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

wasthatit 12th Jul 2013 21:10


Good point Mr Heathrow, would you like to propose the amendment to the CAP from whence the quote came?
I think you are quoting the readback but not the instruction.

EGPFlyer 12th Jul 2013 21:20

Indeed he is, the clue is the little aircraft (as opposed to the tower) in the box :ok:

J.O. 13th Jul 2013 01:56


A little while back a Canadian ATC controller instructed pilots to go around using RT slang. Something like "sixteen twenty eight go around". The ATC missed the prefix of their callsign and the pilots didn't understand it was for them. They ended up landing.
I know the incident you are referring to and can state categorically that it did not happen that way. Recordings on the LiveATC site seemed to show that the full call sign wasn't used but that's because LiveATC scans multiple frequencies and often clips a transmission. The ATC recordings were reviewed and showed that the controller used the proper phraseology when issuing the go-around instruction. The crew just flat out missed it.

Pucka 13th Jul 2013 02:36

The various flavours of ATC stateside and in Europe in MHO are perfectly fine. The templates that ATC use on both sides of the pond are pretty much the same and for that, we have to be grateful..for the purists out there..get a life. Who cares if the controller doesn't say.."decimal" or that R/W 07L is just.."seven left"? Human communication is a fallible exercise..sometimes colourful and sometimes pretty droll..let it be..

pigboat 13th Jul 2013 02:51

95% of the users of the American ATC system seem able to live with it. I have an idea. Lets change it to appease the remaining 5% who have difficulty with it because it doesn't meet some mythical international standard. :E

HEATHROW DIRECTOR 13th Jul 2013 09:36

Wasthatit and EGPFflyer. Take a look at message #62. I merely quoted what a previous poster had written. Controllers give callsigns at the beginning of the transmission..

B190 13th Jul 2013 12:40

I have operated out of Uk a few years back on heavy jets into and out of all the world hubs. also operated in US and UK military controlled areas of the Middle East .Before that operated in Africa.
Now operating in Australia.
In my opinion UK and US ( military and civil) controllers are top notch.
Best London area after engine fire in flight.
Aussies pedantic but correct.
Africa, South America, Asia ......WTF (Dubai and SA excluded)

I.R.PIRATE 13th Jul 2013 13:31

Spending most of my life hopping between Europe and the US, including lots of domestic flying in the states, I have to say that I find the standard of US ATC top notch. But I need to elaborate a little.

From the ATC SIDE of things it's fine; succinct, efficient, expedient and most of all, generally makes sense, save for a few odd profile descents every now and then. Yes, sometimes spat at you quicker than a rapper on speed, but you are always welcome to ask for a repeat.

It's the air side of things in the US where the most non standard, bog slang is to be found, as every guy out there is trying to sound cooler or more colloquial than the next. But, once more, that's the way it is, doesn't bother me, I find it a comical aside to my daily job.

Having dealt a lot with US military controllers and drivers during a previous life, I can clearly see where the need on the civilian side for colorful phrases and image were birthed and/or adopted, but the difference being that in the US military, everyone comes from within the same system.

I find UK ATC great too, orderly, clear and generally at a pace that accommodates everyone. I don't always understand why you have to inform each new freq of your clearances, but hey, that's how it is.

I picture the brave and the free trying to out slang each other in their version of the aerial rodeo, while all the queen's men like to see who can inflect the most ennui into their radio calls between sips of tea.

Once more, that's just how it goes, and I find it adds color to the otherwise dreary grind of interactions on the airwaves elsewhere in the world.

Many years of Africa and the Mid East make me most thankful for the great controlling on both sides of the pond.

SMOC 13th Jul 2013 13:42


the remaining 5% who have difficulty
Great idea 5% of A/C in the skies above you having difficulty, what a novel safety aspect. :ugh:

perantau 13th Jul 2013 15:44

Standard of RT in USA
 
Communication is both transmitting and receiving (understanding) what is being said. Minimizing syllables and rapid transmissions become pointless when the other end keeps coming back with, "say again".

con-pilot 13th Jul 2013 15:51


Great idea 5% of A/C in the skies above you having difficulty, what a novel safety aspect
Name one country's ATC system where 100% of all air traffic has no issue with the R/T of the controllers and the controllers with the pilots?

Just one.

That's what I thought, I'll keep the 95 to 99 percent average here in the US thank you very much. :rolleyes:

dazdaz1 13th Jul 2013 16:00

Non pilot....I recall a study back in the mid 90s US university who carried out this problem/situation/a2a comms. Long story short, If one spoke in a deep slow baritone voice (actor Roger Moore) comms are more understandable. Just requires a bit of practice to do a Roger Moore voice.

Cows getting bigger 13th Jul 2013 16:15


That's what I thought, I'll keep the 95 to 99 percent average here in the US thank you very much.
Please do but could you arrange for a NOTAM to be issued whenever you think about flying outside of your microcosm?

jayceehi 13th Jul 2013 16:21

Miss the days many years ago of my first job on a DC-3.....20 miles out you just turned off the radio master and enjoyed the flight...No one for miles around no one to listen too....Just enjoy the flight and the scenery.....
No whining and bitching....Just flying!!!! Nice.....

Lord Spandex Masher 13th Jul 2013 16:23


Originally Posted by con-pilot (Post 7939004)
Name one country's ATC system where 100% of all air traffic has no issue with the R/T of the controllers and the controllers with the pilots?

Just one.

That's what I thought, I'll keep the 95 to 99 percent average here in the US thank you very much. :rolleyes:

Name one country's ATC system which attempts* to ensure that 100% of all air traffic has no issue with the RT of the controllers and the controllers with the pilots.

Name one that doesn't.

*by using standard phraseology. You know because many different nations come and visit.

con-pilot 13th Jul 2013 18:00


I recall a study back in the mid 90s US university who carried out this problem/situation/a2a comms. Long story short, If one spoke in a deep slow baritone voice (actor Roger Moore) comms are more understandable. Just requires a bit of practice to do a Roger Moore voice.
Well, that would be the only thing I would have in common with Roger Moore. :p

I have been told that my radio voice is a lot different than my normal conversational voice, my voice on the radio is deeper and slower. So there might be something to that.

What bothered me the most, were the guys (and gals believe or not) that faked the Chuck Yeager yawl, like; 'Ahh, XXX 465 is, ahh, out of, ahh, 31.0 to, ahh, 24.0.'

Drove me crazy.

cvg2iln 13th Jul 2013 18:10

This sums it up nicely.


Coagie 13th Jul 2013 18:23

Funny. The Chuck Yeager drawl is what I thought of, when you mentioned the study. I think modern equipment brings the most out of a low baritone voice, but in the old days, when they had squeaky equipment, maybe the Chuck Yeager nasal voice came out better? In the early days of the phonograph, a tenor came out better. Even Bing Crosby, a great baritone, had to sing tenor until, they had hi-fi recording and playback equipment after the war. Two way radios were some of the last pieces of equipment, you listen to, that were made to sound better. I guess, they figured, it's often full of static anyway, so what's the use?

con-pilot 13th Jul 2013 19:11


On HF we used a high pitched shouty voice.
Dunno if it worked
There have been times in places I've flown, that I've wondered if anything on HF worked.

llondel 13th Jul 2013 19:43

Standard comms equipment normally passes 300Hz-3kHz, with increasing attenuation outside that range. So a really deep voice wouldn't work too well, nor would wearing your trousers too tight.

Playing amateur radio, female voices are often easier to understand on a noisy link, although we're not usually using AM so the characteristics will be different to VHF airband.

Gertrude the Wombat 13th Jul 2013 20:46


The ATC recordings were reviewed and showed that the controller used the proper phraseology when issuing the go-around instruction. The crew just flat out missed it.
"[callsign] go around I say again go around acknowledge"

Given a lack of acknowledgement, isn't that a clue to ATC that the pilot might have missed the instruction?

pigboat 13th Jul 2013 20:56


On HF we used a high pitched shouty voice.
Dunno if it worked.
Back in the day before SSB, we had a male dispatcher who had a rather high on air voice, he could be mistaken for a female if you didn't know otherwise. His was the best voice that could be understood over HF. SSB reduced everyone to sounding like rain in a tin pisspot.


Playing amateur radio, female voices are often easier to understand on a noisy link, although we're not usually using AM so the characteristics will be different to VHF airband.
I'd say the same for VHF also.

VFR Only Please 13th Jul 2013 21:07

Delta pilot to NY controller: "Y'all hear how fast I'm speaking? Well that's as fast as I understand too."

Rananim 13th Jul 2013 22:22

Contentious thread
 
Nobodys perfect.N.America ATC is the best going with Euroland a close second.Ive worked as an expat so seen all corners of the Earth.I like the variation.I dont get upset working a foreign ATCC.I dont expect them to sound the same or do things the same.I adapt.

Diesel8 14th Jul 2013 02:46

I second Raninim.

SMOC 14th Jul 2013 03:42

Rananim, is English your first language?

Hardbutt 14th Jul 2013 05:41

I operate on international flights. The Japanese and UK ATCOs are top notch. All standard ICAO. The larger American airports have improved tremendously in recent years, less 'slang and stlye'. Maybe this a result of having to "say again" repeatedly with the surge of foreing air carriers. :D

Loose rivets 14th Jul 2013 06:45

I vaguely recall the term Overshooting being used to Go Around. When was the term Go Around cast in stone?


Not that I'm experienced in the US, but when I did my ATP, the exams were a walk in the park. The RT during the flight test was another thing altogether. I really struggled at first.

The thing is, I'd been speaking Tex-Mex for years.


Oh, edit to ask: What was that bloke's name in Shell Mex house who did the RT exam and the IR pre-test in the Link trainer? He used to launch into a falsetto voice at one stage, and make keeping a straight face a matter of command willpower. Something beginning with S ?

SMOC 14th Jul 2013 06:51


slang and stlye
Exactly, most westerners with English as a first language can adapt, which takes time if you only fly into the US a few times a year.

Hearing some ATCer get angry at a foreign carrier with a guy who clearly has english as a second or third language as previously said is pointless. He was trained to an ICAO English proficiency what else can you expect.

Use slang and style with the locals and carriers who can/have adapted and standard ICAO with those that are expecting just that.

atpcliff 14th Jul 2013 07:19

It's not just the US. I flew in Africa for about 18 mos, and they did all kinds of non-standard stuff, and used non-standard radio terminology.

We had an ICAO-type guy, who wanted to use standard phraseology. He was trying to correct the African controllers on the radio, and he always used standard phraseology himself. Sometimes, they couldn't understand him, and his corrections weren't very appreciated.

mary meagher 14th Jul 2013 07:51

Well, nobody requested my contribution about a Birmingham controller, but here goes anyhow.

Flying my PA18 in the UK (and being accustomed to helpful ATC in the US)
I hopfully asked to be permitted to climb into the Birmingham zone, to avoid increasing cloud cover - the PA had all the necessary bells and whistles, and so did I....but although not a peep had been heard on the Birmingham frequency that early morning, the reply was curt. Negative.

So I flew on, dodging cu. Asked again. Still Negative. And he wasn't talking to anybody else at all at all. Once more, I was now facing a diversion as the cloud was spreading out. Still negative.

Whereupon a Speedbird, in Best BA Baritone, informed me "You're not in America now, you know!"

I diverted.

nolimitholdem 14th Jul 2013 08:37

It was probably the same BA guy who stands ever-ready to correct anyone mistakenly broadcasting on 121.5. (Is it really only one guy? He sure is vigilant.)

Man, this thread is a pedant's wet dream. Or an Australian's.

I think what annoys the Yank-bashers the most is that they don't HAVE to care what the rest of the world thinks.

Rananim puts is best. Adapt and move on. There are bigger issues out there. Like maybe learning to fly a visual approach by the time you have 10,000 hours.

beamer 14th Jul 2013 08:40

A few observations:

1. At the end of a long dark night across the pond, none of us are as sharp as we might like to be and that results in a little lax RT - our colonial cousins are not the only culprits by a long way.

2. The shambolic situation at Spanish airports continues unabated. In busy ATC environments, the use of local language reduces dramatically pilots understanding of who is where in the sky. It is not because they cannot speak English, it is because they cannot be bothered to do so or are making some political point.

3. Some GA pilots in the UK, when talking to major ATC units on those weekend afternoons are far too verbose and need to learn not only when to speak but also how much to say.

4. Why do ATIS broadcasts in the US need to be made at such a frenetic pace ? At Sanford it usually takes me about three runs to get all the information down and that is sitting on stand with engines shut down. How on earth the light aircraft fraternity manage with one hand on the stick and another on their chinagraph is beyond me - slow down please !

5. The 'guard police' are still at it all over the world - we all make mistakes, don't get so punchy !

6. Do the Americans actually go on a course of instruction to adopt that lazy comfortable southern drawl :ok:

And finally, last night I followed an Easyjet airbus all the way from Turkey to the UK. The poor kid in presumably the RHS, managed to screw up every RT call from the eastern Med to blighty. It became quite amusing after a while; his Captain must have been giving him a very hard time or was 'resting' after a long day. Don't worry son, you will get there in the end !

mross 14th Jul 2013 09:25

Native English v International english
 
I work in the engine room on a multinationaly-crewed ship. All the Bulgarains, Croatians, Filipinos, Indians etc seem to communicate very well in a subset of English. As a native English speaker it is I who has the most difficulty, especially when it is noisy - I tend to lose concentration when poor grammar is used even though it does not affect the sense. So I must learn the pidgin!

On another point, listening to some Americans is like trying to read a book with no punctuation, it's all delivered in a flat monotone with no pitch changes or pauses to let you figure out the phrase and sentances!

Willit Run 14th Jul 2013 09:39

The American southern d r a w l, is no worse than a thick scotch accent.
The rapid fire Indian chatter with everything but the colour of the ship drives me nuts and hinders the rest of us trying to get a word in edgewise.
the nasal monotone of the Taiwanese is not always easy to understand. Mainland Chinese is sometimes bloody impossible. Throw in a thick Aussie accent, that throws me for a loop now and then. Oh wait, how about Yangoon, yikes!

If ya fly around the world a lot, get used to it! thats part of the fun.

Enough of the pedants and rants, get a life!

Lord Spandex Masher 14th Jul 2013 09:41


Originally Posted by nolimitholdem (Post 7940083)
I think what annoys the Yank-bashers the most is that they don't HAVE to care what the rest of the world thinks.

Well they do, when they're in the rest of the world or the rest of the world goes to America.

It's not Yank bashing by the way. It's poor RT bashing and applies to more than America. Just in case some poor under confident American gets upset again.

Eclan 14th Jul 2013 10:00

If you want to understand why American pilots have so much trouble with standard RT, watch a film called "Idiocracy" starring Luke Wilson. It illustrates the direction in which the USA in general is headed and especially their grasp of verbal communication.

Like a lot of their TV, Yank RT seems "cool" but bears little resemblance to reality.

Yank RT Translation:

Okaaaaay = I am about to start speaking,

...is with you = I am on your frequency in case this isn't obvious by me transmitting,

checkin' in = I am on your frequency in case this isn't obvious by me transmitting,

two one point three = Passing flight level 213 or maybe flight level 21.3 (2130 ft ???)- who knows??

twenny eight fourteen = Squawking 2814

with the flash = with ident. Not a required call anyway.

lookin' fer lower = Request further descent

Unnerstand one five oh = read back with no acceptance of responsibilty - I only understand the clearance to be XXXXX and it's your fault if I have it wrong.

oh = zero

Twenny three an' a quarter = one two three decimal two five

An' = and

Maintain two five oh = maintain heading 250 or maybe FL250 or maybe 250 KIAS. Who knows??

Look at Flying Tiger 66 for an example of crap RT leading to a crash.

The USA may have the best safety record as someone claimed (I doubt it) but sadly they also have the record for the dumbest causes of accidents:

Looking for spare light bulbs, teasing the FO, reversing out of an iced-in parking bay with reverse thrust (!!??), no flaps for take off while chatting the stewardess, etc, reading back 2400 as 400 feet, many more.

Use it at home, leave it at home if you're going to fly in the rest of the world!

Mr.Bloggs 14th Jul 2013 10:07

RT should be of a high standard at all international airfields. (Real ones that is; half the little towns in the States have "international" fields.

There is no place for high-speed drawl, be it on ATIS or on ATC comms.

To be fair, the same applies worldwide. Many female Turkish controllers are not understandable due to their high-pitched monotonal delivery. And as for Mumbai..........:*

OSCAR YANKEE 14th Jul 2013 12:16

I love threads like these, because that gives me the opportunity to say, that everyone should just do like the danes, ;)

STD ICAO - no exceptions, no excuses.

All Professionals speak English at all times, and the ATC is by far the best in the world. (Though ill admit with a less complicated starting point, than ie. London.)

I have always found it inherently funny that the brits, have to have exeptions because they of course know better than everyone else,
and the americans dont really care as long as it works back home. (Which is why they are probably alright with PRISM as it is only targeted at foreigners :} )

The best part about the exceptions are that they "exported" and used outside the homepond.

The americans say "xxx Heavy" everywhere, and the brits feel obliged to tell departure on which SID, pass alt, cleared level they are to everyone,
eventhough nobody seem to care outside the UK. :ok:

(And before any dutch start rambling about ATC in AMS which is good, sorry but a bit to gash generally !! :} )


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