I've heard it somehow that some of USAF controllers say this. is the phrase used in real ATC? if it is, is there any other similar phrases?

  • $\begingroup$ I've never heard that. The closest thing I've heard is ATC request a 360-degree turn for spacing. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 23, 2017 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ Could it have been "rate one turn"? And I guess there was probably a turn direction included in the instruction; if you can recall the full instruction it might be easier to make sense of it. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Sep 23, 2017 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ Standard ICAO phraseology is " MAKE A THREE SIXTY TURN LEFT (or RIGHT) [reason] " $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2017 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


More standard English, at least in the U.S., would be "make one small turn", but I've never heard such a term used. Also, "small" doesn't explicitly define how much of a turn, and it doesn't indicate the direction of the turn. ATC instructions are usually precise, something like, "turn right 90 degrees for identification." I remember getting that type of instruction from controllers in setting me up for practice PAR approaches (civilian equivalent of GCA) at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Oregon, U.S.A back in 1969. However, in the next 30 years of flying I never heard a like instruction, at least that I remember, for the simple reason that I never had to fly a PAR approach for real.

The abbreviations are: PAR - Precision Approach Radar GCA - Ground Controlled Approach

  • $\begingroup$ Identifying turns is a last-ditch effort to establish radar contact on an aircraft with no operative transponder and no precise position report. It's still a valid method but the percentage of planes with working transponders has probably increased quite a bit since 1969 (while the percentage of ATC radar systems that don't have secondary radar has decreased considerably as well!). $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Feb 16, 2021 at 15:25

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