165

The difference here isn't between ships and aircraft: it's between Morse code and voice. The SOS signal is only for Morse code. It's short, easy to send, and easy to recognise. But it's not as convenient to say. It doesn't actually mean "save our souls". The letters were chosen just to form the simple Morse pattern, and "save our souls" is a backformation: ...


135

During the 1990s I flew into countries on every continent except Antarctica. As an American English speaker flying U.S. registered airplanes, I never had a complaint that a controller had trouble understanding me, and I was always addressed in English by the controllers. Sometimes, though, I would have trouble understanding the controller's accent and would ...


112

This is a reasonable question, and to an outside the simple answer of We don't / can't might seem a little bit jarring. After-all, we live in a time of hacking, terrorism and so on and I can certainly see how this looks like a simple vector to create some havoc. So, what's to stop somebody from setting themselves up with a Radio Transmitter and deciding to ...


108

Why do we say "TANGO" on the radio for the letter "T"? Because "T" could get garbled or misunderstood to be "B", "E", "or "V". "NO" could become "oh?", "YES" could become "us", and so on...the possible interpretations and permutations of short, monosyllabic words are many. Use a big word and it will be hard to confuse with others...


94

This is a feature offered on some United Airlines aircraft and flights. It's an interesting way to hear what's going on in the cockpit. You can find lots of information by searching for United channel 9.


89

According to Wikipedia: The pronunciation of the digits 3, 4, 5, and 9 differs from standard English – being pronounced tree, fower, fife, and niner. The digit 3 is specified as tree so that it is not pronounced sri; the long pronunciation of 4 (still found in some English dialects) keeps it somewhat distinct from for; 5 is pronounced with a second "f" ...


72

If you make a radio call, unless you are on 121.5 (or 243 military), then only the station you are talking to will initially know about the emergency. Initial calls should always be with the unit you are working with unless you are VFR. If you squawk 7700, then all stations in transponder range, including possible airborne stations such as AWACS and SAR ...


71

It isn't a black and white issue of who has higher authority. A pilot in command (PIC) is the ultimate authority for the safe operation of his airplane. An air traffic controller is the authority for the block of airspace or pavement he controls. When you are operating under ATC, it is your responsibility to comply with their instructions as long as ...


68

Because it makes you sound cool and very Top Gun! Negative Ghostrider. The pattern is full Seriously though, short words, especially at the end and beginning of transmissions are often clipped. When everything is busy, a question might only need a "yes/no" reply. Yes/no is easily lost in radio communication. Affirm/negative are not. Also, with English ...


67

It is not part of the standard phraseology by any means, but it is fairly common, as is a very quick pleasantry when changing frequency. [station name], Good morning, G-ABCD, [request] and G-ABCD, changing to [other station] thanks for your service. The thing to remember is to not choke up a busy station with overuse of non-standard comms, and ...


62

Basically everything that consumes power on an aircraft can potentially cause interference, short-circuits, or otherwise jeopardize the safety of flight and therefore must be switchable. Sometimes the switch is in the form a button, otherwise by a fuse. There are several particular reasons that the transponder can be turned off. If the transponder ...


62

Hard C sounds too much like K. Ch (Charlie) will not be confused with K (Kilo). And soft C sounds too much like S (Sierra).


61

There are three different ways that aircraft can give internet access to its passengers, which will most likely be on at around 38,000 feet. First off, to have Inflight wifi, there needs to be a ground-based internet server, a transmitting dish, or a satellite dish. There must also be a receiving and transmitting antenna on the aircraft and an onboard server ...


55

There's lots of advice I can give you here, but the answer is really that the degree of communication tower wants/needs depends on your local tower (and to some degree the individual controllers). Perhaps the most universal piece of advice I can give you is to think like a controller. Listen to the frequency and get a picture of what's going on in the ...


55

1In the U.S., for Military aircraft, ATC is required to: "Remind aircraft to check wheels down on each approach unless the pilot has previously reported wheels down for that approach". [ref: [FAA Order 7110.65W], para. 2-1-24] Normally, the phraseology suggested in your question would reflect the pilot's response to this ATC reminder. (For example: "...


55

Yep, the critical commands are repeated 3 times. This ensures there is ABSOLUTELY zero doubt in anyone's mind (especially on a big crew airplane) of what needs to be done in a critical situation. It also standardizes these criticalities across different aircraft and aircrew cultures. "Bail out, bail out, bail out" "Eject, eject, eject" "Abort abort ...


51

The scenario you're asking about is common. Let's say that your Delta 158 from South Korea to Detroit is running several hours late, and the decision is made to operate the A320 DTW-BOS on time. ATC doesn't accept having two aircraft flying with the same callsign at once due to exactly the sort of confusion you suggest, so something has to change. What ...


50

What that probably means is that the pilot is reporting that they have ATIS information kilo. Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) is a radio broadcast on a specific frequency (often a local navaid like a VOR) which a pilot dials up to get weather and airport information before joining one of the airfield's frequencies. Each time the information is ...


50

On frequency, if control is responding to the distressed aircraft you should stay quiet and let them work the problem. This would not be a great time to ask for flight following or traffic advisories and you should expect neither. You should be listening for instructions broadcast to all aircraft in the area and possibly an announcement to change frequencies....


47

This is much more common than just the countries you list. In Mexico, for example, ATC communications with Mexican carriers are entirely in Spanish and many of the controllers have thick accents. Thankfully, ATC phraseology is standardized and limited in vocabulary so it isn't too difficult to get the basic idea of what is going on. If you pick up on the ...


46

Other answers mention "it's the rules" without specifying why the rules are what they are. Civilian airplanes are for the most part assumed to be in proper working order after a flight, unless it is known otherwise. Military flight hardware may have experienced 8-9 G loads, supersonic airspeeds, ground fire, attacks from other aircraft, been subject to an ...


46

Admin stuff, emails, chat with a colleague if you are not alone on shift, read up on (ever changing) procedures, eat, read a book, make sure the coffee machine works, meditate, watch TV. Anything goes, really, as long as you keep an eye on the radar and stay close enough to hear the radio and answer the phone. Of course, this is all assuming that there are ...


43

Technically you are not suppose to and for the greatest safety, internationally recognized vocabulary should always be used. However, I have noticed most heavy pilots and many controllers do a greeting. That is the difference between the ideal world and the real world. I doubt being the 65th pilot to say "good morning" improves your handling or makes the ...


40

The word "Takeoff" should only be used when clearing somebody for takeoff, acknowledging your takeoff clearance, or cancelling/acknowledging a cancelled takeoff clearance. "Departure" should be used in all other circumstances, and as far as I'm aware whoever told you you could use the word Takeoff for VFR was wrong. Anybody saying the word "takeoff" ...


38

The general rule is: If you read it, it's true. If you hear it, it's magnetic. All charts and textual sources (METAR, TAF, winds aloft, surface analysis charts, etc) use true north as the reference. ATIS/AWOS/ASOS broadcasts, or any information a controller gives you over the radio, is magnetic. Wind direction broadcast over FAA radios is in reference ...


38

It is important to remember that it is often difficult to diagnose radio malfunction during flight. Therefore it is hard to know whether you have a malfunctioning transmitter, a malfunctioning receiver, or perhaps both. You also have the point-of-failure that is the headset you are using. For this reason it is quite usual to carry a spare headset and the ...


38

ATC and aircraft communications (at least in the US) are not restricted for receiving. Anyone can purchase (or make) an "Air band" receiver (or scanner radio) tunable through (roughly) 118-140 MHz and listen to ATC and aircraft communications.


38

Do not respond to irrelevant chatter on aviation frequencies. There are already way too many people who think it is ok to chit chat and joke on the radio while they are flying. Not only does this distract the participants, but it distracts other pilots in the area and prevents other pilots from using the channel for constructive purposes. If you are ...


38

Procedure calls for the mayday distress signal to be said three times in a row so that it won't be mistaken for another word or phrase that sounds similar under noisy conditions. The use of Mayday dates back to 1923 when it was first used because it sounded like the French word m'aider, which means “Help me." In those early days of radio it was necessary to ...


37

Aircraft squawking 7700 are getting a special indication (e.g highlighted, distinct colour, boxed) on Air Traffic Control (ATC) displays. This helps to identify the emergency aircraft not only to the air traffic controller who is controlling the airspace the aircraft is in, but also to controllers of other (nearby) airspaces. This helps to improve awareness ...


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