Talking on the radio.
Its getting to that time of the year where more people are starting to head skyward, whether it be for fun over their days off or travelling afar with the family on board.
So, with that in mind, we thought we’d write a few points on talking on the radio, to not only ensure everyone stays safe as they navigate around this vast land, but to ensure the radio doesn’t get clogged up and you annoy everyone else in the air!
With that out of the way, here are a few of our tips for communicating well on the radio.
1. Think before you speak! Before you key the mic, run through what it is you want to say beforehand. Rehearse it a few times in your head, then once you have it down pat, broadcast your message.
2. Speak clearly. Between the aircraft noise, passengers, and the air rushing past, it can be hard to hear another pilots’ broadcast. Ensure you keep your microphone close to your mouth and speak clearly and precisely.
3. Keep your message to-the-point with standard phraseology. Following the ‘standard script’ and phraseology not only helps you to remember your message and broadcast all the relevant information, but it also helps other pilots interpret your message and help build a mental picture of your position in relation to theirs. There’s nothing more annoying then unnecessary rambling on the radio! Here's a template that helps: "who are you talking to, who are you, where are you, and what are your intentions?"
4. Positive two-way communication. This is essential to help maintain separation with other aircraft around uncontrolled aerodromes. Make positive contact with the other aircraft in the area with your callsign and theirs and be sure to understand their message. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand what they have said or if you lose sight of them; simply ask them to repeat their last and confirm their position to ensure adequate separation.
5. ATC are humans, too! As recreational pilots we don’t always have the need to talk to ATC, particularly in RAAus registered aircraft. However, ATC can be a huge asset if you are in trouble or need help. If you are lost or having issues, simply speaking to a controller could alleviate a lot of stress. Know your area frequency so it is easily accessible if you need it, and remember that they’re humans too – they’re there to help.