Speak in a language that people understand

My wife always said that I sound different at home than at work. It’s maybe not so much about language as it is about tone and inflection, I think. And she is not making this up because following story actually happened and we still laugh about it to this day.

The first time I took her on a flight with our C-175, the “Chicken Hawk”, we took off out of Boulder City, and uncontrolled airport, and took it to Northern Nevada to pick up some equipment. I made some calls departing the pattern on downwind and then calling in a bunch of reporting points because there were so many tour helicopters coming in and out of this particular airport and I wanted them to know where I was. “Cessna 83M is over the powerplant” that sort of thing. My wife, a helicopter crew member for fire with many hours in aircraft, is sitting in the back (I think my dad was riding in the front with me on this one) looking around all nervous telling me “There is a guy who just called in at the exact same location as you”. She always pays attention in the air, not really trusting everyone who flies in and out of these small airports. I didn’t hear the call so all three of us are now looking for the traffic she heard at the same location. To be sure I made another call. “There he is again”, she said. Again, we never heard anyone but us on the radio.

Then it started to dawn on me, so I ask her “Did you catch the other plane’s call sign?”.
She said “8 something Mike, I think.”
“Yes! That’s it!”
“You know that’s us, honey.”
She yells out relieved, but surprised “Wait! What? But that doesn’t even sound like you!”

Turns out my “Pilot Voice” is so different from my “Wife Voice” that my own wife doesn’t even recognize it in the air.


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4 comments on “Speak in a language that people understand
  1. Scott says:

    Watch out she doesn’t fall for that other guy…


  2. RG2Cents says:

    Y’know… I think he’s got the hang of it…

  3. L says:

    I cannot agree more. If we speak the language of the audience, the message is understood much easier.
    For years, I’ve been telling instrument pilots to speak VFR lingo on CTAF.
    A VFR pilot might not understand or care for some “aaahhh … tree bravo tango is … aaaahhh … over the IF on RNAV GPS Y 24 … aaaahhh … on IPC with CFII in VMC OMG LOL FBI BBQ”.
    If you say “over the powerplant” or “5 miles north”, that is much clearer.

  4. Julio says:

    Chuck. You. Today. No fly. No take tools. Got it?

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