Questions tagged [radio-communications]

Radio is the primary way that pilots communicate with air traffic control and with other aircraft.

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Who has the higher authority, the pilot in command or ATC?

I'm sure many people have heard about the communication between a Delta flight 2244 and Atlanta tower being on news today. When the Controller informs the Pilot he is on a wrong taxi-way, things get ...
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How would an airplane land if the on-board radio breaks down?

Is there a special protocol for a situation where the on-board radio communication equipment suddenly breaks down? Would the pilot be able to land on a busy towered airfield or would they be forced to ...
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Which ATC instructions should be repeated back by the pilot?

AIM 4-4-7 (b) says: Pilots of airborne aircraft should read back those parts of ATC clearances and instructions containing altitude assignments, vectors, or runway assignments as a means of ...
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Why do pilots have the ability to turn off the transponder in-flight?

These days, when reading news about missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, I keep coming across a scenario where pilot might have deliberately turned off the transponder which is used for the ...
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How do you calculate the maximum distance to communicate with tower control?

I'm stuck on the following riddle found on the geocaching web site: A helicopter pilot is flying at an altitude of 1981 meters. He is heading inbound an airfield 335 meters high. There are no ...
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How are duplicate call signs dealt with?

Many airlines (at least here in the U.S.) have flight numbers that use different aircraft for different legs of the flight. For example, Delta 158 uses a 747-400 from Incheon International in Seoul to ...
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How do fighter jets communicate with an intercepted plane that's lost comms?

RAF Typhoons were scrambled today to intercept an Antonov 26 that lost comms, triggering a sonic boom over London. The flight was escorted to Stansted airport, and the answer at What's the point ...
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What ATC entities does a commercial airliner communicate with?

As a private pilot, I am familiar with tower, ground, approach and departure control, but I am aware that there are other entities like clearance, pushback and center. If I were flying a commercial ...
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Why do English-speaking pilots and ATC say "Niner" instead of "Nine"?

Besides the fact that it's now a standard, why do American-English-speaking pilots and ATC say "Niner" instead of "Nine"? None of the other numerals are pronounced in an atypical fashion. For what ...
End Anti-Semitic Hate's user avatar
40 votes
4 answers
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When are winds given with respect to true vs. magnetic north?

Wind information can be reported by various sources (ATIS, METAR, TAF, spoken on the radio, etc). I was taught that officially some of these sources are relative to magnetic north and others to true ...
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What does ATC mean when they refer to "company"?

Listening to LiveATC there are references by various ATC entities (towers, approach, etc) to "company". To what does this refer?
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How do I contact Flight Service while in flight?

How do I contact a Flight Service Station (FSS) in the United States in order to receive weather information or open a flight plan after I've already departed.
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What are the differences between ACARS and CPDLC?

What are the differences between Aircraft Communication, Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), and Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC)? Can anyone please let me know in short, what is ...
Mirajul.Pias's user avatar
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What are pilot position reports?

I do a lot of shortwave radio listening, and I often listen to MWARA air traffic radio transmissions based out of San Francisco for flights crossing the Pacific Ocean. When giving position reports the ...
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Is it ATC's responsibility to ensure read backs are correct?

I have experienced this a few times in the last couple of months. When the ATC assigns me a squawk code and I enter it in the transponder, a few minutes later when I try to reconfirm the squawk code, ...
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82 votes
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How do civilian pilots and ATC verify that other people on the radio are who they claim to be?

I am interested in authentication - how identity is verified - in civilian aviation radio transmissions. I know that when someone is speaking on the radio he tells his call sign. But is there any ...
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What are the advantages of squawking 7700?

I was reading this question about how do pilots send distress signals in emergency scenarios, and that got me thinking... In voretaq7's answer, he states that there are three ways to send distress ...
Gabriel Brito's user avatar
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Why is the quality of radio communication bad?

Why don't modern planes and ATC centers have good-quality audio for communication? For example in this video: Or basically any other example of pilot communication(...
ScienceSamovar's user avatar
31 votes
3 answers
9k views

Does air traffic control identify a distress situation when an aircraft flies triangles in the sky?

There is an account in a TSB Canada investigation report after a loss of radio and transponder: The emergency procedure to be followed by a pilot to alert radar stations when in distress and unable ...
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Are “Kennedy Steve’s” various jokes allowed in ATC communications?

Forgive me if there is an obvious answer to this, but I was just listening to this “Kennedy Steve” playlist, and he seems to joke a lot more than most ground controllers I’ve listened to. I have ...
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Is there a dedicated emergency frequency?

Coast patrol has a dedicated frequency for emergency that must be watched at almost all hours, and even if I recall, it had a "dead silent period" to prioritise whatever emergency might be reported. ...
ppp's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
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What exactly are the functions of an aviation headset?

All I know from Google searching is that they provide hearing protection and ATC communication maybe? Do pilots have to attach them or are they wireless? Who can the pilot reach using them? How much ...
verve's user avatar
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17 votes
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What is the night effect?

I read the night effect takes place in radio navigation, especially VOR and NDB. My questions are: What is its nature? Why does it occur? What are the consequences of it?
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Will the frequency 122.000 MHz no longer be used for Flight Watch after October 1st 2015?

The Flight Service Program Changes announcement from the FAA includes On October 1, 2015, the FAA will consolidate Flight Watch services into routine flight services inflight frequencies to ...
Greg Bacon's user avatar
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How are pushbacks coordinated between the pilot and the tug?

When the pilot (PIC) of a large jet is cleared for pushback and start, how does he signal the tug to start towing the aircraft, and where to go to? The pilot has to monitor the ground frequency the ...
Dan Hulme's user avatar
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What happens if a language other than English is used over the radio?

In many non-English speaking countries, communication with ATC may be conducted either in English or the native language. Famous examples are China, Russia, France and possibly Germany. When a pilot ...
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64 votes
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How was I able to just plug in my headphones and listen to ATC and pilot chatter?

I was travelling from Mumbai to Newark Liberty Intl on United Airlines 49, a Boeing 777-200. I was sitting in the economy section, last row, last seat to the plane's left, basically, I was literally ...
Di437's user avatar
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49 votes
3 answers
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How can I politely remind ATC that I'm waiting for instructions or clearance?

(background: low-hour, low-experience, private pilot.) I've got an issue regarding talking to air traffic controllers, especially when I think they may have messed up, yet still giving them the ...
abelenky's user avatar
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41 votes
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How does an Airbus aircraft connect to the Internet? [duplicate]

I would like to understand better where (physically in the aircraft) and how the Internet connection is received on an Airbus aircraft, in particular in an Airbus A380, and then how this system is ...
Bluephoenix's user avatar
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4 answers
10k views

What prevents someone from hijacking a radio frequency mid-air?

For someone who wants to stay anonymous and probably terrorize the skies, what protective measures do we have? Without even thinking too deep, I can imaging the following scenarios for someone who's ...
RaajTram's user avatar
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31 votes
3 answers
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"What's our vector, Victor?": What does this mean?

In Airplane there is a famous sequence: ...
Jason's user avatar
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27 votes
4 answers
30k views

Why is 121.5 called "guard"?

What is a "guarded" frequency and how does it differ from a frequency that's unguarded?
Harv's user avatar
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26 votes
1 answer
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What is the meaning and difference between CTAF, UNICOM and MULTICOM in the US?

What is the meaning and difference between CTAF, UNICOM and MULTICOM in the US? Could you please give examples of radio communications with the correct phraseology to be adopted in each case?
Francesco C's user avatar
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24 votes
4 answers
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Is it legal to use handheld radios to listen to aviation frequencies in the USA?

Is it legal to use handheld radios to listen to (general aviation) airport frequencies in the USA? Can I go to an airport with a handheld radio and listen to their frequencies?
Sam's user avatar
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22 votes
1 answer
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How do airline pilots contact their company while in the air?

Sometimes airline pilots need to get in touch with their company while in the air, for example diagnosing cautionary messages or reporting a diversion. By what means is the communication channel ...
kevin's user avatar
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20 votes
5 answers
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How did aircraft communicate during early air travel?

During the initial era of air travel how do the pilots/Navigation officers would communicate with ground stations? Do they use radio communication? Or Telegraph was used?
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19 votes
3 answers
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Lost radio communication after take-off in IMC - what are my options?

This might be "yet another lost comms questions", but I've tried to read a lot and there are different answers everywhere. Here's the scenario: (The flight plan as filed is - KSSI SSI V441 MONIA GNV ...
RaajTram's user avatar
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18 votes
3 answers
15k views

How are squawk codes assigned?

How are the 4-digit squawk codes assigned to individual flights? This answer indicates that there should be a "correct" one. How does ATC know what is "correct" and what is "incorrect"?
FreeMan's user avatar
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15 votes
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Why shouldn't you use HF radio while refueling?

FCOM limitations for many aircraft state: DO NOT USE HF RADIO WHILE REFUELING Why is this? I have heard from people that it's because most of the big airliners have a 'notch' antenna for HF; it's ...
Praveen Pillai's user avatar
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2 answers
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How does ATC know if you have been assigned a squawk or not?

Departing VFR from class D airspace, either you can request flight following after you leave the airspace or you may ask the airport ground/tower and they assign you a squawk code and setup the flight ...
pmoubed's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
19k views

What radio frequencies are used for intercom in formation flying?

What radio frequencies are used for air-to-air intercom in formation flying? I assume there is a difference between military and civil aviation (e.g a group of GA aircrafts flying as a formation). I ...
Horst Walter's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
11k views

Can normal PC headsets replace 'aviation' headsets?

Aviation headsets have noise reduction and a larger jack (1/4") than most PC headset counterparts (1/8"). But there are many excellent quality PC headsets with sound-proofing materials which ...
user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do bluetooth aviation headsets and/or music negatively affect safety?

I'm in the process of getting my private pilot's license, and I've come to the point where it's probably time to think about buying a headset. As I understand it there are a few options ranging from ...
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12 votes
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How do pilots/controllers deal with overlapping transmissions on the radio?

A disadvantage of the analogue radio1 used for communication is that it does not receive when it transmits. Everybody is trained to wait until the frequency is quiet before starting to talk, but it's ...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
4k views

If the radio fails, can a pilot contact the tower by cell phone? [duplicate]

Is it an accepted practice to notify the tower of a radio failure by cell phone, and use the cell phone as a radio, or are there other ways of dealing with radio failure?
flyingfisch's user avatar
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12 votes
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How can a sUAS operator contact ATC/identify themselves when contacting ATC?

In a comment, abelenky offered some words of wisdom which I personally agree with regarding sUAS ops near a surface Class C: When in doubt or close, call Tower and state your intentions. They'll ...
UnrecognizedFallingObject's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can airline pilots communicate with dispatchers?

Is it possible for airline pilots to communicate with dispatchers? If so, what methods do they use? A special radio channel?
flyingfisch's user avatar
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10 votes
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3k views

How to start an approach in IMC loss of communication under IFR?

Suppose I lost my radio communication while en-route, I am following the cleared route to the last fix. I am flying the higher of my last assigned altitude and MEA. Then, I am holding at my last en-...
CrepuscularV's user avatar
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9 votes
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What's the meaning of underlined frequency in sectional chart nav aid box?

There is a statement to describe the underlined frequency in legend, it says: Underline indicates no voice on this frequency. What does this mean? We still need to ident the Morse code, doesn't it?...
JuanLoveJesus's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why are aircraft callsigns pronounced over the radio in a non-phonetic alphabet way?

Why is it numbers are not always pronounced in a phonetic way? For example a flight number of 2390 is pronounced "twenty-three ninety" instead of "two three niner zero"
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