Ray Tackett
(Top Gun)
07/27/09 10:32 AM
Re: Student Pilot - Landing Problems

Hi Roger,

As Anne pointed out ATC is a language all its own, with a small, specialized vocabulary and a very limited syntax. Everybody learns it as a foreign language, even though it's based upon English.

ILG is kind to student pilots. If you run into a controller in training, so much the better. You train each other. Just keep your eyes and ears open and don't let the controller fly your plane. "Unable" is a valid response to most anything if you need to say it, but it's nice if you can offer an alternative. Here's a real-world example:

ATC: Cessna 034, turn your base now, runway 33, clear to land.

Me: Unable to turn base. Traffic on final for 33. Extending downwind.

(There was a plane landing 33 at PNE, but not talking to anyone. The controller hadn't seen it. If I had turned base, i.e., let the controller fly my plane, I might not have been here to write this.)

You might ask your instructor about your accent. If it's strong enough to be a real problem, there are language schools and teachers which offer accent reduction courses. If your accent just says "I'm not from around here" but doesn't really get in the way, then it's the controller's problem. Just make a point of speaking clearly on the radio.


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