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IRL: Let's talk about talking!

This subject is always in two parts, the theory and the practical and to qualify as a pilot in the real world a student must complete and pass both.

the disclaimer: caa and faa comms are without question different and as such please revert to the examinations within the authority of which you reside.

Are you ready, because this is the most reported aspect of a student pilots training that they struggle or are fearful with.

Pressing the PTT and speaking to another human in a manner that makes you sound competent can be daunting for any person but honestly it isn’t.

Good knowledge and studying will give the confidence so that you can press that button be understandable and give and receive the information that you require to fly safe.

Now the first communication you will have is with a ground controller/ tower controller.

In the U.K. you’re required to book out before you even get to the aircraft. This is your first communication with tower and is usually undertaken on a phone but can be on a radio.

1 - The reason for call

Good morning, Stuart here over at ** looking to book out VFR

2 - the controller will then ask a series of details along the lines of:

Departure Time

Departure direction

Number of person on board

Estimated length of flight

Now we have you in the aircraft and the walk round is complete. After the internal checks and if the airport requires it you will put a call to ground/ tower after getting the airport ATIS and ask for permission to start your engines.

“Gloucester tower, GOFTI on the main apron request engine start with information Kilo”.

GOFTI engine start approved information kilo current QNH 1020.

“Engine start approved Qnh 1020 GOFTI”.

Once this is established and the engine is started we are then to call for departure clearance.

“Gloucester tower, GOFTI request VFR departure clearance to the west with information Kilo”.

GOFTI cleared VFR departure to west report bends in the river, runway 25. Not above 1800ft squawk 3625 Information Kilo is current. QNH 1020 call when ready for taxi.

At this point we simply repeat this but instead of saying the call for taxi part we can say “Wilco GOFTI”.

3 - Taxi

Now we have completed the rest of the checklists the aircraft has been set ready, such as the squawk code and radios have been set we can call for taxi.

“Gloucester Tower, GOFTI ready for taxi”.

GOFTI Taxi runway 25. Alpha hold A1.

“Taxi RWY 25, Alpha hold A1 GOFTI”

4 - Learnings

After a quick watch back of my own recordings, don’t do the following like I did lol

Say…“ready for takeoff” it’s ready for departure!!

“Report the wrong runway ” 27 for Guernsey not 26.

Although checks weren’t being conducted as a primary always conduct your checks and stay ahead of the flight.

When calling up





If you are doing a free call to a new controller ( usually pre informed of this when a controller doesn’t pass on your flight details )



Aircraft type


Route from and too

Position and inbound times

Altimeter setting

Souls on board if requested

5 - Finally

Comms exam says that but in the U.K. it differs to the region for example in London you rarely say request and then wait as there’s a lot of traffic awaiting to get on.

My instructor has taught that if the nets busy then send the message and I questioned this as just sat the exam with him. If the nets a little quiet send a on guard as you both described.. in the exam though you are both absolutely correct.. a call up and alert before the message should be conducted.

Looking at my recording though I had a message from the tower so he was expecting my call.

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