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Last night I was left downwind, abeam the tower, on my second circuit of the pattern. The controller said “helicopter xyz, cleared for the option runway 24, to the numbers”. I already had been given a restriction to stay east of rwy 18; as there was an airplane in right traffic there. What is the significance of “to the numbers” in this clearance? Is he just telling me not to land long?

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Typically it's phrased as "direct to the numbers" and means you should proceed in a straight line from your present position to where the runway numbers are painted on the pavement. This instruction can be issued to fixed-wing aircraft as well, but perhaps not from as wide a range of starting positions. It relieves you of any previous restrictions.

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    $\begingroup$ Ok, I see this described elsewhere as nonstandard phraseology for “make short approach” $\endgroup$ – John Hutchinson Feb 20 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edit @Pondlife, I must have been pretty tired when I wrote that $\endgroup$ – pericynthion Feb 21 at 18:04

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