Aviation radio seminars

Safe and effective radio communication is complex, requires training and can only be bettered through practise, those involved in aviation are learning throughout Otago this month.

About 80 pilots and other aviation radio users attended an education seminar in Dunedin last night, organised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in conjunction with Airways New Zealand.

It was one of 31 "plane talking" radio seminars nationwide, which also included sessions in Wanaka (May 3), Queenstown (May 4) and Oamaru (May 16).

Discussion began with the basics of making radio calls to air traffic controllers, and included real mistakes recorded last year.

Royal New Zealand Air Force Squadron Leader Jim Rankin said radio users should be concise and provide only essential information to controllers.

"Anything else is verbal diarrhoea," he said.

Controllers were busy and radio channels were used by many, so it was critical pilots followed protocol and kept pace.

But if in doubt, radio users should not be afraid of asking for clarification or direction, he said.

Safety was paramount and past incidents highlighted the consequences of radio confusion.

Rose Wood, of the CAA, said those at the seminars participated in exercises which tested their knowledge and application of radio etiquette.

"They pair up and each has to describe a picture of air traffic, which the other has to draw. It points out how difficult it is to build a picture when all you have is audio and no visual," she said.

Those at the seminar were asked to provide feedback, and were provided manuals and guides on radio protocol as well as general aviation safety.


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