Frequency etiquette

I don’t know how many times I tune into London Control and hear people stepping on people on the frequency. Quite frankly it is happening too many times now and I am starting to get really fed with it. Its not rocket science! Its pretty simple so let me show you the correct Frequency etiquette.

Listen to the Frequency. If you are just joining a frequency, wait 10 seconds to ensure nobody is speaking on the frequency. If somebody is speaking you wait. Expect a pilot to read back instructions if a controller has instructed that pilot. Then when that exchange is complete and there is a sufficient gap then pass your message.

When people step on each other all it does is annoy other pilots like myself and it also infuriates the controller who will in the end get soo fed up he will disconnect which spoils the whole experience.

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I’ve heard ATCO loosing it over step ons. It is my opinion that it is not deliberate. I have done it and been told off. It happens in real life. How can any one pilot know when another station is going to press the PTT.
I agree that the RATEL is somewhat lacking, but it is not the main cause in my opinion.


IRL it happens all the time in busy sectors, especially now in summer. Some sectors will be at capacity and it just happens. Some controllers will then just call pilots up and issue instructions without them having checked in yet.

I would add: don’t take ages to actually read back an instruction. I can’t count how often I stepped on a pilots readback by repeating the instruction or by issuing another instruction to someone else after they hadn’t started responding for like 6 or 7 seconds.
And even if the frequency appears calm to you, try to be as quick as possible with your readback. There may be another time-critical instruction that ATC has to give in more or less the same moment, or maybe you don’t actually realize how busy ATC is because there is a lot of coordination happening in the background.

Especially with weather having it’s play time… had many of those occasions today

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I think it’s also lack of knowledge what is expected of the pilot if he/she can not make contact with ATC.
Many pilots on Vatsim are not able to set up a holding pattern at their last cleared fix.
They freak out if they have to stay at 6000ft for more than 10 seconds on departure or they freak out if the TOD is approaching. What to do What to do??? :slight_smile:
They can relax, the controller will contact them eventually.

It is a common ‘issue’ in Australia where a ATC is controlling a number of sectors. The problem occurs when ATC converses with someone flying in Brisbane and is also controlling Melbourne. If l am in Melbourne airspace l hear the controller loud and clear, however l cannot hear the pilot operating in the Brisbane area.