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Author Topic: Answering Squawk Codes  (Read 7781 times)
sfarner
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« on: October 24, 2007, 11:39:45 AM »

Hi All- I have a procedure question.  After initial contact with approach control, they give a squawk code and instructions to ident.  Is it necessary to acknowledge the squawk code verbally?  It would seem to not be necessary, as they will see the ident, but I've heard it both ways.  Any opinions?
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lucavettu
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2007, 11:44:35 AM »

If I'm not wrong, readback of squawk codes is mandatory Smiley
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2007, 11:59:24 AM »

In the US, the desired procedure is routinely debated in aviation groups.  There is no requirement to read back squawk codes in the US.  Just don't get it wrong or the controller will need to call you a second time.  Thus, a tail-id will suffice as an acknowledgment.

In the case of IDENT, there is one argument that the IDENT itself indicates you received the instruction and therefore no readback is needed.   However, as a feel-good measure I always reply to an IDENT request with my tail-id just to be extra sure the controller knows I received his/her instruction.   

Controller:  "Bonanza 45 Whiskey, squawk 4110 and IDENT."
Me:           "Bonanza 45 Whiskey."   while at the same time pushing the IDENT button.

One controller told me that for aircraft in the air, the only instructions he prefers to hear read back are heading, altitude, speed restrictions, and any clearance.  Otherwise, he would prefer just tail-id for "roger" or wilco/tail id for instructions that don't fall into those categories.  In busy airspaces, there is no need to repeat every word of the controller's instruction verbatim, as it only ties up the frequency.
 
Edit:  I should add that while the above may be the normal procedure for part 91 (general aviation) regulations, individual airline operations manuals may specify more stringent read-backs.   Not being an airline pilot I do not know.  Airlines have operations manuals that normally mandate more strict rules than the part 121 (scheduled carrier) regulations require and there may be some airlines that do require a more "parrot-like" read back for every instruction.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 12:04:58 PM by KSYR-pjr » Logged

Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2007, 12:09:11 PM »

And yet one more point:

IDENTs are not required in the US when checking in with approach unless specifically asked by the controller.  In the Northeast US, an IDENT typically is requested when an aircraft just enters radar coverage after departing from airports that are below radar coverage or from uncontrolled airports on the fringe of a controllers airspace.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
dave
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2007, 12:50:34 PM »

And yet one more point:

IDENTs are not required in the US when checking in with approach unless specifically asked by the controller.  In the Northeast US, an IDENT typically is requested when an aircraft just enters radar coverage after departing from airports that are below radar coverage or from uncontrolled airports on the fringe of a controllers airspace.

Correct.  I fly out of Nashua and 99% of the time am asked to ident.  Even though it's a towered airport.  It's in the Boston Approach LOA, I believe.  When Nashua Tower is active, the local controller needs to get an IFR release for every aircraft...at most towered airports you are not asked to ident on departure (at least here in the Northeast, where there is pretty much blanket radar coverage).

So...the Nashua (KASH) case is interesting...would love to know why the need for an ident coming off there.

If you look at the applicable 7110.65 chapter:
http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/ATC/Chp5/atc0503.html

If you look at 5-3-2a (1):
"A verbal rolling/boundary notification is issued for each departure, or..."

I believe that is not the same as an IFR release and Nashua Tower might just not do that for all releases.

5-3-2b might also not be met due to lack of a good map accurately depicting the airport.  But that seems weird and unlikely.

They've obviously chosen 5-3-3(a) as the identification method:
1. Request the aircraft to activate the "IDENT" feature of the transponder and then observe the identification display.

So maybe I answered my own question after babbling it out.  Still would love to know the real reason.

Sometimes curiosity gets the best of us like that  smiley



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rpd
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2007, 01:28:37 PM »

An ident is required at a tower controlled airport if the aircraft is not observed within 1 mile of the departure end.  That may be the case at ASH.  Actually a controller can ask for an ident at any time he/she needs to verify aircraft idendity.  After a manual handoff from another facility would be an example.
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davolijj
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2007, 02:34:53 PM »

One of my pet-peeves is when pilots turn off their transponders to effect a code change.  I don't know why they do it, I never did in my pilot training.  I actually saw one case in which a pilot's switching off his transponder for a code change contributed to an operational deviation on the controller.

As for readbacks, my personal preference is the less the better.  Long, cumbersome readbacks just add to frequency congestion and sometimes even confuse the pilot.
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JD
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2007, 03:11:37 PM »

Although not necessary, I usually read back squawk codes and altimeter settings. Only squawk ident when asked to.

In all other cases I acknowledge by saying call sign (while vfr).

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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2007, 03:15:06 PM »

One of my pet-peeves is when pilots turn off their transponders to effect a code change.  I don't know why they do it, I never did in my pilot training.

There may be instructors out there who teach/taught this method to prevent the (then student) pilot from mistakenly rolling through the emergency or hijack codes while making the change.   And habits taught during training sometimes stick.

Not saying it is right by any means, but that may be why they do it.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
Greg01
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2007, 05:11:34 PM »

If the squawk code might cause a problem with the 7700, 7600, and 7500 codes, I'll immediately turn the last number to 1 so that I don't incidentally squawk an emergency code.

For the controllers: do you like full readbacks for IFR clearances on the ground? SOmetimes I hear people just acknowledge the squawk...what are your thoughts?

Thanks,
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2007, 05:19:39 PM »

For the controllers: do you like full readbacks for IFR clearances on the ground? SOmetimes I hear people just acknowledge the squawk...what are your thoughts?

I know you are addressing the controllers, but I thought this relevant:  One day last year while preparing to depart Buffalo International I asked the controller delivering clearances that very question.  He replied that he prefers a full readback of IFR clearances.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
Greg01
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2007, 06:27:49 PM »

When I was up in the tower, some were okay with squawk and others liked the full readback.

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w0x0f
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2007, 06:47:15 PM »

I'll try to address a few of the items from my perspective.  I prefer a brief readback of the squawk code when I am issuing a code to an airborne aircraft.  Call sign and code will do.  Actually the busier I am, the more I like this.  I know immediately that you heard the transmission.  Look at it this way.  I tell you to climb and maintain an altitude, we don't watch your altitude to see if you got the transmission.  You read it back,  I know immediately that you got it.  It may take several seconds for the code to acquire on my scope.  I can also correct the code immediately if it is read back wrong.

I'm not sure what Nashua Tower does, but I'm going to take a stab and say that they do not provide a roll check, that's why you are asked to ident for radar identification.  A roll check can be accomplished verbally as the aircraft begins take off, by dropping a strip down a tube to the departure controller, or electronically at locations where the tower and TRACON are not co-located.  This is so that the radar controller knows that the next target off the airport is the one in question.

Now for readbacks of IFR clearances on the ground.  If you as a pilot are comfortable in your skills to write down everything correctly and be held accountable for an error if you make a mistake enroute, then I say I don't mind at all if you just read back your call sign or maybe just the squawk. But if you prefer to have your transcribing skills double-checked, then by all means, please read everything back.  That's just my opinion.  You do what you feel most comfortable with in this situation.

w0x0f     
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Greg01
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« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2007, 07:15:56 PM »

Honestly, I feel good when I can scribble down a clearance read by a busy NYC controller on the ground, actually read my scribble, and then read it back to him. I've been told, by other pilots, that my readbacks are fast. I try to get it out fast enough that I'm not wasting time, but not too fast so that the controller can correct any error(s).

My thoughts,
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Jason
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2007, 07:52:45 PM »

I think it quite often depends on the situation at hand, but I follow a similar method as Greg.  If you fly in the northeast, namely the NYC area, you can almost guarantee a re-route, typically when picking up your initial clearance.

I try to read the clearance back slow enough that the controller can correct any possible errors, but fast enough that I don't tie up the frequency.  If there's a possibility I may have screwed something up, I'll be sure to readback the entire clearance.  If it's a clearance to a nearby airport to shoot a few approaches via "direct" I'll typically only read back the squawk code.

I haven't yet been yelled at by a flight data controller so I suppose this method works well, at least around this area.
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