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Aviation Blog

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ATC CommunicationsAlthough a portion of the terminology covered in our previous three posts (see Magic Words – Parts 1-3) dealt with phraseology specific to the airport environment, today’s installment covers parlance exclusive to the aerodrome; namely the traffic pattern. Let’s face it, landings will be one of the most difficult challenges most student pilots will encounter during the course of their flight instruction. Unless you’re an extremely gifted aviator-in-training, expect to spend some quality time flying circuits around the runway.

We’ve all heard that practice makes perfect, and such exercise shouldn’t be limited to stick-and-rudder manipulation of the flight controls. While you’re at it, aim to refine your radio communications to a concise, efficient, professional level of delivery. Doing so will add credibility to your piloting skills (Yes, really!) and can even help you get more favorable ATC handling than is offered to your radio-challenged counterparts. Below, we’ll look at some of the common phrases tower controllers will likely throw at you during the course of your traffic pattern practice.

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Old School Navigation, a Flying Junkyard, and Mom

Meet N5636A – a 1956 Cessna 172A.   She was one of the first Cessna 172s to come off of the production lines in Wichita, Kansas.  She’s the 636th Cessna 172 to be produced, to be exact. Her engine’s a Continental O-300; a six-cylinder, 145hp engine with a pedigree dating back to the late 1940s.  It […]

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Aviation Radio Communication: Magic Words – Part Three

As in our previous two posts, we’ll once again examine commonly used aviation terminology you’re bound to come across over the course of your flying. Some terms might initially seem confusing whereas others are fairly obvious and easy to grasp. Certain terms will become a regular component of your routine ATC (Air Traffic Control) interactions, […]

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Aviation Radio Communication: Magic Words – Part Two

Following up on our previous post, we’ll look at additional aeronautical terms you’ll undoubtedly encounter in your interactions with ATC (Air Traffic Control). Whereas some terms will become a regular part of your flying, you’ll rarely (if ever) come across others in real-world operations. Regardless of the frequency of each phrase’s actual usage, a proper […]

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Training to Tanker Fuel

In the years since my student pilot days, it’s fair to say I’ve spent a good deal of time playing the Monday morning quarterback regarding flight instruction practices. This has been especially true since I earned my instructor ratings and began to build better mousetraps in earnest. I’ll be the first to admit that, in […]

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Is the Flight-Training Industry Wasting Time on Obsolete Procedures?

I spent a little time this morning perusing the FAA’s current practical test standards, required aeronautical knowledge areas, and sample written exam questions. While general aviation (GA) has seen notable advancements since I began flight training, I noticed that many of the FAA’s requisite knowledge and skill areas have failed to adapt with the times. […]

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Aviation Radio Communication: Magic Words – Part One

Within the aeronautical lexicon, there are many keywords at your disposal to make aviation radio communication a bit safer and more efficient than you might imagine. Even if you’re a complete aviation rookie, you’ve probably heard a few such terms thrown about in popular culture. Throughout this post, we’ll examine some of the most prevalent […]

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Aviation Radio Communication: Ready to Roll

Picking up from our last post, we’ll now cover the radio procedures to expect after you’ve successfully taxied to the departure runway. At this time, let’s assume we’ve reached Wittman Regional Airport’s Runway 9, and that we’re holding short of the runway at Taxiway B3 (see the airport diagram). We’re now ready to communicate our […]

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A Pilot’s Personal Pet Peeve: Pattern Practices

Today’s post is coming to you from my perch atop a soapbox. The issue at hand has been a thorn in my side for years, but up until now I’ve refrained from launching into an all-out tirade on the matter. However, with the Sequester resulting in the furlough of nearly 15,000 air traffic controllers and […]

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