Safe and expeditious air traffic depends upon accurate and efficient communications between pilots and controllers. This requirement for effective communication becomes even more critical as the amount and complexity of air traffic increases with attempts to increase capacity.
Studies of actual pilot and controller communications reveal an astonishingly low error rate. These studies analyzed voice tapes from ATC facilities and found that less than one percent of these voice communications resulted m a communication error that affected the accuracy of the communication. This low error rate does not detract from the potential seriousness of even a single error. Also, in terms of communication errors per hour, the numbers are quite startling; across ATC environments (en route, TRACON, local control and ground control) the number of readback errors on a single frequency was close to one per hour. The first step in reducing the incidence of communication errors is to understand why they happen.
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