Radio Communications

Good radio communication is a key aspect for safe flying. To promote effective communication between all parties in aviation, standard practices and phraseology have been stablished. These standards are established in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 90-66C. A video summarizing key aspects is below, but you should review AIM Chapter 4 section 2 for Radio Communication on Phraseology. In addition, review AC 90-66C for radio procedures for operating at non-towered airports.

Assignment: Completing the following items will assist you in becoming proficient with radio communications and make better use of your flying time.

  • Practice transcript. Use the following transcript with a friend. Have the friend pretend to be ATC. This will allow you to practice your radio calls out loud. Becoming proficient on the ground will help when flying.
  • Practice the phonetic alphabet. With a friend have them say one letter and you say the next. You should be able to do this without looking at the sheet.
  • Pick a random airport and find the appropriate frequencies to include weather, CTAF, approach, departure, ground, tower, as appropriate for the airport. Find these on a sectional chart, chart supplement, or electronic flight bag as appropriate.
  • Listen to pilot communications at a nearby airport via a handheld radio, LiveATC or method.
  • For every aircraft you fly, practice the following:
    • Adjust volume (audio panel, intercom, and each installed radio)
    • Adjust squelch (audio or intercom and each radio installed)
    • Manually enter a frequency
    • Make a standby frequency active
    • Look up a frequency from the radio database (if installed)
    • Switch between radios (if multiple installed)
    • If system has audio panel or intercom, know how to isolate and activate all pilot and passenger positions, such as pilot only, crew only, or all.

Becoming confident on the radio and communicating in a professional manner is a good skill to have and will serve you well for your aviation career.

Before processing to the next lesson, take the following quiz on radio communications.