TECHNIQUE AND TERMINOLOGY
Radio communications are a critical link in the air traffic control system. The link can be a
strong bond between aircrew and controller, but it can be broken with surprising speed with
disastrous results. Effective radio communication involves learning a new language of words
and phrases. One must learn and master this language. Understanding each other is critical to
aircrew-controller communications. The controller must understand what you want to do before
he/she can properly carry out his/her control duties. Similarly, you must know exactly what
he/she wants you to do. Although brevity may not always be adequate, use whatever words are
necessary to get your message across. It cannot be stressed enough that communication plays a
vital role in the flight evolution. It is common to experience frustration with the use of this new
language, but with experience, it will become second nature.
101. COMMUNICATION TYPES
There are basically two types of communications in aviation, directive and informative. It is
imperative to know the difference between the two and how to apply them.
1. Directive communication requires the aircrew to perform specific actions. It also requires a
radio response confirming the receipt of the directive communication. Examples of directive
communication include changing frequencies, altitudes, and/or headings.
2. Informative communication provides specific flight information. In most cases informative
communications require no specific response. Examples of informative communication include
airport information and runway winds.
102. COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
There are several things to consider when using aircraft radios.
First, pause and listen before you transmit. If you hear others talking, listen to their
conversation and transmit only after their communication is completed. If you transmit before
their communication is complete, it will disrupt the communication and/or jam the frequency
with two transmissions at once, thus requiring the communication to be repeated. This situation
is referred to as "stepping on" or "blocking." In addition, after changing frequencies, delay your
initial transmission to ensure no one else is talking.
Think before talking. In other words, know what you are going to say before keying the
transmitter. This should help prevent stuttering or forgetting what you wanted to say after
keying the transmitter. Take a one or two second pause to get your thoughts in order before
3. After pressing the mic button, a slight pause may be necessary to ensure the first word is
transmitted. Speak in a normal conversational tone.
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