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For example, the CNERY transition,* how exactly is this pronounced? On the VATSIM community, it seems there's a huge debate on what this is called. Some people say CONNERY, and some people say SCENERY. I personally say SCENERY since it makes more sense, but what is the most proper one? And is there a place where we can find pronunciation of such things?

Like another one is SCTRR transition which some people say SCOOTER, some people say SCATTER.

* CNERY transition is part of KLAX's DOTSS TWO DEPARTURE.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi and welcome. I recommend editing the question to include where those transitions are located, it will help get you the answers. $\endgroup$
    – ymb1
    Feb 24 '19 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! You mentioned that you've heard the real-world pronunciation, so I'm not sure what additional information you're asking for. Are you looking for some sort of pronunciation guide for waypoint names? And the tour may be helpful if you're new to StackExchange. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Feb 24 '19 at 1:31
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    $\begingroup$ I think @IAmNoobPilot is asking for the correct one, maybe doesn't know that both are correct and used? $\endgroup$
    – Jihyun
    Feb 24 '19 at 1:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Jihyun Oh both is correct? thank you! $\endgroup$ Feb 24 '19 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ I've only taken classes at uni so far, but for my pilot and leadership studies in rotc whenever case studies with such terms come up as long as it's widely accepted, understandable, and sensible they are usable. this is only on my personal experience, that's why i framed my earlier comment as a question because there are far more knowledgeable people who will know this for sure ;) $\endgroup$
    – Jihyun
    Feb 24 '19 at 17:25
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Page 9 of this FAA handbook includes pronunciations for the Cleveland/Detroit Metroplex:

Pronunciation table

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting, do they publish these for other areas? $\endgroup$ Jan 4 at 3:41
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    $\begingroup$ Nice find - thanks for posting that! $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Jan 4 at 4:26
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It would be nice if there were an authoritative, canonical, source for these sorts of waypoints, but sadly, I don't think one exists. I say that because I hear controllers sometimes using a different set of vowels or syllable emphasis "today" than they did "yesterday". If there were a single "right" way to verbalize CNERY or SCTRR, I'd expect ATC to have them all down. But in plenty of cases beyond those two, it remains unclear.

For example, the JFRYE arrival into Dallas -- is it the "Jeffrey" or the "J-Fry" arrival? You hear both from Ft Worth Center all the time.

My conclusion: no cannonical source exists.

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If a word was used to choose a pronounceable 5-letter designator (name-code), it would not be documented. (There are many pronounceable name-codes that don't mean a thing – in both English and the local language.)

ICAO Annex 11 (Air Traffic Services) Appendix 2 says:

4.2 In printed and coded communications, only the coded designator or the selected name-code shall be used to refer to a significant point.

So don't expect to find any mention other than the 5-letter code, which has to be pronounceable for some fixes:

For the USA, Order 8260.19H says:

Pronounceable fix names. Except as stated in paragraph 2-10-5.a(3), all fix names serving any IFP must be pronounceable.

Which Annex 11 points out as:

Where a significant point is required at a position not marked by the site of a radio navigation aid, the significant point shall be designated by a unique five-letter pronounceable "name-code". This name-code designator then serves as the name as well as the coded designator of the significant point.

XKCDQ would not be a pronounceable name, but CNERY would. If you did not comprehend whatever name the controller used, say you're flying in a new area with little traffic around you (prior comms to/from other traffic help you in anticipating things like that), you can simply ask the controller, "Say again in phonetic alphabet."

Sometimes the airspace designers come up with funny sequences though, e.g., see: Anybody know the reason for the ‘Star Wars’ themed STARs into KATL?


(All emphasis mine.)

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for pointing out that requesting the spelling is always a valid request $\endgroup$
    – Florian
    Feb 24 '19 at 15:47
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There is no single "correct" pronunciation for fix/waypoint names. The only rule is that the pronunciations must be unambiguous with respect to all other nearby names. For CNERY, jf one controller says "Scenery" and another says "Connery", and neither is ambiguous, then both are arguably correct. Heck, I'd even accept "Canary"; maybe the local fixes are named after birds but CNARY was already in use elsewhere.

As a practical matter, pilots should read things back the same way the controller said them. The point of communication is to be understood, so as long as that's happening, the details aren't important.

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No canonical source exists because the regs do not require one, the local ARTCC facility is actually responsible for making sure there are no "similar sounding fixes" which is why there may be local pronunciation lists but as per the regs:

Five-letter names that are assigned by the Mission Support, Terminal Procedures and Charting Group and major commands will be coordinated with the associated ARTCC to preclude similar sounding fix names.

You can find the full order on how fixes are named here which tells us that they merely must be pronounceable:

A single five−letter pronounceable combination serves as the fix name, assigned identifier and computer code. If a new fix is to be collocated with an existing navigation aid, ILS marker, way point, or other type fix, the original name or name−code applies to both.

So the fix names must be unique according to the local facility and subsequently the local pronunciation.

Some notes on what I have actually experienced flying:

  • If the fix name seems ambiguous to pronounce the controller will spell it
  • Controllers generally dont mind if you confirm one by spelling it
  • If you mis-heard a fix and type it into foreflight while getting you IFR read back its usually 1000 miles off course and obviously wrong (thats why there is a 300NM radius for names)
  • If you fly near Philly enough you are bound to get assigned Piper XXXXX decent to tree thousand cleared into the bravo and no matter who much wiz wit' you get when you land there is no number tree

In line with the above note about hearing it wrong, this is why pre-flight chart perusing is key, and why pop up clearances can be tricky. On a recent IFR flight from VA to CT I had a mid route clearance change near Allentown due to weather and traffic, the controller spelled at least half of the fixes over the radio for me...

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  • $\begingroup$ According to the FAA (which I believe follows ICAO exactly?), numbers are pronounced as follows: wun, too, tree, fow-er, fife, six, seven, ait, niner. But in the USA only "niner" is used with regularity, in my experience. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jan 4 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ @randomhead indeed niner is proper radio telephony $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Jan 4 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ ...as are "tree" and "fife," according to the 7110.65 table 2–4–1. But hardly anyone actually says that in the US. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jan 4 at 17:10

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