Flying on an IFR clearance demands meticulous technique and crisp communications. No instrument pilot wants to be a disruptive presence in the system, but it’s equally important not to accept a clearance that exceeds your capabilities or those of your aircraft.
Sometimes the way to keep a flight proceeding in an orderly fashion means informing air traffic control that you can’t accept a clearance, or that you would like another view of the weather up ahead, perhaps before requesting a deviation. Perhaps you have already pondered just how you would handle such communications with ATC—both to get the message across clearly, and to avoid tying up precious time on the frequency.
On May 10, Nashua, New Hampshire-based PilotWorkshops announced the release of IFR Communications, a companion manual to the recently released VFR Communications manual, and the latest in the PilotWorkshops Pilot-Friendly Manual series.
“Many instrument pilots feel intimidated talking on the radio, especially with complex or lesser-used instrument procedures," said PilotWorkshops founder Mark Robidoux. "It happens to both newly minted instrument pilots, and veterans who don't fly as much as they’d like. Our IFR Communications manual combines print and video in a unique format that makes learning, or refreshing, radio skills easier.”
Organized by piloting task, the printed manual explains what to say, when to say it, and where it should be said. Illustrations are shown on the relevant IFR charts and airport diagrams, and text includes helpful tips and sidebars to further develop each concept. Videos accompanying each lesson are offered online to demonstrate proper communications between the pilot, ATC, and other aircraft.
PilotWorkshops said the new release, which is priced at $49 for the manual and videos, adopts the “proven format” of the VFR Communications manual.
“These manuals are almost the opposite of traditional books on communication," said Jeff Van West, PilotWorkshops creative director. "We start with a specific exchange, such as getting a clearance, or asking for a climb to VFR-on-Top, so pilots see the procedure step-by-step. Then we expand on that to show variations and offer expert insights for 'speaking IFR' in the real world."
The manual is “ideal for the IFR student, rusty pilot, or any aviator who needs to brush up” on IFR communications skills, PilotWorkshops said, adding that the product "includes the most common, useful, and critical situations a pilot might encounter in instrument flying."
Details and samples from IFR Communications are available on the PilotWorkshops website.