A few months ago, my original flying instructor took me to a busy airport (Gloucester) as I wasn't comfortable going there by myself for the first time as a low-hours pilot who only really uses grass strips.

Anyway, the most difficult part for me, was the radio, readbacks and pattern / queuing procedures.

Could I (dishonestly) identify myself as a student pilot if I go again by myself, so that ATC will speak slower and be more helpful? Or would that be breaking any regulations?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ How about identifying as a "low hours pilot"? $\endgroup$
    – Hkoof
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 14:21
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Suggestion: change title to "Can I identify myself to ATC as...". In general, in this day and age, anytime someone starts talking about how they "identify", the reader's mind goes to all kinds of places that you probably didn't intend. Personally, I identify as a World War One ace, much like Snoopy did. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ PS-- duplicate or near-duplicate of aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/287/… $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @quietflyer weird this didn't come up when I reviewed the post.... thanks :) $\endgroup$
    – Cloud
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


If you have a private pilot's license, but you are inexperienced flying into busy airports, just ask the controller to speak slower or repeat the instructions (e.g., "say again, speak slowly")

Don't be afraid to tell the controller that you are inexperienced and absolutely ask for clarification of any information or instructions you are given if you don't fully understand what is being said.

There is no need to falsely state that you are a "student" pilot. Remember, you're not the only inexperienced pilot who the controller has had to provide a bit more consideration to. It is far better that you fully understand what the controller is saying rather than operating contrary to what is expected of you just because you are hesitant to tell the controller you are a new or inexperienced pilot.

It is absolutely ok to ask for an instruction to be repeated or spoken more slowly.


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