• Middle River Aviation

Do You Suffer from Push-To-Talk Phobia?

Updated: Mar 18, 2019

Do you get nervous or intimidated when talking on the radio to air traffic control? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Overcome this obstacle by reading the article, “Do You Suffer from Push-To-Talk Phobia? - Improve Your Aviation Communication with Virtual Reality,” in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of FAA Safety Briefing. Download your copy or read online at: 1.usa.gov/FAA_ASB. You can view a mobile-friendly version of this article at http://adobe.ly/2zpiFiX

#1: “What’s Our Vector, Victor?”

So, how do you learn the language of air traffic control? First, get to the root of understanding air traffic control. While what you’re telling air traffic control is something new every time, what they’re asking is always the same. They want to know who you are calling, who you are, where you are, and what you want. Most other radio calls are to read back your information to make sure its correct. If it’s wrong ATC will simply reiterate what they said.

The more and more you listen to ATC the faster you will cypher and understand. Like any other language immersing yourself in the environment will allow you to learn it exponentially faster. Simulations are a low cost and efficient way to build these communication skills.

#2: “We Have Clearance, Clarence”

Fortunately, recently developed technology allows you to become more familiar with procedures and practice your radio and communication skills in the comfort of your own home. Desktop games or software is readily accessible and highly affordable. Although it is not FAA approved for flight training, you cannot rebut the aeronautical experience it will give you.

#3: “Say again?”

A professional pilot always strives to be clear, concise, and correct when speaking on the radios. There is always someone waiting to use the frequency after you. If you’re not careful, especially in busy scenarios, this practice can easily cause words to run together and turn into gibberish. Even the most experienced pilots are affected by radio blunders from time to time. Whether it’s your word vomit or ATC’s never be afraid to utter the two simple words “Say again.”

There’s no shame in telling ATC to repeat what they said. The wrong information can be more dangerous than no information. Always keep in mind ATC’s job is to keep everyone safe and separated. In this safety conscious mindset everyone would much rather hear you request a repeat radio call than get the wrong information.

#4: “Tower, Request Taxi”

When you first become a student pilot, you learn the basics such as the phonetic alphabet and will familiarize yourself with the pilot controller glossary, but you won’t be fluent in the ATC language until you practice, practice, practice! For some, especially those based at uncontrolled fields that may mean to find a towered one, or even scheduling a visit inside a tower to see the man behind the curtain. In the past, this has been one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with air traffic control. Today we have a much more convenient option.

That’s where these radio communication simulations make all the difference. From your own home you can practice your radio coms for real life scenarios for a very low cost.

VR platforms for practice


a. Add- on for simulator

b. For pilots or ATC

c. First person view flying

d. Flight lessons within

e. Tutorials

f. Different types of aircraft

2. Redbird The Jay

a. Plug & play

b. Multiple aircraft

c. Scenario based from simple challenges to complex flights with multiple outcomes.

d. One button update for latest scenarios

e. Prepar3D by Microsoft FSX for professional level simulation

3. PilotEdge

a. Add-on for simulator

b. Free trial

c. For pilots or ATC

d. First person view flying

e. Sophisticated voice system mirroring real world radio ops.

Does reading this article summary make you feel much better about understanding VR? Or does it provide further confidence in yourself to what to sign up to take flight lessons? Don't wait, call our veteran instructors today to sign up! Middle River Aviation is the top choice in aviation schools in Baltimore. Come see why today!