Video tip: talking with air traffic controllers

Some pilots are afraid of Air Traffic Control (ATC), as if the voice on the other end of the radio is trying to catch pilots making mistakes. That’s just plain wrong, as this video shows. Controllers are humans just like pilots, and they’re actually there to help. Meet Eddie Albert from Cincinnati Approach and learn what controllers expect from pilots, plus some tips for getting the route you want in flight.

This video tip is from Sporty’s Instrument Rating Course.

3 Comments

  • I believe that pilots don’t like talking to ATC because they talk to fast and are hardly understandable. Pilots who fly IR don’t have the same problem because they talk to them all the time. VFR pilots need to do it rarely and just not used to doing it. One of the main reasons I like LSA flying.

    • This is true, our ATC here around Orlando FL do talk fast and if you ask for a repeat they seem to get “put out”, or won’t wait for you to write the info down, same thing, they call you back to see if you are still there, now you have to stop writing and answer or they get at you again. Me, I don’t call unless there is no other way. The problem is not with the pilots, the problem is with the ATC people, they should be taught to slow down. All pilots don’t speak nor write in code. So, a note to all ACTs, just sit tight while I finish, I’m doing the flying, YOU are safe on the ground.

  • When I flew piston aircraft I avoided ATC too but after switching to turbines I am on an IFR flight plan 90% of the time flying higher for better fuel economy and to get above the weather so talking with ATC has become mandatory and routine. The secret is anticipating what ATC is likely to say. It makes you a better pilot and more importantly safer too. ATC is separateing you from other traffic. If you enter IMC you are already cleared into it and if you need an approach you are already in the system. As the author said, look at the departures and arrivals to anticipate what you are likely to hear as a clearance. Once you have experience arriving and departing a given airport you find the same clearances are issued almost every time and the stress level goes way down.

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