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Radar Contact

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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.

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.
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United States

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

Using ATC to Check the Status of a MOA

1/4/2017
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Is it safe to fly through a Military Operations Area (MOA)? It depends. A pilot named Drew recently asked me if I had any advice about how to contact ATC to check the status of a MOA. Here’s what I told him. Show Resources Aeronautical Information Manual 3−4−5. Military Operations Areas c. Pilots operating under […]

Duration:00:09:19

Taxi Clearance Anxiety

9/30/2016
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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 […]

Duration:00:18:34

Contacting Flight Service; Searching for IFR Traffic in an Uncontrolled Pattern

8/30/2016
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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 […]

Duration:00:31:37

Making Mistakes on the Aircraft Radio

6/21/2016
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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 […]

Duration:00:21:17

Aircraft Color in Place of Call Sign is a Bad Idea

4/24/2016
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“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 […]

Duration:00:14:23

Common Traffic Advisory Frequencies and ATC as Customer Service

4/10/2016
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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 […]

Duration:00:20:01

What ATC’s ‘Make Closed Traffic’ Clearance Means

2/27/2016
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“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 […]

Duration:00:17:58

We’d Be Thrilled If You Simply Used Your Call Sign!

1/17/2016
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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 […]

Duration:00:16:52

Air Traffic Control Tips, Goodies, and Presents

12/22/2015
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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 […]

Duration:00:11:58

Aviation Headsets

11/25/2015
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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 […]

Duration:00:12:50

When to Make Position Reports in an Uncontrolled Airport Traffic Pattern

11/9/2015
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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 […]

Duration:00:28:45

NextGen Air Traffic Control and You

6/23/2015
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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 […]

Duration:00:26:07

Caution Wake Turbulence for the Departing Boeing 757

5/1/2015
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“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 […]

Duration:00:16:48

Shaky Emergencies and Cranky Air Traffic Controllers

3/11/2015
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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 […]

Duration:00:33:02

Aircraft Position Reports

2/2/2015
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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 […]

Duration:00:16:02

How to Work with ATC Around Class B and Other Closed Airspace

12/13/2014
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If you are a pilot who hates to work with ATC because you feel doing so would restrict your flying freedom, I’ve got surprising news for you. Working with ATC can actually lighten your load and help you enjoy your flight. This is especially true when you have to fly around Class B and other airspace closed to VFR aircraft. […]

Duration:00:25:29

Consequences of Declaring an Emergency with ATC

11/26/2014
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My airplane has a problem. A big problem. I think I can handle it. No, I’m sure I can handle it. Maybe I can handle it. Can I handle it? I’m not sure.I had better declare an emergency with ATC and get some help. But what if this turns out to be nothing? What if I […]

Duration:00:29:17

Use ATC to Save Your Life

9/21/2014
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Daher-Socata TBM-850. Source: fr.wikipedia.orgEarlier this month, a single-engine turboprop aircraft crashed into the ocean near Jamaica. Early indications are the airplane’s cabin pressurization system failed and the pilot lost consciousness due to hypoxia. The plane continued flying on autopilot until fuel ran out and the engine quit. Could ATC have helped prevent this accident? The […]

Duration:00:24:58

When to Not Respond to ATC (Really!)

5/31/2014
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See no ATC. Hear No ATC. Speak no ATC. As pilots we are trained to respond to ATC each and every time ATC talks to us. Did you know there are times when you should not talk to ATC? It’s true. In this 40th edition of Radar Contact, you and I will cover those times […]

Duration:00:18:13

Timing is Everything in ATC Communication

4/7/2014
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Two people speaking to each other at the same time does not communication make. It’s true in a face-to-face encounter and it’s true when trying to communicate with ATC. When 2 pilots try to transmit at the same time, the result is just a bunch of noise on the radio. In this show, we are […]

Duration:00:22:03