I'm translating something that involves radio communications dialogue.

Two questions, actually:

  1. How would a pilot request a particular heading? (Does this ever happen?) E.g. something like "Request heading XXX"?
  2. How would a controller respond to such a request? (In particular, the part I'm translating is an approval for the request, but I'd be interested in how a controller would deny the request too.)

Thank you!


2 Answers 2


The verbose request:

Center, Callsign123 has weather ahead. Request heading 045 for about ten miles to avoid it.


Center, Callsign123 request 10 degrees right for weather.

The minimalist request:

Callsign123 request heading 045.

ATC might reply

Callsign123, fly heading 045 and advise when you can take a turn back to course.


Callsign123, approved as requested, direct Tulsa when able.


Callsign123, unable right deviations due to military airspace, fly heading 010 and advise when able direct to Tulsa.


It may differ where you are in the world.

But a typical standard interchange you would hear around Europe would be:

“Ryanair 5XD, request heading 050 degrees due weather”

“Roger Ryanair 5XD, deviation approved, for how many miles?”

“For three zero miles, Ryanair 5XD”

“Ryanair 5XD, Roger”

Of course you only need to request headings in circumstances where you are under radar control.

Typically radar headings are only really requested for weather avoidance, if you are looking for a shortcut you may ask for direct to a waypoint which will be a shortcut.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't know whether that is standardized phraseology, but I sometimes hear ATC rephrasing the request as an instruction, i.e., as-if the pilot had never requested it in the first place: "FictionAir 123, request heading 050 degrees due weather" – "FictionAir 123, turn right heading 050" – "Right heading 050, FictionAir 123". The other extreme would be "FictionAir 123, approved as requested", which is generally not a good thing since there is no two-way confirmation that both stations have understood the request the same way, but it does happen. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2023 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, sounds familiar 👍 $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2023 at 10:06

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