Part 3: Listening comprehension

Part 3: Listening comprehension

The following recording gives four simple pieces of advice to follow if you get lost when flying. Listen to it and then answer these questions.

Clear air turbulence


  1. According to this flight what are the two types of pilots as far as clear air turbulence is concerned?
  2. What do he compare clear air turbulence to?
  3. Why is it a pilot’s worst nightmare?
  4. He says clear air turbulence, “can take a plane down” and give two specific examples of why this might happen. What are they?
  5. What happened to the instructor when he experienced turbulence in a light aircraft?
  6. Why does he think passengers should always wear their seatbelts?

Vocabulary building

This flight instructor likes adverbs! He uses all of these:

  • Fortunately – quickly – usually – literally – physically – absolutely

Listen to the recording again and pick the best one to complete these sentences:

  1. The turbulence passed _______________
  2. This kind of stuff ____________________ comes out of the blue
  3. It ___________________ can cause big problems.
  4. ____________________ it’s not ____________________ fatal
  5. Because of turbulence can find it _____________________ difficult to grab hold of the controls.


There are two kinds of pilots: those who have experienced clear air turbulence and those that will. Imagine an aircraft flying at 500 miles an hour, in the jet stream and suddenly, out of nowhere, from underneath the airplane comes a giant trampoline and smacks the aeroplane so hard that it can cause structural damage. People and items that are not strapped down go flying around. This is clear air turbulence and this is why it is a pilot’s worst nightmare because it is undetectable. It is not… You can’t see it with your eyes. You certainly can’t see it with radar. It comes literally out of a clear blue sky.

Turbulence can take a plane down. It’s rare but it can because there are certain instances where a plane may not be able to withstand the structural forces that it experiences during clear air turbulence and pilots might have problems getting control of the aeroplane because they can’t read the controls, they can’t read the instruments. Sometimes they can’t physically grab the flight controls, so it can absolutely cause big problems.

Experienced pilots look for turbulence. At a crowded airport they’ll look for turbulence around clouds but this kind of stuff literally comes out of the blue. I’ve had clear air turbulence where I’ve come out of my seatbelt to the point where I struck my head on the cabin of a light aircraft. But it passed so quickly, we got ourselves together and carried on. Literally, this stuff happens at all altitudes at all places. It’s one of those things that just happens and it comes with experience. But fortunately it’s not something that’s usually fatal. But it makes sense to always wear your seatbelt because this can happen at a moment’s notice.

Radiotelephony exercise

The following places in New Zealand are mentioned in this RT exchange:

Palmerstone, Masterton, Taupo, Waituna West, Colyton, Hiwinui.

Listen to the recording and supply the information required, below:

  1. Aircraft registration
  2. type
  3. Pilot’s position relative to Waituna West
  4. Altitude
  5. QNH
  6. Cause of incident
  7. Details of injuries
  8. altitude at which to proceed to Hiwinui
  9. Local QNH
  10. Runway number
  11. Palmerstone Tower frequency
  12. Details of wind conditions

PIL: Palmerstone approach from ZK-PUC, good afternoon

ATC: ZK-PUC this is Palmerstone approach go ahead

PIL: ZK-PUC a CT-4E from Masterton to Taupo, currently abeam Waituna West at 3500 ft QNH 1024, request diversion to your field due to an injured passenger on board.

ATC: Z-UC, roger turn south and report overhead Colyton. Can you give me any more details? Understand injured passenger is that correct?

PIL: Affirm. We encountered some bad turbulence a few minutes ago and a passenger has hit his head. There is bleeding and possible concussion, Z-UC

ATC: Z-UC roger, I will request emergency services for you on arrival. Runway 25 in use, local QNH 1023, proceed direct Hiwinui at 1500ft

PIL: Thanks, QNH 1023, Hiwinui 1500ft Z-UC

ATC: Z-UC You are number one report right hand base runway 25 and for information the emergency services are standing by

PIL: Number one, will report right hand base runway 25 thanks Z-UC

PIL: Z-UC right base 25

ATC: Z-UC contact tower on 120.6

PIL: Tower on 120.6, thanks for your help, Z-UC

PIL: Palmerstone tower this is Z-UC turning final runway 25

ATC: Z-UC cleared to land runway 25, wind 260 degrees 15 knots gusting 22

PIL: Cleared to land 25, Z-UC

ATC: Z-UC vacate next right onto Delta and you should see the emergency services in front of the flying club

PIL: Next right onto Delta, I see them thanks for everything, Z-UC