When ATC says "cleared for takeoff", what's the correct answer from the pilot?


3 Answers 3


This is how FAA recommends (PDF):

A typical takeoff clearance may state, for example, “(Callsign) 123 RNAV to MPASS, Runway 26L, Cleared for Takeoff”.

The expected pilot response is, “(Callsign) 123, RNAV to MPASS, Runway 26L, Cleared for Takeoff”.

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ It is probably worth adding that this is true of most ATC instructions : aviation.stackexchange.com/a/288/3573 $\endgroup$
    – J...
    May 19, 2015 at 0:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, if you're taking-off from an intersection of a long runway (many GA aircraft do), one should always try to mention the intersection for safety. $\endgroup$
    – RaajTram
    Nov 1, 2015 at 0:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And the opposite too - if the majority of the traffic is taking off from an intersection, and you're taking off full length. Always a good idea to give ATC and others situational awareness. $\endgroup$
    – Steve Kuo
    Feb 25, 2016 at 1:38

Same phraseology you're given: cleared for takeoff with your callsign, and if applicable, the runway or instructions ("turn left heading 200" for instance) given in the same transmission. Anything else is nonstandard.

Not on the roll nor on the go nor cleared for departure nor anything else, no matter how cool it sounded when somebody else said it on the radio.

  • 17
    $\begingroup$ Note, that bad phraseology regarding take-off clearance strongly contributed to the worst aviation disaster in history. That's some good reason to stick to the standard. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    May 18, 2015 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec where can I read more about that? $\endgroup$ May 18, 2015 at 21:48
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ @JacobKrall Here $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    May 18, 2015 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec: Great tragedy, lots of lessons. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Oct 2, 2015 at 18:54

Quite simply, you readback the runway identifier and the clearance - exactly like you receive it.

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In case you get other instructions in connection with the takeoff clearance, you need to read those back as well.

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Note that you should not read back any wind information given, since it is just that - an information - not a clearance or instruction.

ICAO Document 9432, section 4.5


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