I agree with Greg. My feeling is that the aviation community often has this whole "see and avoid" concept and the role radio communication plays in aiding the pilots in meeting that responsibility - backwards. If you will...it seems what they tend to do is more of "hear and avoid" rather than "see and avoid".
Using radios if you can help it is great. It's just that I have been frustrated with pilots seeming to neglect what is supposed to be their #1 traffic collision avoidance system - their eyes. As if "See and Avoid," "VISUAL Flight Rules," "Clearing turns" before a descent or manuever, and conducting a visual traffic pattern check before overtaking a runway did not offer any basic and fundamental clue as to why we must do these things.
Joanne, about what you said in reference to the DPA's seeming indifference to hearing pilots around us, let me tell you...I have lost count the number of times I had to go around because another pilot cut me off on base-to-final, and an aircraft overtook the runway while I was on final without doing a visual pattern check. Several of those cuts from base-to-final was without question, blatant and intentional.
What's worse, just early this year just after I landed doing take off and landings in the pattern, a pilot (that landed after me) rudely cut me off on the taxiway back, did a 90 degree in front and stopped, just to block me from getting back on the runway because I wasn't using the radio. He angrily pointed his finger at me, then the headset, and gave me a huge thumbs down. All I could do was shrug and tell him "sorry, I can't hear."
So, after he and (later) I shut down, I met him at the airport restaraunt and it appears he didn't realize I was deaf, and seemed to be barely apologetic about it. Your complaint about the DPA's "we can do no wrong" attitude and seemingly no regard for other hearing pilots around us has me chuckling pretty good. It's the proverbial "mote" and "plank" in the eye.
It will not matter if we flew the pattern as published in the
AF/D, at the TPA, with the strobe lights and landing lights on even in
day and CAVU conditions (which is what a lot of us do). Even if there are NO aircraft within 25 miles of
the airport, there will ALWAYS be that one angry pilot on the ground to
grill you for not using the radios.
I think we give a great deal more consideration into thinking of the hearing pilots around us than you give us credit for. For example, you seem quick to forget the effort made by that deaf student pilot to communicate on the frequency that day - even though it appears his speech was difficult to understand. I don't use the radio at all. It's just incredible to wonder how differently you would have responded had you NOT known after your flight, that the pilot "was deaf."