Listening to ATC

Having been a helicopter pilot primarily for most of my adult life, my ATC radio etiquette, when it comes to IFR flying, was below par at best. You get sloppy because you don’t do much talking on the radio. I mostly only had to talk to the tower and never to center or approach. And the tower guys let you get away with almost everything (radio wise) as long as you stay out of the way of fixed wing traffic. Also, all of our clearances pretty much sound the same. Mostly it’s “proceed as requested, use caution non-movement area” and that’s about it.
So, when I started this new venture with my second career, I had some catching up to do. I did a bunch of research and downloaded an app called “LiveATC” where you can listen to many different radio frequencies. Oh! And btw, an even better app I found later is called “ARSim”. All you inspiring pilots and flight students check this one out. I can really recommend it. This app actually gives you clearances you have to read back and record and it will then grade you where you messed up on protocol and what all you missed or had backwards. You can even set background noise, accents, male or female controller, and so on…

My wife would listen in with me on LiveATC while I was running it in the office almost non-stop for a few weeks. It was funny. She would get so mad whenever there was a controller who talked really fast, even if there were only 3 planes on the approach. “Why is he talking so fast?” “There are only 2 planes landing right now!!” “Is this really necessary?”
I now found while actually doing this job ,that if you wanna talk really fast with me, you might just have to repeat yourself because this old helicopter guy just didn’t pick up what you just threw down, lol.
I will never forget my very first taxi clearance in Chicago. I only got two taxiways written down from the clearance and then it was over. I looked at my captain stating “yeah….uhm… I have no idea what he just said”. The captain said he got it and rattled the entire thing right back. Now, a year later, I can already go into Chicago with only getting yelled at once or twice per turn, HAHA.

Anyways … this is where this strip came from…


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2 comments on “Listening to ATC
  1. Quill says:

    This is actually a really surprising level of humility for Chuck, something I’d never see him say: “To improve as a pilot.” Because how can The Best Pilot In The World improve as a pilot? There’s also that he already listens to ATC plenty on the ground, on that phone number he’s given at the end of every flight – but I’m sure he has the “I’ll personally shred your license” chuck.mp3 memorized by now!

    I’m working on my instrument rating, I’ll have to check out that ARsim.

  2. Harro says:

    Hi there,
    you guys in the US are so lucky – concerning listening to ATC while not flying. Which is actually forbidden in Germany. One is only allowed to take part in the radio traffic — which includes listening only — when sitting in an aircraft for the purpose of flying. In Germany one must even get a license for taking part in the radio traffic, of which there are three. BZF 1 and 2 for VFR flying in German and English (1), German only (2) and the big one AZF for VFR and IFR, to play with the big guys.
    Listening to ATC would have helped me a lot while I was still in flight school.
    Have a nice day and many happy landings!
    Harro, 😎🛩

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