- Proper Grammar, Improper Places
"N132MM, traffic at your two o'clock..."
"USC395, contact Mobile Approach on 118.5."
"RN645, radar vectors for the TACAN 14 approach, North Whiting."
"EGF888, the airport will be at your 12 o'clock, one two miles. Report it in sight."
Articles, possessive adjectives, and prepositions work beautifully when you're talking to people casually in person or on the phone. I can't imagine calling up my wife and telling her, "Sweetie, me, dinner, chicken." Or calling up a friend saying, "Dude, me, hang out." Yeah, that would garner me some odd replies.
But on a radio frequency, they just clutter up precious space and sound unprofessional.
- The Murder of Roger (Ackroyd)
Deep down in my soul, I must believe that every pilot out there is named Roger. Why? Because I seem to call them that regardless of what they're doing, what they are, or what they want.
There are only a few times when it's appropriate, usually when you really have nothing else to add. For example, lets say Citrus 453 checks in eight miles outside of my airspace with, "Pensacola Approach, Citrus 453 at 11,000 with Tango." He is outside of my airspace, so I can't descend or turn him. He also has the latest ATIS code, so he knows what runway and approach to expect. I literally can't do a thing with him. In that case, I can reply with, "Citrus 453, Pensacola Approach, roger."
However, I have a habit of injecting a "roger" into "working" transmissions where it simply doesn't belong. And it makes me sound like the n00b that I am.
"Citrus 453, Pensacola Approach, roger, descend and maintain 6000, radar vectors VOR runway 8 approach."
"BB645, Pensacola Approach, roger, squawk 0123 and ident."
"VV7E123, roger, I have your request."
So, I'm trying to flush poor Roger from the majority of my working transmissions. He has no place there, so he needs to be offed.
BTW, if you haven't read the Agatha Christie novel whose title I punned, it's a good one. Definitely one of her most controversial works. Do NOT read the Wikipedia article on it, for it spoils the ending.
- Radar Contact... Again
An aircraft has been cleared for a practice approach. He is handed off to the tower and switched to their frequency. Once the approach is completed, the tower hands him back to me and he is switched back to my frequency. He went through two radar handoffs and remained within radar coverage the entire time.
So why, when he comes up on my frequency for his next approach, do I insist on saying, "VV7E123, Pensacola Departure, radar contact, fly heading 040, radar vectors ILS 17 approach."
Radar contact was never lost. He was never unidentified. He didn't disappear mysteriously. So why the heck do I insist on re-identifying aircraft that are positively identified?
A lot of these phraseology hiccups occur when it's slow - and therefore, when I'm more complacent and relaxed. However, slow periods are the times I should be perfecting my phraseology. When the pedal hits the metal, I'll be doing everything I did during the slow times - just at higher speed and in higher quantity. Every second I waste with unnecessary words will steal time needed for other ATC functions. Using non-standard phraseology will also undoubtedly increase the occurrence of that wonderful, frustrating phrase: "Say again?"