Working every day in the airline environment you get a fair amount of time talking on the radio to Air Traffic Control (ATC). One thing I have noticed over the years are what I call radio hogs, these are aviators who have not learned better aviation radio communications. These are guys and gals that are just a little bit too much into talking on the radio. That means they really dig the way their voice sounds on the radio, or they just like to talk. There are some sure fire clues that make it a dead giveaway. We will look at them below in a moment, but lets first figure out why this happens.
Do you have tone?
Out there somewhere is the silver tongued airline pilot that has a voice that is God’s gift for radio. His voice is deep and he has great diction. He is the master of clarity, his voice beckons for you to get to know him. We have all heard him at some point in our careers. He may not even be alive today but chances are good you have heard him too. Probably the best comparison would be the man from the Dos Equis commercials. You know him, he is the worlds most interesting man. Kids love him, old people love him and he is always surrounded by beautiful women. The voice is his secret, we all want that gift. Unfortuntley in aviation its not any different. All pilots want to be that smooth talking respectable guy as well. The big problem is that most people who want to sound that smooth and cool, are not that smooth and cool. No one has had the guts to tell them that. Here are five ways to tell if your a radio hog.
1. They like to hear themselves talk. This radio hog thinks he is charming but really is more of a dork. He wastes a lot of time saying unnecessary things and hogs up the radio with unneccesary chatter. If this is you, please stop. (less is more!)
2. They try to have the cool airline pilot voice….but they are not that cool. This guy just does not have the genes to be smooth. He generally sounds somewhat nasally on the radio. If this is you, embrace the fact that your not captain smooth. (by the way, this pretty much summarizes the way I sound, so I keep it short and sweet)
3. Calls the center with just their call sign. These pilots add extra transmissions by not stating what they want on their initial call. We call this the open ended radio request. They call with just their call sign and then wait for ATC to call them back. They are classic radio hogs and make everyone wait for their request. If this is you, get a flipping clue. Its annoying and adds up over time.
4. Answers the “disregard” call. When ATC begins a command then changes their mind and says “disregard”‘ this pilots answers with “disregarding” If this is you, know that there are many people making fun of your inability to ignore something that someone tells you to ignore.
5. Asks ATC on every sector how the rides are. Really? If you just listen for a few minutes all the other radio hogs will tell you how the rides are. He who listens is wiser than the fool who speaks.
6. The “I have my mic too far from my mouth guy” This forces everyone to turn the radio up which in turn makes everyone that knows how to wear their headset being blasted by every radio transmission. You are not really a hog, your just annoying. This goes double for Air traffic controllers who do this, please stop.
Bonus, radio hogs are often the same pilots that wear their sunglasses when they come out of the cockpit for a bathroom break.
Let’s be careful out there and use your indoor voice.
If you are just learning to fly and want to learn more about radio communications, see this great article by AOPA