Communication in Professional Aviation



The importance of communication in Professional Aviation is not well known to the general public. I was granted the opportunity to interview a stage check flight instructor John Champagne, who won the award of Flight Instructor of The Year at Louisiana Tech. A stage check flight instructor job duties entail the assessing and evaluating of other instructor’s students so that they meet a required level of performance as well as teaching students how to fly in a safe and professional manner. John became interested in airplanes as a child and has always had a passion for flying.  


Types of Aviation Communication 

There are many types of communication that Professional aviation deals with including the following: radio communication, written communication, and verbal communication between the crew in all phases of flight. As a flight instructor John teaches students how to properly speak and communicate with other pilots and ATC during all phases of flight from engine start up to engine shutdown. Before a flight John must sit with a student pilot and review the flight procedures as well as how to deal with any sort of emergency situation that might occur. In flight the importance of clear and concise radio communication cannot be stressed enough. Both the instructor and the student must maintain constant radio communication using the proper word usage and phraseology with each other as well as other pilots in the surrounding area. As a stage check instructor written communication is one of the most important aspects of professional aviation. After a flight a flight instructor must do the following which includes logging the flighthours, writing a detailed review of the flight itself that is followed by the student’s overall performance in the air. In between each flight ground knowledge must be reviewed as well. John must teach students the written portion of the FAA’s ground knowledge test using a variety of documents that cover much of the tested material.  


Communicating with students 

Like all instructors, John must maintain an open line of communication for all of his students so that scheduling can be set up between them as well as answer any questions that his students may have for him. An open line of communication is important between instructor and student in case of any need of scheduling conflict needs to be resolved or a lesson needs to be canceled due to weather.  


Dangers of Miscommunication  

There have been multiple tragic accidents throughout the history of aviation such as landing on the wrong runway, cutting aircraft off, as well using the wrong phraseology. As a result of these accidents many regulations and improvements in communication have been made to prevent further tragedies. All pilots like John are taught a standard format of communication as well as to read back all instructions given to them word for word to insure all information is accurate. For flight instructors, such as John it is important to teach his students the proper terminology and phrases pilots use so that they may fly in a safe professional manner.  


Developing Communication Skills 

One of the more difficult task for students is to learn how to communicate on the radios with other pilots and ATC. John notes that “At first most students have a fear of talking on the radio but through practice and training anyone can learn how to be effective and professional while communicating in the world of professional aviation”.   

Cody Broussard, guest blogger


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