Summary: Whether you are an experienced pilot, a new pilot, or a student pilot, Radar Contact is your source for pilot-to-air traffic control communication. Real-life stories, how-to, tips, tricks, and quizzes. What to say, and how to say it when working the ATC system in VFR or IFR flight.
Is it safe to fly VFR through a MOA? It depends.
If you have ever felt butterflies in your stomach when faced with contacting Ground Control for taxi clearance, you have experienced something I call Taxi Clearance Anxiety. It’s a made-up term but the phenomenon has real consequences. Some pilots go out of their way to avoid controlled airports with complicated taxiway layouts. Even high-time pro … Taxi Clearance Anxiety Read More »
If you can get all the aviation weather data you need online, do you really need to know how to contact Flight Service on the radio? It depends on who you ask. I say yes. A Flight Service agent can save time and point you in the right direction. An agent can quickly sift through … Contacting Flight Service; Searching for IFR Traffic in an Uncontrolled Pattern Read More »
In this episode, we’ll talk about why you make mistakes on the radio and what it says about your performance as a pilot. I think my analysis will surprise you (in a good way). Also, some pilots have asked interesting questions about the details of reporting your position in an uncontrolled airport pattern. Just when … Making Mistakes on the Aircraft Radio Read More »
“Town and Country Traffic, red and white Skyhawk, 4-mile final, Runway One Seven, Town and Country.” “Town and Country Traffic, blue and white Warrior, turning base, Runway One Seven, Town and Country.” “Town and Country Traffic, red and white Skyhawk, final, Runway One Seven, Town and Country.” Do you think saying your aircraft’s color scheme … Aircraft Color in Place of Call Sign is a Bad Idea Read More »
This edition of the Radar Contact Show consolidates the previous 3 articles about using a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) and about ATC as customer service organization. If you would rather read about CTAF, you can find the full articles using these links. How to Select and Use the Correct Common Traffic Advisory Frequency It’s … Common Traffic Advisory Frequencies and ATC as Customer Service Read More »
“Cessna 9130 Delta, Pensasoda Tower, make right closed traffic. Runway 11, cleared for takeoff.” What has ATC just authorized you to do? More importantly, what has ATC not authorized you to do? The answers are not as straight-forward as you would think. You have declared an emergency with ATC. Then, it occurs to you. You … What ATC’s ‘Make Closed Traffic’ Clearance Means Read More »
I’ve spent a lot of time at this website talking to you about how to format your call sign when transmitting on the radio. While focusing on tiny details, I failed to recognize the bigger problem. Many pilots do not even use their call sign when talking to ATC. Time to slay that dragon. There … We’d Be Thrilled If You Simply Used Your Call Sign! Read More »
Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or if you prefer, Seasonally Adjusted Greetings. I come bearing gifts of good cheer, ATC tips, techniques, and other goodies. Normally, I’d tell you what’s in store for this edition of Radar Contact. Instead, slip off the ribbon, tear away the wrapping paper and look inside. Show Notes: Rudolf is fully … Air Traffic Control Tips, Goodies, and Presents Read More »
The results of the survey about aviation headsets costing less than $400 are in. The survey asked, is there an economical headset that feels good on the head, provides good audio quality, and holds up over time? The answer in this week’s show. Questions asked in reader and listener email “Tiring of hearing “tally … Aviation Headsets < $400: What We Know So Far Read More »
Radar Contact is back! In the first show after a months-long break, we’ll talk about when to make position reports in an uncontrolled pattern. You may think you already know the answer, but if you look at the confusing mess in the Aeronautical Information Manual, your confidence may be shaken. No matter. I’ll give you … When to Make Position Reports in an Uncontrolled Airport Traffic Pattern Read More »
In this month’s edition of the Radar Contact Show we are going to look at how the FAA’s NextGen version of air traffic control will affect you. We’ll also look at what it means to be off your assigned altitude and what to do if ATC calls you out for being off altitude. I’ll tell you the real … NextGen Air Traffic Control and You Read More »
“Cessna 9130D, caution wake turbulence for the departing Boeing 757, Runway 25, cleared for takeoff.” Gulp! Never fear, ATC is here to protect you against the hazards of wake turbulence. No kidding. ATC uses very specific rules to help you remain clear of wake turbulence. We’ll look at those rules and how to work within … Caution Wake Turbulence for the Departing Boeing 757 Read More »
Hey Air Traffic Control, I think I might have a big problem but I’m not declaring an emergency. Standby for further information. In today’s show we are going to discuss aircraft problems that fall into gray areas. We’ll discuss how to break through the fog of indecision and determine whether you need to declare an … Shaky Emergencies and Cranky Air Traffic Controllers Read More »
Reporting your position on the radio, while in an uncontrolled airport pattern, is a little bit like playing a game of Marco Polo. Other pilots in the pattern rely on your timely and accurate reports to help maintain awareness of your position. Miss a required report or state your position incorrectly and you’ve instantly become … Aircraft Position Reports Read More »