Communication: You Want to Do it Right


Carnal at the controls

Communication: You Want to Do it Right


Communication to aviation is as important as wings on an airplane. You will not be in the air very long without it, and that could mean the difference between life or death.

When pilots are flying, the control tower and themselves need to be communicating clearly at all times.  Trouble is near when there is a break in communication. When a flight instructor has a student, they must be able to communicate well with them because they depend on the instructor’s communication ability to accomplish the task right.

I had the chance to sit down and interview Keelan Carnal. He is a flight instructor here at Tech and also flies as a corporate pilot. Carnal will soon have enough hours and experience to start flying for the airlines.

When I asked him how important communication is in aviation, he said,“ You will not teach anybody anything without being able to properly communicate with them.” He even went on to say how he communicates with himself when he flies solo just to make sure he is not forgetting anything.

Another form of communication that can be overlooked is written communication. Just like earlier, you have to vary your communication strategy depending on what type of person you are talking to. Maybe this person cannot get the concept by the way it is being communicated to him or her, but if it is written or drawn out, it might spark something and get them on the right track.

As far as writing technical reports or documents, Carnal said he only has to do that when he has to write up some malfunction about the aircraft. However, you really have to be specific and technical in a way to get the mechanics to understand exactly what the problem is. “Altitude, time, power setting, weather conditions are all items that must be included in the report, along with what was happening to the aircraft,” he told me.

Throughout the interview, Carnal did stress on the importance of varying communication styles with different people when instructing. “Not all students learn the same way, so you are continuously changing your approach,” Carnal said. Instructors would not communicate the same way with a student that has zero flight hours and another student that has one thousand flight hours. I believe this is true, because I have been able to fly with different instructors and I remember how each one told me the same thing in a different way.

Listening is another key factor in being able to communicate well. Carnal stated, “You will not be able to communicate correctly if you do not listen, and if you don’t listen, you will not know what to communicate.”

Failing to communicate properly is something that pilots attempt to avoid. When that happens, everyone will not be on the same page. When every pilot does not understand what is going on, accidents start occurring.

“It is all about what type of person you are talking to that depends on what type of communication skill is needed,” Carnal said.   The key is finding out what important skill to use to get the message across. In the airplane, things happen quickly, so being able to know what to say and how to say it in time critical situations can make a huge difference.

Posted by Matthew Adams, guest blogger


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