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.

  1. The first thing to do is keep calm.
    Why is it easy to panic when you realise you are lost?
  2. Make sure you communicate your problem.
    • What don’t pilots always do this?
    • What should you say to ATC?
    • What is the standard emergency frequency in the UK?
  3. Look out the window!
    • What landmarks are useful to look out for?
      • a)
      • b)
      • c)
      • d)
      • e)
      • f)
      • g)
      • h)
      • i)
      • j)
    • Why is it a good idea to climb?
  4. Don’t forget to use radio navigation aids.
    Provided that you have the right equipment, what should you tune into? Why?


Despite all the modern technology available to help with navigation, it’s still very common for pilots to get lost in the air, especially when flying to new destinations. Here are a few simple tips.

The first thing to do is keep calm. It’s easy to panic when you realise that you’re lost as you know that you’re burning fuel outside your pre-flight calculations and you might not have enough fuel to reach your destination and so may have to make an emergency landing.

Next, make sure you communicate your problem. Pilots are sometimes embarrassed to admit that they have got lost and think they should work things out for themselves. This can lead to dangerous situations. It’s much better for everyone if you contact air traffic control, giving your registration and saying, “uncertain of position.” If you don’t know which frequency to use, try the standard emergency frequency, 121.500, in the UK.

Look out the window! Look for any major landmark which is likely to be shown on your map. These could be communications masts, airfields (including disused ones), or big buildings, such as power stations or cathedrals. You also look for towns, and major roads or railway lines. Motorway junctions, for example, should be easy to spot on a map. It’s also a good idea to climb so that you get a better view of the landscape.

Don’t forget to use radio navigation aids. You may not have done this much since your training and skill test but if your aircraft is equipped with the appropriate equipment, you will be able to tune into VOR beacons which you can then use to work out your position.

Radiotelephony exercise

The following places names in Germany are mentioned in this RT exchange:

Schönhagen – Rügen – Reinsdorf

Listen to the recording and then answer these questions:

  1. What is the aircraft’s registration?
  2. What is the pilot’s problem?
  3. How many people are on board?
  4. What is the aircraft type?
  5. How much fuel does the pilot have?
  6. Give the aircraft’s position in relation to Reinsdorf.
  7. What possible problem does ATC warn about?
  8. Complete the instructions given by ATC:
    • Turn __________
    • To the _________________
    • Descend below ______________ , QNH ________________
  9. What mistake does the pilot make in readback?
  10. Give the frequency for Reinsdorf.
  11. Pilot: Thanks, vacate ___________ ____________ and contact ground on ____________, __________

Pilot: This is OO-UNJ, uncertain of position.

ATC: OO-UNJ, this is Schönhagen Information. Squawk IDENT. Say current altitude and your departure and destination fields when able.

Pilot: Schönhagen Information, good day this is OO-JNJ. Squawking ident. I’m flying from Rügen to Reinsdorf with three people on board currently at FL55.

ATC: O-NJ, say aircraft type?

Pilot: DR-400, O-NJ.

ATC: O-NJ, roger. What is your fuel situation?

Pilot: I have about one hour on the fuel before I’m on reserve, O-NJ.

ATC: O-NJ, roger, radar identified at about 20 nautical miles to the north east of Reinsdorf. You are about to enter controlled airspace. Turn left, immediately to the south west and descend below altitude 3000ft, QNH 1016.

Pilot: Turning immediately left to the south west. Descending altitude 4000ft, O-NJ.

ATC: O-NJ, maintain present heading, altitude not above 3000ft.

Pilot: Maintaining present heading, altitude not above 3000ft, O-NJ

ATC: O-NJ Reinsdorf airfield is at your 12 o’clock at 5NM. Report in sight.

Pilot: Airfield in sight, O-NJ.

ATC: O-NJ, contact Reinsdorf on 122.85.

Pilot: Contact Reinsdorf on 122.85, O-NJ.