In Avatar (2009), a man speaks to a pilot in a jet via radio:

MAN :Valkyrie 1-6, copy...Valkyrie 1-6, you are clear for de-orbit burn at 2-2-4-niner.

Pilot: Copy, Venture Star. Go for de-orbit burn at 2-2-4-niner.

What does "2-2-4-niner" mean?


1 Answer 1


It refers to the time 22:49 (10:49 PM). In radio phraseology, every digit of a number is generally pronounced separately, and the number 9 is pronounced as "niner" (see Why do English-speaking pilots and ATC say "Niner" instead of "Nine"?)

Often when referring to a specific time, only the number of minutes past the hour (in this case 49) are spoken, but the hour can be included as well in case there is any risk of doubt.

  • $\begingroup$ In US ATC all four digits are required. $\endgroup$
    – RetiredATC
    Jun 5, 2023 at 11:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @RetiredATC: check the 7110.65 2–4–17c4. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jun 5, 2023 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ "Abbreviated time. The separate digits of the minutes only." Thanks for the correction. I always used c1. I can't even remember ever seeing c4. $\endgroup$
    – RetiredATC
    Jun 5, 2023 at 23:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Should be "Too Too Fower Niner" $\endgroup$
    – Raffles
    Jun 7, 2023 at 21:17

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