheel down & rolling behind before calling (we usually set it around 60/50kts)
I would like to thanks the smarts ones who do though..:ok:
The others just get a "Say again?" when we vacate.

I knew guys who flew pistons DC3s and they all said that ATC in those time would never call, unless any kind of emergency of course, before your tail wheel was down and....More important, things under control! Tower may have been less busy then but it doesn't justify it.

Waiting for a landing to be completed before giving a radio call is a lost practice.


gb346 17th Jul 2013 20:19

Non-Standard RT is everywhere. It's the slang and/or speed of the RT that confuses pilots who are not familiar with the local accent or local slang.

Inbound for Atlanta, I heard this exchange between Jacksonville Centre and one of the local airlines -

ATC : XXXX435, can you accept FL330?

A/C : Standby

waited a little . . . .

A/C : Uuuhhhhh, yeah Jack Centre, Cap'n says we can do 3 3 oh for ya.

I don't agree that we have to be perfect in our RT at all times but that is the worst RT I've ever heard. Bypassing ICAO RT for expediency is one thing, trashy slang on a quiet frequency is just unprofessional.

NG_Kaptain 17th Jul 2013 20:37

A pet peeve of mine is reading back a clearance and ending it with the word "confirm". In the area I fly the worst offenders are pilots from India, Philippines and most of the Arab countries. One of my recent JFK flights a Royal Air Maroc was given a clearance, he read it back correctly but ended with the word "confirm". The New York controller answered him "Ya either got the clearance or ya didn't, got no time to confirm". The answer if you can't cope is to "Say Again".

obgraham 17th Jul 2013 22:01

that is the worst RT I've ever heard.
Really GB? I get that you don't like it and think it's hayseed-speak, but what part of it isn't understood?

Trackdiamond 18th Jul 2013 01:45

Does the old ICAO school of pronouncing every digit on altimetric clearances below ten tousand feet stl prevail..."descend to seven I've zero zero feet" heard that amidst a busy controller in Nairobi

Gusz 18th Jul 2013 02:03

Whats wrong with a friendly soccer update on 123.45.....
C'mon guys chill !!!!

Megaton 18th Jul 2013 05:41

Whats wrong with a friendly soccer update on 123.45.
Because we're supposed to be professionals.

Because we are already listening to two other operational frequencies and the last thing we need is the distraction of inane chatter on a third.

cwatters 18th Jul 2013 07:54

Just for the OP..

ICAO Releases Phraseology Study Results | Aviation International News

Of 526 pilots who reported operating primarily in North America, 27 percent reported cases of non-standard phraseology, more than any other region. Of 435 European-based pilots, 22 percent reported that region as where the most problems with phraseology occurred.
So not much difference between North America and Europe.

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