Pretty much everyone sounds cool when talking to ATC, especially when your non-pilot buddies are in the plane, but sometimes you just want to sound way cooler – like that guy who was totally nailing it the other day and we’re all pretty sure hooked up with that controller.
We feel strongly that EVERYONE should be getting it on with the controllers, so here are some tips to up your game!
Fake an accent! No one, and I mean no one, sounds cooler on frequency than people with exotic accents.
A fine, panty-dropping British accent will make you sound like the smartest pilot in the sky, while a firm, muscle-flexing German accent will ensure you aren’t just cleared for takeoff, you are cleared for getting off… with that controller. It’s probably best to stay away from a Mexican accent, though, unless you want ATC to think you are lost or just flying over the border to “make a drop” somewhere.
Speak fast. NO… FASTER! Not only will this make you sound way cooler, but it will also make you sound more confident, which is super hot. No one’s going to admit it, but we all know it’s a competition up there and you don’t want to be outdone by some punk kid speaking a mile a minute.
COOL PILOT, transmission <5 seconds: Cessna3359 Charlie 5 miles West Landing With Whiskey
NOT COOL PILOT, transmission >5 minutes: Cesssssssna Tree-Tree-Fife-9er Chaaaaaarlie, uhhhhh, I will be uhhhhh, landing uhhhh, full stop uhhhh…
You get the idea. Sure, technically the second pilot is correct in his/her pronunciation of the numbers, but, seriously, could they sound any more lame?! Don’t do that. Let one “uhh” or “fife” slip and you just as well consider that controller’s bedroom – CLOSED.
Never, and we mean NEVER declare an emergency or admit that you don’t know where you are. Ok, so your Foreflight died, you aren’t familiar with the landmarks, what all those weird instruments do or how to read the sectional, and now you desperately need vectoring to get home. We get it. It happens to us almost daily. But the second you announce you are lost or start crying MAYDAY like a little baby is the second you lose all ATC cred. If you really need help and you don’t want to lose cool points, just give a false tail number and fake a Mexican accent until you get back on the ground.
Throw out the old phonetic alphabet and start using the new one! In case you have been living under a rock the last month, words like “Juliet” have been replaced by “Jalapeno” and “Tango” with “Tsumami.” Remember, you aren’t Inbound with Papa, you are Inbound with Pterodactyl. You don’t want that bedroom-voiced controller to think you sound ridiculous, do you?
Do you really want to keep being plain ol’ “Cessna 172”? No, you sexy beast, you want to be Cessna 172 HEAVY. Just say it, you know you’ve always wanted to! Don’t those “heavy” guys sound way cooler than the rest of us up there? Yes, yes, they do. And the only number ATC ever asks them to write down – their own person cell phone number.
So, that’s it, boys and girls. If you want to sound cool and get lucky with the controllers, you now know the path forward. Go get ’em, tiger!
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