A Very Detailed Summary of Radio Mastery for IFR Pilots

Before you plunk down $23.95 for Radio Mastery for IFR Pilots, you need to be sure you will be getting value for your money. After all, the store is filled with books on IFR procedures and techniques. Is this particular book worth your time?

The “Look Inside this Book” feature at Amazon.com is interesting, but it always seems to stop just short of giving you enough information. You want to make a smart decision about whether a book is right for you.

Fair enough. Here is a detailed summary of what is inside of Radio Mastery for IFR Pilots, chapter by chapter. If even this isn’t enough, write to me with your specific questions and I’ll help you fill in the blanks. Jeff@ATCcommunication.com

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Chapter 1. I’m Worried About You

This is why I’m worried. You have flown away from your nest enough times to have some experience talking on the aircraft radios. You have also logged some hours listening to other pilots talk on the radios. I’m betting you have been exposed to something awful. A hundred hours of exposure to this illness might be enough to make you sick.

Chapter 2. Radar Vectors

We are not going far. The plan for today is to remain in the radar traffic pattern for this airport. We will make one trip around the pattern for a practice instrument approach. Plan on radar vectors to an ILS Runway 8 approach full stop.

Our objective is to learn about radio communication with ATC while being radar-vectored for an instrument approach. We won’t get wrapped up in the details of flying instruments. We may talk a bit about the connection between ATC instructions and instrument flight.

Chapter 3. Getting a Clearance, Clarence

Fear not. There is a way to accurately copy an IFR clearance without sweating excessively. I’m going to give you my method. I will also tell you, toward the end of this chapter, how to practice copying IFR clearances to proficiency while sitting on a sofa in your home.

Read an excerpt from Chapter 3–> (There is a link at the end of the excerpt to return to this summary.)

Chapter 4. SIDs and STARs in Pre-Departure Clearances

The mechanics of SIDs and STARs? Yawn. Let’s not try to build a charted procedure. We’ll leave that up to the FAA’s engineers. Instead, let’s talk about how you can use SIDs and STARs to lighten your load when working with ATC. These procedures contain some tricky ATC language. I’ll help you figure it out.

Chapter 5. ATC Handling on SIDs and STARs

Climb via, descend via, proceed via, plus all of the modifications ATC may apply to SIDs and STARs.

Chapter 6. IFR Cross Country, Part 1: Clearance, Taxi, Takeoff

Let’s fly from Santa Barbara to Monterey, California and extract all the goodness from the ATC system. We’ll talk to Clearance Delivery, Ground, and Tower as we prepare to depart. Of course we’ll cover all of the phraseology. We’ll also go several steps further and explore all of the communication tips and tricks in my pocket. I’ll help you copy and execute ATC clearances without sweat or embarrassment.

Chapter 7. Behind the Scenes at an ARTCC

There is flying in the ATC system and then there is using the ATC system to your fullest advantage. Let’s see what goes on behind the scenes at an air route traffic control center and take the mystery out of handoffs, altitude changes, reroutes, and deviations.

Chapter 8. Cross Country, Part 2: Enroute Radio Techniques

When it comes to making requests of ATC, it’s what you say and how you say it that counts. Naturally, we’ll cover what to say, but we’ll go a step beyond and talk about timing and tone to get the best results from ATC.

Chapter 9. Cross Country Part 3: Contacting Enroute Weather Services

I know you have had to call Flight Service during training for your VFR pilot license. Maybe you’ve had to contact Flight Service once or twice since your training days. Let’s run through the drill again and see if we can tweak your communication techniques for better results.

Chapter 10. ATC Assistance in an Emergency

Unless you’ve been in a dire situation before, you might not know how much of a help ATC can be during an inflight emergency. I’ve got the goods on ATC handling in emergencies with words directly from experienced air traffic controllers, FAA Safety Team members, and pilots like yourself. To make this even more interesting, we are going to zoom into the cockpits of pilots and watch them muscle through emergencies, with ATC’s help, in real time.

Chapter 11. Lost Communication

When your radio dies, all is not lost. Here is exactly what to do to regain control of the situation when you lose contact with ATC.

Chapter 12. Cross Country, Part 4: Holding and Arrival into a Class C Airport

We are about to get extremely busy. The weather in Monterey is going down the tubes. ATC is shuffling aircraft like mad; and we’re in the thick of it as we are placed into holding. ATC may be sweating the details, but we’re not. We’ve got a plan for every contingency and we’ll run through all of them before the day is done.

Chapter 13. Cross Country, Part 5: Approach and Landing at a Class C Airport

We’re out of the hold and back into the flow towards the runway. This could be a very busy phase of flight if you let events take you by surprise. I’ll show you how to think ahead of ATC so your arrival and landing becomes a piece of cake.

Chapter 14. Runway Incursions and How to Avoid Them

What do runway incursions have to do with ATC communication? Almost everything. Miscommunication mixed with wrong assumptions about where you are on the airport surface can lead to disaster. I’m going to show you how to work with ATC to put up an impenetrable defense against committing a runway incursion.

Chapter 15. Talking to Air Traffic Controllers in Plain English

Although we have beaten the daylights out of standard phraseology when talking to ATC, sometimes there aren’t words in the book to cover your situation. There will be times and places when you must revert to everyday language to get your point across to ATC. We’ll look at some examples with a focus on clarity, brevity and proper timing. We’ll also examine the use of humor on the radio; and how radio discipline impacts how you fly.

Chapter 16. Out of and Into an Uncontrolled Airport

The majority of airports in the U.S. are uncontrolled. Of course, you are free to fly into and out of uncontrolled airports under IFR conditions. Unfortunately the FAA’s guidance for communication when flying IFR into an uncontrolled airfield, in a word, sucks. We’ll discuss what the government really meant to say in the AIM regarding comm at an uncontrolled airport. We’ll put those words into practice by beating up the instrument pattern at an airport when the tower is closed.

Chapter 17. Preferred Routes Applied and Class Bravo

The undergraduate work is over. It’s time to get into the PhD world of ATC communication. Let’s climb into a high-performance twin engine aircraft and shuttle from Tampa International to Orlando International. We are going to mix it up with airliners in very crowded, complex, and fast-past operations. Never fear, though. I’ll help you stay 3 steps ahead of ATC. By the time we’re done it will seem as though you can read your air traffic controller’s mind.

Chapter 18. Air Traffic Control in Other Countries

If you ever have the opportunity to fly outside of the U.S. you are going to encounter some slight variations in air traffic control. If you’ve learned the ATC routine well in the U.S. you shouldn’t have any problems flying in say, France, Costa Rica, or India. That said, it pays to be ready for the variations. Here they are, explained in detail.

Chapter 19. Where we are Headed

Right now, ATC is all about radar and voice-based control. All that is going to change about 5 years from now. We might as well talk about what is coming down the pike so you’ll be ready.

Chapter 20. The Message Hiding in Plain Sight

Come on! I’m not going to spoil the surprise by revealing it here.

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