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F. N560 Radio Procedures

F.1 Introduction

Basically, when communicating with air traffic keep it short and sweet. Always remember that the other guy at the end of the line is human and not a god. We should however aspire to maintain good radio discipline as it helps our reputation as responsible pilots. How’s that achieved? Some helpful hints:

1.     Engage brain before opening mouth.

2.     Initial contact with Scottish Control on, for example, 127.275;

Sant: “Scottish Control, Glider SC” (Sierra Charlie) (Refer phonetic alphabet)

(Note: if in a two-seat glider say “Scottish Control 2 seat Glider T3”. After the initial call you can omit “2 seat” from the callsign)

Gliders don’t need to use the G-XXXX aircraft registration call sign, the comp number or trigraph is ok.

3.     They will reply with;

ATC: “Glider SC, Scottish (Control), pass your message”

4.     Use the mnemonic CAPACER as the guide for the “message”;

C/A Callsign/Aircraft Glider SC…
P Position: is 15 nautical miles North West of ERSON… better to use what they know, e.g. FOYLE, ERSON, GUSSI or INBAS reporting points
A Altitude: Currently Flight Level 140 … (reminds them you are a glider)
C Conditions: VMC… can be left out but it makes ATC aware of your actual conditions
E/R Estimates/Requests: For Information Glider SC intends to cross November 560 West to East Not above FL160 close to ERSON. No service required

ATC’s likely response (in most cases);

ATC: “Glider SC, that’s approved. Call entering and leaving November 560 not above FL160 and maintain VMC.

Note: READ BACK; Always read back a clearance exactly as it is given.  In this case (whilst not exactly an ATC clearance) the reply is:

Sant: “Scottish, Will call entering and leaving November 560 not above FL160 and maintain VMC, glider SC.”

Once clear of the appropriate airspace and no longer needing to talk to ATC:

Sant: “Scottish, Glider SC is clear of November 560 East of ERSON, returning to gliding frequencies”

ATC: “Glider SC, roger, have a good flight.”

When talking to ATC don’t gabble. Make clear and concise statements. The rigid language of CAP 413 is not always followed – it can be quite relaxed. To start with write down on a card CAPACER and run a few scenarios through your head. Lastly and most importantly the thing is to relax. It’s just another guy/gal on the end of the line and they know a lot less about flying and your needs as a glider than you do.

Here’s an attempt at a full example. SC is heading SW from Ballinluig to turn Lochgoilhead. At about Kenmore he changes from 130.105 to 127.275 and after a pause to avoid interrupting any ongoing conversation, calls:-

Sant: “Scottish Control, Glider SC”

ATC: “Glider SC, pass your message”

Sant: “Scottish, for information, Glider SC is approximately 10 miles South of INBAS currently at Flight Level 120 and intending to track SW across N560 not above FL160. No service required.”

ATC: “Glider SC that’s approved. Report entering and leaving N560, not above FL160 and maintain VMC

Sant: “Report entering and leaving N560, not above FL160 and maintain VMC, glider SC”

A few minutes later…

Sant: “Scottish, Glider SC entering November 560, currently climbing through Flight Level 115.”

ATC: “Roger, Glider SC.”

A few minutes later and maybe;

ATC: “Glider SC, Scottish”

Sant: “Go ahead, Glider SC”

ATC: “We have an air ambulance in your area tracking S at Flight Level 130, report your Flight Level (ATC usually prefers FL’s above 6000’, otherwise altitude)

Sant: “Scottish, SC is currently at Flight Level 90 – if it helps, I can stay below Flight Level 120 unless I call you.”

ATC: “Glider SC that is helpful, not above Flight Level 120 unless approved – traffic should be clear in about 10 minutes”

Five minutes later…

Sant:Scottish, Glider SC is now clear of November 560 West of ERSON and intends to return to gliding frequencies.”

ATC: “Glider SC, roger, traffic now clear behind you, have a nice day.”

Sant: “Scottish, roger, I will call again later on the return trip.”

So not exactly proper RT – but in our experience pretty typical.

Lastly and again to repeat, as a way of giving your position in relation to a reporting point one can use Go To (or the non Oudie equivalent) which will give a bearing and distance to a reporting point. You must give the bearing from the reporting point i.e. add or subtract 180° to the GO TO bearing.

If you want to put the reporting points in your nav kit, going Northbound:

FOYNE 560834N 0042256W
ERSON 562748N 0041824W
INBAS 564200N 0041459W
GUSSI 571247N 0040727W

So, there we are, good luck and enjoy your soaring.

Sant Cervantes

F.2 Notes

  • Sometimes if they are busy, they may ask for a time for airspace penetration.
  • What does “no service required” mean? Exactly what it says; ATC will not have to (though they will likely try – it’s ingrained) give you any service, e.g. basic service, traffic service, etc. and that way they will not bug you unless they have to.
  • Remember that distances, flight levels, bearings, and times are read as separate digits e.g. N560 is spoken as “November five six zero”, FL120 is “Flight level one two zero”.
  • When giving a distance and bearing it’s from a waypoint, not to the waypoint. It’s possibly easier to say for example, North West of GUSSI (for example). Also, it’s best to work in nautical miles.
  • The reason for telling ATC the maximum level you expect to cross the airway is that ATC must sterilize a defined airspace box to protect other IFR or VFR traffic. Giving ATC a maximum FL makes it easier for them.

E. Letters of Agreement | Contents | G. Reporting Defects in Club Gliders

airfieldmanual/f._n560_radio_procedures.txt · Last modified: 2021/02/14 19:31 by bruced