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777way
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Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:47 am

They constantly say Ah in between conversation, is it meant to be like part of communicating with ATC as a rule in the industry?
 
KPWMSpotter
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:20 am

It's sort of a learned habit, due to the limitations of the microphones used in aviation headsets.

Most microphones are inactive (squelched) unless activated by the voice of the person speaking. Technology isn't perfect, so often the first syllable is dropped (or worse) before the microphone activates.

A lot of pilots learn to compensate by starting their communications with throwaway words ("aaaand, Tower, 123AB ready for takeoff" or "Wellllll Folks, Welcome Aboard") and doing the same with "ahhs" or "umms" to keep the mic active between sentences or thoughts.

I haven't ever heard of this "technique" being taught to pilots, but hear it often enough and you tend to pick it up.
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TWA772LR
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:22 am

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 1):
Most microphones are inactive (squelched) unless activated by the voice of the person speaking.

Aren't aviation communication mics toggled on and off with a button that you hold to speak and release when youre done?
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KPWMSpotter
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:32 am

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 2):
Aren't aviation communication mics toggled on and off with a button that you hold to speak and release when youre done?

Yes and no; it depends on the aircraft type and the communication mode selected.

I don't have much experience in jet transports, but in most small aircraft the toggle switch simply isolates the microphone and activates the radio transmitter. The signal from the microphone still passes through the headset (which may or may not have a built-in squelch) and the intercom panel (which typically has a built in squelch), so pressing the button doesn't always mean you're actually transmitting sound.
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Whiteguy
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:31 pm

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 1):
It's sort of a learned habit, due to the limitations of the microphones used in aviation headsets.

Most microphones are inactive (squelched) unless activated by the voice of the person speaking. Technology isn't perfect, so often the first syllable is dropped (or worse) before the microphone activates.

A lot of pilots learn to compensate by starting their communications with throwaway words ("aaaand, Tower, 123AB ready for takeoff" or "Wellllll Folks, Welcome Aboard") and doing the same with "ahhs" or "umms" to keep the mic active between sentences or thoughts.

I haven't ever heard of this "technique" being taught to pilots, but hear it often enough and you tend to pick it up.


That's more the case for intercom systems in most aircraft. Anytime you want to transmit outside it's a toggle switch. Personally I think it's just a bad habit that people get into....
 
jetblueguy22
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:48 am

I do it because sometimes I have a thought that I want/need to convey to ATC but I need to process it into words. I know it sounds silly. But you don't want ATC to think you are finished with your transmission and then start their response prior to you unclicking the mic. It just ends up with them repeating their transmission.
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KaiGywer
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:35 pm

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 5):
I do it because sometimes I have a thought that I want/need to convey to ATC but I need to process it into words. I know it sounds silly. But you don't want ATC to think you are finished with your transmission and then start their response prior to you unclicking the mic. It just ends up with them repeating their transmission.

No just think it sounds cool "Annnndddd......Grand Forks tower,Siooouuuuxxxxx 69 is ready to go with Whiskey"

  
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SPREE34
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:23 pm

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 1):
It's sort of a learned habit, due to the limitations of the microphones used in aviation headsets.

Learned habit maybe, but I disagree with your mic theory. It's been going on since the days of inverter noise filled corbon hand mics. (call it 50 years for argument sake) I kind of liked the 400hz whine, ut all of the "ah" / "and ahh" got old when we were busy.

It's poor training and/or poor technique. I taught the student (in ATC and as a CFI) to think before keying, so as not waste the listeners time, or instill any doubt in the listener as to your competence or intentions. Airtime is a finite resource. Start wasting it around the Northeast Corridor, ORD, DFW, or SoCal and see what it gets you.

"Ah", "And ahhh", lowering your voice to Barry White Mode to say "heavy", or adding un-necessary zoomie verbiage may indicate you need a bigger wrist watch.
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PGNCS
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:47 am

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 7):
It's poor training and/or poor technique. I taught the student (in ATC and as a CFI) to think before keying, so as not waste the listeners time, or instill any doubt in the listener as to your competence or intentions.

Quite agree, Spree. I have been taught since I was a student pilot in the USAF to think first, key the mic second, and to avoid any unnecessary words, particularly on initial contact. I have now taught good radio discipline for a couple of decades and continue to do so, especially when doing check airman duties. It's one thing to get tongue tied with a complex clearance, it's something completely different to start every call with a monosyllable that means nothing.
 
xjramper
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:14 am

I have to say I found that I developed a bad habit when working my flows that it would be a sequence in my head.

It would be a flow of checklist items with "and" in between. More of a measure to make sure I paused and verified each item. So when I transferred over to the radio to talk the "and" started my communication but was a flow from the previous items. It wasn't elongated, it was just there as a place holder. It took forever to break that habit.
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deltaguy767
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:33 pm

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 7):
It's poor training and/or poor technique. I taught the student (in ATC and as a CFI) to think before keying, so as not waste the listeners time, or instill any doubt in the listener as to your competence or intentions. Airtime is a finite resource. Start wasting it around the Northeast Corridor, ORD, DFW, or SoCal and see what it gets you.

Agreed, as a regular GA user in NY TRACON world, those guys and gals do not tolerate dead or inefficient use of airtime. As it is they are tougher on 'Cessna,' 'Piper' etc. callsigns anyway so proficient and crisp ATC verbiage is a must and any bad habits should be cleared pretty quickly operating in busy airspace with any regularity.

I think in general it applies to folks using 'filler' words in presentations or general conversation. We all probably know people who are routine 'um' and 'err' users, same idea applies to pilots communicating to ATC.



Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 1):
"Wellllll Folks, Welcome Aboard")

When pilots give the 'welcome aboard' speech and the like, I think the gaps can sometimes be attributed to them conducting multiple flights a day to a myriad of cities etc. so I am sure the flight details can sometimes blend together hence the need for more 'filler' words and mental gaps.
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RE: Why Do Pilots Do This When Talking To ATC?

Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:30 pm

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