Lesson 4b - Radio Procedures
Our soaring environment requires us to use the correct radio procedures to interact with the Unicom, ground, and communicate with the towpilot.
- Pre-Solo: Not required by regulations, but you must master this before solo at Front Royal.
- Private: PTS III-A.
- 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.
The student must be able to perform:
- preflight radio check
- switch frequencies in both types of radios in SSC gliders (use of either the swap button or channel knob)
- understand the importance of checking the AWOS/ASOS before each takeoff
- understand the importance of checking the AWOS/ASOS after any long flight
- 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.
- §91.125 ATC Light signals. (See note above)
- Aeronautical Information Manual
- AIM 4-2-1 Radio Procedures, General.
- AIM 4-2-2 Radio Technique.
- AIM 4-2-3 Contact Procedures.
- AIM 4-2-4 Aircraft Call Signs
- AIM 4-2-7 Phonetic Alphabet
(Please don't waste your time learning the Morse code equivalents)
- AIM 4-2-8 Figures
- AIM 4-2-9 Altitudes and Flight Levels
- AIM 4-2-10 Directions
Some Sample radio calls might be:
- Listen to AWOS/ASOS before takeoff:
- Switch to 121.85 at FRR
- Set and check altimeter
- Note winds, compare with windsock and/or tetrahedron
- Switch back to CTAF frequency
- Radio check with towplane (confirm acknowledged):
- "Pawnee four-bravo-yankee, glider one-kilo-sierra, three thousand over the rocks."
- Staging for takeoff:
- "Front Royal traffic, glider one-kilo-sierra, staging for take-off two-eight, three minutes on the runway, Front Royal."
- Initial Entry ("on the 45") Leg:
- "Front Royal traffic, glider one-kilo-sierra, forty-five for runway two-eight, right traffic, Front Royal."
- "Front Royal traffic, glider one-kilo-sierra, right downwind two-eight, Front Royal"
- "Front Royal traffic, glider one-kilo-sierra, right downwind two-eight, landing on the grass, Front Royal"
- Base Leg:
- "Front Royal traffic, glider one-kilo-sierra, right base two-eight, Front Royal"
- "Front Royal traffic, glider one-kilo-sierra, right base two-eight, landing on the grass, Front Royal"
- "Front Royal traffic, glider one-kilo-sierra, final two-eight, Front Royal"
- "Front Royal traffic, glider one-kilo-sierra, final two-eight, landing on the grass, Front Royal"
- AOPA's "Say It Right " Mastering Radio Communication. Available for free with registration.
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Previous Lesson: 4a -- Collision, Windshear & Wake Turbulence Avoidance
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