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Communication read back

Old 11-26-2008, 06:51 AM
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Default Communication read back

I was told by a Tower one day that reading back clearance to land is not required as long as we acknowledge with tail number.

For example:
TWR: Cessna 1234, you're cleared to land runway 33R
Pilot: Cessna 1234

TWR: Cessna 1234, Cleared for option Runway 33R, on the GO make left traffic for 33L.
Pilot: Cessna 1234

Can any of you tell me where in AIM or FAR that states otherwise? Tower stated that they can NOT find anywhere in the AIM (in 10 minutes they spent looking up) that mandate such a rule. However they did say that instructions on holding short of runway must be read back.

I just can not believe that landing clearence read back is not mandatory.
Again, if you know where in FAR/AIM or other places that states otherwise, please share.


Last edited by SongMan; 11-26-2008 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:56 AM
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I thought that if there was a left, right, or center runway then it was required to read back the "cleared to land 33L" for instance.

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Old 11-26-2008, 12:22 PM
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I'm always hesitant to argue with an ATCO, since they know the 7110.65 better than you know your name, but I have to disagree with that guy (I have a PPL). Even in the unlikely instance that he IS right, and you don't need to read it back, it'd be a pretty poor aviator who omits the runway designator, unless of course you're using a one-way-in, one-way-out runways, with no other airports within VHF range.
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:11 PM
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Several times I flew with an instructor out of a busy GA airport who advocated the same thing. He said that it was unnecesary to read back the whole landing/takeoff clearance and that just a simple "Cessna 789" was sufficient. However I always felt a little uneasy doing this, especially since the airport had parallel runways! The tower never corrected us, however, and my instructor had even commented about how several weeks before the flight, the tower had sent out an advisory asking pilots to try to keep their radio calls short to reduce congestion on the frequency. I don't think the tower would have said to not read back the runway heading on a takeoff/landing clearance.
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Old 11-26-2008, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Lowtimer77
...the tower had sent out an advisory asking pilots to try to keep their radio calls short to reduce congestion on the frequency.
There's a difference between the following 2 initial calls:

"Houston Tower, a pleasant Thanksgiving morning to you, this is N123AB, established on the ILS, 5 miles on final Runway 18 left, 1500ft."


"Houston Tower, N123AB 5 miles, ILS 18 left"

I bet that's what they were talking about. Maybe the busier airports here should do as they do at LHR, and require callsign only on initial contact.
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:49 PM
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I wouldn't want to do something, have an issue, and have a read back of only my call sign be a focal point of the investigation.

I'm all for keeping it simple, but a couple extra words to verify the instruction is pretty important.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:05 PM
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Pilotpip: Couldn't agree more. I have done "Military Investigations" into flight violations. Lack in verifying a readback to ensure the clearance was understood won the case for the Military pilot.

I have been instructing for 9 years. I love when a student would just answer with a call sign after a long clearance and I would ask "What did you just roger to?" 9 times out of 10 they would miss a bit of a clearance. So with that being said here comes my two cents worth:

I was taught to readback all clearances. Runway incursions are happening at an alarming frequency. ALL CLEARANCES (Hold short, takeoff, holding, waveoff, and landing) I read back to prevent getting a flight violation or at least to go on tape in case there is a problem later on.

Nothing says you can't respond with more than your call sign. Good headwork prevails. How does the controller know that you understood what he/she told you to do? Above mentioned investigation: my fellow instructor pilot was cleared for an Approach to the right runway, when he checked in with tower, tower cleared him to land on the left and he only responded with "callsign cleared to land". Well if he would have responded with Cleared to land on the right tower might have caught that he was lined up for the wrong runway. But....He landed on the right and got flight violated. My investigation concluded with a breakdown in communication between Pilot and Controller. The flight violation went away and made for some great training at our next pilot meeting.

Oh by the way: the Navy requires a readback to include a gear call.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-27-2008, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by SongMan
Can any of you tell me where in AIM or FAR that states otherwise? ... I just can not believe that landing clearence read back is not mandatory.
Don't expect the AIM to specifically point out what is NOT required. It doesn't. It tells you what is required or recommended. If it doesn't say that the readback is required then it is not.

For example, the requirement to read back runway hold short instructions is explicitly mentioned in AIM 4-3-18 a.7. & b.1.
Air traffic controllers are required to obtain from the pilot a readback of all runway hold short instructions.
Don't expect every good technique to be required by regulation or policy. I read back almost all landing clearances with, "Cleared to land [rwy], [callsign]".
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:32 PM
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Sounds partially like politics to me, airports try to get as many aircraft in and out as possible. ($$$) I've heard similar things from ATC but it was usually because my student was having a brain fart and didn't let go of the mic key. I like to be sure that all of my students use their CYA skills all of the time, and repeating back calls in a brief but acurate form is tricky to learn.

Senior Skipper put it the right way a few posts up there. If a tower tells you to speed up your calls that's just fine, but remember that you are PIC and if anything goes wrong they'll go right to those tapes and see who dropped the ball. Towered airports are supposed to deny aircraft entry into their airspace if they are too busy at that moment to provide all the required services to the aircraft within that airspace, happens to me every now and then. At the airport I used to fly at the tower controllers and I knew each other by voice, and we knew that each person had the airspace procedures down by heart. Didn't stop any of us from keeping it legal... CYA
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