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I want to learn the aviation alphabet, and when searching the Internet on how to, I see a plethora of approaches, so I thought of asking here!

If it's primarily opinion based, let me know.

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    $\begingroup$ The best way is probably to start off knowing the marine alphabet. Then it's trivial! $\endgroup$ – Toby Speight Oct 31 '18 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ The marine alphabet? Never heard of that... Why do you think that this will help @TobySpeight? $\endgroup$ – gsamaras Oct 31 '18 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ If it's anything like the Brooklyn Alphabet it's unprintable @gsamaras. $\endgroup$ – GdD Oct 31 '18 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ The marine radio alphabet is the NATO phonetic alphabet, so it's identical to the aviation radio alphabet. So if you already sail or otherwise use the sea, there's nothing new to learn (but some different pro-words, of course). $\endgroup$ – Toby Speight Oct 31 '18 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ Practice, practice... There is no shortcut or substitute for repetition. Read off signs and license plates while driving. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Oct 31 '18 at 18:08
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Presuming you're referring to the ICAO Alphabet* , (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, etc.) the easiest way (in my experience, from learning it as a disambiguator for phone work) is repetition, same way you learned the alphabet as a child, or the same way you'd memorize a poem. Get a written list of the letter names, read them through several times a day, and over time, start reciting without reading.

Do this several times a day for a week, you'll be close if not there. A second week and you should start to think in phonetic alphabet. A third week and you'll wonder why everyone doesn't think in phonetic alphabet.

*corrected from comments, originally International Phonetic Alphabet, which is a whole different thing.

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    $\begingroup$ Once you can recite it in order, practise by spelling out (in your head, if you're not alone) things you see in daily life. For example, if you drive, spell out each car number plate you follow. You might need a different source of letters if you're in a country where the plates are all-numeric, but I'm sure you can use some imagination... $\endgroup$ – Toby Speight Oct 31 '18 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ I think that I just figured out the next pick-up line for a girl.. "Wanna hear your name in Aviation Alphabet?"... Damn, I did that already for the lady I met on Saturday, got half of them correct, I think! :) $\endgroup$ – gsamaras Oct 31 '18 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ Billboards and road signs work as well as licence plates. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Oct 31 '18 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ @TobySpeight - that's exactly what I did! I did it so much, I still read them that way now. Even when I don't want to... :/ $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Oct 31 '18 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ The problem with billboards and road signs is that, while you'll pick up on echo and alpha pretty quick, it'll take you a while to learn juliet, quebec, x-ray and zulu... $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Oct 31 '18 at 16:36
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Cheatsheet

Study like it's schoolwork!

I've found that quizzing yourself in a similar way to studying for a test is the best way to learn. I've had to learn a few different alphabets for different reasons, but there's always good resources online. I'd recommend two tests that I always give to beginners.

Beginner Quiz: https://www.sporcle.com/games/g/alpha_en

Intermediate Quiz: https://abg.ninja/alphabet

Ignoring the childish UI, these are actually great ways. Begin with the first link, and type in all of the letters that you know. This will very quickly show you which ones you know, and which you don't. Once you've figured out the ones you don't know, check a chart, attempt to memorize them, and try the test again. Rinse and repeat until you've memorized it fully, and can do it an hour after looking at the chart (so the information isn't remembered solely for being fresh in your mind).

After you've done this, use the second link I sent you to improve your usage, and to string multiple letters together. Continue until you're comfortable.

It's incredibly helpful to read the letters out loud while doing these tests.

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  • $\begingroup$ That seems like a good idea. However, "The webpage at sporcle.com/games/g/alpha_en might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address.". In any case, the second one works, so +1. $\endgroup$ – gsamaras Oct 31 '18 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @gsamaras Glad I could help - webpage is there for me. Make sure you copy the entire link, including the "https://" and "www." $\endgroup$ – M28 Oct 31 '18 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ One thing. It is pronounced KAY-beck, not kwee-BECK. $\endgroup$ – John R. Strohm Oct 31 '18 at 22:23
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My favorite method for memorizing that kind of stuff is to create flash cards with a picture that can be associated with the word. You might have to use your imagination for find a suitable image for each letter, but once you do, the memorization efficiency goes way up.

Another option is to make flash cards with the letter and its phonetic word in a huge font so it takes up an entire page. You will find you are able to recall the "image" of the word more easily than just the information itself. I use that method for memorizing operating limitations where it's just a numerical value you have to store in your head.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have photographic memory, +1 $\endgroup$ – gsamaras Oct 31 '18 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ Off topic, but there is a neat method to memorize Morse code if you're so inclined. You create a list of phrases with a cadence that matches the letter.and memorize the phrases. For A, I used "A Chooo" dot dash... B is "Brown Choc-co-late" dash dot dot dot... C is "Charlie Charlie" dash dot dash dot... D is "Dag nabbit!" dash dot dot... E is "Eh" dot... F is "Funny Handle" dot dot dash dot. and so on. Not that much practical use to be sure. $\endgroup$ – John K Oct 31 '18 at 21:45
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I can recommend the (free) site http://radioalphabet.com/, specifically the Flash Cards tab. It provides you with a word, listed vertically with an input box besides each letter, and requires you to write the second and third letter of the word for each letter (which are unique amongst the words). It then automatically jumps to the next box, allowing you to practice quickly recalling the words for each letter.

After you have used it for a little, the Statistics tab provides you with hit and miss rates for each letter, so you can know which ones to focus on memorizing. I personally schedule repetitions in my calendar, using the principle of spaced repetition learning mentioned in insysions answer, so I increase the time until next repetition if I get everything right.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's super!!! $\endgroup$ – gsamaras Oct 31 '18 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ @gsamaras: Glad you like it. :-D $\endgroup$ – Jacob Bundgaard Oct 31 '18 at 22:44
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Make drawings (it doesn't matter how good you can draw). Use whatever comes to your mind first. For example: for Charly I think of Charly Brown. For Mike its another comic figure called Mike, but unlike Charly he is very tall, so these two side by side look very funny. They together (funny view remember) are visiting Quebec in November...

... where they meet Romeo and Juliet who are dancing Tango.

Take just a few at a time. Make each of them tell a little story. Stick them where you can see them several times a day. Bathroom for example.

If your brain has something to visualize its more likely that you will remember.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you story teller! $\endgroup$ – gsamaras Nov 1 '18 at 9:53
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I had the same problem. The easiest way to me to remember all the letters is with the car plates. It's fun and also keeps you practice the alphabet without a specific order, that's important too.

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Spaced repetition learning. E.g. https://www.memrise.com/course/31682/nato-alphabet-3/

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    $\begingroup$ It's best to explain further rather than just providing a link, in case the link is inaccessible. $\endgroup$ – fooot Oct 31 '18 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ I disagree that this is a link-only answer. The fundamental answer is "use spaced repetition", a well-known learning technique which one can easily find information about once they know that's what they're looking for. A detailed description of that general learning technique is probably out of scope for a site about airplane stuff. $\endgroup$ – Sneftel Nov 1 '18 at 13:20

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