CFI/Pilot Training Pro-Tip – Don’t Announce “Engine Out” on the radio unless it’s real…try “Short Approach”

“Airport XXX Traffic, Cessna N1234 Engine Out Runway 27.”

Yup, that was the radio call I heard. Obviously, location and aircraft number have been changed to protect the pilot, an instructor, who made this call.

When I hear this on the radios I think there was actually a problem. But nah, they were just practicing.

Verbalizing a potentially catastrophic event like this on a radio frequency can give those listening on the frequency the incorrect impression a real emergency may exist.

It is important that instructors teach emergency procedures to their students and customers, but it is also important that they are careful in their communications about their actions on radio frequencies to avoid creation of the impression that an emergency may exist.

So, what would have been better then?

Well, some will preface a radio call such as this with something like, “Airport XXX Traffic, Cessna N1234 SIMULATED Engine Out Runway 27.” It’s better, but it still probably isn’t enough.

Think about a busy UNICOM frequency and how much squawking and squealing is happening on a nice summer day. That singular word, “SIMULATED” can easily get lost in the mix.

How about trying this instead, “Airport XXX Traffic, Cessna N1234, SHORT APPROACH Runway 27.” It conveys what the pilot is going to do, a close in non-powered approach to the runway while at the same time not using any emergent phraseology over the radio that might get anyone else on the frequency excited for no reason.

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About Jason Blair

Jason Blair is an active single- and multi-engine instructor and a FAA Designated Pilot Examiner with over 5,000 hours total time and over 3,000 hours instruction given, and he has flown over 100 different makes and models of general aviation aircraft. In his role as Examiner, over 1000 pilot certificates have been issued. He works and has worked for multiple aviation associations that promote training and general aviation. He also consults on aviation training and regulatory efforts for the general aviation industry.Jason Blair is an active single- and multi-engine instructor and a FAA Designated Pilot Examiner with over 5,000 hours total time and over 3,000 hours instruction given, and he has flown nearly 100 different makes and models of general aviation aircraft. In his role as Examiner, over 1000 pilot certificates have been issued. He works and has worked for multiple aviation associations that promote training and general aviation. He also consults on aviation training and regulatory efforts for the general aviation industry.

Comments

CFI/Pilot Training Pro-Tip – Don’t Announce “Engine Out” on the radio unless it’s real…try “Short Approach” — 1 Comment

  1. I usually do the second call myself. Especially, if I am going to do anything non standard. If I was doing a power off 180 I would however announce Short Approach.

    What would you say if you were 4,000’ AGL directly about the Airport? While training/practicing for a simulated engine out?

    Thank you for your feedback.

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