View Full Version : Should we talk on the radio?

14-05-09, 15:21 PM
I fly a lot with a friend of mine who is also an admin on here, Andy Dixon.

Now in his plane there is transponder and 2 radios and he always likes to be in contact with "someone" I suppose it makes him feel safer.

Now having a conversation with "spokes" last night, a well respected aviator from Rufforth who's flown over the alps and everywhere... says that ATC don't really want to be bothered with us.

His view is stay out of the airspace, and keep quiet, and keep a good lookout... yes have a transponder if you want but leave it on 7000 so you're visible on screen...

Which school do you subscribe to and why....

14-05-09, 17:44 PM
Legal claptrap first: to fit a radio you are required by law to have a radio installation licence <conditions apply> and to operate a radio and/or transponder you are required to have a FRTOL (operator's licence) <yet more conditions apply>.

Assuming all that's in order :? talking doesn't necessarily help. When I operated out of a farm strip in the back of beyond I spoke to nobody and didn't bump into anyone. Now I operate from a big place with full-time A/G and a mix of traffic, I use the radio to let people know where I am, in all three dimensions (or four if you include ETAs), and what my intentions are - it reduces my chances of being swallowed by a jet.

But even now, when I'm out in my general operating area in one of the most congested bits of class G sky in the UK, there are half a dozen different radio stations (plus microlights and safetycom) that I could be legitimately dealing with. Noticeably, the scary moments have been nearly always been with people not talking on whatever frequency I was using at the time.

So my personal view is when approaching a field with radio, use it alongside as many eyeballs as you can fit in your cockpit. When out in the wild then just use the eyeballs.

The best choice of specs for flying is a topic worthy of a thread all of its own.

:smurf: Joan

15-05-09, 16:02 PM
I am with Joan on this one. I have an R/T Licence and am equipped with Radio and Transponder and enjoy talking to ATC when around control zones, however 90% of the time I prefer to just simply fly outside and keep a good look out. Flying in Ireland is different to UK AIRSPACE. In Ireland there is little controlled airspace and you are very unlikely to see other aircraft midair. I usually only talk to ATC if I want to penetrate their airspace or to find information on active parachute drop zones etc. I flew over to Popham from Ireland a few weeks ago, we spoke to Belfast, Scottish FIS , Manchester and the odd other airfield as we flew close. It was very handy for getting permission to penetrate and fly straight in over Brize Norton on the way there and back.

The one thing about having an R/T licence is that it opens up other experiences and gives you confidence to go further. However it is not vital or essential. Sometimes it is just easier to fly around the zones, and simple farm and grass strips are more welcoming and often much more pleasant places to visit than larger airfields where politics and snobbery rule the way.


andy dixon
15-05-09, 19:09 PM
flying in controled airspace has it's advantages "that everyone should know what everyone else is doing"

......vince forgets the time (feb 2009) we were flying in my quantum with transponder mode c on,and whilst getting PPR from an airfield ,we were interupted on the other radio by leeds/bradford international airport radar tower to tell us another aircraft flying 90mph faster than us was only 4 miles (2m40seconds) behind us on the same altitude and on the same flight line as we were, the pilot of the other aircraft could not be contacted so we took avoiding action real dam quick !!!!!!!
the air traffic controler laphed down the radio as i said "my passenger is screwing his neck off like a giraffe but we still can't see it" we saw it alright but we had got well clear thanks to air traffic control,2 radios, and a transponder(and two way communication)

2 radios and a transponder.....hmmmmmm.............

where i fly there are several MATZ all in a line and an over-all radar blanket of 3 civi airports.. if i go south i talk to doncaster civi airport for a transponder code, i am then legally required to keep a listening frequency to them, when i see the airfield i am visiting i use the other radio to seek ppr/joining instructions/airfield landing details (whilst still having the other radio on doncaster,to fulfill the legal requirements) then i inform doncaster that i have the other airfield is sight and request to be legally discharged from them and to reset my transponder,the second radio is still on the airfield i have just got instruction from and i can use this radio to call final etc.

this gets more complicated as part way through the flight i pass within or close to matz penetration and i can't seek permission from them on the radio if i am to fulfil my legal requirement to listen in to the station that has granted me a transponder code ! bit of a catch 22. so 2 radios does the trick. whilst serving queen and country it was the norm' for me to sit there with 3 or 4 radios going at the same time, and talk back to 2or3 in the same conversation.

in winter when there is a fuller cloud base and a lower cloud base, it is inevitable some pilots will be flying i.f.r. u.v.f.r. s.v.f.r. e.v.f.r. and i don't want one of these faster birds dropping from a cloud on top of me,flying is partly keeping the risks to a minimum.
oh! and just to fuel the fire vince !i got some mode S gear this week

in our "permit to fly" aircraft where the risk of an outlanding is greater, i think a transponder is of more importance if you are in need or the emergaency services, at least they can go back through the radar memory and plot where to look for you !
radio/transponders/nav lights/strobes/a good lookout it's all a personal choice, you do what you feel is right for you, you do what you feel makes you safe/safer it's all about how to keep your own risk to a minimum

in all the time i worked for the U.N. we were only "downed" once,we never got above 800feet so our transponder never showed up on the radar(1,000 ft minimum) sods law that wasn't it !


Frank Thorne
15-05-09, 21:17 PM
How have you got your radios configured for Tx Andy - control box with a toggle switch?

andy dixon
15-05-09, 22:52 PM
2 x icom a22 and a microavionics 2009 model radio/headsets interface cost 195 quid including the vat. you can also plug in a mobile phone and make calls/answer calls whilst you fly and you and your passenger can have a chat.

i had another similar system which just had 2 different ptt buttons one red one blue,the wiring that went into the radios was coloured accordingly,but it went tits up and i'm waiting to get another. this system you can put upto 4 icom a3 or a22 radios on it with 4 x ptt buttons.if you are a ground co-ordinator for the red arrows you can have 4 display aircraft on 4 different frequencies and talk to them all individually without anyone getting confused....well not the red arrows but a private display teem cost 280 quid
i used it with 2 radios for talking on ,one on 121.5,one on scan..

........or you could have 1 safetycom 135.475..... 2 micro chat./129.825....... 3 scan...... 4 airfield your talking to........
if you need any help just send private message and you can have my number.....andy

Ben W
15-05-09, 23:14 PM
ATC don't really want to be bothered with us.

That's definately not the case, it's always good to know what peoples intentions are and besides, the more aircraft we speak to, the better out stats, the more justification for us being there. One thing I would say is think before you speak, if a controller is busy then it's frustrating if someone is umming and awwwing over R/T. It's nice if people are up to date on the old CAP413 too, although being a military unit most of our phrasiology is b****cks anyway. :lol: I understand Joan when she says about how there is a seemingly endless choice of units to speak too when outside of controlled airspace but I don't think speaking to no-one is the way forward. All units in a given area are only one press of a button away from each other, it's always better to make your intentions known to someone so that it can be passed between agencies. Speaking to ATC most definately isn't a substitute for the mk.1 Eyeball but why limit youself to one set when you can have two or more?

Speak to you soon,

An afterthought: I'd also argue that if you have an in flight emergency then it's better speaking to a ground based unit should any further action need to be taken. Pilots are Air Traffic customers, without pilots we'd go out of business.

16-05-09, 11:19 AM
where i fly there are several MATZ all in a line and an over-all radar blanket of 3 civi airports..


Yes, but when we fly, evenings and weekends they're closed. :banghead:

andy dixon
16-05-09, 19:43 PM
is that why iv'e got no mates after 5pm ?
you said it was because i was crap on the radio,and they all text each other and all pretended i wasn't there ? and spoke real quiet to everyone else so i wouldn't hear them..............i feel real hurt coz you made up a lie and i believed you.....
so am i crap or not ?

i passed my R.T. course fair and sqARE and only cheeted on the first 24 questions..........not like you who had a copy of the cosgrove 7th edition down your front and you told that girl you had had a very special operation...........and you sold me the answers for a tenner and 2 of them were wrong.

so if i'm that crap,why last week did you only let 3 of my tyres down and not 4 ? answer that one if you can !!!!!!!!!

18-05-09, 00:08 AM
What you on????

Get me a pint please... in fact no, get me a gallon, I could be here some while :lol: