Real Answers from Real Pilots

Radio communications

Hello everyone,

I’ve been reading this forum for a few month and I just want to say that you all do a great job answering all questions.

I’m a foreigner (with a permanent resident visa in the USA), 28 years old, I’ve got my bachelors degree in Brazil, now I’m living in the States and want to change career to aviation and become an airline pilot.

I would say my English is advanced. So, I communicate well with people in person/phone. No problem!

BUT I was listening to liveatc.net and I had trouble understanding what they were saying.

Is there anything else that I can do to get used to radio communications before I start my program from zero at ATP(Mesa)?

Thanks a lot,
Joe Fraga

Joe,

It’s cool to see another Brazilian! :sunglasses: Anyways, I’m no expert, just a student! I’ll take a short at the question though. I’m sure the mentors will jump in with much more useful tips and professional insight on the matter!

Well, like anything, it’s all repetition. My instructor always says that speaking to ATC is another language. There’s phraseology, vocabulary, even slang that’s used in everyday communication with ATC. So, all you have to do is practice it.

When you get into your training, you’ll realize that there’s a format to speaking on the radio and that every instruction requires a response. Leading up to my training, I watched A LOT of videos on YouTube that incorporated ATC audio in it.

What really helped me was practicing it. I would play videos and listen for ATC instructions. I would then pause the video and try to reply to it as if I was the pilot. I would then play the video and see if I got it right. A little weird, but it definitely worked for me :joy:

Hope this helps!
Yuran

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Joe,

ATC communication can be challenging for many people (native speakers as well). Some people recommend listening to things like https://www.liveatc.net/ and that’s fine but honestly I wouldn’t sweat it or be overly concerned. The biggest reason people wrestle is not the verbiage or phraseology it’s the fact that you have little reference or context since you have no flight experience. Imagine trying to learn a new language from scratch simply by listen in the dark, pretty tough, but if you can watch a video or be in a room listening AND seeing that the people talking are having dinner you can start to make associations and it becomes infinitely easier. Same with flying. When you’re taxiing an aircraft and you’re talking to ground control with a taxi diagram in front of you, what they’re saying can actually be visualized because you can see where you are and where you want to get to. Same thing in the air. But now it’s all just gibberish. Make sense?

Adam

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Joe,

Based simply off your post I can tell you that your English is great, you shouldn’t have any problem at all with the ATC. Listening to controllers is something that is learned over time and is really hard without having the vocabulary. I wouldn’t spend any time listening to it online, it just won’t mean anything to you yet. It will come in time.

Chris

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Adam & Chris,

Thanks a lot for both response. I appreciate.
It does make sense and I totally agree that it’ll come. It’s just a matter of time, studying and practicing.

Joe Fraga

Hey Yuran,

Are you Brazilian too!? Good to know there are more of us around. Thanks for you tips! I guess once I start my training this technique will be very helpful.

Joe Fraga

Joe,

That I am! Born in Rio De Janeiro, but raised in central florida. I’m going through my PPL course right now. Personally, that tip helped me, but I’ve already had a background in aviation before I started my training so it wasn’t completely new to me. It worked for me, but it wont’t be useful for everyone since we’re all different.

Like the mentors said, don’t worry about it now! You’ll be fine!

Yuran

Hey Yuran,

That’s great! I used to take vacations to Cabo Frio every year! Cool place!!
To tell you the truth, I think it’s a great tip … it helps to sharpen the
ears!

So are you getting your PPL at ATP in Florida?
Can you tell me more about how is Florida for flight training?

I might go to Florida just because it’ll be easier to my wife get transfer
from her company.

Thanks,
Joe

fragafilho@gmail.com

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