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

twentypoint4 14th Jul 2013 15:26

Enjoyed reading the back and forth on this thread!

If I had a quid for every time an American or Canadian pilot read back a clearance/instruction in exactly the same, standard form as I'd transmitted to them, I'd have zero quid.

You have nothing to prove, we know you're much cooler than the rest of us, but please stop needlessly over-complicating everything and start joining in with keeping it simple!

From a whiny, pedant of a London ATCO.

P.S. I love both America and Canada, your people (women :ok:), and your cultures. I especially love Reese's peanut butter cups, really good work on them.

Faire d'income 14th Jul 2013 15:41

Simple question:

In your opinion where are you more to receive an unacceptable or uncomfortable clearance on approach?

EGLL/EGKK/EGCC or KJFK/KORD/KBOS

Keke Napep 14th Jul 2013 15:42

How amazing that a total no-post like this can generate so much overheated and xenophobic excitement. As an African whose secondary and tertiary education was in Europe and North America I think ICAO should declare pidgin to be the universal 'speak'. Naturally, on Prune this would then generate a new thread with hundreds of thousands of opinions as to which form of pidgin was universally acceptable :ooh:. For goodness sake, some version of 'English' is understood by 99% of all pilots and controllers, as long as it's broadcast at the rate of a Texan drawl to those who are not native 'English' speakers :}

Airbubba 14th Jul 2013 17:56


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.
I'd have to agree with that statement. :)

mary meagher 14th Jul 2013 19:50

Well, les moderateurs have so far spared the axe permitting my contributions to remain, here's another one regarding UK and US RT.....

Friend of mine was newly minted as an air traffic controller at LHR. Let us call her Belinda. Seems that once qualified, one is detailed to handle the ground control, and so was Belinda, on her very first day on duty - with of course an attentive supervisor to guarantee nothing went wrong.

Incidentally, I met Belinda at my gliding club, not far from LHR -

So after a couple of smooth encounters with early arrivals from foreign parts, the next aircraft to be directed to the stand turned out to be a fellow glider pilot...quite a lot of BA pilots enjoyed that sport in their spare time as it happens, in our gliding club.

So the BA pilot, relaxing from the strict RT discipline of approach and tower, recognizing Belinda's voice on ground control, gave her the big hello...."Hey, Belinda, is that your voice? how's it going?"

Belinda didn't allow herself to be distracted from absolute propriety in directing the cheeky chappy to his place. After three more BA arrivals turned up, each one with a personal hello to a fellow glider pilot, it grew more and more difficult to retain professional discipline. When an American Airlines Pilot who happened to hear the last couple of "Hello Belinda, how you doing?"s broke in with "That Belinda must be some swinger!" she lost it.

The supervisor had to step in.

Since then, her career as controller has been unblemished. But the story is still told.

742 14th Jul 2013 20:44



Simple question:

In your opinion where are you more to receive an
unacceptable or uncomfortable clearance on approach?

EGLL/EGKK/EGCC or
KJFK/KORD/KBOS

Easy. EGLL/EGKK/EGCC. And for the simple reason that I grew up, both personally and professionally, in the United States. KJFK/KORD/KBOS make sense to me. And I have fond memories of KDCA.

Everyone is more comfortable on home turf. Every country as its own aviation culture, notwithstanding ICAO. And almost everyone has to find some reason to look down on other people. These are, I think, three facts of life.

phil gollin 14th Jul 2013 20:58

So I presume that the US Armed Forces Air Traffic Controllers go along with the abbreviated terminology of their civil cousins ?

OBK! 14th Jul 2013 21:04

I'd love to see any ATC in the USA try and manage Heathrow for an hour....don't forget the CDA's folks.

FL200 at over 150nm from touchdown is common in the states, it's a disgrace if people think that's good and efficient air traffic control. Then there's the RT...just have to listen to a well known live atc website for a glimpse at how gash it is.

Have to say tho, Pa28'ing around the states was a pleasure. Bloody hate it commercially.

West Coast 14th Jul 2013 21:07

I think a lot can be learned by standardizing RT as some genuine posters have opined, the bashers that join in seem to have little to add however. 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. The exactness of the RT standards does not support any large increases in volume, heck even RT what is complained about here has minimal impact, but it does support some additional volume.
The ICAO standard likely works well at medium intensity airports, but at airports pushing 700,000 to almost a million ops a year it's a limiting factor.
The Chicago TRACON (arr/dept) facility was evacuated yesterday due to false fire alarms. It severely effected the airport and when ops restarted the traffic volume was beyond anything I've ever seen there or elsewhere. One local controller (tower) was working three runways masterfully. Two departure runways and one arrival runway that all cross. He never stopped talking other than to catch his breath and accept readbacks. His instructions were clear and concise but likely not exactly ICAO standard. there wasn't anyone needing clarification on frequency, foreign pilots were mixed in and seemed to have no issues either. Other runways were also in use with a different controller as well.

These traffic levels are coming to an airport near you in the coming years. How the controllers will cope is the question.

Now a certain few posters will poo poo over what I've posted here, you'll be able to figure out who they are soon. However ask yourself the question I'm posing about increased traffic volumes and how that will be accomplished. My belief is it will be a number of factors, including changing the ICAO standard of RT.

misd-agin 14th Jul 2013 21:07

Guys new to S. America often struggle with the Spanish accents and the Spanish names. It gets better.

Female Japanese controllers? Probably the hardest to understand. Accent and femlae voice, for some unknown reason, make it tough to understand. Coworkers usually agree.

Love standard RT, until it's stupid. Freq change - 127.025. "One two seven decimal zero two five."

Flip the radio and it goes 127.010, 127.025, 127.030. Why bother with the 'five" when saying ".025"? It's just another number to remember when there is no .020, .023, .027, etc, etc.

And oh the horrors, 'oh' instead of 'zero'. Or 'point' instead of 'decimal'. Yeah(that's U.S. for yes), I use standard RT except for the occasional "FL 21.3 climbing to FL330". Dem Brits, 'em some smart fellas and they git it. Fast learners. Proud of 'em.

misd-agin 14th Jul 2013 21:17


OBK-FL200 at over 150nm from touchdown is common in the states
Common? Where? Random? Sure.

West arrivals into JFK arrive at FL190 35nm NW of the airport. Three major airports in one of the busiest air corridors of the world (BOS-DCA) makes it a mess.

And the LAX basin used to have more than half of the busiest 10 airports in the U.S. Again, the volume of traffic forces flow problems.

Same with S. Florida. The list goes on and on. They don't put airplanes at FL200 150 nm from the airport for fun.

And managing LHR? Compared to many U.S. airports it appears to be much easier. That's a pilot's perspective from years of listening, and flying, in the airspace.

galaxy flyer 14th Jul 2013 21:45

OBK!,

You must be joking about LHR--it's less busy than CDG and about the same as PHX. ORD or ATL are twice as busy.

I'll agree that standard ICAO English is not any more time consuming and better than our version of it.

Faire d'income 14th Jul 2013 21:52


Easy. EGLL/EGKK/EGCC. And for the simple reason that I grew up, both personally and professionally, in the United States. KJFK/KORD/KBOS make sense to me. And I have fond memories of KDCA.

Everyone is more comfortable on home turf. Every country as its own aviation culture, notwithstanding ICAO. And almost everyone has to find some reason to look down on other people. These are, I think, three facts of life.
But neither is my home turf.

I have never received an uncomfortable clearance in London without it having being first offered as an option. Manchester can leave things tight but it is a rare occurrence and a request for extra miles would never cause a problem.

The three US airports I mentioned have frequently given me instructions with which I was not comfortable.

IMHO the big difference between the two is not ICAO. It is not ability or training. It is simply respect.

Faire d'income 14th Jul 2013 21:54


And managing LHR? Compared to many U.S. airports it appears to be much easier. That's a pilot's perspective from years of listening, and flying, in the airspace.
Now think about that for a while.

It IS much easier, for the pilots.

I.R.PIRATE 14th Jul 2013 21:56

Misd...

Every single time flying into KTEB, KJFK,KBOS, KEWR from across the pond, we end up at FL200 or below at least 100-150 nm out.

Every single time flying into KVNY and surrounds, same story.

Flying into Raleigh, Norfolk, you name it....same story.

We now plan an extra hours fuel just to handle this ridiculous exercise. In fact on certain days coming out of the UK we cannot legally make our East Coast destination purely because of this twisted descent profile. Sucks ass it does.

...and dont even bother with trying to get discretion for the descent, because you will get the slam dunk of all slam dunks if you try and hold out for a normal profile descent.

...certainly adds to the bottom line...

West Coast 14th Jul 2013 22:13

I fly jets into the airports you mention with the exception of VNY. I haven't had similar problems. I know our dispatch managers have worked closely with the leadership at the centers and tracons to find routing that allows as close to optimal altitudes. Perhaps that might be an avenue for your folks to try. It's been proven to work.

galaxy flyer 14th Jul 2013 22:22

I can't imagine what jet you are flying that requires an extra HOUR for a less than optimum descent. KVNY, KTEB are bizjet ports, so maybe an extra 15 minutes is more like it.

con-pilot 14th Jul 2013 22:44


I'd love to see any ATC in the USA try and manage Heathrow for an hour....don't forget the CDA's folks.
Now that's down right funny and I don't care who you are. :p

AdamFrisch 14th Jul 2013 23:32


I'd love to see any ATC in the USA try and manage Heathrow for an hour....don't forget the CDA's folks.
You're funny. Most of them run circles around LHR when it comes to traffic. Heathrow handles IFR arrivals in class A airspace where there's no other distractions from any traffic except these arrivals - not a single US big airport has that luxury. They have to deal with VFR traffic and all the other stuff as well. To more than 2 rwys as well..

WillowRun 6-3 15th Jul 2013 00:40

What's interesting especially here....
 
What's especially interesting here is how the "clearances" and "readbacks" - if you will (in lieu of some mundanity as 'back and forth') - have left the original query by which this thread was launched somewhere amidst open air spaces, as if looking for Cold Lake RCAF AB (Alberta) when it's gone dark. I mean, question was, with US ATC departing from ICAO standard, should the US file a difference with ICAO, in recognition of the non-standard usages (a lawyer word, for "words or phrases").

There's a fair - and at times hysterically funny - debate about how to evaluate the overall -- what is the sense here, efficacy? safety? projected resilience in the face of anticipated increased traffic volumes? user-friendly-ness to drivers? of atc in different parts of the world (sorry, if using the word "user" in reference to drivers offends any).

But this debate really opens up a window into another important question, imo. Which is: forget ICAO standardization as such. Is there some larger convention (conceptually speaking) about appropriate Air Traffic Control procedures and usages -- call it Standardization 2.0 if you like -- which needs to be looked at? For support, I cite the fact that a thread which began with focus upon non-standard usages by US ATCOs morphed into a more general discourse (at times hysterically funny, granted) about proclivities and bad habits, of atc in various parts of the world (and it also digressed into the actual methods of control, such as (as I understood it anyway) approach clearances fixed at altitudes too high to be optimal for a given distance from the outer marker), and also focused upon contextual or situational factors - such as the volume of air traffic at ORD or in the NYC corridor. The reported incident at the TRACON-Chicago is a great anecdotal illustration of such situational factor. Standard 2.0 needs to account not just for the verbal communication aspect, but the air traffic/airspace management context of a given location, does it not?

I leave for some other day, night, rotation, shift, look-up for Belinda's sister, the question whether the creation of a Standard 2.0 should, or should not, be done within the existing architecture of ICAO. Realize (yup, I do) that whether such a new standard(ization) should be pursued and adopted is a threshold question (as us legal eagles like to call things preliminary and requisite in nature) but trends being what they are, I'll leave it to others, too, to flesh out the scenarios by which the intensity of ATC is certainly going to ramp up, and way up at that, and by ramp, I don't mean the kind upon which the driver does her or his walk-around.

Airbubba 15th Jul 2013 00:51


I use standard RT except for the occasional "FL 21.3 climbing to FL330".
I've commented here previously that we Americans (not 'North Americans' :) ) couldn't call flight levels correctly if our lives depended on it.

FL 21.3 is 2130 feet on QNE right?

aviatorhi 15th Jul 2013 02:20


I'd love to see any ATC in the USA try and manage Heathrow for an hour...
Well, considering that 8 of the 10 busiest airports in the world by aircraft movements are located in the US, I don't think it would be too much of a stretch. Heathrow is 12th.

Pucka 15th Jul 2013 03:04

Avia..please define "busy". LHR has 2 runways. It has some pretty savage noise abate protocols that ATC have to feed traffic around, particularly on the 27's. I know of no other airport where I have to call DIRECTOR with call sign only. The approach separation distances are absolute minimums and rely almost exclusively on the most prompt of runway exits. I think 'Busy" is a tadge different from traffic density, given the paucity of runways at LHR compared to the other 11.
...and BTW can someone explain again to me why LHR insist on the ATIS readback to include QNH still...and for that matter, why do they need a confirmation of a/c type??..I thought that was on the flight plan, which after all defines the weight of the aerplane and thus the levy of charges??..or am I still in the 80's???

Defruiter 15th Jul 2013 03:39

The aircraft type filed on the plan is not always the actual type that is being used. When doing final approach spacing down to the minimums, we need to be sure that the aircraft is the type we are expecting. Happens more often than you would think.

Hotel Tango 15th Jul 2013 06:36

Many years ago I spent some time as an ATC simulator pilot for trainee controllers. I used a whole spectrum of accents and phraseology standards with my “pilot” r/t. Instructors and trainees were amused. I told them that in fact my intention wasn’t to be amusing but simply trying to introduce them to the real world of ATC r/t. Many trainees later came back to me after their first live r/t experiences stating that my r/t “acting” had come in useful.

I like both the British and American phraseology. It really doesn’t bother me at all. Although it is generally getting better these days, the only criticism I have is that some US controllers still need to slow down their delivery rate a little when speaking to certain nationalities.

Surferboy 15th Jul 2013 08:05


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. http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/sr...ies/thumbs.gif

(And before any dutch start rambling about ATC in AMS which is good, sorry but a bit to gash generally !! http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/sr...s/badteeth.gif )
Indeed, always a pleasure to have British crews also tell me the QNH, the ATIS letter, Aircraft-type and the arrival they are expecting.:} Luckily most of the time they don't do it when the freq. is busy!

I'll try to be less gash next time! :E

Flying Wild 15th Jul 2013 09:10


Originally Posted by Pucka (Post 7941336)
... I know of no other airport where I have to call DIRECTOR with call sign only...

Not flown into Amsterdam Schipol then?

His dudeness 15th Jul 2013 09:15


which SID, pass alt, cleared level
Thats how we do it as well.

I´m German, from the formerly (or still?) US occupied part.

Although overweight, I refrain from calling myself 'heavy'...

Sorry if thats wrong.

aviatorhi 15th Jul 2013 09:32

Pucka, every airport has it's unique elements, but to say that a US controller would have difficulty adjusting to how busy Heathrow is, well that's just something I don't buy.

As I said this is by aircraft movements.

CLT was comparable until they added the third runway in 2010 it has an additional long parallel runway. LAS is also comparable. The busier airports like ATL, ORD, JFK, etc. all have more runways simply because they need them to handle the volume of traffic. LHR would need to almost double it's traffic to approach ATL.

I also don't think LHR controllers would have much difficulty going the other way.

Lord Spandex Masher 15th Jul 2013 09:43

All this talk of ours is busier than yours that's why we are gash is nonsense.

The busier an airport the more important it is to get the message across clearly (and yes that includes to foreigners who haven't got English as a first language), the first time. That's why we have standards and standard phraseology etc.

Pucka 15th Jul 2013 11:02

Avia, Paola if I implied US airports wouldn't hack it at LHR..I certainly didn't mean that in the slightest..it was just to get the definition of BUSY ATC sorted in the aviation context. I am certain that given role exchanges twist LHR and US ATC, the world would be a little more colorful, a tadge less stuck up and a bit less arrogant!
Yes..AMS and this DIRECTOR thingy..strangely after operating in there for a pretty long time..since 1980 ish..I can't recall.."call director call sign only".. Must either be early onset...or I am so gash they don't trust me!!!

Surferboy 15th Jul 2013 14:21

IIRC it's in the charts to check in with AMS Approach with c/s only. ;)

West Coast 15th Jul 2013 16:10

I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with spandex, standard phraseology is good. That standard RT needs to change in the future to a less verbose standard however.

Lonewolf_50 15th Jul 2013 17:51


6. Do the Americans actually go on a course of instruction to adopt that lazy comfortable southern drawl
We can't tell you, or we'd have to kill you. ;) PS: the folks at LaGuardia sure as hell don't speak with a drawl.

Eclan:
your post full of whinging is noted.

I like clear concise R/T comms, but that may be due to having been an instructor for years and harping on
Who
Where
What
radio call formats to teach newbies why we say things the way we do over the radio, in the order we say them. (PTAPTP ... oh, wait, we are all radar covered now, right? )
"Sir, why do we say niner"
"Because nine and five sould too much alike when the radio is a bit scratchy"
"Sir, why do we say zero instead of oh?"
"Because clarity is important in communication"
"Why do we say .Pan Pan Pan" (Or, as I was once informed, "pan pan, pan pan, pan pan" )
"Because it's Spanish for bread, and when it's in the pan your goose is cooked." ;):cool::E I had a flight student do a double take when I slipped that one in ... we had a good laugh over it.

Keke

For goodness sake, some version of 'English' is understood by 99% of all pilots and controllers, as long as it's broadcast at the rate of a Texan drawl to those who are not native 'English' speakers
An actual Texan drawl/twang if delivered in rapid rhythm isn't really a drawl.
The person well above you who spoke about a "high speed drawl" may have misunderstood what a drawl is ...

Phil

So I presume that the US Armed Forces Air Traffic Controllers go along with the abbreviated terminology of their civil cousins ?
Why do you presume that? Brevity has its own virtues, and traps, in military comms.

The busier an airport the more important it is to get the message across clearly (and yes that includes to foreigners who haven't got English as a first language), the first time.
Of course it is. Brevity and clarity in communication was also the original point of using terms like "roger" to indicate something, and "out" to indicate something else, and "over" to indicate end of a transmission that expected a reply.

And so on.

Pet Peeve:

Readback of clearance strikes me as a place where there is NO room for paraphrasing instructions. Clearance is a critical part of the pilot/controller interface in terms of safety and 'getting it right' together., whether one is on the ground or inflight.

This includes taxi instructions. :mad:

misd-agin 15th Jul 2013 21:25

British ATC is falling apart. Last trip the controllers said "have a nice day". At least twice. Pleasant chaps. Maybe they're married to U.S. women.

Callsign Kilo 15th Jul 2013 21:48

Leave off the Yanks, they might be "non-standard" but they're not unsafe.

What's unsafe is how controllers and pilots across many major TMAs and international airports insist on speaking in their native tongue which degrades situational awareness and adds to workload. It's killed before and I'm positive it will do so again. This isn't a business for second guessing.

And I'm not one of these "I speak English so everybody bloody should" types. There's a time and a place.

pigboat 15th Jul 2013 23:08


I'd love to see any ATC in the USA try and manage Heathrow for an hour...
Is that with or without a snowstorm? ;)

galaxy flyer 15th Jul 2013 23:35

Heathrow has no problem with a snowstorm--airport closed, no planes, no problem. Mind you, it would a snow storm you can see the blades of grass through the snow cover. :}

West Coast 16th Jul 2013 00:37

The folks at DFW, airlines, ATC and airport ops pretty much do the same at the first sigh of an ice storm. Guess its cheaper overall to park 'em for the one a year storm than keep all the equipment in place.

Linktrained 16th Jul 2013 00:45

Some may recall that in the late 1940s that there was a proposal made to PICAO ( Provisional ICAO, I think) that Spanish should be the "Language of the Air". I cannot recall which countries made this proposal.

The U.S.A. said ... "NO"

Thank heavens !

An alternative, then, might have been an expanded Q-Code, to be done in Morse Code, just to make it " International...".


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