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

pigboat 3rd Aug 2013 23:39

Not a single occurrence. In 1991 a G2 was given a clearance to 4000 feet on approach to Kota Kinabalu. Unfortunately the local terrain was 4100 feet.

RandomPerson8008 5th Aug 2013 06:34

As an American pilot who conducts most of their flights outside the US, I agree, the phraseology standard of most of my colleagues is downright embarrassing. Indeed, it seems that many US pilots go out of their way to be non-standard and I find it absolutely maddening.

They do things like omit their flight number in readbacks, other times say only the flight number and omit the callsign, they add a possesive 's to the end of their callsin, say "checkin' on with ya" on intial callup, say "up to three four oh" when cleared to climb, say "down to two seven oh" when cleared to descend, and otherwise just break into random sentences of non-standard English when doing something as simple as asking for a weather deviation. It is very frustrating to be an unwilling accomplice to this behavior.

Unfortunately there is no way to address this issue without coming off as a complete :mad:. I've found that pilots take these types of criticisms personally, especially if they come from a relatively junior pilot such as myself. I have little choice but to keep my distaste internalized. All I can do is strive to be standard when it is my turn to key the mic.

1999 5th Aug 2013 10:11

RandomPerson8008 ..... my hats off to you Sir .... I would gladly board your plane anytime. Seeing that there are still some real professionals out there is encourageing and maybe there's still a hope for this industry...
Salute and best regards from a relatively "old farted" European ATC . :)

West Coast 5th Aug 2013 10:30

Hopefully RT isn't the deciding factor for you to put your family on someone's aircraft. I'm sure Sully's RT wasn't the greatest that day. Nor was Al Haines in Sioux City, nor David Cronin returning to HNL with number 3 and 4 toast and a large chunk of the fuselage missing.

I know where your going with it and I understand, but don't make any assumptions of ones flying skills based on RT. as much as I'm sure I'll be lambasted, I do believe that.

Lord Spandex Masher 5th Aug 2013 10:49

Are we to assume that most American pilots are constantly in the middle of a crisis then? ;)

1999 5th Aug 2013 10:55

RT isn't the only deciding factor of course ... but based on my 47 year lifes experiance - the folks prone to cutting the corners in one "field" are most likely cutting them elsewhere ... but as I said, that's my experiance.
Examples of those pilots you mentioned were emergency and life threataning situations and as such maybe not the best reference to the topic ....
and to further elaborate my initial post ... the intention of my post was not bashing US pilots ... there are good and bad apples everywhere ... I just wanted to praise one voice who speaks out and goes against the "general" defensive attitude of (to) many ....

Al Murdoch 5th Aug 2013 11:29

Sullenberger's RT was far from standard, but it was brief and to the point and in a critical situation such as the one he was in, was highly appropriate.
I just got back from a long trip to the States and while I generally find the standard of RT not as bad as some people on this forum would have it, it can be very poor at times. I can think of at least 5 or 6 occasions on the sector home where clearances had to be repeated largely because of poor RT technique. A phenomenon which I am noticing more and more from US operators is the press the R/T switch and say nothing technique. Nobody seems to think before they start transmitting. As we are told that US R/T is non-standard because of the busy airspace, I wonder how much time is lost because of it?
I also heard someone pretty much arranging a date between a departure radar controller and the female pilot of a regional jet. Seriously?

dailyazna 5th Aug 2013 13:15

As said before it's not like they are banging in airliners all that often. In recent times I have heard even domestic Australian pilots breakout the US RT proceedures when frequencies get congested. Seems to work much better!

flyboyike 5th Aug 2013 13:39


Originally Posted by Randomperson8088

As an American pilot who conducts most of their flights outside the US, I agree, the phraseology standard of most of my colleagues is downright embarrassing. Indeed, it seems that many US pilots go out of their way to be non-standard and I find it absolutely maddening.

They do things like omit their flight number in readbacks, other times say only the flight number and omit the callsign, they add a possesive 's to the end of their callsin, say "checkin' on with ya" on intial callup, say "up to three four oh" when cleared to climb, say "down to two seven oh" when cleared to descend, and otherwise just break into random sentences of non-standard English when doing something as simple as asking for a weather deviation. It is very frustrating to be an unwilling accomplice to this behavior.

Unfortunately there is no way to address this issue without coming off as a complete . I've found that pilots take these types of criticisms personally, especially if they come from a relatively junior pilot such as myself. I have little choice but to keep my distaste internalized. All I can do is strive to be standard when it is my turn to key the mic.

What kind of starch do you use for your shirts? I've been using Faultless, but I'm being told real professionals only use Niagara. Is that true?

RandomPerson8008 5th Aug 2013 14:38


Originally Posted by flyboyike
What kind of starch do you use for your shirts? I've been using Faultless, but I'm being told real professionals only use Niagara. Is that true?

I use whatever the "Guppy Killer" "heavy RJ" drivers are using. They're undoubtedly the experts on all things concerning professional aviation, especially this topic, since they so often depart the confines of comfortable North America. Oh, wait a second.....:rolleyes:

I'm sure "checkin on with ya three four oh lookin for a smooth ride, how ya'll doin down there?, over and out little buddy" works just fine all day long on that super desireable IND-CLT route. Sure, you sound like a tool, but it makes you feel like Luke Duke form the Dukes of Hazard so it's all worthwhile. :rolleyes:

flyboyike 5th Aug 2013 15:16

That's just it, I've seen some of them use Faultess, some Niagara and some just sizing spray, so I'm all confused on that issue.

J.O. 5th Aug 2013 15:49

None of us is faultless. How does that affect the fact that we all have a responsibility to raise our concerns when unsafe behaviours creep into the operation?

bubbers44 5th Aug 2013 16:37

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. Notice which one has last priority?

Cows getting bigger 5th Aug 2013 16:45

Absolutely, hence the concern when the communicate bit takes too much time because:

a. Other 'professional' pilots/controllers are using ten words when two will do.

b. You have to ask for repeats of instructions because they weren't given in a standard format first.

This whole thread (and the Asiana SFO) one is a great example of why we need to do CRM. :ugh:

Astra driver 5th Aug 2013 17:22

"Standard of RT in the USA"?

Well let's see, in the UK I've been told by numerous controllers to "Climb level four hundred", etc. In France when checking in with a speed restriction I've been told "Free speed", I could go on and on but I think the phrase that comes to mind here is "Be careful not to cast stones in glass houses".

Daily Dalaman Dave 5th Aug 2013 19:55

Bubbers,

So because its the 3rd in line out of the 3 it just doesn't matter? Reassuring. :eek:

Astra Driver,

Firstly I've never heard that in my life and I'm guessing I fly in the UK far more than you do. And secondly if that's the best example of crap RT you can muster from outside of the US then I think that probably tells a story!? :ok:

Don't really know why this has turned into an intercontinental p1ssing contest, its about safety and nothing else. I'm not judging the standards of any country's ATC, but to defend US ATC units' and pilots use of totally non-standard RT by saying "hey it works just fine here/we know more than anyone as we invented flying etc etc" is laughable. The whole point of "standardised" RT is so people from all 4 corners of the aviation world (there is a rather large world beyond US borders) can understand and be understood. This must take into account the lowest common denominator whoever they may be.

Unfortunately US ATC aren't always easy to understand and that's to a native English speaker. If it works "just fine" for you then great, but why can't so many people see the fact that for non-natives its harder (and therefore potentially less safe) than using standard phrases. I'm not so anal as to expect any controller/pilot exchange to be anything close to word perfect anywhere in the world, but the whole point is that many US pilots/controllers don't even make an effort to sound professional or attempt to use any standard phrases. Why?

Because YOU know better and it works fine for YOU. What else matters!?

VFR Only Please 5th Aug 2013 20:31

It's always seemed to me that reading back a clearance in a slightly different way (i.e. not just word-for-word parroting of the controller's instructions) to show you've understood is a good idea. In the Kuala Lumpur example, if in reply to "XYZ cleared two four zero zero feet" the crew had said something like "XYZ descending four hundred feet", this would have saved the day.

Uplinker 6th Aug 2013 01:20

Nicely put, Daily - I agree 100%

The point surely is that standardization is the most important lesson here.

Yes; some folk - flight deck or ATC - may think they are very clever and professional just because they sound cool and slick with their invented calls and linguistic shortcuts, but if they are using non-standard phrases that even just one crew does not understand one day, and that crew then taxis into an aircraft taking off, or descends into the flightpath of another aircraft and crashes - how are they going to feel?

Would they be able to sleep at night?

Some ICAO phrases do seem laborious, and I do understand why some folk feel the need to make things slicker, but they must understand that non-standard phraseology could lead to disaster one day. As I've said; we were given totally the wrong QNH going into Mexico, purely because the controller was trying to save time by making his own invented verbal shortcut. Fine for him, but what if we had stuffed the aircraft into the ground in IMC conditions because we had the wrong QNH set?

galaxy flyer 6th Aug 2013 02:17

flyboymike,
Would you be one of THESE guys....


Unfortunately there is no way to address this issue without coming off as a complete . I've found that pilots take these types of criticisms personally
Personally, I agree, about 75% or more of US Yanks sound terrible on the radio, here and overseas.

I'll bet that RJ gets your international a lot, like twice a month to YYZ. Don't take it personally, I've asked guys, if the flew international; their answer was, "sure, we go to Toronto and Montreal."

galaxy flyer 6th Aug 2013 03:00

Despite years of international USAF flying, the Canadians I work with taught, and demanded, good ICAO R/T. :ok:

Not that many French would recognize it.:E


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