Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Afraid to talk on the radio?

Of the many things in this world I don't understand, up near the top is this one: Why don't pilots like to use the radio?

My twin brother was the first one in the Collins family to get a pilot's certificate. Then he paid for my training. We've flown together only once. He stopped flying because he lives just outside the busy Boston airspace and he didn't like talking on the radio. Or so he says.

Today, I was reading a newspaper article in an Oregon newspaper about the idea of adding a control tower to the Aurora airport, the home airport of Van's Aircraft. They estimate that soon there will be over 280 airplanes at the airport making 97,000 take-off and landings at the airport by 2012 with 97,000 takeoff and landings (assuming they're combining the TOs with the landings, that's about 188 flights a year. That's a lot!)

But it was this passage that struck me:

He said that with a control tower, some of those based aircraft will leave because some pilots don’t like using radios. He said the mix of the aircraft at Aurora would change from piston and propeller airplanes, to more turbine powered aircraft.

How is it that people who aren't afraid to get into an airplane and launch into the sky, are afraid to key a button and talk to people?

One of the things I like to do after a flight, is go to, and listen to how I sounded when making radio calls. They keep an archive of radio traffic from particular airports. And for you homebuilders, it's also a good way to determine whether your radio and antenna are up to snuff.

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