Improving Pilot/Air Traffic Control Voice Communication in General Aviation

O. Veronika Prinzo, Daniel G. Morrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The influence of the air traffic control (ATC) message format and message length was investigated on the ability of general aviation pilots to read back ATC instructions. While flying a simulator, 12 pilots heard altitude and radio frequency instructions spoken in grouped format ("forty-one-hundred"), and 12 heard them sequentially ("four-thousand-one-hundred"). Only limited evidence was found that grouped message format improved pilot memory. Specifically, pilots who received altitude and radio frequency instructions in the grouped, rather than the sequential, format produced fewer requests for clarification, especially for longer messages. Pilots were also more likely to read back the grouped instructions in sequential format, suggesting that prior experience with the sequential format influenced pilot communication involving the relatively novel grouped format in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-357
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Aviation Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Applied Psychology
  • Computer Science Applications

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