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

beardy 18th Jul 2013 09:20

The full ICAO report makes interesting reading. in the summary of the most common conditions reported by Pilots in which they identified confusion, especially when frequencies were busy, had a weak signal or static.

The lack of standardization in communications was the second most frequently mentioned condition and included reference to the use of slang, the use of a local holding area which was not on the airport diagram, improper usage of the phonetic alphabet (e.g., “Nectar” instead of “November”) and the use of call signs where ICAO standard terminology was not used. This condition was most commonly noted in communications within the US.

It's not just me.:mad:

BEagle 18th Jul 2013 09:22

I used to wonder why 'ride reports' were so frequent in the US. Then someone advised me that it was all to do with ambulance-chasing legal parasites. If an airliner captain had turned the belts signs off and they encountered a little chop, some greedy unsecured passenger might try to sue the airline....:rolleyes:

One excellent 'ride report' I heard came from a plummy-voiced ba 747 captain:

"Speedbird XXX, it's verrrrrrrrrryy smooooooooooooth. As one would quite naturally expect!"

.....improper usage of the phonetic alphabet (e.g., “Nectar” instead of “November”)
Probably someone trying to show that he'd been flying before 1957? That was the year that 'Coca' changed to 'Charlie', 'Nectar' changed to 'November' and 'Xtra' changed to 'X-ray'.

I understand that 'Whiskey' causes issues in certain parts of the Middle East?

Uplinker 18th Jul 2013 11:39

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...
Some 'slang' terms and phrases may very well be better than the current ICAO language, but the point is unless they are standardized, some people may not understand them, as the above example shows. Had standard phraseology been used, the crew in the example above would have known exactly what to do and which frequency to call. As it was, they weren't told whether to take a left or right exit, (I am unfamiliar with Honolulu), and they weren't told to vacate then hold position while contacting ground.

So what might be 'blindingly obvious' to one person might be totally confusing to another, and it is the latter that will cause an incident or an accident one day. That's really the point, I think.

Another point is if controllers are having to resort to their own slang and verbal shortcuts because they are so busy - then they are too busy!. They need to file a report of some kind to get more controllers for that sector or whatever needs to happen. Doing their own thing with their own invented phrases might actually be dangerous, and the one occasion when someone doesn't understand a non-standard phrase and taxis into the aircraft taking off or whatever, simply doesn't bear thinking about.

Lonewolf_50 18th Jul 2013 12:40


I'd agree with Beagle. ISTR when I last flew, about seven years ago, we
dropped the 'to' lest it be mistaken for 'two'.
Really? To each his own I suppose.* (AIM does use "should" rather than "shall" so I suppose it's not a directed format ...) but I had an idea that we were discussing standardization. ;)

I can see why one would prefer that -- and I prefer brevity -- but is dropping the preposition in accordance with ICAO standards?
With FAA standards?
That seems to be the topic of the thread. :}:E

fmgc 18th Jul 2013 15:22

Those who bemoan the ICAO phraseology probably don't realise how scientifically work out it is.

The US system leaves so much open to being misunderstood, or half heard calls that could be interpreted in different ways. I does need to change.

HOWEVER, when I fly in the USA I do my upmost to use the standard US terminology. However it would seem the US Pilots do not make the effort when outside of the USA.

Lonewolf_50 18th Jul 2013 16:53

I tried to get a look at ICAO Doc 9432 Manual of Radiotelephony but they want to charge for the privilege. I therefore presume that their ICAOships don't particularly care whether we have access to standard RT or not.
Heh. OP is rendered somewhat moot if your presumption is on track. :E:8:}

I am taking a peak at the 2007 version of 9432, and find the who, where what model to be badly missed in the instructions version. ICAO, IMO, collectively have it dead wrong in terms of language logic. The core sequence around which radio comms are built is
who, where, what.
Putting what before who is arse backwards. (I refer to examples and

With that said, I have heard it done that way before, and I understand how it works.

To answer the question: It does not appear that the preposition is all that important in the ICAO example responses from the aircrew.

BEagle 18th Jul 2013 18:22

"xxxAir, descend to eight zero".

If you are leaving FL320 in a nation with a 6000ft TA, does that mean descend to FL280 or descend to FL80?

Una Due Tfc 18th Jul 2013 22:03

Where I work, the procedure when giving a level change is "climb/descend flight level 360, cross waypoint x level" . This has resulted in non english speakers climbing after said waypoint despite giving a good readback of the clearance. I would be much happier if it was "climb now" or "be level before waypoint x" or "be level by time x". Sometimes the standard RT ain't perfect

bubbers44 19th Jul 2013 01:46

Not a problem in US but never had a problem internationally either in 23,000 hrs of flying. I think it is over stated since no one else has had a problem either.

bubbers44 19th Jul 2013 01:51

No controller in the US says to descend to 80 or any other country I have flown into. Where did you fly?

aterpster 19th Jul 2013 02:10

This thread is much to do about nothing....except perhaps for the PC simulator folks.

silverhawk 19th Jul 2013 02:25

No it is not

Standardised RT stops crashes.

Saying to, too, two is an accident in waiting.

This is why we NEVER use the words take off, until actually cleared take off.

It may same anal, ask Asiania why standards are required............oops

The Blu Riband 19th Jul 2013 10:06

This thread is much to do about nothing

I think it is over stated since no one else has had a problem either.
The phrase "sets low standards and still fails to achieve them" springs to mind.

Surely if numerous fellow professionals say there is a problem (and not just "them pesky foreigners") then maybe there is, in fact, a problem.

HEATHROW DIRECTOR 19th Jul 2013 10:24

Having been retired awhile I'm not conversant with current procedures. Hiowever, when I was working my Local Competency Examiner would listen to tapes of my R/T and telephone technique at regular intervals and bring to my attention and transgressions. Does this happen in the USA?

cavver 19th Jul 2013 11:53

Usually an atc or an atis will provide you with the transition level. Anyway an atc will not clear you for an altitude in feet above the transition altitude. So you should interpret this instruction as to descend to flight level 80

cossack 19th Jul 2013 18:53

HD wrote:

when I was working my Local Competency Examiner would listen to tapes of my R/T and telephone technique at regular intervals and bring to my attention and transgressions. Does this happen in the USA?
Don't know about the USA but it happens in Canada, every 6 months.:ok:

bubbers44 20th Jul 2013 02:05

Descend to FL 80 is the only term I have heard. Descend to 80 has never happened in my 30 year career. Just leave everything as it is because it works just fine. Don't fix a system that isn't broke.

Tomescu 20th Jul 2013 06:07

The topic is about US Airspace where transition level is FL180. I highly doubt it you heard US ATC saying "FL80 or 080" or any other flight level below 18000 feet.

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