Helicopter operators stationed at airports are required to maintain active communication with air traffic control (ATC) and fellow operators. It is the responsibility of helicopter pilots to be extremely proactive in communicating their plans.

Extra measures must be taken when dealing with airports that have intricate layouts. To illustrate, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has identified safety hotspots, typically located on runways, where airline pilots are advised to exercise additional caution. Helicopter pilots should be knowledgeable about these hotspots as well as other signs of potential danger. Being aware is crucial.

The ATC team works diligently to facilitate the departure and landing of helicopters at airports whenever feasible. This necessitates that helicopter pilots are cognisant of the airport surroundings.

There are a number of ways that helicopter pilots communicate with ATC. Here are some of them.

VHF Radios

VHF radio calls are the most prevalent mode of communication in today’s helicopters and are utilised for approximately 95% of communications with ATC.

Essentially, the transmitting station sends a signal in a straight line that is received by the receiving station. VHF comms provide lucid voice communication. Nevertheless, the radio signals are restricted by the curvature of the earth and objects such as mountains and hills that they may encounter.

The reach of a VHF signal is dependent on the height of the transmitting station and the height of the receiving station. If both stations are on the ground, the distance will be relatively limited. Conversely, if both stations are airborne the signal’s range is much greater. When communicating between a ground-based station such as ATC and a helicopter, the distance falls somewhere in between.

HF Radios

Although high frequency (HF) radio signals are not as potent as VHF signals, they are capable of covering much greater distances, just like a Canada casino online can reach people on the other side of the world. How is this possible?

At the outer limits of the earth’s atmosphere, between 37 and 630 miles in altitude, lies the ionosphere. In this region, a layer of electrons, electrically charged atoms, and molecules are ionised by energy from the sun. HF radio waves ricochet off the ionosphere and back down to earth, allowing them to travel vast distances and surmount even the highest mountains.

What Is Correct Radio Technique?

Before transmitting, it is important to listen first. Often, you can obtain the information you need by monitoring the frequency or accessing the Automated Terminal Information Service (ATIS). If you hear someone else speaking, avoid transmitting as it will only lead to confusion and potentially jam their receivers. Take a moment to listen and ensure that the frequency is clear after changing channels.

It is advisable to plan what you would like to say before keying your transmitter. For lengthy transmissions, such as a flight plan or IFR position report, consider writing down the information beforehand. Hold the microphone close to your lips and allow a brief pause after pressing the transmit button to ensure that your first word is broadcast clearly. Speak normally and conversationally.

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