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Teaching Airplane English
2010-03-18

Teaching Airplane English I am in the process of 're-treading' two pilots who have radio problems. They are both experienced complex-high performance pilots but they have never been exposed to the latest ATC radio expectations.

It is so much easier to teach people correctly in the first place. These pilots have about 50 years of flying between them and now must learn to 'talk' Y2K airplane. One has not flown in ten years and the other has English as a second language and has avoided use of the radio for his entire flying career.

The pilot who has not flown in ten years has excellent procedures for that period. He flew a cabin class twin. The problem is that he has these procedures so ingrained that, under pressure, he reverts back to 'his' way. The new runway incursion procedures seem strange to him. He has bought a C-210 and I'm trying to bring him up to date on procedures before he begins his checkout in several weeks. His flying is good in basics but airport patterns need some rust removed.

My friend who has trouble with English is different but similar. I go over the expected procedure even to the extent of having him write it out. When it works, it works well. If ATC changes a wording or adds a twist he's in trouble.

Yesterday, I took him to Oakland and back using TRACON. We made a full stop and went over the procedure for a return to Concord. It went reasonably well. We made a low approach at CCR and headed back to OAK without using TRACON. He had some difficulty responding to a traffic 'point-out' and convincing OAK that we wanted to do a low-approach with on-course CCR. He landed at CCR very pleased with what he had learned. I was pleased, too,
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