I keep meaning to ask this question. I heard "Tally-ho" used for the first time by a pilot on Liveatc.net. I know these are pretty standard phrases in military aviation but I wondered if civil pilots use them. Are they acceptable under either FAA or ICAO standards? If not, what's the likelihood a controller will know what you mean?
As a private pilot, I have heard "Tally-ho" and other pseudo (British?) military phrases used when talking to ATC. I understand "Tally-ho" to be equivalent to "target(s) in sight" or "inbound" or even in some cases "affirmative", and that's the problem. It is important to be clear and precise when communicating on the radio, however, the folks working at ATC seem to understand these phrases.
I've read the AIM - Aeronautical Information Manual and Pilot's handbook of aeronautical knowlage (Both available for free download from the FAA's website) and I don't remember seeing these phrases anywhere.
Other texts caution against using these colorful phrases instead of standard phraseology because problems stemming from varied interpretations. It is important to be clear and precise when communicating on the radio.
I think the correct terminology is: "Traffic In Sight" and "Negative contact"
Good phraseology enhances safety and is the mark of a professional pilot. Jargon, chatter, and “CB” slang have no place in ATC communications. The Pilot/Controller Glossary is the same glossary used in FAA Order JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control. We recommend that it be studied and reviewed from time to time to sharpen your communication skills.
In other words, if it isn't in the P/CG then don't use it. Of course in reality some pilots do use military terms for whatever reason (force of habit?) but it's definitely discouraged. Apart from anything else, many pilots have no military background (or are foreigners) and have no idea what these or other slang/military phrases might mean.
NO. Not an acceptable term.
As stated earlier by others - the term has no official recognition and would only serve to confuse. Only a tiny (and rapidly diminishing) number across the globe appreciate its original 1930's context.
Some commonsense and logical analysis: "Land Ho" means "land in sight!"
"Tally" is another word for a score - or for a count of sorts.
It follows that somebody announcing "Tally Ho" is excitedly anticipating racking up a score. This could be foxes or Messerschmitts. Of course, this only makes sense in the context of a heart-felt outburst in the heat of the moment in old England - or a place influenced by old English culture.
Use of "Tally Ho" in civil aviation makes no sense at all. How would you intend to "rack up" the score?
Tally Ho is believed to be based on a French expression from way back: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tally-ho
It is the nature of humanity to bend language out of shape... What do you call an AERObatic machine designed by AEROnautical engineers? Not an AEROplane?
"No Joy" or "Tally-Ho" are not acceptable when talking on aviation bands.
Worse yet, they are not even true military terms. While "Tally" does mean you have the enemy in sight, notice there is no "Ho" attached to it.
Since you are up there and NOT shooting at people you should use the term "Visual" when you can see the aircraft being referenced. Visual is not only a military term, meaning you see a friendly but it is also used in civilian aviation and means EXACTLY the same thing.
But! It's just easier to say, "Tower, traffic in sight."
Roger, Wilco (will comply) are great words that mean things. I use them all the time.
Telling ATC your fuel is "Bingo" will get you killed, declare an emergency instead.
Fly safe! Blue skies!
"Tally Ho!" was adopted by US military pilots during WWII, from British fighter pilots. Who in turn had adopted it from fox hunting. The US pilots must have just liked the sound of it, although it was an official part of the lexicon of British pilots.
They used lots of other lovely quaint terms. "Angels" for flight level, "Bogeys" for enemy aircraft. And the Navy had a particular anti-submarine manoeuvre they called "Raspberry"! Nothing like some jolly fun during a war old boy.
You still hear "Tally Ho" used by military pilots on both sides of the Atlantic, with the same meaning it had in WWII.
They aren't "quaint" terms, but are pulled from military terminology that IS approved for use in the air:
Example: No Joy, Bogey, Angels