Monday, October 30, 2006

Just a quick message, because the newsletter is coming out tomorrow... You can sign up to receive it on the "news" page of

I just wanted to talk about some of my favorite phrases to use on the radio while flying.

If ATC calls, "Aircraft 123, you have traffic 2 o'clock, 10 miles, 1000 feet above you, an Airbus traveling right to left."

A pilot can answer, "Negative contact, but we've got 'em on the fishfinder. Oh, wait, tally ho."

Negative Contact: We do not have that aircraft in sight.

Fishfinder: The TCAS (Traffic Collision Advisory System). This is an instrument in more complex aircraft that uses transponder readouts (usually with a specific four digit code that ATC also identifies you with on their radar) to feed altitude and vertical speed information to other aircraft in the area. If the instrument determines there is a possibility of collision, a warning is broadcast in most cockpits, "Traffic, Traffic!" Obviously this instrument is handy in the clouds or when in the vicinity of aircraft that aren't talking to the same controller (if anyone at all).

Tally Ho: A foxhunting term, and later a term used by fighter pilots, this expression means the pilot has the traffic in sight. It's usually a sign that the pilot using it either is or was military.

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