What Would Steve Canyon Say?

When I was in pilot training in the early seventies, we all thought we were Steve Canyon, pilot and adventurer, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Canyon

All the new Lieutenants wanted to be the swaggering pilot who saves the bright and beautiful girl, while sounding so cool on the radio. Perhaps we take the swaggering a bit too far when we key the mike? Here’s a little self evaluation quiz for ‘ya:

1. Do you say, “With you” when switching to a new controller? This wastes airtime and most controllers don’t like it. I think there’s a 12 step program to help you break this habit.


2. Do you say, “Roger”? Responding with “Roger” doesn’t make you sound cool, any more than wearing an adult diaper makes me an astronaut. “Roger” is not a readback and it invariably results in an ATC correction. It wastes valuable frequency time.

3. Are you the guy who thinks he’s an airline Captain, and starts every transmission with “ah…” or “and…”? Forget about waterboarding. If we want results from interrogation, just make prisoners listen to this stuff on the radio.

4. Are you a TMI pilot (too much information)? At a non-towered airport, nobody needs to know that you’re taxiing from the ramp to taxiway Alpha. Ask yourself, “How will this next radio call affect other pilots?” If it won’t, zip it!

5. Do you use local landmarks for position reports? “Mayberry traffic, Mooney 32 Victor is over the red barn for downwind.” The transient pilots are thinking, “Huh?” Position reports should be based on distance and direction from the airport. The airport aliens will thank you.

6. Do you use IFR fixes at a non-towered airport? “Slim Pickins traffic, Mooney Acclaim 7 Kilo Whiskey is over PAYED on the RNAV approach.” Wonderful, you’re a handsome and or beautiful Instrument pilot. We get it. Base your reports on the runway and distance so the little people can understand you.

7. Do you modify the phonetic alphabet? SoCal approach, Mooney 6 Sugar Pop at 7,000.” Don’t make up cute stuff. What’s next, Xylophone for X-ray? Un-cool, Skippy!

8. Do you ask others what you should do when you get there?“Any traffic in the area please advise.” This is not a capital offense, but dang close. Just monitor CTAF on #2 and get an idea of what’s going on.

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