Questions tagged [phraseology]

Questions about standard words and phrases used by pilots and ATC in radio communications

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
66
votes
3answers
68k views

Why do English-speaking pilots and ATC say “Niner” instead of “Nine”?

Besides the fact that it's now a standard, why do American-English-speaking pilots and ATC say "Niner" instead of "Nine"? None of the other numerals are pronounced in an atypical fashion. For what ...
60
votes
4answers
26k views

Why do airplanes use MAYDAY when in danger but ships send SOS?

I thought SOS means "save our souls", but apparently it doesn't. But ships send SOS when in danger and they used Morse code. Why do airplanes use MAYDAY?
43
votes
2answers
4k views

What does it mean when the controller uses the word “request”?

I recently had the opportunity to fly a PAR approach into Büchel Airbase in Germany. It was a ton of fun and I'll definitely try it again when I get the chance. However, as we were getting set up for ...
35
votes
7answers
34k views

Why is the total count of people on a plane given as the number of 'souls' on board?

Why don't they just say 'people' on board, why souls? What is the origin of this term? I'm thinking it comes from sailing as I think I've heard that term in reference to crews out at sea, but I'm not ...
31
votes
4answers
8k views

Why are there many pilots who don't say “mayday, mayday, mayday” to declare an emergency?

I've been listening to some ATC from some major commercial pilots and in every video where there's been some confusion about declaring an emergency they've used some terminology other than "mayday, ...
31
votes
3answers
63k views

“What's our vector, Victor?”: What does this mean?

In Airplane there is a famous sequence: ...
28
votes
2answers
15k views

What does “CC (Charlie Charlie)” mean when pilots reply to ATC?

I heard a pilot replied "CC" to ATC instruction. I can't remember the exact situation, but does anyone knows what it means?
27
votes
1answer
2k views

At a non-towered airport in the US, what should I do if I hear a medevac flight waiting to take off while I'm turning base?

I'm in the left downwind at my favorite non-towered airport. Just while I'm making the turn to base, I hear a radio call on CTAF: "Such-and-such Traffic, Medevac 123, holding short runway 31." They ...
27
votes
5answers
32k views

When should the term “pan-pan” be used instead of “Mayday”?

FAAO JO 7110.65, §10-1-1 states that "pan-pan" can be used to indicate a state of urgency: a. An emergency can be either a Distress or an Urgency condition as defined in the "Pilot/...
26
votes
5answers
10k views

When should a pilot use the word “takeoff?”

I've been taught before that the word "takeoff" should only be used when reading back a clearance, and that when requesting a clearance pilots should advise "ready" or "ready for departure." Here's ...
26
votes
1answer
8k views

What does Top 1% mentioned by ATC refer to?

I have watched Live ATC tons of time. But I still don't know which airline is called "Top 1%". Ex: Delta 81 right Bravo right Kilo give way to company A380 and follow the Top 1%". Just wanna know ...
25
votes
2answers
18k views

What does ATC mean when they refer to “company”?

Listening to LiveATC there are references by various ATC entities (towers, approach, etc) to "company". To what does this refer?
23
votes
3answers
71k views

What do the callouts “approaching minimums” and “minimums ” mean?

When landing, what exactly do the phrases "approaching minimums" and "minimums" mean in a commercial jet aircraft, when heard from the onboard cockpit voice.
23
votes
2answers
6k views

Can we use MAYDAY or PAN PAN on ground?

Usually we read, on reports, aircraft reporting urgency or emergency during the flight, while airborne. But, is it correct to use these "words" on ground?
21
votes
4answers
4k views

When using the phonetic alphabet, for airways, should we say Uniform or Upper?

Listening some RTs, I heard ATCos reporting airways, for example: UL65, UPPER LIMA 65. But the phonetic alphabet says UNIFORM. Why do they say like this, please? Is there any manual in which we can ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

What to do if expediting your ascent or descent is impossible/unsafe?

As a pilot of a small single engine plane, what do we do if ATC instructs us to expedite our climb/descent and doing so would be impossible or unsafe (i.e. we're already at the maximum safe rate of ...
21
votes
1answer
5k views

What does it mean when ATC says climb maintain 7000, block 8000?

I understand the climb and maintain, but what does block mean?
19
votes
3answers
5k views

How is the ATC language structured?

Is the content of spoken communications used by air traffic control and pilots defined as part of a rigorous language definition? Such as a morphological or lexical foundational system, or is ...
18
votes
2answers
6k views

When do pilots actually use ‘wilco’?

I know it means “I have understood the instruction and will comply.” However, any instruction that is a clearance, concerns runway use or contains altitude/level, heading, speed or squawk code ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What does 'intercept final' exactly mean?

I work as ATC in Korea. I have question about the exact meaning of the word 'intercept'. In FAA order 7110.65, 5-9-1 vector to final approach course, "vector to intercept the final approach course", ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I know how to describe my position on the airport when I contact ATC?

When asking for taxi clearance, a pilot must include his location when contacting ATC. However, I'm not quite sure exactly how to state your position in the airport. For example, I've heard some ...
15
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the correct way for pilots to say the time?

While listening to Air Crash Investigations, the pilots used the 24-hour format in a different way than we do. Example: 07:57 hrs would be said as oh-seven-five-seven hours (which makes it a little ...
15
votes
6answers
13k views

Are “Tally-ho” and “no joy” acceptable ATC terms for civil operations?

I keep meaning to ask this question. I heard "Tally-ho" used for the first time by a pilot on Liveatc.net. I know these are pretty standard phrases in military aviation but I wondered if civil pilots ...
15
votes
3answers
15k views

What does “radar contact” mean in ATC calls?

When ATC mention 'radar contact', what does that mean? In what conditions ATC might contact you and mention 'radar contact' in the call? and what would be the appropriate responses?
15
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the correct phraseology for "runway 03 R”?

What phraseology is normally used for "runway 03 R" by air-traffic control and pilots? A couple of possible options I came up with: runway zero three R runway three R runway zero three right runway ...
15
votes
1answer
7k views

How do you open and get a IFR clearance while in the air?

I once had a traffic controller give me a hard time about how I requested IFR clearance once in the air. I had previously filed an IFR flight plan, and took off from my untowered home airport. On ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do pilots say “clear of the active” at non-towered airports?

At the non-towered airport I fly at, pilots when clear of the runway always say "X Traffic, Skyhawk N123 clear of the active." Why not say the runway number? At a one-runway airport, I understand that ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

“<Callsign>, remain VFR” — may I enter Class C airspace?

During a flight yesterday, the approach frequency for a local Class C was unusually busy. I was heading back to an underlying Class D and the frequency finally quieted down enough for me to poke in a ...
14
votes
4answers
22k views

What do I request when contacting tower of an airspace I'm transiting over?

I'm a student pilot who has just begun dual cross-country with my instructor. However, he has not been explicit when I've asked him about radio comm with tower/approach/radio during the flight. If I ...
14
votes
2answers
6k views

How should I request an IFR approach at the end of a VFR flight?

Here's the scenario: The flight starts night VFR, with broken ceiling at destination (class C airspace) and expected to improve according to the pre-flight abbreviated briefing. I'm IFR certified but ...
14
votes
3answers
23k views

What are the differences between “ground stop”, “ground delay”, and “gate hold”?

I've heard several terms referring to air traffic control procedures that restrict movement for a certain period of time: ground stop, ground delay, and gate hold (plus others I'm sure I'm forgetting ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the “non-apologizing rule”?

I was reading some forum about funny ATC communications and one commentary was GXXXX: Request status of danger areas X1, 2 and 4 <Pause> London info: I don't recognise area number x124 GXXXX: ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the correct phraseology for changing the runway of a landing clearance?

In the liveATC clip on this YouTube video, an American Airlines 767 arriving at SFO (San Francisco International) had been cleared to land on 28R, but, apparently while already on final, was told to ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Can an issued landing clearance be replaced with “continue approach”?

Since the US handles the landing clearance differently, this is limited to Europe (EASA-land). From Eurocontrol: Continue Approach If the runway is obstructed when the aircraft reports ‘final’, but ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

How should the crew callout 1,000 ft. prior to assigned altitude?

When climbing or descending in a multi-crew cockpit, most SOP's require a verbal callout at 1,000 ft. prior to the assigned altitude. I typically hear different callouts by different people: "One ...
12
votes
5answers
4k views

Is “Tally-Ho” used in ATC radio communication, specifically in the UK?

This question Are "Tally-ho" and "no joy" acceptable ATC terms for civil operations? concerns the use of the phrase "Tally Ho" to mean "target in sight" in civilian air-traffic-...
12
votes
3answers
435 views

Is “Pull up and be ready” standard phraseology?

I was next in line (making IFR departure) just after a Bonanza departed, with about a dozen aircraft behind me. Tower called my number and said "pull up and be ready". I'm accustomed to "line up and ...
12
votes
3answers
8k views

How do I tell ATC that I don't have a transponder?

If my plane doesn't have a transponder and ATC tells me to squawk some transponder code, how should I respond? Is it just as simple as "I don't have a transponder"? This is for the United States and ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “square the base” mean?

I was flying the other day and heard tower say to another aircraft, "square the base". What does it mean, and when might a controller say this?
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What does it mean when ATC says “altitude indicates”?

I've noticed that ATC sometimes calls out traffic (a traffic advisory?) to aircraft using the "altitude indicates" phraseology, and sometimes a specific altitude is given without the phrase "altitude ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

How do pilots/controllers deal with overlapping transmissions on the radio?

A disadvantage of the analogue radio1 used for communication is that it does not receive when it transmits. Everybody is trained to wait until the frequency is quiet before starting to talk, but it's ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does a pilot want to hold a Squawk Code when leaving Class B airspace?

I was listening to liveATC today... Controller clears this guy into the class B for a transition and throws him a code. Some time passes and the pilot has now transitioned the bravo and is leaving the ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the origin for “squawk” having two different meanings in aviation?

In Aviation, a "Squawk code" is a common term for a "Transponder Code". "Squawk 2345 and Ident" But it is also commonly a way to report problems with an airplane. "After I landed, I Squawk'd the ...
10
votes
2answers
830 views

Why do pilots refer to the Flight Service Stations as “Radio” in the the United States?

When using an aircraft radio to call a Flight Service Station ("FSS"), why do pilots refer to them as "radio?" I understand calling control towers "tower", ground control "ground", Air Route Traffic ...
10
votes
1answer
940 views

Is the phrase “going missed” standard in the US?

The use of the phrase "going around" is specified by ICAO Doc 4444 as the phrase to use when we're aborting the landing and heading for another lap in the traffic pattern if we're on a visual or VFR ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How to request to fly on a flight level, different from the direction, according to the charts?

According to the direction, there are correct FL to fly, but due to weather, or traffic, the pilot would request a different FL, from the chart (according to the direction). Is there any correct ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Why do some pilots call a go-around an 'overshoot'?

A couple of months ago I was watching some Ice Pilots NWT re-runs, and I noticed they kept saying 'overshoot' when talking about a go-around. Is this standard Canadian phraseology? Or is it perhaps ...
8
votes
1answer
597 views

Is the phraseology in the early portion of the movie The Net realistic?

Bear with me for a moment; I know that this is based on a movie scene, but there's a real question at the end. Early in the 1995 movie The Net, there's a scene where a programmer is flying their ...
8
votes
1answer
302 views

How do I properly report sighting a drone or hobby UAV to ATC?

How would one go about reporting a drone (hobby UAV) sighted in the airspace of an airport on frequency, specifically to Tower? For example: I am doing patterns around the airport when to the ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the correct ATC phraseology in the US for an immediate - no delay takeoff?

Just wondering - what's the correct ATC phraseology for a takeoff where a plane does not stop first after lining up with the runway centerline before starting their takeoff roll? Redwood five-two-six-...