Your Relationship With ATC
When it comes to ATC, strap on a backbone. They typically do a wonderful job for all of us, but they can only do what we need them to do if they clearly understand what we need and why we need it.
Attached below is the link to the ATC audio recording of the doomed TBM that crashed off the coast of Jamaica due to a depressurization problem, killing the pilot and his wife. I listened to this recording and it just saddened me because this is a case that initially wasn't pilot error but evolved into an accident that clearly happened because of pilot error. I have been in situations like this three times in the 43 years I have been flying although not due to a pressurization problem.
https://archive-server.liveatc.net/kgso/ ... -1400Z.mp3
We all learned the 5 C's (it was actually 3 when I trained) when we learned to fly; Climb, Conserve, Communicate, Confess, and Comply. The pilot made ATC aware that he needed to descend to FL180 and that he had an "indication that was not correct in the plane."
First red flag; he had to think about something that was not normal. If you have to think about something, that's your first warning. Concerned about weather, headwinds, range, a system onboard the aircraft? If you thought about it, that's your first red flag.
He had asked for FL180, they cleared him to FL250, and he accepted the clearance... third red flag. By the time ATC cleared the flight to FL200, the pilot was slurring his words, and completely hypoxic.... he couldn't even get his N number right.
When it comes to ATC, strap on a backbone. They typically do a wonderful job for all of us, but they can only do what we need them to do if they clearly understand what we need and why we need it. And if they don't understand initially, make them understand! Your life may depend on it like it did for N900KN.