Communication plays a crucial role in transmitting information from person A to B. Whether it is a large company, small business, or any organization, you need to transfer data along the hierarchy in a practical yet efficient manner.
Communication skills are vital for surviving in this era; still, when it comes to communication to and from the plane, there is no room of error. In aviation, safety and communication are related and are dependent on each other; safety of not only crew members, but of all the people in aircraft. Learning the art of air traffic control communication is critical for the transfer of information effectively and correctly. Advancement in technology has enabled simulators that accord copy with all details, including vision and sounds of the cockpit of an aircraft.
For new pilots, conversation with air traffic control can be stressful. They understand that communication failure can have dire consequences. Some inefficient aviation crew forgets to read callback or dropout essential bit of discussion, and it can become a reason of catastrophe. Sometimes self-assertive pilots do not deem it necessary to call air traffic control when they ought to, and it can also lead to an accident. Pilots need to be alert while flying and be very consistent in following the protocol of communication. Generally, pilots overcome their nervousness with time and experience.
The following are some ways which will help to improve ATC communication:
- Use Official Language
More often than not, pilots find themselves in unfavorable weather conditions, and they have to carry out the communication despite the weather challenges. The aviation uses Aviation English, and for a pilot whose native language is not English comprehending, it of a native speaker is challenging. One of the tips pilots give to a newbie is to use aviation English with crew members even when they are not flying. Following the mantra of, the more you practice, the better you will be at it; a new pilot can quickly get a grip on the official language. An efficient atc simulator is cost-effective and records minute details of an aircraft. Pilots should adhere to official phraseology, but for a fresh pilot, learning all can be challenging. Using formal idiom with the aviation crew will help in mastering it.
- Active Listening
Someone rightly pointed out that most of us listen intending to reply, and we do not generally comprehend what the person is saying. Listening is a skill that one can enhance by making a conscious effort not only to hear what someone is saying but also to focus on the message. Passive hearing is the root cause of miscommunication, and it can lead to disaster when it comes to the aviation industry. The training of aviation mainly focuses on, “seek first to understand, then to be understood,” which is fundamental for listening. Practicing active listening in day-to-day life will help you to adopt the habit and will enhance ATC communication.
Pilots get regular instructions from air traffic control towers, especially about the routes of taxing away and landing. It is essential that they note down the instructions and then rephrase those instructions to reconfirm the direction they are about to take. Landing and taking off are the primary operations of flying, and pilots need to show utmost vigilance during these crucial times. Aside from the significant operations plane crew communicate with ATC tower on other matters. Even for the issues that they deem insignificant, it is better to rephrase and wait for ATC tower’s approval before proceeding. Since not all crew members may speak or understand accented English, they should speak slowly and clearly.
- Be Patient
Patience is a virtue, and for aviation crew, it is a mandatory characteristic. It is natural to get agitated when the communication line is not clear and has distortion, but for aviation crew, it is a regular occurrence. Impatience can lead to misunderstanding on both sides, and during flying, a misconception is a matter of life and death. Some pilots want an answer to their query immediately, and when ATC towers take time to respond, they call again. Waiting time before calling again is conducive to the circumstances, and pilots should be aware of how much time they can spare.
- Concise Communication
The aviation industry strongly believes that brevity is the soul of aviation communication. Redundancy creates clutter in the message, and real information disseminates incorrectly. Besides, sometimes the crew is unable to transmit the complete data, owing to the unfavorable weather conditions, if the memorandum is precise, chances of miscommunicating will be slim. Aviation crew undergoes training to discipline themselves in speaking precisely and leaving the unnecessary information out. If concise phraseology is not sufficient, pilots can use other words to get the message across.
- Do Not Overthink
Overthinking hinders logical thinking and makes you overanalyze petty things. Pilots carry a heavy burden on their shoulders as they understand that their one wrong move can cause a catastrophe. On the safe side, they feel an inclination to scrutinize every aspect, but experts’ advice is contrary to it. To have competent ATC communication, the crew must have a clear mind so that they can think straight and fight the disposition of overthinking.
- Listen To Live ATC
Even if you have served for a considerable number of years in the aviation industry, there is room for improvement. What can better way be of learning than to observing counterparts? Listening to live ATC gives an in-depth insight of other flights and broaden pilots’ horizon. Pilots can learn many dos and don’ts of ATC communication that they might have missed during your training. Moreover, every air flight is different from others, and there is always something to learn.
Aviation job seems fascinating, and a lot of young people aspire to join the aviation industry. The training and career neither is a piece of cake. It is a high-stress job that requires perseverance, discipline, and determination. Aviation crew must have nerves of steel so that they can stay calm even in dire situations. Understanding is the essential component of communication, and in the aviation sector, it is of vital importance. ATC communication is crucial to flying. The aviation crew must keep trying to improve their communication skills to be more productive.