Is the term "guinea pig" now or was it previously defined in the Pilot/Controller Glossary?

If it's not defined in the Pilot/Controller Glossary, maybe it's in some other publication.

I was flying with a crew member who used it while querying ATC about threading a hole in a line of weather. It went something like, "has anyone else guinea pigged that hole?" He said it was an actual controller term in their documentation.

I can't find it, but I was wondering if there was some kernel of truth to the statement.


1 Answer 1


Being a "guinea pig" means to be the first to try out a (potentially dangerous) situation. There is no mention, past or current of the term "guinea pig" or any derivation of that.

Slang slips through on the radio, this is probably an instance of that. If the pilot or controller used that term the appropriate response would be "unclear, please say again".

There is also no mention of it in the AIM.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Does the standard RT phraseology cater for that specific situation, though? Haven’t flown in ages so am a tad rusty... $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2018 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ @CptReynolds I don't think so, but it could be in much clearer English. $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Jul 9, 2018 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ I heard a new one yesterday. Flight following for someone was cancelled as an airport was neared, the pilot was told to squawk VFR and frequency change was approved. The response back was "loading the dozens", changing to local frequency etc. I hadn't heard that for changing transponder code to 1200 before. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Jul 9, 2018 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads I would think that isn't just improper, but a bit dangerous. As an observer on the frequency I might think he was loading "1212" (dozens). $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jul 9, 2018 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ "Loading the dozens" doesn't have any advantage over "squawk VFR." On top of being non-standard, ambiguous, and too cute by half, it even takes longer to say. $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2018 at 14:22

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