Radiotelephony Readback Compliance and its Relationship to Surface Movement Control Frequency Congestion


Communication within the air traffic system relies heavily on the verbal interaction between pilots and air traffic controllers (controllers) to ensure the safe and efficient operation of air traffic. The use of standard phraseology and radio telephony procedures, such as readbacks, minimises the opportunity for misinterpretation between pilot and controller.

Some sectors of the industry have raised concerns regarding the use of excess or non-standard phraseology in readbacks on the surface movement control (SMC) frequency, resulting in radio congestion. The purpose of this report was to explore the relationship between excess or nonstandard
words in readbacks and its effect on frequency congestion.

A review of the Sydney SMC frequency tapes concluded that most users complied with the readback requirements stipulated in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), with only the occasional radio transmission containing excess or non-standard verbiage. Overall, the tapes identified a high level of compliance with the AIP readback requirements; however, it was noted that the use of pleasantries was commonplace. While these did not appear to affect frequency congestion adversely, in times of high traffic density it seems inappropriate.

Type: Research and Analysis Report
Author(s): ATSB
Publication date: 28 June 2007
Last update 07 April 2014
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