Deciphering ATC calls. Understand crackly radio?

Hey everyone. I’ve had this question for awhile now, and I was quite confused (and to be honest a little afraid) about it. Whenever I’m listening to live LAX ATC or even flying with my instructor, people that either talk too fast or are in a loud environment (perhaps an open cockpit aircraft), it’s very hard to hear what other pilots are saying if they don’t annunciate very well.

So my question is-

  1. Why do pilots talk so quickly?
  2. It it normal for me to not exactly hear every word a pilot is saying?
  3. How can I compensate for this issue? Will I develop and ear for it over time?


1 Like

When I’m flying I try talk normal - Some Pilots just talk quickly on a freq. just how they are.

Yep… I sometimes don’t catch everything other pilots say.

Take your time and listen in, you’ll figure out what they say.

  1. It’s situational. At busy times at busy airspace you don’t want to occupy radio time. It’s honestly a courtesy to the current atc in that airspace sector. If he or she is busy and constantly giving instructions to ac back to back. Repeat the instructions he or she has given and move on. Some pilots try and assist that by talking fast and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and they may miss some key instructions. Personally I cut a lot of my words out and just repeat the important stuff.

  2. Depends on the pilot you are listening on.

  3. Like most things it’s exposure to aviation. The more you do it the more you will have an ear for it. At one point you will know exactly what the atc will want you to do before they even give you their instructions.


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