In order to use RadioTelephony and communicate with Air Traffic Service Units you must first pass an exam. This comprises of 2 parts - a theory exam and a practical exam.
The theory exam is multiple choice. You must answer 15 questions on RT and has a pass mark of 75%.
All answers are contained in CAP314 RadioTelephony manual which is available from the CAA website.
I also found the Pooleys exam questions book really helpful.
See the links section to the left.
The practical exam is a lot more demanding. This will be a simulation of a flight where you must communicate with the examiner who is playing the part of the controllers. You must be able to demonstrate that you can use the radio correctly, accurately and clearly.
You will either be sat in front of a laptop or a you will have a headset connected to the examiner. In either case you will have either dials or laptop buttons to allow you to change frequencies, squawks etc.
You will be expected to fly a route from one location to another via various waypoints. As part of this route you will need to communicate with multiple ATSUs. The examiner should give you some guideance and explain what route you need to follow. Ensure you unerstand and make notes where applicable. You will be given time at the start to plan and document what you intend to do.
For my exam I was given a route to follow from one location to another. As part of that route I needed to :
- Tune in to ATIS to get the latest information
- Request clearance to my destination.
- Request Taxi to the active runway
- Request takeoff
- Then I had to change frequency to another FIS station
- I then needed to obtain a QTE from another station, and return to the original one.
- I then intercepted a mayday call from another aircraft which I needed to relay
- I had to report position at various points
- I had to cross a MATZ so had to request a MATZ penetration
- Then when I arrived at my destination I was told that it was closed.
- I had to then request a SVFR clearance through that zone in order to reach another airport at the other side of the zone.
- From there I had to communicate with that airport right down to landing and then taxying to parking
As you can see it is quite a thorough exam, and can be quite intense at times.
Tips for the practical exam
- Take time at the start to properly plan your flight. Write down on paper exactly what you intend to do.
- Ensure you can quickly and accurately write down information when given on the flight.
- Remember that you are in control of the flight. You can control the pace. So whilst you need to give an immediate response if contacted, dont be afraid to wait until you are ready before starting your interactions.
- Check callsigns when the controller speaks to ensure he is speaking to you.
- If in doubt use "STANDBY" and compose yourself, especially if you have made a mistake.
- Above all else, stay calm
How to pass the practical exam
The practice exam is hard.
All you can really do is practise so that the calls are second nature.
If you fly regularly this may be fairly easy for you, although there will be some scenarios which you are unfamiliar with if you don't do them regularly, such as working within different types of ATS units or Maydays, MATZ penetrations etc which you may not do regularly.
Why not try our RT Simulator
Is this website enough to pass the exams
Depends on how much experience you have. Its unlikely. I would advise taking formal training from a qualified RT trainer.
For those in the UK, I can personally recommend Malcolm Dobson, based at Leeds Bradford Airport.
Malcolm does 2 day courses each month leading to the exam.
Cost is 180 inc VAT and including the exam fees.
He also does one 2 one training, and is a qualified examiner.
Based Multiflight Training Room, Leeds Bradford Airport.
07708 842143 / 0113 258 6306