On Sunday I took to the skies in the Civil Air Patrols 172 N927CP. This was my first time in this aircraft and the first time in over 6 years of operating from KROC and class Charlie airspace.
Flying the 172 may seem like the main event, but for me the excitement…or as some might say…the anxiety…comes from being at a controlled airport, in controlled airspace and having to listen to what’s going on and doing my part. For pilots who fly into Class C and B Airspace, this posting is NOT for you…but it could be good if you have students.
LiveATC Got You Down?
At some point in your flying you have probably been told to listen to LiveATC at: http://www.liveatc.net/ – to become familiar with ATC communications. And that’s a great thing to do, but because of all the commercial air traffic mingling with private pilots, it doesn’t offer the continuity that you may be looking for in order to learn what to do. That was my experience and frankly it didn’t really make things easier or instill confidence. In fact it probably increased my anxiety because everyone sounded like a fast talking expert (because they are) and there is no separation of the frequencies. In particular, approach and tower frequencies. Frustrating!
So before I leaped into ATC communications cold turkey (and there is nothing wrong with that) I documented and asked questions of CFI’s, commercial pilots and even updated a few documents based on my real world experience (and my own ATC recordings) to create three PDF files of ATC Communication for Private Pilots.
Below are my three PDF files of ATC Communication for Private Pilots starting with setting up a VFR departure from KROC (Rochester,NY) and the VFR arrival back to the airport. So there is 100% continuity from a flight out of and BACK to KROC…which is a Class Charlie airspace airport.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan ahead and organize in your head, what you are going to do before you leave and before you come back and talk to approach for permission to land. These documents are not written in long English sentences, but allow you to fill in the blanks and act as a script, except for the KROC frequencies…after all…I did make this for me.
If you want the Excel spreadsheet I used, please let me know and I can email it to you!
ATC Communication for Private Pilots
If you want to hear a few of my recordings, you can download the .mp3 files shown below. Unfortunately I just don’t want to devote a lot of time downloading and editing mp3 files to find everything that I did, so this is just a taste. Again, pardon my amateurish radio work…at least I was brave (or fool) enough to post a few of mine!
Radio Call to Approach – Getting Back to KROC
Radio Call to Tower – Permission to land at KROC