I bought my first hand-held radio, right after I got my PPL. Those days, I flew aircraft that were old and worn out. Like any good pilot I stocked up on hand-held devices that served as backup: GPS, intercom, Nav/Com and so on. To this day I never needed to use them. In fact, while initially I carried them in my flight bag, I soon started leaving them out to lighten the load of my flight bag 🙂
My unused intercom and GPS are still around, long forgotten. But the best investment was the hand-held NAV/COM. I never had to use it while airborne, it is one of those devices that still can be used anytime: at home, at the airport or at at an airshow.
After I bought my ICOM Nav/com, many a times I tuned in to my local airport and listened to the ATC chatter at my local airport. Occasionally I drove over to watch landings and listened in to the ATC communications either at the airport cafe or with friends to rank landings.
It is a really handy device at airshows such as Sun n Fun, Airventure or other airport day events when you can tune in to the provided frequencies and listen in. Or just fun on a lazy Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, while you tune in to your local airport or approach/departure control and listen in to pilots and controllers as they go about their business.
With liveatc.net, these days it is often easy to tune in to any frequency or airport anywhere around the world, to listen to ATC chatter from your smart device. Believe me, it is a perfectly vicarious way to enjoy the joy of being there, when you can’t.
And it might even improve your communication skills when next you are in the air. Try it!