“Looking for Traffic”

Went to the airport this afternoon to watch, and listen to, the pattern. I find it very instructive to hear the different radio calls and responses, I hear things I like and try to use in the future, and sometimes I hear things that I make a note not to say in the future.

But one phrase started to bother me – looking for traffic. All too often it seemed to be an automatic response with no real conviction that the pilot really cared. Now that is no doubt a little harsh but on about 3 or 4 occasions a pilot on final was to be told traffic holding in position, departing before arrival. The response – looking for traffic. I don’t know how you can’t have that traffic in sight, its right where you’re looking right now.