Sunday, December 13, 2009

Say WHAT?!

One of the most frequent annoyances from my professional life that has bled into my personal life is the misuse of the Phonetic Alphabet. You know, "Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc." All aviation radio communications are clarified by using this mix of specific words that were introduced before WWII. As with anything, it has gone through several transitions since its inception, but I think the final version in use today was officially adopted internationally in the 60's. That's somewhere in the vicinity of 50 years, so really - why can't people get it right? Especially those who spend their professional lives communicating either on the phone or by some type of radio transmissions - folks, seriously? If you spend 8 hours a day (or even 4 for that matter) taking retail orders on the phone, you have got to stop clarifying my order "B as in Boy, G as in George, F as in Frank" - I have no idea who Frank and George are, but they have nothing to do with my new boots, so why are we talking about them?
Read back my order number appropriately, "Your order number is 5 3 BRAVO GOLF 7 FOXTROT" and I'll not only be pleased as punch, but I'll stop doubting your ability to actually enter my order correctly and treating you like an idiot. When you start talking about Frank and George, it's no wonder I get a size 11 boot in the mail.
If you're in aviation - don't embarrass yourself by trying to be clear on frequency if you haven't mastered the phonetic alphabet yet. I know they snicker at you, but it's really not so funny. Try and pay attention to the taxiway names (there's a hint there) on your trips. I won't even entertain the thought of ANY certificated airman with dispatch certification not eating, sleeping, and breathing in this manner of speaking.
In all seriousness, if you need to brush up, Wikipedia has the chart. Print it out and put it in your log books, add it to your cheat sheets, tuck it in your Jepps, do whatever you need to do so it becomes second nature. Please. For me. I'll be a much nicer person for it.

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