The following items must always be read back:

  1. ATC route clearances;
  2. clearances and instructions to enter, land on, take off from, hold short of, cross or backtrack on any runway; and
  3. runway-in-use, altimeter settings, SSR codes, level instructions, heading and speed instructions, and, whether issued by the controller or contained in Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) broadcasts, transition levels.

In the definition it goes on like this: Other clearances or instructions, including conditional clearances, must be read back. What do I have to obtain from these "other clearances or instructions" I think it is the really broad term?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Side note: Please do not create extra tags just for the sake of it. radio-communications already existed, no need to add "atcpilotcommunication" and "radiotelephony" - they're the same thing! $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ @VolkanEroğlu The disturbance is that you create unnecessary tags which make it much harder for other people to find the questions they are looking for. Please have a look at the tagging help page. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 14:53
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, this is a self-policed community, so it's up to everyone to help enforce community standards, especially the community-elected moderators (notice the ♦ after @Jamiec's user name - he's a moderator) . Don't consider this an "angrily delivered life lesson", but a polite introduction into how the StackExchange communities work. It might help if you take the tour and read through the help center to get a flavor of how the place works and what the expectations are. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ Lighten up cadet, this isn't a "disturbance", he's just helping you understand how this site works by kindly and respectfully pointing out redundant tags. We all have a right to correct each other. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall I am cool Aged Wolf thanks and everyone has some cadet years, right? :) Okay guys, We have some misunderstanding here then, I'll be careful for next post and thanks for your advice ! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


Generally speaking, you should read back all clearances, instructions and warnings. You may in some cases not need to read back information, unless it is safety critical (for example QNH).

One of the only instructions I can think of that you do not need to read back is an instruction to report something (report passing 5000 feet, report established, report overhead XYZ). A proper reply to an instruction to report something would be "WILCO". But in all other cases, if ATC directly instructs you to do something, it should be read back.

  • $\begingroup$ Hey @J.Hougaard. My other question to you; transition level has to be readback, transition altitude also has to be read back? You know, transition level, layer, and altitude is a different part of airspace, and requirements are different(for example you set QNH if you descent from TL, you set QNE if you climb from TA) thanks in advance. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ Transition altitude is almost always fixed (does not change). So no real reason to read it back. But since transition level changes based on QNH it can change several times a day, so it is important to read back to make sure you have the right one $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @J. Hougaard $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 19:37

It really is overly broad. It is so for a reason. The civil aviation authorities like the FAA would like you to read back almost every instruction given to you by ATC. Some instructions they want you to read back almost verbatim. You have listed most of these instructions in your question. This is to ensure completeness and accuracy. It is the redundant step for ATC to check if their instructions were received and understood.

Remember, some nonstandard instructions may be given in a nonstandard format. Those instructions still need to be verified. As an example, ATC has requested a number of nonstandard things of me to provide adequate spacing for slower aircraft landing ahead of me. Anything from doing right 360s on a left downwind to S-turns on final or slow flight on approach. I would either have to respond with a read back of the instructions or the word “unable”.


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