Was out flying today and was prepped and ready to take off at an uncontrolled airport. Called on the appropriate frequency to alert others of my presence and intentions. Right as I was about to take the runway, I made a final look up and was surprised to see a plane on short final about 50 feet off the deck and flying right by. Had I moved into position, we might not be having this conversation and there would have been a news story at 11pm. Having listened to other calls on the frequency, I was a bit surprised that there was no prior announcement to his presence.When he flew by I realized why. It was a Piper Cub (the ubiquitous small yellow plane, for the non-aviators), the pilot didn’t have a headset on (or the window closed), and I suspect the plane was not even equipped with a radio, which would explain the lack of radio call. If you’re not familiar with aviation, this is perfectly legal and not terribly uncommon, though certainly not at larger airports. Since I normally fly in and out of larger aerodromes (Class C), it was at first a surprise, but a great reminder that safety at such places is dependent on good eyes.Back safely tonite at home, I reflected on the flight, as I always do. Certainly the aviation lessons are pretty easy to take away, and I have a renewed commitment to scan the approach end of the airport before departing. But there is a communications lesson to be learned as well. When you communicate (or rather, broadcast), you expect people to not only hear, but listen. And we typically expect folks to communicate in like kind with us. But people communicate (quite legally and expected) on their own terms. Just because you don’t hear feedback doesn’t mean there aren’t opinioins; just because you don’t get a reply doesn’t mean the answer isn’t known; just because you feel good about the openness doesn’t mean it’s open. You can use all the channels you think of, but if someone is using or expecting another channel, it’s all for naught.And this is, again, an offshoot of Rule #1. It really doesn’t matter about what you think. If you really want to gauge the success of your communication, it’s not what you say or even what is heard. It’s about what reaction it brings.
Communicate for results.