Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

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LeadingEdge
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Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by LeadingEdge »

Nathan Wreyford «nathan.wreyford» writes:

As a constant student of group decision making, sports psychology, and statistics, I learned a lot on this flying camp. In the planning of the week and during the week, there was definitely a bit of the Abilene Paradox at work. It is one of my favorites. Often described as a problem of agreement management rather than conflict management. Conflict management is tough. Agreement management, tougher.

I need to figure how to make better use if any of a radio. I find it odd there aren't more people who would rather ditch the distraction. For me, I loathe them for many reasons:

They rarely work for everyone in the group.

They encourage the group to change task. Safety decisions are personal. The decision to change task becomes too easy when it gets to be a grind.

They encourage people to not make a task, thinking "we can talk about it later."

Distraction. I thoroughly believe in my internal algorithm for finding and using lift. I like other pilots as data points, but not much else. I fear someone "helping" me find a climb. It is also that I do not understand my internal algorithm for choosing a direction, a search pattern, etc. I only know that it produces better than average results. Statistics are at the root of my operations in the sky as they link observation with the ability to gather evidence and make decisions. At this stage in flying, much of that is basal ganglia operation rather than frontal cortex but I still like to keep as much frontal cortex free as possible.

Having said all of that, I do like getting real time data that can only come from a radio. Often, I call my driver and ask for the positions of others.

Everyone has different approaches for strategy and instruments. I find that interesting. I am always amazed at the data Rich has available to him while flying - sectionals, airports, landable LZ's. Then you have others like Attila Bertok who dominated Big Spring with a 6005 and a Garmin.

Larry Bunner responds:

Regarding radio: It should be used to improve results. There aren’t many who use it well. My mantra on radios is to keep it very simple; location, altitude, climb rate and cross track. When pilots have their communications protocol worked out the overall speed goes up.

I must say that when you and I flew up toward Batesville and we met briefly before I got LZ suck, radio talk would have been beneficial. We were together for a ways out of the airport and then got separated visually anyway. My last climb prior to heading to the cloud you were under was the strongest and highest altitude all day for me. If we could have communicated I am confident we would have picked a good line together.

The advantage obviously comes in maximizing the climb rate. Say we both enter under a cloud separated by 500 meters. I hit 300fpm and call it out. You call 400fpm. Now I decide whether to come to you or stay put but constantly visually monitor your progress. You then report 500fpm. Bam I’m coming to you! We top out together and head on glide to the next cloud but separate by maybe 0.5 - 1 km to maximize our chances on getting the next strong climb.

You are slightly ahead when I hit a ripper out in the blue. I call to you and you come back where we top out quickly and head out to the next cloud again only much higher now. We did do this to some extent on this flight but it was very inefficient. It is somewhat of an art (learning curve) to get it down. But it is well worth the time investment.

In regard to radios being distraction, this does happen but for me I just shut out when things get dicey or I ask for some silence.

6 topics in this article: Garmin, Larry Bunner, Nathan Wreyford, radio, Attila Bertok, Flytec 6005

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LeadingEdge
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Re: Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by LeadingEdge »

As the poster (yup, it's Nate) of this email which is not the entire email, a few things are worth pointing out.

1. I fly with a phone and bluetooth. This allows me to connect with ground support and with people in different states if I desire. People who can check trackers and give the location of others. If more pilots flew with phones, I could call them as well. Where I fly (Texas) phone work for the most part,

2. On the day Larry mentions, we did not pick a good line together. When we parted, he went for a cloud, I went for course line with a hope based strategy (a hopeagy?) the cloud I was looking for had not yet formed. I found that cloud at the top of my next climb. With comms, I may have been tempted by Larry's decision which did not work out that day.

3. In regards to
radios being distraction, this does happen but for me I just shut out when things get dicey or I ask for some silence.
In theory, yes, but I have noted that pilots will still communicate despite a request for silence. I have heard you and other pilots making a request for silence with clear signs of what a poker player would call tilt in their voices. When I am low and trying to miracle myself up while juggling go/no go decisions over marginally landable/retrievable terrain, my frontal cortex needs all the space it can possibly get - there is zero space for tilt.


Optimally, I want the ability to use both a radio and phone in the air. Currently I can but then I lose the ability to dial with Siri. I should see if this has changed with the last 2 yrs of updates, etc.
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Remmoore
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Re: Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by Remmoore »

While I fly with radio communication on every XC flight, I have a simple "kill switch" installed to my headset speaker wiring. I can easily turn it off/on whenever I please - it's great!

RM
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Vrezh
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Re: Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by Vrezh »

Volume control
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LeadingEdge
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Re: Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by LeadingEdge »

That is a nice way to do it. I like the ease in reaching the vol knob.

I can dial my volume down to zero with ease using the +/- on the bluetooth headset.

My issue is being able to use all features of the phone (hands free assistant) and use the the radio. The phone is by far a more powerful tool. It allows me to talk to a driver 20-120 miles away. It allows me to let my spouse know I am going long today, don't wait up. It allows me to have a conversation with a driver or anyone with internet access about the location of other pilots with trackers. With a radio you can sometimes, maybe talk to other pilots.

Having said all of that, the majority of my flying is very solo so naturally the phone has more utility.

I'm using a Sena 3S with the gateway for the radio. The gateway is less flexible (capable) than I would like. With it, the phone has to be plugged into the gateway and assistant does not work.
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WMichelsen
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Re: Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by WMichelsen »

Radio use is a charged topic (ratta-ching). I hear Nate's perspective, but mostly disagree.

I fly with a radio 100% of my XC flights (Fishbowl is different). Cell phones are indispensible in today's equipment arsenal, along with satellite trackers. But currently, they do not replace the in-air functionality of radio.

Contrary to stated above, I find that radios -usually- work for our group, and -most- of the people I fly with -do- know how to use a radio effectively. It may not be always exactly as I prefer, but not bad. Etiquette exceptions occur, usually untrained chase drivers I hire from craigslist. But even they just need a few comments of guidance at the right time.

Yes, there are occasional problems:
- Stuck PTT (holy sh*t that's a b*tch)
- Undetected (before launch) user/interference on the frequency
- Poor radio etiquette
- Dead battery
- Bad mic noise/gain/static
- etc.
So, ready access to volume or a STFU switch is good.

But, there are strategic and safety advantages to communicate:
- Changing conditions
- Route strategy
- Tenuous sink-out location
- Current status (alt, location, situation)

When I'm in an XC group, especially using my car, I require all pilots in my group to have functioning radios on the same frequency. I want us each to know where and how each other is doing. The few times that rule is broken, we end up with some chaos wondering where the h*ll someone is, ends up, or in what condition. Then, driving some out of the way backtrack to go get them.

It's also collaborative communication. It's not good etiquette to be non-responsive, communicate only when -you- want/need something, then non-responsive again.

Having said all that, I totally understand all the arguments against radio chatter and complexity. I absolutely appreciate that. Have fun!! But, we probably won't be flying XC together.
Last edited by WMichelsen on Thu, Nov 11 2021, 10:10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Note to self:
Fly Downwind = Good.
Land Downwind = Bad.
LeadingEdge
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Re: Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by LeadingEdge »

In the day and age of awesome satellite trackers and cell trackers as back up, relying on a radio to track pilots is a bit outdated unless you're in the outback without any data.
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Andrew Vanis
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Re: Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by Andrew Vanis »

duplicate post
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Andrew Vanis
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Re: Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by Andrew Vanis »

LeadingEdge wrote: Thu, Nov 11 2021, 10:47:50 am In the day and age of awesome satellite trackers and cell trackers as back up, relying on a radio to track pilots is a bit outdated unless you're in the outback without any data.
How do those help pilot to pilot group flying?
LeadingEdge
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Re: Listening to the voices - Statistical Approach

Post by LeadingEdge »

When I'm in an XC group, especially using my car, I require all pilots in my group to have functioning radios on the same frequency. I want us each to know where and how each other is doing. The few times that rule is broken, we end up with some chaos wondering where the h*ll someone is, ends up, or in what condition. Then, driving some out of the way backtrack to go get them.
The pilots are not the ones driving and "backtracking".



How do trackers help? Easy, they give a location of pilots that are out of radio range. I often use this data while flying. Protip, call your driver, ask them the 20 of other pilots. BTW, I find 9 out of 10 non pilot drivers prefer a phone call over using a radio.

Everyone's mileage will vary. In places with no cell service the approach is far different. Show up at places like the Guads in NM and expect your satellite trackers (driver still needs cells service) and cell phones to save you, yikes. Good luck. Radios are king out there and not optional.

Again, radios are great tools if the group is tight. Pretending like they work +50% of the time in a group of 3-4 and they do not have the potential to be a huge distraction is not congruent with reality.

For retrieve comms, I would rather call and chat with my driver than do all the Big Bear, Rubber Ducky, What's your 20 nonesense.

Picking on Larry, (I love you) but his last blog post tells a tale of radios not working - again. It also tells the story of some amazing flying!
https://lbunner.blogspot.com/?fbclid=Iw ... x8XY4vJtco
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