Good protocol

Over the years, I’ve worked in several jobs where two way radios played a part. And in all of them there was a certain lip service paid to the concept of ‘radio protocol’. And people would start off obeying it, but then generally stop giving a shit. And then they’d realised that radios with earpieces are a wonderful tool for passing insults without being heard…

In the air, it’s slightly different. There’s a lot of information being passed about, between people from many different places. And English is often not the first language, so it’s important that messages are structured, uncluttered and to the point.

Golf November Romeo, Belfast Approach, QNH is one zero zero six, stay beneath two thousand feet, wind zero nine zero nine knots, be advised police helicopter in area around Ballykilner also below two thousand, report your turn over Saintfield is typical, and woe betide the man who can’t repeat it back verbatim to them. No, seriously, there can be nasty consequences involving the words ‘grounding’ for not listening carefully to ATC…

Which is why yesterday’s flight was considerably enlivened by a Norn Iron airline pilot coming on with the slightly unconventional greeting (in a very thick east Belfast accent) Belfast Approach, wat about ye, **** ***, getting a reply and responding with dead on.

If that had been an amateur pilot, he’d have been in shit. Seems I’ll have to fly for an airline before I get to mess about like that…

One thought on “Good protocol

  1. ahh, arsing about on radios, always a hoot, especiallyh if you have a police frequency and a humourless officer feels it neccessary to point out that “familiarise yourself” did not mean recite the parrot sketch to each other from a numbe rof random locations. Sudent days. the joy.

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