There are big differences between verification, clarification, and repetition when working with ATC. In this week’s show, I’ll help you figure out which phrase to use with ATC when you and your controller are not in synch. I’ll tell you this right now, using “Say again” will only help under very specific circumstances. The phrase is not a cure-all.
You don’t have to be flying in a foreign country to not understand an air traffic controller’s accent. People in different regions of your home country make speak with different accents. For example, here in the U.S. a person born and raised in the Deep South will likely have a very different accent than a person who grew up in, say, the state of Maine in the far northeastern reaches of the U.S.
No response from your air traffic controller?
1. Check if your radio’s powered.
2. Check your headset connections.
3. Listen for other pilots transmitting on the frequency.
4. Turn the radio’s squelch off and listen for static.
5. Ensure you haven’t accidentally switched away from your assigned frequency.
If all that checks out okay,
1. Try contacting another pilot on the frequency.
2. Is successful in contacting another pilot, ask that pilot to relay a request to ATC for a new frequency. Be sure to supply your current position for the best result.
If unable to reach another pilot,
1. Monitor the Guard frequency (121.5) in case ATC tries to contact you on Guard.
2. Contact any Flight Service Station. Report your position and get a new ATC frequency.
3. Consult any enroute navigation chart and look for an enroute center frequency in a postage stamp-shaped box.
Don’t forget to fly the airplane as you troubleshoot!
Your Question of the Week:
You are flying a VOR/DME approach to an airport inside Class C airspace. The reported visibility is just above the minimum required for the instrument approach. The missed approach point for this procedure is .3 DME prior to the runway threshold. Fortunately, you break out of the weather prior to the missed approach point and get the runway in sight. You descend towards the runway on a normal glidepath. As you cross the runway threshold, a strong gust of wind throws your aircraft well left of centerline. Your good judgment tells you to reject the landing. As you climb away from the runway, you realize you are well past the missed approach point. What do you do now?
I’ll have the answer to that question along with a full explanation in the next edition of the IFR Flight Radio Show. Be well, keep in touch, and fly safe.