Monday, 18 November 2013

Could there be a worse combination?

Another fairly intense briefing session today covering the final aspects of the impending cross country trip, radio procedures and filling in the flight plan. More about the latter in another post. Let’s focus on the radio stuff.

There’s a lot to focus on. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that this route has been carefully designed by sadistic instructors to cause maximum workload to their students. The radio situation alone has been picked to cover pretty much every scenario or communications type you can come across. It terms of airports you deal with one controlled, towered airport with full ATC, one in a mandatory frequency zone where you talk to a person but they are not a “controller” per se and are located many many miles away, probably dealing with multiple airports and the final one with a UNICOM set up, where you basically chat amongst yourselves and figure it all out.
Between the airports I’m dealing with controlled airspace, the practice area frequency, London radio on various frequencies and other delights.

Bob has little scripts available for me to look at and adapt as needed. I plan to write out a script card for each radio call and then just discard them as I go. I told Bob as much, he nodded approvingly.
“I really hate the radio stuff, “I confessed

Bob laughed like I was making the world’s biggest joke.
“No, honestly. It causes me a high level of anxiety.”

Bob cocked his head at me, the embodiment of disbelief “YOU, of all my students, do NOT have a problem with radio work!”
I think that counts as a compliment!

The truth is though that radio work comes into the same category as talking on the phone. I’m fine if I know exactly how the call is going to pan out. If I have my little script and they stick to theirs. Even now, I still have to draw a deep breath before making my initial call to Toronto ground, each and every flight because I hate being the one initiating. Same on the phone , you can call me but I really hate calling other people. At work my phone goes straight to voicemail. I'll call you back almost instantly but I want to know what you want first.
So with all these plethora of radio calls for me to get stressed over, how could we possibly make it worse? Yeah we could make one of them I have to deal with a DRCO – that’s a dial up remote communications outlet. Basically it’s a radio station that you click your mike 4 times and it phones them up. Yay radios and phones how could this possibly go wrong? Yuck!

This is  going to be messy, I can tell.

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