Pilot Discussion With a Global Perspective
By Chris Kirkman 1396980
#515826 Okay, as a newbie and learning to talk to ATC, I would like to simply request clearance to taxi, takeoff and then be set free to do some fun flying and perhaps some touch and go's. My airport (KMLB) is not a busy airport; however, it is controlled.

Please don't direct me in your answer to a flight training manual or another website. I've already signed up for VATSTAR and working through that. I just need a straight answer regarding what the ATC communications should be for the simple task of wanting to fly out over the water (this airport is right on the Atlantic) or back West over swamp land. I don't intend to be directed to another airport...just want to take off and return to the same airport.

I would just like to get some flying in while taking the VATSTAR training. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Last edited by Norman Blackburn 870575 on Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Moved from General Discussion
By Steven Perry 810054
#515827 It sounds like you want to go VFR. In which case...

"MLB ground, Cessna 123, at the GA ramp, ready for taxi. VFR eastbound, negative radar service. Student pilot."

After that it should be fairly logical. Read back what the controller tells you. Comply with instructions.

On the way back in, you will want to call the tower prior to entering the controlled airspace (I'm assuming it's a class D airport here). Callsign, location, intentions.

"MLB tower, Cessna 123, 10 miles east at 2000, inbound for full stop landing. Student pilot."

You might try text only for the first flight or two as you get the hang of it. That buys you some time to decipher some of the ATC isntructions and figure out how to respond.

Welcome and have fun!
By Don Desfosse 1035677
#515830 I agree with Steven's post almost entirely. I'd recommend, however, you try voice. Even if you botch it a bit, it's more realistic and trust me when I say that many (especially newer) pilots botch radio calls. If it's quiet, you could always PM the controller and ask him for tips and suggestions on your radio technique, time permitting. But I encourage you to dive in and work on your technique that way.
By Josh Glottmann 1275389
#515831 I agree with all of the above. To add, if there happens to be an ATIS available, listen to that before you call for taxi, and before you contact the tower inbound. It'll have useful information for you such as active runways, altimeter, winds, clouds, etc.
By Chris Kirkman 1396980
#515835 These are exactly the answers I was looking for. Thanks a ton guys.

I think you're right on the voice. I have avoided it a bit, but I also find that it's a real pain to type the responses, and the pop up window with the text goes away no sooner than I read it, so it's hard to repeat back what I can't see. :shock:

As far as sending a PM to the controller, how do I do this? I can contact him on his frequency, but don't know how to send PMs to the controllers...or other pilots for that matter (if it can even be done).
By Lindsey Wiebe 1101951
#515861 If you're using vPilot (and if you're not, other than xplane, do yourself a favour and use it) you can type without quotes ".msg BDL_TWR" or whatever callsign, even other aircraft and it will open another tab for PM chat. When they reply on PM it has a different sound to it as well, the tab with new message will flash.

Just remember not to inundate a busy controller with PM's; ask "do you have a moment for a question" or questions. People will often do that in real life (on voice obviously).

As for not noticing all the text before it disappears view the main vPilot window and all transcripts are right there, if freq is extremely busy with text traffic you can scroll up/down to read past messages.
By Magnus Meese 997444
#515945 ^
If you don't have a disability, stop it. Use it to get your feet wet the first few times if you must, but start making a fool of yourself on voice as quick as you possibly can. It's the only way you'll learn properly. And headsets below ten bucks are more than good enough for our voice codec (better sometimes, actually), so money's not an excuse. If you come across a controller or a pilot who haves at you for messing up now and again, .wallop right away, they're in the wrong as long as you're learning.

(I reaaally don't like typing. It messes up the immersion so so much, and my traffic capacity goes down the drain)
By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#515954 Just the other night I heard a controller (whose name or facility I won't mention) asking a pilot if he/she was able to receive voice, as it wasn't indicated in their flight plan -- and the pilot apparently didn't understand the question at first (I didn't see their response). The controller clarified by saying, "right but are you able to hear me by voice? Typing commands is annoying." I laughed -- because I figure anyone who wasn't able to receive voice didn't hear that. ;-)

I do caution controllers who get overly annoyed about text pilots though because there are a few legitimate reasons that some pilots on the network must use it. But I encourage new pilots to challenge themselves to avoid falling back to it just because they're nervous about messing up or sounding dumb.

As Dr. Chris Turk said to Dr. John Dorian -- "Learn by doing, J.D. Learn by doing!"
By Thimo Koolen 1345135
#515960 If someone is filing /r on their flightplan, they probably send a text message to me (unless they filed it wrong, which happen a lot). I always send a message to confirm they can receive voice, but I've had many occurances where someone files /r, but should have been /t.
By Josh Glottmann 1275389
Thimo Koolen 1345135 wrote:I always send a message to confirm they can receive voice, but I've had many occurances where someone files /r, but should have been /t.

And frequently a /r pilot will change to /t mid-flight, which is rather annoying. I'd say 40% of /r are /t, 40% /r, and 20% /v.
By Chris Kirkman 1396980
#515965 Thanks guys. I've started to become more confident with opening my mouth since I'm finally understanding what the ATC is saying to me, and how to respond. There are certainly some formalities, but I've also seen that there is quite a lot of standard, quick communication between pilots and ATC as well.

...and, I agree that typing is a pain, certainly for the pilot who is trying to fly the plane and type at the same time. Even on UNICOM and having to type is a hassle. "Nantucket traffic, Cessna NK625..." is a serious hassle when you're trying to turn to final, etc. and type at the same time. I'm so tempted to hit that pause button and type real quick...but I don't.
By Andreas Fuchs 810809
#515966 Hi Chris,

that's why you are allowed to keep those UNICOM-messages to the minimum. For example you do not need to write "Nantucket traffic", but you can just write "KACK trfc". You don't need to mention your own callsign, because the others can see it automatically with your message. Directions can also be shortened, for example "lefthand downwind" would "LH downwind" etc.. As long as the meaning is obvious, you can shorten as much as possible.

In the end, position reports can be really easy: "KACK trfc, 20NM W of the field, 3500ft, inbnd for LDG rwy 6"