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

Daily Dalaman Dave 23rd Aug 2013 17:22

Con Pilot
 
Yes I am a pilot so therefore feel suitably qualified to comment thanks very much.

But given the fact that I don't work in your country I'm unlikely to fly WITH you anytime soon. Therefore it would only be as pax and as i haven't planned anymore holidays this year that isn't going to happen.

Is that really so difficult for you to comprehend before jumping to the 100% incorrect conclusion? Interesting that confusion can occur when communications aren't absolutely clear eh?

How ironic, but thanks for highlighting point beautifully! :ok:

obgraham 23rd Aug 2013 17:40

Beardy:


OBGRAHAM,You really have missed the point.
Indeed as have you. There has not been any new point raised in this thread, now surpassing 450 posts. You all keep making the same argument, and we keep responding the same, often hyperbolic way.

Nothing new here.

con-pilot 23rd Aug 2013 17:57


Bah. Who needs atc or radio. Our local airfield at its busiest has 200+ movements per hour without either.
Once after a hurricane hit the US Virgin Islands, I was the second aircraft (727) to land just after the hurricane passed. We followed a USAF C-141 into the airport. While the runway had been cleared, none of the airport buildings were usable, including all ATC structures.

From our pre-mission briefing I knew that the FAA was enroute in one of their DC-9s with a portable ATC tower and ATC controllers. But they had been delayed. We also knew that there were quite a few other aircraft inbound.

So after I talked to the PIC of the C-141, we was decided that we would use the 727 as make do ATC 'advisory' point. We pilots took turns relaying radio calls and positron reports from the inbound aircraft for about six hours until the FAA DC-9 showed up. Then while the temporary control tower was being set up the FAA controllers that were in the DC-9 worked from the 727.

Overall it worked pretty good, but I can tell you that we damn happy when those FAA ATC controllers showed up.

One big advantage we had was that weather was perfectly clear. A beautiful day actually.

And we did have a secret advantage, my co-pilot that day was a former ATC controller and about after two hours or so later two local ATC controllers showed up to help. Later an Air Force AWAC 135 came on station orbiting the island providing radar service and coordination with San Juan. But that was after I had left heading back to Miami to dump prisoners, get more water/ice and more SOG team members.

Remarkable how when people work together, things get done.

Okay, now you lot can go back to bashing the US. :p

beardy 23rd Aug 2013 18:01

obgraham, you said:

We all do it this way. You have to do it our way.

No. We like our way.

We all got together and voted that you do it our way.

No. Your way isn't our way.
There is no "our way/your way" there is the ICAO way which we ALL voted for (including the USA) and then there is the lazy way.

THAT is the point. Many of the transmissions in the USA don't conform to ANY standard, at times they are amusing, at times they are confusing, at times they are unexpected phrases which require interpretation.

430 odd posts and you didn't see that?

NWR 23rd Aug 2013 18:47

583 reasons to get right
 
583 fatalities in Tenerife ! - and it is still debated?

But that was March 27th 1977
I guess the Old pilots who learned from that are now retired
just the Bold pilots...

Audio podcast (from transcripts) says it all
How Pilots Killed People with the Wrong Words

Of the many holes in that Swiss cheese model, the RT slice was key.

Cows getting bigger 23rd Aug 2013 18:54

Con-Pilot, it may surprise you, but the scenario you quote us not unique to the USA. The really sad bit is that it appears there are those here who believe that only the USA is cable of such feats.

When will you guys wake up and realise that there is a world of intelligent beings out here? Instead of telling us you are the best, why don't you try and work with us, thus convincing us you are pretty damn good?

deefer dog 23rd Aug 2013 19:32

It seems to me that the vast majority of professionals here agree that it makes good sense for all of the world's pilots to communicate in a standardized fashion.

A small minority of US based posters, and probably those who don't even posses passports (population 313 million, passports issued only 110 million) can only put forward the notion that "when you come to USA, do it our way." In reality I suspect that those putting forward this view are merely grabbing at straws in an attempt to save face. It's a peculiar but not entirely unpredictable reaction from any vociferous preacher of democracy; democracy is fine but only if applied in line with my rules.

The thread has run its course. For the last sixty years ICAO, and those members of it who represent the US interests, have introduced standards and practices. All member states have agreed to play by the rules that they collectively and democratically decided were in the best interst of flight safety. The carraige of emergency equipment, airport lighting, design of approach procedures, and a host of other components that make it possible for operators of all nations to interact on the same global playing field were agreed upon by the US.

Most US residents don't even get out of their home state, let alone the country, so its hardly surprising that they are unable to adapt to the principle of global democracy, even in our line of work.

con-pilot 23rd Aug 2013 19:57


Instead of telling us you are the best
Considering the size and scope of the US ATC system, who do you believe has a better ATC system?

Now, I don't say that the US ATC is the best or better than any other country, but I've just never encountered any that were as good. With the possible exception of London Center, but even they they do not handle the amount of traffic of say New York City Tracon, which handles the traffic for JFK, LGA, SWF, EWR, ISP, HPH and TEB. Same with ORD, ATL, LAX, SFO, DFW, etc.

Of the top 15 busiest airports in the world, by amount of air traffic handled, the top six are US airports, eleven of the top 15 busiest airports are US, London comes in at 12th, after CDG and FRA.

So, why are you arguing against success? I know not of a single accident that can be blamed on the US ATC system involving a foreign carrier due to the language used by the US ATC Controllers. If I am incorrect, please enlighten me and I'll retract that statement.

I do however, know of a fatal UK registered Lear Jet accident in France that was due to ATC language issue.

Like a BA 747 captain posted here once when this subject was being discussed, it never fails to impress him that on his call from a US ATC controller, after radar contact is established coming in from London, is that he is cleared direct to arrival gate for LAX, on the other side of the US.

Like I said, it is hard to argue against success.

So, with that being written, unless someone can point out an accident involving a foreign carrier due to US ATC language, I am out of this thread, because all I've been seeing lately is sour grapes and jealousy, coupled with cheap shots at people that dare disagree with the British idea of 'we do it better than any other nation in the world'.

Now all of you have a nice day and if you hate flying in the US so much, bid different routes.

deefer dog 23rd Aug 2013 20:33

Con Pilot,


that dare disagree with the British idea of 'we do it better than any other nation in the world'.
Dear chap, anybody who states that the English do it better, or the Americans do it better, is talking nonsence. You cannot compare apples with oranges, but in any case none of that has anything whatsoever to do with the point of this thread! But I think you know that, don't you?

What you don't grasp is that ICAO is neither British or American. Why don't you do yourself a favour and google ICAO because in order to promote any argument on a professional board such as this it helps if you at least have a vague understanding of the subject matter.


I do however, know of a fatal UK registered Lear Jet accident in France that was due to ATC language issue.
The accident in Paris I presume you refer to was caused entirely as a result of one aircraft being cleared to "line up" into the path of another aircraft that had been "cleared to land" onto the same piece of concrete. Had the clearance to land been issued in English language, rather than French language, the English speaking crew would have realised the conflict. Yes there was a communications "issue" at play, and THAT old chap is the point of this thread that you can't, or refuse to accept! Probably because of the reasons stated in my earlier post of the day.

There is however one point you make that I entirely agree with. You should heed your own advise and get out of the thread. You are not equipped to forgo national pride, and appear not to have the intellect to put forward a valid and reasoned argument to support your theory that the US should do things their way.

Good bye.

WillowRun 6-3 23rd Aug 2013 21:07

Do threads unravel, or can they be put down while the tailor takes a breath, at least
 
Well, now. I hope someone posts what he really thinks. I really hope so.

I get that lots of posts have been read as urging a reductio ad absurdum as what someone else's post had been all about. Or even some posts which themselves took the Reductio airway to waypoint Ad Absurdum. It happens.

There were, I nonetheless think, some substantive comments. There were. I read them. Maybe a couple of weeks back. But I saw them. I think.

In fact I tried to post one or two of them. The substantive ones. I think I did, anyway.

International Civil Aviation Organization. One thing about this thread right now, the word Civil means government. If this thread were a dictionary that word would not mean "polite in ways large and small, especially used in processes, proceedings and places of significant social or societal import". Like the fine pilots of the world who get together on the internet to identify problems and work toward solutions. In my line of professional endeavor, we call it Civility. Sometimes lawyers act without civility. I used to. Sometimes I still do, I guess, but I try not to.

I'll risk what warm Guiness the Speedbirds want to throw in my face, or the stale and flat Molson urged upon my visage by my MapleLeaf neighbors, or the sour wine tossed in my eyes by the Francophones, or anyone else's idea of insult and opprobrium - even deprivation of a hamburger French fries and a Coke by my Yank countrymen -- for what I am about to say.

"Flight Everybody, this is the Vox ex ICAO. I have come to urge calm. If you want to contribute to the discussion here, don't. Go home, and start at the beginning of the thread, and read each and every post. Every one of them. Even ones you wrote. And be prepared when business opens next week (whenever that is in your part of the world) to post only in two-part harmony: identify a problem with particularity, as if you were testifying in front of a formal, on the record proceeding of your country's CAA. Articulate it with precision. And then propose a solution in practical terms."

Otherwise, let's all repair to the bar, pub, café, or other version of watering hole and, forget about the whole thing. No, I'm not buying. I'm a lawyer, remember? I already passed the bar.

West Coast 23rd Aug 2013 23:00

Global democracy? Poorly worded if that's some official term.

WillowRun 6-3 23rd Aug 2013 23:31

@West Coast
 
Oh, no, this was not to advocate any such thing as what you referred to as Global Democracy. Not at all. CAAs are extensions of sovereign states. And the entire ICAO apparatus is based on nation-states a juridical entities reciprocally and universally, without regard to their individual forms of government.
Safety in civil aeronautics is just too important to let quaint notions of national pride stand in the path of a good, robust, no holds barred GroupThink about where things should go next, relative to the standardization, and the lack of standardization, in R/T. As is often slung about in cliché form, the truth is somewhere in the middle, as between the Cowboys and the ICAO Supremacists (my phrases, pile on if you like). Problem is, that middle is down the centerline of some other runway, not the one the mud-slingers are fighting over on recent posts. Safety in civil aeronautics is just too important for yours truly to avoid saying, Straighten Up and Fly Right, and let's discuss this like educated men and women, no crybabies, no matter whose flag you're wearing or tearing. That's all for now, ladies and gentlemen, if ladies and gentlemen you be.

LeadSled 24th Aug 2013 04:11


Considering the size and scope of the US ATC system, who do you believe has a better ATC system?

Now, I don't say that the US ATC is the best or better than any other country, but I've just never encountered any that were as good. With the possible exception of London Center, but even they they do not handle the amount of traffic of say New York City Tracon, which handles the traffic for JFK, LGA, SWF, EWR, ISP, HPH and TEB. Same with ORD, ATL, LAX, SFO, DFW, etc.

Of the top 15 busiest airports in the world, by amount of air traffic handled, the top six are US airports, eleven of the top 15 busiest airports are US, London comes in at 12th, after CDG and FRA.

So, why are you arguing against success? I know not of a single accident that can be blamed on the US ATC system involving a foreign carrier due to the language used by the US ATC Controllers. If I am incorrect, please enlighten me and I'll retract that statement.
Con-pilot et al,

Couldn't have put it better myself, base on 35 years of experience covering most of the places mentioned.
With the honourable exceptions of the Scandinavian, UK, Dutch and German ATC systems, most of Europe is pretty ordinary, and the dangers of conducting ATC communication with local carriers in the local language poses a par greater threat than minor differences in interpretations of ICAO SARPS on the matter of communication.

At home base, Australia, a byword for stilted and inflexible "radio procedures" (communications doesn't get a look in), all ICAO to the max, we have any number of incidents involving communications, including one collision between a DC-8 and B727 many years ago.
The US system works, and works just as well for foreign pilots, with only a minor "attitude adjustment" needed.

Tootle pip!!

rogerg 24th Aug 2013 09:41


dangers of conducting ATC communication with local carriers in the local language poses a par greater threat than minor differences in interpretations of ICAO SARPS on the matter of communication.
Well said. At least the regional differences in the US are in "kind of" English.

cludow 24th Aug 2013 10:10

Standard vs local
 
I don't fly except as a passenger or a sunny Sunday PPLer but I have been in the industry for over twenty years as an engineer and manager in the organisations that screw together the hardware you guys fly. I wonder how you would feel if we in manufacturing became all chauvinistic about whose way of torquing bolts was best? Or maybe different ways of programming the FADEC or AP? Maybe the French CMM is better than the British for the Trent engines? The GE90 engines are serviced at Nantgarw in Wales but built in Durham NC and Cincinnati OH.

My point is, it doesn't matter where any of this happens geographically or culturally because there are standard methods developed by the TC holder's Design Authority that are applied universally. FAR145 keeps everything safe for us all and hardly anyone is unprofessional enough to ignore the regulations. Those that do, wind up in jail and out of the profession - usually following an incident.

We are trained to look over our own shoulder at work and imagine explaining the choices we make to a board of inquiry. If we follow the standard process and there is an incident, we examine the process. Once we deviate from the standard, we are personally accountable for every consequence that flows from that decision.

If we as an industry can manage it when we build aircraft, surely it follows for those that operate the aircraft. Regardless of what the eventual "standard" RT procedure looks like, we just follow it and continuously improve it? There is no room for iconoclasm or petty chauvinism in an inherently risky environment. I've listened to poor ATC all over the world whether it be a US ATCO who thinks "Pushing Tin" is a documentary and apes the stereotype represented or the bone headed Spanish jabbering ATCOs who will eventually cause an incident in their own airspace by reducing situational awareness for everybody else.

The idiot chauvinist who ignores the standard and the idiot pedant who refuses to acknowledge the possibility that the standard could (and should) be improved have one characteristic in common...stupidity.

West Coast 24th Aug 2013 21:29

Willow run

I understand the intent, just the wording sounds a bit daft.

DA50driver 25th Aug 2013 12:21

Standard of R/T in Europe
 
Why is it that there is a total lack of courtesy and etiquette in European airspace?

I have been irritated by this for some time, but after seeing my fellow Europeans gang up on US R/T standards I think it is time to take a hard look at ourselves.

Why is it that no one can listen for a second before transmitting? There is no reason to cut others off mid sentence, nor is there justification for jumping into a conversation mid-stream.

While we may use standard phraseology, it is a much less effective way to communicate than what the Yanks use. I think that if everyone was at least a Level 4 ICAO English speaker the European system would work better.

As Europeans we think we are better than Americans, but it might be time to see that things are occasionally done better over there.

Just for the record English is my third language. A lot of time and effort was expended to learn it properly since it is the language of my profession.

FR8R H8R 25th Aug 2013 12:29

You want to experience some great RT, give China a try.

HDRW 25th Aug 2013 12:39


As Europeans we think we are better than Americans
Please - speak for yourself, not anyone else.

There's a high enough temperature in these threads without adding to the fire!

DA50driver 25th Aug 2013 12:46

High enough temperature
 
That is not my intent, but it needs to be said. Almost all think it, I just put it down in writing.

Better now?

747JJ 25th Aug 2013 12:56

"Request FLxxx if available": Well if it is not available you won't get it. There are a lot of examples of what I call filler words uselessly congesting the frequency. Another one is "Understand" prior to repeating read back. This one seems to have been imported from across the Atlantic.

HEATHROW DIRECTOR 25th Aug 2013 13:32

I'm English and cannot speak for other EU countries because I have never experienced them from an aviation viewpoint. Also, it's 11 years since I retired and my ex-colleagues keep telling me that everything has changed beyond recognition. However, during my 30+ years in English ATC I cannot recall too many incidents of bad R/T either by ATC or pilots.

Back in the 70s the east european and one or two southern european crews did not speak much english but they got by. Russian aircraft, e.g. TU-104, had very poor radios not helped by (I think) throat mics. By the time I left everything seemed A-OK. In all my ATC time, including time abroad, I found US pilots exceedingly good to work with and the USAF beat everyone else hands down. But that's just my personal opinion.

Daily Dalaman Dave 25th Aug 2013 14:00

DA50
 
I think you've misunderstood this thread somewhat. Nobody sensible is saying (or presumably even thinking) that anyone is "better", however you and a few US based guys have interpreted it that way.

DA50driver 25th Aug 2013 14:27

Dalaman
 
Asia based. Before that Moscow and Oxford. Prior to that Europe.

Try reading this thread from a US point of view. It is nothing short of "you scuk" and "we are great".

Daily Dalaman Dave 25th Aug 2013 14:33

DA50
 
I didn't mean YOU were US based, I meant you AND some US based pilots.

WillowRun 6-3 26th Aug 2013 04:05

Put your R/T where ICAO meets
 
Well, now, 466 posts only? I read them all this evening. I didn't say 'read closely.'

I'm going to propose three (3) questions, and then a contention, you know, a proposition for policy or reform or action, based on or derived from the central arguments made here. Rather than add more of my words in an effort (probably doomed to failure) to summarize these central arguments, here are three representative posts (IMO), including one from the OP:

deefer dog (post #14). "The point I am making is simply this. In the US the phraseology is completely non standard to that agreed in the convention and bears no relationship to any differences filed. Whichever way you look at it, and as painful as it may feel, your system of not complying with agreed conventions increases the likelihood of confusion, especially when operators whose native language is not English have to disseminate slang. Confusion in a busy ATC environment is not what any of us want."

West Coast (post # 129). "As worldwide air traffic picks up, there's going to be pressure to place more aircraft into the same airspace and airports that exist. Eventually RT will come into the sights of regulators who are charged with making this happen and change will be upon us."

Ace Rimmer (post #172) (responding to post by yours truly about ICAO processes)

"Willow Run: experience has shown that when ICAO moves at sprint pace (and that doesn't happen that often) it takes about seven (yup SEVEN) years to get something adopted as a standard...and even then longer to for Individual States to implement the changes in their national ANO provided they don't decide to file a difference (or ignore the SARP altogether)...

I submit that the solution to this problem (and if the findings of recent IATA/IFALPA/IFATCA Phaseology survey are believed there IS a significant problem) lies more with national CAA/DGCAs actually implementing (and enforcing) the existing SARPs rather than trying push through new ones (at ICAOs blistering pace!)"

I. There is something just plain unseemly about all the sparring. Would not your energies be better directed at forming a unified coalition or partnership as against those nations, whether signatories of ICAO or not, where the compliance with ICAO R/T standardization is rather of secondary importance compared to the given nation's adherence to basic international norms (aww, dunno, let's, uh, checkin' out possible employment of chemical weapons within say 75 minutes at under Mach 2 from Incirilk)? The point is not "politics" but rather "priorities". So very much here is hangover.

2. What happens if there is another "System Perturbation" such as the US ground stop on 9-11 (phrase from The Pentagon's New Map, by Thomas Barnett)? - will closer if not complete adherence to ICAO R/T standards get everyone out of the air more expeditiously and/or safely? Or does the status quo already provide optimum assurance?

3. What about in the case of armed conflict occurring? Assume active hot warfighting in, say, Syria? Are you now more concerned, or less (or unchanged) about ICAO R/T standardization compliance if you are PIC within, let's again say, 75 minutes (U.S.), at under Mach 2, of Incirilik?

Proposition: with due respect to Ace R, the ICAO triennial is next month. 466 posts, and mounting some special agenda item for ICAO merits but a shrug? Well, if so, I'm left wondering what all the ground-pounding was about.

Discuss. Or drink. Probably not both (at the same time, is what I meant).

Sent from my iPad

deefer dog 26th Aug 2013 05:17

WillowRun 6-3,

I assume that you support my contention that the US, and a few others, need to up their game and join the ranks of those who support the theme of standardization as advanced by ICAO.

I use the word assume because you dress up your observations by using prose in a very unusual style. Are you not able to use plain English as a means of communicating?


I read them all this evening. I didn't say 'read closely.'

What happens if there is another "System Perturbation" such as the US ground stop on 9-11 (phrase from The Pentagon's New Map, by Thomas Barnett)?
:bored:


What about in the case of armed conflict occurring? Assume active hot warfighting in, say, Syria? Are you now more concerned, or less (or unchanged) about ICAO R/T standardization compliance if you are PIC within, let's again say, 75 minutes (U.S.), at under Mach 2, of Incirilik?
:bored::bored::bored:


Proposition: with due respect to Ace R, the ICAO triennial is next month. 466 posts, and mounting some special agenda item for ICAO merits but a shrug? Well, if so, I'm left wondering what all the ground-pounding was about.
Unintelligible.


Discuss. Or drink. Probably not both (at the same time, is what I meant).
I think you may have had one too many!

What on earth is the message you are trying to get across|? And what are you on?

caevans 26th Aug 2013 05:57

You mean like "Flight Level One Hundred"? How about "Route Direct"?
ICAO Standard?? You must be ex-military. If it ain't in the book I don't understand?????

When one flies overseas one needs to learn to roll with the punches!!

Charlie Charlie?? Roger Roger??

Get a life!!!

Uplinker 26th Aug 2013 10:38

Language moves with the times, and some slang might arguably be better than current ICAO; for example; 'point' instead of 'dey-ci-mal' - the fewer the number of syllables, the better I reckon.

But the thing is; all of the ICAO compliant organisations need to agree such terms so that all pilots and ATC {who speak all sorts of different languages, not necessarily English} only use approved phrases, and all know what is meant by such terms. Slang that is not ambiguous for one person might be incomprehensible to another - resulting in at best extra read-backs, confusion and too much time taken up on busy frequencies, or at worst a flight safety incident.


So get them approved by ICAO and I'm sure we will all be happy to use them (and know what they mean).

Simples :)

WillowRun 6-3 26th Aug 2013 11:32

deefer dg, I'm glad you asked
 
This was your thread, deefer dog. So first of all, even if I ultimately fail, even fail miserably, to fulfill my main objective - which is to stimulate more relevant discussion (by posing questions and making some observations) - I really do hope you see that I am trying, in a sense to contribute, to the discourse. Even if you don't see that, for whatever reason, it is nevertheless the truth.

Second let's get something straight here. I "am on" nothing and did not have any too many. In fact the only thing I was on last night was a barstool in a Tilted Kilt and I nursed one brew (a craft, not swill) through most of the last NFL game (49ers v someone, who cares?).

With these preliminaries out of the way, let's get to the two most important points. Start with ICAO.

If your contention is correct, that is, if it is true that (a) U.S. ATC deviates from ICAO standard in non-trivial ways, and (b) this is a bad thing, then why is it so hard for the assemblage on this thread to discuss what to do about it? Your premise in the OP and reiterated by you and others is that (I'm paraphrasing) "HEY U.S., you signed an international convention. One that has its roots in the Chicago Convention of 1944, in fact. Yet you persist, U.S., in deviating from the requirements of the ICAO SARPS and Documents and Annexes where standard R/T is concerned. STRAIGHTEN UP U.S. and stop using anything but approved ICAO R/T." Now, deefer dog, I'm sure, quite sure, you would prefer that all the aviators and ATCOs in the U.S. just got the message like a flash of brilliance and suddenly Standardisation reigned over the skies. But seeing as how that is not likely to happen.....the proposition (the end of my prior post) is this: if you are convinced Standardisation of R/T so as to conform literally or substantially with all ICAO forms and procedures is necessary, well, there's a big ICAO triennial meeting this fall, dd. The agenda and all the working papers and the petty bureaucratic trappings of supposedly doing something all are there for anyone to see. I didn't see anything about R/T Standardisation, though. And Ace Rimmer's post says, in effect, 'forget ICAO processes, they take too long, like seven years.' So, rather than take some initiative to bring this matter to ICAO's triennial meeting, even if only "new business from the floor", you (in the sense of those who advocate for the U.S. being required to comply) are doing what? Or will you be at the Triennial to advocate for action on this matter? Money talks, writing-style criticism walks.

Now, as to the underlying premise - do I agree that R/T standardisation must be enforced in the U.S. and elsewhere? I don't know, deefer dog. Four Hundred and Forty-Six posts in, and there's plenty of chest-thumping, and plenty of "mostly saying hooray for our side" - but nothing I could see as definitive. I read the Tenerife report soon after it became available publicly. But that wasn't a case of just non-standard, that was a case of galactic carelessness combined with stupidity. I posited two scenarios. (The first, another urgent ground stop due to some horrible incident or problem, and the second, an escalation involving armed services of one or more countries in the situation in Syria.). Since the assemblage on this thread cannot seem to develop consensus around whether the lack of standardisation actually is a detriment to safety or efficiency, my intention was to shift the context to a couple of realistic scenarios and see whether the case would apply there. As in, 'oh yes, if ICAO standardisation were in place, and there were another urgent ground stop, for sure, it would go much better.' Or, 'no, if the Syrians fly any MiGs out of their airspace and a commercial flight is anywhere close by, the last thing anyone needs to be concerned about is whether the R/T is read from the ICAO script.' It's a discussion board, correct?

As for matters of style, the role of obfuscation in persuasion, the structure of arguments (legal as well as rhetorical), and assorted other left-overs, well, I'm pretty sure no one cares, or is interested. But I don't mind at all being held accountable - trust me, I'm a lawyer.

HDRW 26th Aug 2013 11:37


Originally Posted by Uplinker (Post 8012796)
Language moves with the times, and some slang might arguably be better than current ICAO; for example; 'point' instead of 'dey-ci-mal' - the fewer the number of syllables, the better I reckon.

NO! It's not a race - they didn't choose 'decimal' on a whim - everthing has a reason, and one of those is to reduce the possibility of mis-hearing. Apart from the fact that 'point' in French is used as 'comma' is in numbers in English (to separate every three digits) it's not a distinctive enough word to come through clearly on a noisy channel or when audio is low - it can be confused with 'four' in those cases (yes, really!).
Other pronunciations are also for disambiguation: FIFE and NINER separate what can otherwise sound similar (NINER is two syllables but is 'better' than NINE). TREE is because some languages don't have a TH sound so would find it hard to pronounce the word THREE. (For those who don't understand how a sound can be missing from a language, consider the 'CH' sound in Scottish - we english pronounce the name Murdoch as 'murdok' whereas the scots finish it with a long soft sound which we just don't have. The Welsh pronunciation of 'LL' is also absent outside the Land Of My Fathers).
Language and slang evolve with usage, but this isn't a language, it's a communications standard which evolves by discussion and agreement, not by ignoring it.

Originally Posted by Uplinker (Post 8012796)
But the thing is; all of the ICAO compliant organisations need to agree such terms so that all pilots and ATC {who speak all sorts of different languages, not necessarily English} only use approved phrases, and all know what is meant by such terms. Slang that is not ambiguous for one person might be incomprehensible to another - resulting in at best extra read-backs, confusion and too much time taken up on busy frequencies, or at worst a flight safety incident.

Yes Yes Yes! That's it exactly - it's an International agreement - it's not the Brits trying to force our ideas on the rest, it's been discussed and decided by all the countries involved in ICAO, and we aren't saying 'you should do it our way' but 'you should do it the way you (and everyone else) agreed to'.

Originally Posted by Uplinker (Post 8012796)
So get them approved by ICAO and I'm sure we will all be happy to use them (and know what they mean).

Simples :)

Indeed, that's what has already happened, the current set of standards exists, and until it's changed it should be used. Making it up as you go on because you think you know better is just arrogant and dangerous. Speed of delivery isn't the most important factor - accurate, unambiguous communication is.

MPN11 26th Aug 2013 12:11

The language of aviation has evolved constantly since I started in ATC in 64. Words and phrases came, and subsequently went again, as "correct phraseology" reacted to incidents where confusion could have existed.

Phonetics were but one element of that evolution: words were deleted from the lexicon in case they could be misinterpreted, or their use was confined to very specific messages. The use [or not] of "to" is, perhaps, the classic example.

Some 50 years later, evolution still hasn't achieved the ideal. And blinkered vision will prevent any progress towards that desirable objective.

Churchills Ghost 26th Aug 2013 13:56


Originally Posted by Basil (Post 8013081)
Bring back 'larboard'! :E

Yes, right after reinstating port!

HDRW 26th Aug 2013 14:14


Originally Posted by Basil (Post 8013081)
Bring back 'larboard'! :E

Excellent example, Basil! Two words that sound alike but have opposite meanings. I wonder if they replaced it with 'Port' because someone was worried about it, or after an actual mishearing incident on a windswept ship's deck caused a turn onto the rocks instead of away from them?
Incidentally, do you know that the meaning of a helm instruction changed direction? On the Titanic the instruction 'Hard a starboard' meant to turn *left* ASAP, because the instruction dated back to the time when tillers were used, and that's the way the tiller would be moved (opposite the direction of turn). The convention continued when wheel steering was used, but has been changed to what we'd consider the obvious way at some time since then. I wonder how that went down with old seamen used to the Old Way? (End of titbit!)

N90-EWR 26th Aug 2013 14:21

Huge thread full of a lot of hot air and little substance. Too much worry about fixing something that is not really broken (USA R/T), instead of focusing on fixing the ones that need fixing (all those other countries where they speak their native language in addition to English).

deefer dog 26th Aug 2013 15:58


(all those other countries where they speak their native language in addition to English
).

Agree 100%, but unfortunately this is such a contentious issue that ICAO have not been able to negotiate this to cease. (Correct me if I am wrong, but I think it's the French who are the most vociferous objectors).

mross 26th Aug 2013 16:50


all those other countries where they speak their native language
But that's the problem!!!!!

You Americans are speaking your native language. The rest of the world is speaking International English. ;)


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