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Pilot Turns Off Radio to Avoid Air Traffic Reroute

Reader Submission:

Dear ATC,
When you give a traffic call and the pilot goes about looking, does it matter if we call out if we had spotted it or not? Are there scenarios where you need to have a pilot call out traffic before being able to give certain new directions?  -Ralph

Dear Ralph,
I’m glad you brought up this controversial subject. Traffic calls are really just a big prank that most controllers play on unsuspecting pilots. Most times we call traffic to get you looking in a certain direction. Once we un-key the radio, we say to our buddy something like “Look at this dummy, looking out the window at nothing”. It’s the classic “Made you Look” that normally gets the whole room laughing hysterically. I can see now that it’s not that funny because we never really tell you “Made you look”. Hey, sometimes we get it right, and there is actually another plane there. Honestly it’s just blind luck. I’m just a guy, standing on the flightline, waving some glow sticks, pretending I’m at a rave. I’m not Superman, there’s just no way to know if there are any other planes out there. Keep your eyes peeled and head on a swivel. I hope I answered your question. Cheers. -AX