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

mary meagher 17th Jul 2013 15:05

Okay, here comes another anecdote, just to keep the conversation friendly.

As a British Pilot, I took the RT,course, practiced the patter, and made a habit of listening on Channel 9 when flying UA as a pax. Approaching London, was delighted to hear the following exchange.

American pilot politely and properly requested Direct to Bovingdon.

Heathrow Director politely and properly declined.

American pilot asked again a few minutes later, also according to the Queen's English as she is spoken over here.

Heathrow replied "Sorry, sir, cannot approve that routing as it would take you through a danger zone."

Speedbird pilot, unidentified, chipped in: "Go for it!"

Linktrained 17th Jul 2013 15:25

Not always "Pretenious..."
 
I had mentioned earlier the possibility for confusion between a "HAMPTON 4 DEPARTURE" and "HAMPTON FOR DEPARTURE".

The read-back by the Anglophone F/O was quickly queried by a busy Idlewild Control. The Scotophone Captain was word perfect at once. Congratulations to both.

Leaving this embarrassed F/O wondering if another number could or should be used. ( It was my first trip !)

West Coast 17th Jul 2013 15:25

Basil

Next time might I suggest you simply call the tower after parking if you have a comment. If you're about RT standardization, then surely you can see the folly of making comments on frequency. A reply on frequency can be perceived as simply being a smartass (which given your comments at the next airport, it was) while a call with a well reasoned explanation can go a long way towards a remedy.
US ATC had the JS experience taken from them post Sept 11 up until fairly recently. Even now the program is not user friendly and the few controllers I interact with have pressed their boss'es for the time off to get into the actual JS so they can see things from our perspective. Feedback such as you tried by my estimation is appreciated, but it's about how you do it as much as what your saying.

Basil 17th Jul 2013 18:28


Next time might I suggest you simply call the tower after parking if you have a comment.
You're probably right but, as an ex ATCO, I felt I'd never have started yacking on at an aircraft during the high speed part of the landing roll unless there was imminent danger.

West Coast 17th Jul 2013 18:41

I understand your point, I disagree with the way went about it.

BEagle 17th Jul 2013 19:09

We used to take baby VC10K pilots to the US to expose them to a number of new situations - high temp / mil ops / busy civil ATC etc.- all achievable within a few days.

I found US RT 'different', but never impossible. Civil Center controllers were mostly fine, as were airport controllers, but many military ATIS readers were an idiotic liability.

Landing at Honolulu the crew was told "Next available, Ground point 9 when off". To me, sitting on the jump seat, that was blindingly obvious; take the next exit, then call Hono' Ground for taxying instructions on the VHF ground frequency which ends in .9. But no, the crew blundered off onto the next exit, then turned straight onto the taxiway without calling Ground, causing a 747 to come to rather a rapid halt, then struck up a conversation with the busy local controller...:rolleyes:

Only issue I ever had could be summed up as "Speak fast, speak twice!". Rapid clearance delivered at a tobacco-auctioneer's pace, ending in "Readback" isn't helpful - crews will often ask for a repeat. But they should be ready to note it down, of course.

"xxxAir checking in at 360" I thought was a great idea - it let us know that he wasn't at our level. Equally "xxxAir passing 280 climbing 360". But when I did the same, my training captain said it wasn't necessary "Because ATC already know that!". Well, they might - but other aircraft won't and it all helps to build SA!

But please - no 'rounders' scores on 123.45 on the ocean!

J.O. 17th Jul 2013 19:20


But please - no 'rounders' scores on 123.45 on the ocean!
Same goes for UEFA and the EPL, please. BTW, no one has played rounders in close to a century.

Lonewolf_50 17th Jul 2013 19:27


"xxxAir checking in at 360" I thought was a great idea - it let us know that he wasn't at our level. Equally "xxxAir passing 280 climbing 360". But when I did the same, my training captain said it wasn't necessary "Because ATC already know that!". Well, they might - but other aircraft won't and it all helps to build SA!"
The voice report used when switching freqs from one controller to another with altitude included, IIRC originated in the days when not all airspace was radar covered.
Even with radar coverage, if the controller you are checking in with does NOT copy your transponder, for whaterver reason, at his end or yours, alerting him to your altitude is a good thing.

I need to check voice reports again in the AIM to see what has chnaged since I used to teach this stuff. I agree with you on the wisdom of those reports.
However, "checking in at" is probably not the right report. (Again, I need to look this up).

Format from memory: "Houston Center, XXXAir NA556, Flight Level 250 (or one's altitude when FL is not appropriate)" is the standard call. If this has changed, I'd be curious as to why. Short, sweet, and to the point.

EDIT:

Looks like it is mostly the same, and I'd be interested to know if this is not the same in ICAO procedures.
From the 2012 edition of the AIM:
5-3-1.b.2. The following phraseology should be utilized by pilots for establishing contact with the designated facility:
(a) When operating in a radar environment:
On initial contact, the pilot should inform the controller of the aircraft’s assigned altitude preceded by the words “level,” or “climbing to,” or “descending to,” as appropriate; and the aircraft’spresent vacating altitude, if applicable.
EXAMPLE−
1. (Name) CENTER, (aircraft identification), LEVEL (altitude or flight level).
2. (Name) CENTER, (aircraft identification), LEAVING (exact altitude or flight level), CLIMBING TO OR DESCENDING TO (altitude of flight level).
NOTE− Exact altitude or flight level means to the nearest 100 foot increment. Exact altitude or flight level reports on initial contact provide ATC with information required prior to using Mode C altitude information for separation purposes.

(b) When operating in a nonradar environment:
(1) On initial contact, the pilot should inform the controller of the aircraft’s present position, altitude and time estimate for the next reporting point.
EXAMPLE−
(Name) CENTER, (aircraft identification), (position), (altitude), ESTIMATING (reporting point) AT (time).
(2) After initial contact, when a position report will be made, the pilot should give the controller a complete position report.
EXAMPLE− (Name) CENTER, (aircraft identification), (position), (time), (altitude), (type of flight plan), (ETA and name of next reporting point), (the name of the next succeedingreporting point), AND (remarks).

BEagle 17th Jul 2013 20:28

Personally I'd bin the 'dangerous dative'! As in 'to or for'. Thus 'Climbing FL280' rather than 'climbing to 280'. Was that 280 or 220? Similarly, was that 'for' or 'four'?

'XXXair passing FL 220 climbing FL 280' or 'XXXair maintaing FL320' or 'XXXair passing FL320 descending FL220, ready for lower when able' seems simple enough.

But we really don't need to get too fussy....

philbky 17th Jul 2013 20:29

A comment from a listener
 
As a non pilot but someone who has been listening to HF comms since the late 1950s and VHF since around 1963 in various parts of the world, as well as having spent many hours riding jump seats before 9/11, I've heard many different ways of delivering and reading back clearances and have been able to observe first hand the reaction of crews to non standard terminology. I've also read too many accident reports where non standard phraseology has played a part because of the confusion caused.

I spent a good few years facilitating discussions between various national ATC providers including the North Americans, regarding training and standards and have seen the way certain European providers train their own candidates, as well as those of other nations. Seeing the way training was done in the US, in the 1990s, highlighted a good number of differences in approach which came as an eye opener, even after years of listening to the usual rapid fire delivery of the graduates and watching traffic at various US airports.

From a non professional but well informed observer's point of view, standardisation and clarity should be paramount in an environment which is growing exponentially and where far greater numbers of flights are flying through a wider range of national airspaces with a variety of ATC accents, crewed far more frequently by a two man team, often almost strangers to each other and ever more frequently of differing nationalities.

I've heard some excellent and some appalling RT over the years but the worst still has to be one heard years ago in the southern US, approaching a very busy hub airport.

An airliner based at the hub was instructed to descend to 180, and turn right 20 degrees and report the heading.

If memory serves the read back was "OK, xx xxx down to south and go west.". The controller came back with two clicks of the mike button.

Fortunately such ridiculous shorthand is rare.

Basil 17th Jul 2013 20:32

Lonewolf_50,

CLIMBING TO OR DESCENDING TO
I'd agree with Beagle. ISTR when I last flew, about seven years ago, we dropped the 'to' lest it be mistaken for 'two'.

West Coast 17th Jul 2013 20:51

Hopefully the sports score are on the decline with the preponderance of ACARS.

ehwatezedoing 17th Jul 2013 21:03


Originally Posted by Basil (Post 7945526)
As we were rolling out about 90kn, ATC decided to pass us our taxi clearance at machine gun speed. I ignored the transmission until we'd cancelled reverse and then called for a repeat, remarking that it would be better to have left it until we'd finished our landing.

Talk about that!
When I'm on the DC3T some don't even wait to see our tail wheel down & rolling behind before calling (we usually set it around 60/50kts)
I would like to thanks the smarts ones who do though..:ok:
The others just get a "Say again?" when we vacate.

I knew guys who flew pistons DC3s and they all said that ATC in those time would never call, unless any kind of emergency of course, before your tail wheel was down and....More important, things under control! Tower may have been less busy then but it doesn't justify it.


Waiting for a landing to be completed before giving a radio call is a lost practice.

:(

gb346 17th Jul 2013 21:19

Non-Standard RT is everywhere. It's the slang and/or speed of the RT that confuses pilots who are not familiar with the local accent or local slang.

Inbound for Atlanta, I heard this exchange between Jacksonville Centre and one of the local airlines -

ATC : XXXX435, can you accept FL330?

A/C : Standby

waited a little . . . .

A/C : Uuuhhhhh, yeah Jack Centre, Cap'n says we can do 3 3 oh for ya.

I don't agree that we have to be perfect in our RT at all times but that is the worst RT I've ever heard. Bypassing ICAO RT for expediency is one thing, trashy slang on a quiet frequency is just unprofessional.

NG_Kaptain 17th Jul 2013 21:37

A pet peeve of mine is reading back a clearance and ending it with the word "confirm". In the area I fly the worst offenders are pilots from India, Philippines and most of the Arab countries. One of my recent JFK flights a Royal Air Maroc was given a clearance, he read it back correctly but ended with the word "confirm". The New York controller answered him "Ya either got the clearance or ya didn't, got no time to confirm". The answer if you can't cope is to "Say Again".

obgraham 17th Jul 2013 23:01


that is the worst RT I've ever heard.
Really GB? I get that you don't like it and think it's hayseed-speak, but what part of it isn't understood?

Trackdiamond 18th Jul 2013 02:45

Does the old ICAO school of pronouncing every digit on altimetric clearances below ten tousand feet stl prevail..."descend to seven I've zero zero feet" heard that amidst a busy controller in Nairobi

Gusz 18th Jul 2013 03:03

Whats wrong with a friendly soccer update on 123.45.....
C'mon guys chill !!!!

Megaton 18th Jul 2013 06:41


Whats wrong with a friendly soccer update on 123.45.
Because we're supposed to be professionals.

Because we are already listening to two other operational frequencies and the last thing we need is the distraction of inane chatter on a third.

cwatters 18th Jul 2013 08:54

Just for the OP..

ICAO Releases Phraseology Study Results | Aviation International News


Of 526 pilots who reported operating primarily in North America, 27 percent reported cases of non-standard phraseology, more than any other region. Of 435 European-based pilots, 22 percent reported that region as where the most problems with phraseology occurred.
So not much difference between North America and Europe.

beardy 18th Jul 2013 09:20

The full ICAO report makes interesting reading. in the summary of the most common conditions reported by Pilots in which they identified confusion, especially when frequencies were busy, had a weak signal or static.

The lack of standardization in communications was the second most frequently mentioned condition and included reference to the use of slang, the use of a local holding area which was not on the airport diagram, improper usage of the phonetic alphabet (e.g., “Nectar” instead of “November”) and the use of call signs where ICAO standard terminology was not used. This condition was most commonly noted in communications within the US.

It's not just me.:mad:

BEagle 18th Jul 2013 09:22

I used to wonder why 'ride reports' were so frequent in the US. Then someone advised me that it was all to do with ambulance-chasing legal parasites. If an airliner captain had turned the belts signs off and they encountered a little chop, some greedy unsecured passenger might try to sue the airline....:rolleyes:

One excellent 'ride report' I heard came from a plummy-voiced ba 747 captain:

"Speedbird XXX, it's verrrrrrrrrryy smooooooooooooth. As one would quite naturally expect!"


.....improper usage of the phonetic alphabet (e.g., “Nectar” instead of “November”)
Probably someone trying to show that he'd been flying before 1957? That was the year that 'Coca' changed to 'Charlie', 'Nectar' changed to 'November' and 'Xtra' changed to 'X-ray'.

I understand that 'Whiskey' causes issues in certain parts of the Middle East?

Uplinker 18th Jul 2013 11:39


Landing at Honolulu the crew was told "Next available, Ground point 9 when off". To me, sitting on the jump seat, that was blindingly obvious; take the next exit, then call Hono' Ground for taxying instructions on the VHF ground frequency which ends in .9. But no, the crew blundered off onto the next exit, then turned straight onto the taxiway without calling Ground, causing a 747 to come to rather a rapid halt, then struck up a conversation with the busy local controller...
Some 'slang' terms and phrases may very well be better than the current ICAO language, but the point is unless they are standardized, some people may not understand them, as the above example shows. Had standard phraseology been used, the crew in the example above would have known exactly what to do and which frequency to call. As it was, they weren't told whether to take a left or right exit, (I am unfamiliar with Honolulu), and they weren't told to vacate then hold position while contacting ground.

So what might be 'blindingly obvious' to one person might be totally confusing to another, and it is the latter that will cause an incident or an accident one day. That's really the point, I think.

Another point is if controllers are having to resort to their own slang and verbal shortcuts because they are so busy - then they are too busy!. They need to file a report of some kind to get more controllers for that sector or whatever needs to happen. Doing their own thing with their own invented phrases might actually be dangerous, and the one occasion when someone doesn't understand a non-standard phrase and taxis into the aircraft taking off or whatever, simply doesn't bear thinking about.

Lonewolf_50 18th Jul 2013 12:40


Lonewolf_50,
CLIMBING TO OR DESCENDING TO

I'd agree with Beagle. ISTR when I last flew, about seven years ago, we
dropped the 'to' lest it be mistaken for 'two'.
Really? To each his own I suppose.* (AIM does use "should" rather than "shall" so I suppose it's not a directed format ...) but I had an idea that we were discussing standardization. ;)

I can see why one would prefer that -- and I prefer brevity -- but is dropping the preposition in accordance with ICAO standards?
With FAA standards?
That seems to be the topic of the thread. :}:E
Standardization.

Basil 18th Jul 2013 14:29


but is dropping the preposition in accordance with ICAO standards?
No idea.
I tried to get a look at ICAO Doc 9432 Manual of Radiotelephony but they want to charge for the privilege. I therefore presume that their ICAOships don't particularly care whether we have access to standard RT or not.

FWIW, the UK CAP 413 Radiotelephony Manual gives the following examples:

descending to height 1000 feet

climbing to height 2000 feet

climbing to altitude 2500 feet

climbing FL280

descending FL90

They don't make it easy :ugh:

fmgc 18th Jul 2013 15:22

Those who bemoan the ICAO phraseology probably don't realise how scientifically work out it is.

The US system leaves so much open to being misunderstood, or half heard calls that could be interpreted in different ways. I does need to change.

HOWEVER, when I fly in the USA I do my upmost to use the standard US terminology. However it would seem the US Pilots do not make the effort when outside of the USA.

Lonewolf_50 18th Jul 2013 16:53


I tried to get a look at ICAO Doc 9432 Manual of Radiotelephony but they want to charge for the privilege. I therefore presume that their ICAOships don't particularly care whether we have access to standard RT or not.
Heh. OP is rendered somewhat moot if your presumption is on track. :E:8:}

FWIW:
I am taking a peak at the 2007 version of 9432, and find the who, where what model to be badly missed in the instructions version. ICAO, IMO, collectively have it dead wrong in terms of language logic. The core sequence around which radio comms are built is
who, where, what.
Putting what before who is arse backwards. (I refer to examples 3.3.3.3 and 3.3.3.2.)

With that said, I have heard it done that way before, and I understand how it works.

To answer the question: It does not appear that the preposition is all that important in the ICAO example responses from the aircrew.

Basil 18th Jul 2013 17:59

A kind gentleman assisted and it appears that the ICAO Doc says "Climb/descend to . . "

BEagle 18th Jul 2013 18:22

"xxxAir, descend to eight zero".

If you are leaving FL320 in a nation with a 6000ft TA, does that mean descend to FL280 or descend to FL80?

Una Due Tfc 18th Jul 2013 22:03

Where I work, the procedure when giving a level change is "climb/descend flight level 360, cross waypoint x level" . This has resulted in non english speakers climbing after said waypoint despite giving a good readback of the clearance. I would be much happier if it was "climb now" or "be level before waypoint x" or "be level by time x". Sometimes the standard RT ain't perfect

bubbers44 19th Jul 2013 01:46

Not a problem in US but never had a problem internationally either in 23,000 hrs of flying. I think it is over stated since no one else has had a problem either.

bubbers44 19th Jul 2013 01:51

No controller in the US says to descend to 80 or any other country I have flown into. Where did you fly?

aterpster 19th Jul 2013 02:10

This thread is much to do about nothing....except perhaps for the PC simulator folks.

silverhawk 19th Jul 2013 02:25

No it is not

Standardised RT stops crashes.

Saying to, too, two is an accident in waiting.

This is why we NEVER use the words take off, until actually cleared take off.

It may same anal, ask Asiania why standards are required............oops

The Blu Riband 19th Jul 2013 10:06


This thread is much to do about nothing

I think it is over stated since no one else has had a problem either.
The phrase "sets low standards and still fails to achieve them" springs to mind.

Surely if numerous fellow professionals say there is a problem (and not just "them pesky foreigners") then maybe there is, in fact, a problem.

HEATHROW DIRECTOR 19th Jul 2013 10:24

Having been retired awhile I'm not conversant with current procedures. Hiowever, when I was working my Local Competency Examiner would listen to tapes of my R/T and telephone technique at regular intervals and bring to my attention and transgressions. Does this happen in the USA?

cavver 19th Jul 2013 11:53

Usually an atc or an atis will provide you with the transition level. Anyway an atc will not clear you for an altitude in feet above the transition altitude. So you should interpret this instruction as to descend to flight level 80

cossack 19th Jul 2013 18:53

HD wrote:

when I was working my Local Competency Examiner would listen to tapes of my R/T and telephone technique at regular intervals and bring to my attention and transgressions. Does this happen in the USA?
Don't know about the USA but it happens in Canada, every 6 months.:ok:

bubbers44 20th Jul 2013 02:05

Descend to FL 80 is the only term I have heard. Descend to 80 has never happened in my 30 year career. Just leave everything as it is because it works just fine. Don't fix a system that isn't broke.

Tomescu 20th Jul 2013 06:07

The topic is about US Airspace where transition level is FL180. I highly doubt it you heard US ATC saying "FL80 or 080" or any other flight level below 18000 feet.


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