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Radio Procedures

Lesson Objective

Our soaring environment requires us to use the correct radio procedures to interact with the Unicom, ground, and communicate with the towpilot.

Regulatory Requirement

  • Pre-Solo: Not required by regulations, but you must master this before solo at Front Royal.
  • Private: PTS III-A.

Content

  • General Radio Procedures
  • Phonetic Alphabet
  • Radio calls in the pattern
  • Communication with the Tow Plane
  • Technique for radio use
  • Awareness of ATC Light signals.

Note: Even though the vast majority of glider pilots will never see ATC light signals in practice, the PTS states that instructors are required to teach ATC light signals to Practical Test candidates. The PTS candidate should at least be aware of ATC light signals. View §91.125.

Completion Standards

The student must be able to perform

  • Preflight radio check
  • radio announcements when taking the active runway (staging for takeoff)
  • while in the air -- the student must say flawless announcement of each portion of the landing pattern, without stumbling, searching for words, or having to pause the landing pattern's procedures to summon the correct radio calls.
  • meaningful communication with the Front Royal Unicom.
  • pre-takeoff radio check with tow pilot.
  • All radio communication should not be at the cost of flying the aircraft.  Flying the glider is the first and foremost priority.

 

The student must be able to:

  • Recite the Aviation phonetic alphabet.
  • With quizzing from the instructor, the student must demonstrate the ability to quickly convert any random letter into the appropriate phonetic alphabet equivalent.

Prerequisite Study

Samples

Some Sample radio calls might be:

  • Radio Check:
    • "Front Royal Glider niner four echo radio check"
    • "glider niner four echo, eight-six-six, you are loud and clear, how me?"
  • Staging for takeoff:
    • "Front Royal, glider niner four echo taking the active, staging for take-off two-eight. Front Royal"
  • Initial Entry ("on the 45") Leg: 
    • "Front Royal Traffic. Glider [four-seven]-niner-four-echo. On the Entry Leg, Landing Runway two-eight. Right hand traffic. Glider.  Front Royal"
    • "Front Royal Traffic. Glider [four seven]-niner-four-echo. On the forty-five for Right Traffic two-eight. Front Royal"
  • Downwind leg samples
    • "Front Royal Traffic. Glider niner-four-echo. Downwind Leg, runway two-eight. Right hand traffic. Glider.  Front Royal"
    • "Front Royal Traffic. Glider niner-four-echo. Downwind Leg, runway two-eight. Landing on the grass. Right hand traffic. Glider. Front Royal"
    • "Front Royal Traffic. Glider niner-four-echo. Right Downwind two-eight.  Front Royal"
  • Base Leg samples
    • "Front Royal Traffic. Glider niner-four-echo. Base Leg, Runway two-eight. Right hand traffic. Glider.  Front Royal"
    • "Front Royal Traffic. Glider niner-four-echo. Base Leg, Runway two-eight, landing on the grass. Right hand traffic. Glider.  Front Royal"
    • [Front Royal Traffic], glider niner-four-echo right base two-eight Front Royal
  • Final Leg samples:
    • "Front Royal Traffic. Glider 94 echo. Final. Runway two-eight. Glider.  Front Royal"
    • "Front Royal Traffic. Glider 94 echo. Final. Runway two-eight, landing on the grass. Glider.  Front Royal"

Further Study

  • APOA's "Say It Right " Mastering Radio Communication. Available for free with registration. 

Next Lesson: 4c -- Minimum Sink
Previous Lesson: 4a -- Collision, Windshear & Wake Turbulence Avoidance
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