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

AdamFrisch 12th Jul 2013 08:24

The jargon here in the US is something that sometimes annoys me and lacks discipline, but I do have to say that some of the Americanisms are actually better. One very good example are altitudes above 4 digits: "Thirteen thousand five hundred feet" is much more legible and understandable than "One three thousand five hundred". The human mind doesn't compute additive instructions as well as compound ones.

Very often you hear crews ask for clarification on either new freq or altimeter settings and what alway settles it is when the controller departs ICAO and speaks "plain english". Example:

"Contact SoCal on one two three point seven five".
"What was that frequency again?"
"Twenty three seventy five".

Additive vs compound again. The latter is much clearer to compute in all scenarios. Settles it right away and I've never heard anyone ask for them to repeat such an instruction - ever. If safety and brevity is the objective, then the instruction that is the most understandable is the correct one, ICAO or not.

bamboo30 12th Jul 2013 08:27

Fly internationally and long haul my whole life, no problems understanding american, chinese, japanese atc. However do realized one pattern, native english pilots have some prolems understanding asian atc even after number of years operating in he region.

Contacttower 12th Jul 2013 08:39


Very often you hear crews ask for clarification on either new freq or altimeter settings and what alway settles it is when the controller departs ICAO and speaks "plain english". Example:

"Contact SoCal on one two three point two seven five".
"What was that frequency again?"
"Twenty three seventy five".
I completely agree with that. The way a lot of people's mind's work they need the number said in plain English in order to visualise it and therefore remember it. If one is only paying half attention to the radio one will often only hear unintelligible numbers if single digits are used whereas a number said "twenty three" for example can be heard and remember with only very limited mental effort.

That is a point on which the rest of the world could perhaps learn something from the US. In general the Americans can be relied on to find the easiest ways to do things...

However I still think they could improve their RT training for the pilots even if for the most part the controllers themselves are pretty good.

Mimpe 12th Jul 2013 08:44

Conversely Class C and D Control in Australia is very " ICAO" and I/ve never in any single nteraction had any doubt whatsoever what the instruction was. The traffic intensity is is much less of course, and I suspect International flights into the USA just adopt the local lingo with USA destinations - this is easy to do if you're are a native English speaker, but its a definite safety issue for non native english linguists.

Emergency requests are often best best made in plain speech.

casablanca 12th Jul 2013 08:48

As an American I do not feel that the intent of the post was to argue if they are the best or not. I feel it was more constructive criticism and he/she was right. There are many areas we could improve to make it safer and more clear for the many different nationalities who operate into our airspace. I would also recommend various countries to not communicate in their native language at large international airports, as again it takes many people out of the loop.
Ultimately, if we can be more standardized around the world it can only improve safety......but probably won't happen

AviatorDave 12th Jul 2013 09:05

Radio
 
AdamFrisch wrote:
"Additive vs compound again. The latter is much clearer to compute in all scenarios. Settles it right away and I've never heard anyone ask for them to repeat such an instruction - ever. If safety is the objective, then the instruction that is the most understandable is the correct one, ICAO or not."

Well, it depends on what you are used to. A frequency given to me as "twentythreeseventyfive" or compounded altimeter settings and transponder codes would make things more cumbersome for me in a high-speed, busy communication environment. I grew up with the European way of radio communication and my brain needs to "translate" the compounded information into the familiar format.

While it's not overly difficult, it adds more load, as small as that load may be.
And more load is never a good thing.

What works best for you doesn't have to cut it for everybody else. Everybody will have to adapt in some way, depending on where you fly. That should be both pilots and ATC.

Bernoulli 12th Jul 2013 10:00

Con-Pilot said 'We are doing more to change than anybody else is'. Errr, no you're not. Those born with their native tongue not English have to adapt far more than any English speaking American.

The machine gun delivery used by some American controllers is counterproductive when employed to direct 'foreign' aircraft. I fly for a British airline and frequently have to ask the US controllers to 'say again, slowly' thus defeating the initial objective of haste. It's a bit like listening to some of the VOLMET reports that are delivered so fast in heavily accented english that you've got to listen right through three times before you can understand it. 'More haste less speed' as my old granny used to say.

beardy 12th Jul 2013 10:10

I find ATC in the USA to be very professional, succinct and accurate. I understand them and I am aware of their notified differences from ICAO. I am in awe of their ability to speak an entirely different form of RT phraseology from most (not all) American pilots and not lose their cool. It amazing that two ends of the conversation can be talking different languages and yet understand each other!

flydive1 12th Jul 2013 10:16


Originally Posted by Yankee Whisky (Post 7936190)
"Charly Golf Golf Delta Uniform" I only used it in the initial contact with local
ATC and later on this became "Delta Uniform" in further x'missions with the same terminal operator. Professionals in the Air Force, where I spent some time also developed a shorthand "slang" ,which we all understood.

Yes, but sometimes they catch you out when they call you "Cee Gee Gee Dee You"

awblain 12th Jul 2013 10:25

Some slang is especially not good.
 
The most egregious case of non-standard terms I've heard was a reported call from a United Express flight into an unmanned airfield in inclement weather in Colorado.

While intending to confirm that he was next for arrival with the statement "I'm on deck", this understandably confused the private aircraft waiting to depart, who interpreted it as "I have cleared the active runway".

beardy 12th Jul 2013 10:42

1Charlie:
I too don't like the UK "descend on the glide" however it is a notified difference from ICAO and is there to try and prevent pilots from descending below their cleared altitude before becoming established on the localiser. Apparently this has happened, the aircraft was not in the safe surveyed area.
I know, cleared ILS means establish on the localiser before descending on the glidepath, but not everyone knows that (they should) and even some of those who do know it do not always abide by it. The UK phraseology is just there to try and help flight safety.

Sprinkles 12th Jul 2013 10:47

They've been saying "cleared for the ILS" in Gatwick for months! :hmm:

Leftofcentre2009 12th Jul 2013 10:54

Decimal or Point?
 
Why do the US ATC use the word "point" as opposed to "decimal" when speaking frequencies?

I'm genuinely interested to know.

123.45

One Two Three Point Four Five
One Two Three Decimal Four Five

awqward 12th Jul 2013 11:19

Good question about point vs decimal....just it should be the other way round! Point is two syllables shorter....is what is used in normal speech and I can't see it being confused with any numbers....so why Decimal?

Schnowzer 12th Jul 2013 11:36

Yeah but think how much shorter R/T would be if we all just used Americanisms. Just look at what they did to doughnut; donut! 5 letters saved and 2000 calories added!

My vote is for good R/T but I have no problems with plain English or Umerican, personally my biggest problem is getting my 2s and 3s understood on the sub-continent!

172_driver 12th Jul 2013 11:36

I think Casablanca is the best :ok:

Lonewolf_50 12th Jul 2013 11:49


As long as the USA is part of ICAO, they should ADHERE to the STANDARD ICAO Phraseology or ask for OFFICIAL ICAO published amendments. Don't like it Yanks? Then get the hell out of ICAO.
I suggest you stay the hell out of America if you don't like talking on the radios here. Enjoy your travels in the rest of the world. Or, you might take a lesson from beardy.


I find ATC in the USA to be very professional, succinct and accurate. I understand them and I am aware of their notified differences from ICAO. I am in awe of their ability to speak an entirely different form of RT phraseology from most (not all) American pilots and not lose their cool. It amazing that two ends of the conversation can be talking different languages and yet understand each other!
The above considered, my experiences with ATC in the Laguardia/Newark/Kennedy madhouse were, to say the least, frequently challenging and I am a native speaker of American English. But rather than whinge about it, I did my very best to master and deal with it.
Why?
Well, I wasn't the only plane in the sky, and I know that the folks in ATC are busting their butts to do the best they can in very crowded airspace.

As to "say again:" it's in the phrase book for a reason. I used it when I need it, and I think we all have.

diginagain 12th Jul 2013 11:53

It was never going to be pretty...........

Contacttower 12th Jul 2013 12:00


While intending to confirm that he was next for arrival with the statement "I'm on deck", this understandably confused the private aircraft waiting to depart, who interpreted it as "I have cleared the active runway".
That is exactly one of the problems. If the US had more formalised RT training the we would not get these strange non standard phrases used. I seem to remember I while ago during some emergency a pilot asked ATC to "roll trucks"; I mean where does that sort of thing come from? :ugh:


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