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The Four W’s of Aviation Radio Communications

The Four W’s of Aviation Radio Communications

What is the toughest section about pilot teaching? Pretty much anyone will say, “Speaking on the radio.” Nevertheless, even rookies can seem good on the radio if they apply some very simple rules. I am going to initial go over these procedures and then give some tips all pilots can use to make improvements to their radio skills.

The 4 W’s of Radio Communication

Ordinarily the toughest radio call for a pilot to make is the very first just one — the “original simply call up.” Nonetheless, each individual initial call (and lots of subsequent phone calls) just require to bear in mind the 4 W’s:

  • Who am I calling?
  • Who am I?
  • Wherever am I?
  • In which am I likely, what am I executing, or what do I want to do?

Let’s choose two examples of this, just one for an uncontrolled area and 1 with a control tower.

As you get ready to enter the visitors sample at an uncontrolled discipline, typically you will make an announcement these as:

“Milltown traffic (who am I contacting?), Cessna 12345 (who am I?) moving into 45 to downwind (the place am I?), runway 22 for landing Milltown (what am I carrying out?).

With a command tower, you may instead say:

Ocala tower (who am I calling?), Cessna 12345 (who am I?) eight miles north at two thousand five hundred with Charlie (in which am I? — and incorporate the ATIS), landing Ocala (what do I want to do?).

Once you have founded communication, you do not need to use the 4 Ws for all of your conversation. In its place, you will just read through again significant recommendations to the controller so they know you have been given them. For illustration, if the controller asks you to enter a proper downwind for runway 24, you would reply, “Cessna 12345 will enter appropriate downwind for 24.”

Consider some diverse eventualities with your mates or a flight instructor, and rather soon you may know what to say at all moments.


Even when you know what to say, conversing on the radio continue to requires some exercise. Listed here are some recommendations that will have you talking like a professional in no time.

  1. Hear to ATC communications. If you don’t have a radio that gets aviation frequencies, see if you can borrow 1 from a different pilot or your flight college for a 7 days. Pay attention to what pilots say to ATC on their preliminary contact up and how they reply to ATC instructions. Check out to listen to floor, tower, technique, and center frequencies if you can.
  2. Compose down what you are likely to say ahead of you make your initial radio get in touch with. You can even make up fill-in-the-blank scripts to do this. Following a number of months of this, most individuals can make calls on their very own, but you may even now want to create down complicated phone calls.
  3. If you are a university student pilot, be confident to say so in your initial phone up so ATC will be far more cautious in how they tackle you.
  4. Don’t be concerned if you ignore one thing. Even expert pilots often ignore to notify the controller their altitude or that they have the ATIS. Will not fret — controllers will question you for anything if you’ve got neglected it.
  5. Analyze Chapter 4 and the Pilot/Controller Glossary in the Aeronautical Info Handbook for encouraged phrasing.

If all else fails, use basic English! Not all circumstances lend by themselves to advised ATC phrases or you may just overlook how to say something. I was when departing an unfamiliar airport and as I termed ground I out of the blue realized I had no notion where I was on the airport. The call went some thing like this, “Littletown ground, Cessna 12345, ummm… ” (at this issue I was wildly searching all around me) “I am at the Chevron indication, prepared to taxi with Delta, departing to the west.” Whew — saved by the Chevron fuel signal! Floor observed me and enable me taxi.