Changing frequency, how long do you have to wait before you are allowed to transmit if you have been told to monitor the frequency. Is there a specific time limit? In what aviation manual can the answer be found?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm often told this "taxi to parking, monitor ground point-9" after landing. It doesn't mean I can't talk to ground, it just means I don't have to, since I already have my clearance. If I need something from ground I can contact them immediately, there is no requirement to wait. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jun 1 '17 at 3:54

First a note on phraseology. In the context of your question, I believe the FAA uses monitor like most of the world uses stand by. I'll be covering the general procedure - if you are in FAA land, replace stand by in my answer with monitor.

If told to monitor a frequency, you are not expected to transmit on that frequency. Monitor is used when a pilot is requested to listen on a frequency to retrieve information from a broadacst. For example, I might tell you to Monitor ATIS 122.750. I then expect you to tune 122.750, listen to the ATIS transmission, and then return back to my frequency afterwards.

If told to stand by on a frequency, you are expected to tune that frequency and wait for air traffic control to contact you there. For example, Standby for Tower on 118.1. When standing by on a frequency, air traffic control is supposed to contact you, not the other way around. However, if you do not get contacted within a reasonable amount of time, you should go ahead and transmit. There is no fixed rule for how long you have to wait - use common sense - just like you would if told to stand by on your current frequency. For example, if you are waiting in line for departure and there are 3 aircraft ahead of you, don't expect the tower to call you before you are next in line for departure. On the other hand, if you are holding short of the runway and there appears to be no other traffic around preventing you from taking off, if the tower hasn't called you within a minute or so, please do try to call them instead. Maybe the controller is busy dealing with other stuff, or maybe they have simply forgotten about you. It does happen, although not often. You could also accidentally have tuned the wrong frequency, and might only realise this when no one replies to a call made by you. It goes without saying that, if you have a safety related message, you transmit it without delay.

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    $\begingroup$ I've never heard a controller in the US say "monitor" when they mean "stand by". I don't believe the US uses it in that context anywhere, it would be confusing. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jun 1 '17 at 11:14
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    $\begingroup$ @ronbeyer What I meant was, US controllers use "Monitor tower 118.1" instead of "Standby for tower on 118.1". I am fully aware that they don't use "Monitor" with the meaning "Wait, I will call you back." Answwer edited to clarify. $\endgroup$ – J. Hougaard Jun 1 '17 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ @ronbeyer It does certainly exist in the US as well. Took me 5 seconds to find this on Google: faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/ATC.pdf. Searching for "monitor" in that document proves it. $\endgroup$ – J. Hougaard Jun 1 '17 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ FAA Pilot/Controller Glossary MONITOR− (When used with communication transfer) listen on a specific frequency and stand by for instructions. Under normal circumstances do not establish communications. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jun 1 '17 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Shawn I might be misunderstanding your comments, but flying in the US, particularly at busier airports, it is very common for me to be told by ground something like "N123XY, monitor tower, good day." and they certainly do mean to switch to the tower frequency and wait for them to call you, and not the other way around. It also happens when clearance says to monitor ground for taxi. It helps with frequency congestion since you calling them only to hear "standby" (over and over for each airplane) would add two unnecessary transmissions. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Jun 3 '17 at 2:14

To be clear, Cessna N1234, taxi to the ramp, monitor ground point 9, means cleared to the ramp, but listen to ground point 9 for further clearances or for further communication.

You only need to initiate contact, if any is needed. There is no expectation that you will contact ground (in this example) unless you have a need to.

In contrast, stand by, means wait for further instructions (specifically for ATC to get time to deal with you), and avoid further contact until contacted.

Also, after a clearance, followed by monitor ground point 9, there may never be any further communication. One just taxi's to the ramp, and when off the controlled portion of the airport, one is free to stop monitoring, and shutdown the radio.

  • $\begingroup$ Mongo, If you get told by ground to monitor tower frequency, when are you allowed to tell the tower that you are ready, to ensure a smooth operation? ( You want to take off without stopping) $\endgroup$ – Walter E Vice Jun 4 '17 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ @WalterEVice, any time you have the need. Normally one will not be told to monitor the tower after a taxi clearance. But if that were to happen, you can simply call the tower when you have a request. So to answer simply, you are allowed to call at any time, if there is a need. $\endgroup$ – mongo Jun 4 '17 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ Mongo, what is your experience and involvement in aviation? I do agreeing with your answer. $\endgroup$ – Walter E Vice Jun 9 '17 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ 44 years as pilot, 37 as CFI-AI, 29 as FAA lead safety rep, corporate test pilot, research scientist in remote sensing and position and time systems, weapons delivery navigation and guidance systems design, other things like seaplane, gliders, towing, etc for fun. 14k hours PIC. $\endgroup$ – mongo Jun 9 '17 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Mongo! Do you perhaps have a reference for your answer?Hope to buy you a beer somewhere on our globe! $\endgroup$ – Walter E Vice Jun 10 '17 at 12:32

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