30 – Radio Communications

Radio Communications, like emergencies, will be incorporated into every lesson. Essentially, radio communications are just conversations on the radio. Your skills will continue to increase over time as you get more exposed to different environments and as your instructor allows you to take more control on the radio further in your flight training.

Reference Material

Study Guide for the Restricted Operator Certificate with Aeronautical Qualification (ROC-A)

• Any handouts you may have


• Review the radio communication procedures for you airport.

• Review your flight plan to anticipate when to make certain calls and what kinds of responses you may receive

• Learn the phonetic alphabet by reading licence plates on cars.

• Listen to www.liveatc.net and try to understand what is going on. Try building a mental picture of what is going on based on these conversations.

Tips/Rules of Thumb/Theory

• The function of the squelch is to eliminate unwanted weak signals that cause background noise. To set the squelch, turn it up high until the static is heard then turn it down until it just disappears or is at an acceptably low level.

• Before transmitting, think about what you’re going to say and make sure you’re not stepping on anyone on the freq. Do not interrupt conversations unless you need to (ie. you need a landing clearance)

• Use standard words and phraseology as much as possible.

• In the event a radio failure in a controlled airport, use your telephone! Don’t have the tower’s phone number? Call FSS.

• Always read back transponder codes and altimeters (or QNHs.)

• When in doubt, see and be seen! Don’t rely on your radio to avoid other traffic.

• Need to find an examiner to do your ROC-A exam? Click here. Remember, the examiner is not legally allowed to charge you to take the exam. They may however charge for their time in marking the exam or any other administration fees associated with processing the application. You will need some form of ID to take the exam, preferably ID to prove citizenship however that is the examiner’s discretion. 

All of this information on pilot training and flight training in Canada is also available at www.myflighttraining.ca.