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Mind Your Manners

Mind Your Manners

I’ve been horrified lately by an ever increasing drought in aviation manners and etiquette. It seems we’ve all forgotten the lessons our mothers taught us about minding our tongues and, instead, taken to the flyers’ form of road-rage or, shall we say, air rage!

The trustworthy radio has somehow gone from an essential communication tool to the equivalent of beeping your horn in peak hour traffic. We’re too quick to jump on and muscle our way into the circuit, cut off some poor unsuspecting student or hassle air traffic control about their instructions. It’s always happened to an extent but it is getting worse.

Where people cross the line is when there is no safety issue but they insist on just having their way. I once sat next to an instructor as they (who shall remain nameless) proceeded to cut an aircraft off who was established on final, just because he thought their downwind leg was too long. It scared the Jabiru out of me for a start. It also served no purpose but to prove a point to an unsuspecting pilot, most likely a student.

Whatever happened to some helpful advice back at the flying club, rather than being unceremoniously dumped out of the circuit and forced to go around? Not to mention how dangerous this was. An old saying goes if you are right, and dead, you are still dead.  Stubbornly barrelling toward a vacating aircraft on finals will ultimately kill you…and them. Going around may be a bit of a pain, but that person has as much of a right to the runway as you do.

If we keep being rude to each other no one will enjoy flying.  Firing off on your transmit button clogs up the airways and, quite frankly, makes you look like a bit of a nutter. The most effective way to communicate – study your radio operator’s handbook. Keep it simple, appropriate and clear and, if you must absolutely must deviate from standard radio procedure, do it by throwing in the odd thanks mate, or good day.

Perhaps our mothers did handle matters pertaining to manners well? If you are rude, you are grounded.  No AVGAS money, no flying, just some time to sit in your hangar and think about what you have done.

All said and done, under no circumstance should you stay off the transmitter and let an accident transpire. That’s not being rude, that’s being helpful. You don’t want a catastrophe on your conscience for lack of a simple radio call.

I know there is a lot of bad blood out there about the mingling of RA and GA aircraft, but it’s time to get over it! We all share the same airspace, like it or not, and it’s more important that we encourage each other and keep the industry alive than have it see its death at the hands of some squabbling idiots.

It’s a new year, so make a resolution to let someone taxi ahead of you. Make sure you bring your hired aircraft back on time; clean someone’s Perspex for them and remember to make our radio calls in a timely and appropriate manner. Most of all enjoy yourself. And remember: if you are right, and rude, you are still rude.

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