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| | |-+  Shorten transmittions
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Author Topic: Shorten transmittions  (Read 1504 times)
masterkeymaster
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« on: August 27, 2014, 12:03:24 AM »

When at a tower controlled airport I like to keep the radio transitions short as possible here is an example
Northeast ground Skyhawk N6611D… Northeast ground would reply back…. Then I would reply  11D, Atlantic, Delta (Atis), Southeast. Is this OK? And what do you think about it?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 12:05:00 AM by masterkeymaster » Logged
swa4678
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 07:49:42 PM »

Couple things...

1. Say "Skyhawk", or say "Cessna", or say "November." Not one or more (or zero!) - just one.

2. You're supposed to wait for the controller to shorten your callsign. Since the controller is also supposed to use your full callsign as you stated it when establishing communications... it's supposed to legally take a couple of transmissions before it gets shortened to the last three characters.

EDIT: I'd also argue that adding 4 more syllables ("information") to clarify why you're spouting off a random letter of the alphabet (and not, for example, referencing a taxiway, air carrier, etc.) is also more valuable than a transmission that's only a bit shorter.

Same goes for identifying direction of desired "departure." The potential delay caused by confusion ("Why is he talking about a SouthWest aircraft? Which SouthWest aircraft? ....... Oh, wait, he means VFR to the SW. Got it.") simply isn't worth trying to shave off a few more syllables. Not in my mind, anyway.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 12:04:18 PM by swa4678 » Logged
svoynick
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2014, 03:20:16 AM »

I agree with all of swa4678's points.

Clarity must be the top priority in ATC comms.  One of the main ways we achieve clarity is by using standard phraseology.  When you use standard phraseology, your words get decoded in the same part of the controller's brain that has been trained and has extensive experience, so clarity is achieved efficiently, with minimum workload on the part of the controller.

When you use non-standard phraseology, it requires the controller to run your words through an additional process - the "what did he mean?" process - before getting back to the mainline task.  This interrupts flow, essentially increases workload, possibly introduces errors - since the controller may have to "replay" your unexpected wording in his/her head to do the "what did he mean" decoding - and as a result of these, instead of supporting clarity it does just the opposite:  it introduces ambiguity, and therefore reduces clarity.

To me, that is not an acceptable tradeoff.  Clarity has to come first, and can't be traded off for the questionable benefit of a few syllables of shortening.

Let me make one other point that I believe supports this:  in your example, you wrote:

11D, Atlantic, Delta (Atis), Southeast

I note that you included the parenthetical comment {Atis} in there.  Why did you do that?  I believe you instinctively knew that what you were presenting is ambiguous, and needs more explanation to be completely clear, because it isn't quite sufficient on its own. 

Do the controller a favor:  say your transmission in the way most likely to be processed "normally", and that's with the standard phraseology that is used the vast majority of the time.  That's the best way to "save time" and make communications more efficient, because you won't be requiring the controller to "figure out" anything. 

Clarity has to come first.



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mik_ny
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 05:28:42 AM »

How about instead of two transmissions, just one ...
"Northeast Ground, Skyhawk 6611D at Atlantic, taxi with information delta. VFR departure southeast."
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swa4678
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2014, 12:15:42 PM »

How about instead of two transmissions, just one ...
"Northeast Ground, Skyhawk 6611D at Atlantic, taxi with information delta. VFR departure southeast."
To me, that depends if I want flight following or not. If I do, I'd save the taxi request until later in anticipation of someone inputting a flight plan into the computers (and/or calling the TRACON/Enroute sector with a VFR proposal). After all, they're probably going to want to fill out a strip with my destination, aircraft type, and perhaps even requested cruising altitude (depending upon the airspace and how busy it is).

There's a balance between too many transmissions with too little content versus testing a controller's attentiveness (and hoping he's not on the landline, fake-laughing at the supervisor's lame joke, throwing paper airplanes at the trainee on the next position over, making the newbie get him more coffee, etc. etc.) by cramming 8 different pieces of information/requests into a single transmission.

Either way... definitely don't do the dumb request-to-make-a-request, e.g. "(ATC ID), (ACID), request." (To me, that's even more egregious than the conversational "Hey, can I ask you a question?" which always earns my sarcastic response of "You just did!")
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mik_ny
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2014, 05:15:51 PM »

Did the OP mention VFR traffic advisories in their question?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 05:24:21 PM by mik_ny » Logged

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swa4678
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2014, 05:23:50 PM »

Did the OP mention VFR traffic advisories in their simple, uncomplicated question?
Nope. Nor did he explicitly mention not wanting them.
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jermscentral
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2014, 09:31:08 PM »

I've noticed a couple of differences between VFR departures in the Class D tower where I used to work compared to the Class B where I am now.

Class D
Pilot: "Spirit Ground, Cessna 172SP at Air Associates, information Delta, ready to taxi, VFR to the west."
ATC: "Cessna 172SP, Spirit Ground, runway 26R, taxi via Echo."
Pilot: "26R via Echo, Cessna 172SP."

We did handwritten strips for VFR departures and just had you depart on a 1200 squawk, and if you wanted flight following (or requested it on initial contact), the vast majority in the tower would just tell you that flight following would be on 126.5, which is STL Departure. Some of us started using the ARTS keyboard to enter VFR flight plans if you gave us a destination airport, but the older crew would chide us for it, saying that wasn't our job. I saw it as saving the Departure controller some time from having to enter it himself, and he would be able to see the info as soon as the target acquired on the radar (as well as receiving a printed VFR strip for that aircraft). I can also do a simple handoff of the radar target instead of Departure having to radar identify a plane.

Class B
Pilot: "St. Louis Clearance, Cessna 172SP at Signature, information Delta, request VFR departure (to the north, to Hannibal Airport, on a 350 degree heading)."
ATC: "Cessna 172SP, St. Louis Clearance, cleared out of the STL Class Bravo airspace to the north. Maintain VFR at 3000, departure frequency 119.15, squawk 4245."
Pilot: "Cessna 172SP, cleared out of Bravo to the north, maintain VFR at 3000, departure nineteen fifteen, squawk 4245."
ATC: "Cessna 2SP, readback correct. Advise ground on point niner ready to taxi."
Pilot: "Cessna 2SP, roger."

Pilot: "St. Louis Ground, Cessna 172SP at Signature, ready to taxi."
ATC: "Cessna 172SP, St. Louis Ground, runway 30R at Juliet intersection departure, taxi via Foxtrot, Juliet."
Pilot: "Cessna 172SP, 30R at Juliet via Foxtrot and Juliet."

For us at STL, if you request VFR departure, I create a flight plan in the FDIO that either has your destination airport or a fix in Departure's airspace (we have one that's north and one that's south of the airport, but you won't necessarily go to it, nor do we issue your clearance that way; it's simply a way for the radar controller to know what direction to expect you to fly). If you're going to an airport within Departure's airspace and at one of their controlled altitudes, I'll give you a local code on the ARTS computer. We have a reserved set of beacon codes for flights that originate and terminate within our airspace. Otherwise, I create a flight plan in the FDIO that gives you a code that's usable by the Center.

For us, if you don't tell us initially, we'll ask. If, on your initial call, you don't give the ATIS, I'll advise you which one's current; if you don't tell me where you're parked, I'll ask; and if you don't tell me if you're ready to taxi or not, I'll ask. "Cessna 2SP, ATIS Delta is current; where are you parked, and are you ready to taxi?"

My advice: Please just listen to the frequency before you give your life story. We typically combine Clearance, Flight Data, and Metering, and sometimes it gets combined with Ground (which has three frequencies of its own), so just because you hear silence doesn't necessarily mean I'm not listening to someone on another frequency. With the way our system works, if you call me on a different frequency than one on which I'm listening, I end up hearing both of you talk, and then I have to give the frustrated, "Say again," while telling you to standby. If the frequency sounds busy, keep it simple. If it's a quiet Saturday, feel free to shoot the breeze. Smiley
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swa4678
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2014, 09:46:48 PM »

Some of us started using the ARTS keyboard to enter VFR flight plans if you gave us a destination airport, but the older crew would chide us for it, saying that wasn't our job. I saw it as saving the Departure controller some time from having to enter it himself, and he would be able to see the info as soon as the target acquired on the radar (as well as receiving a printed VFR strip for that aircraft). I can also do a simple handoff of the radar target instead of Departure having to radar identify a plane.

A couple of months ago, I went flying with a buddy out of a local Class D airport under the MCI TRACON. I forget how it came up, but when Tower found out we were looking to get flight following as we were holding short of the runway, we actually got chided for not doing that right from the start - saying it would have been a lot easier for everyone, just as you're thinking out loud above.

We have a reserved set of beacon codes for flights that originate and terminate within our airspace.
Out of curiosity, are those in the 02 code block for you, too? If not, do they at least start with 0?

If it's a quiet Saturday, feel free to shoot the breeze. Smiley
Heh.. careful there. With the frequency combining (but not coupling) and/or landlines... it might sound like a "quiet Saturday" to a specific pilot a lot more than it does to you.  evil
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StuSEL
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2014, 01:50:47 AM »

The FAA Private Pilot Written Exam asks a question about when it is most appropriate to request flight following. At a towered airport, it is when on the ground. The idea is so the controller can, in fact, type in a VFR flight plan for the radar controller. Most towers have that capability nowadays, but you'll know if they don't -- they'll simply tell you what frequency to use to request VFR FF.
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jermscentral
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2014, 12:49:23 PM »

Out of curiosity, are those in the 02 code block for you, too? If not, do they at least start with 0?

Yep, 02## are our local ARTS codes. If you want to handoff someone to the Center, you have to give them one from the FDIO.

The FAA Private Pilot Written Exam asks a question about when it is most appropriate to request flight following. At a towered airport, it is when on the ground. The idea is so the controller can, in fact, type in a VFR flight plan for the radar controller. Most towers have that capability nowadays, but you'll know if they don't -- they'll simply tell you what frequency to use to request VFR FF.

I figured something was up with that, because at SUS, we had people request it with their initial call. In Class B, you're going to get it at least through the airspace, and we'll ask you if you want FF with STL approach before giving a frequency change. The ones at smaller facilities that don't enter the flight plan are probably just being lazy. We also had some that just said that since there was no directive saying they had to enter a flight plan, they wouldn't do it.
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