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Questions tagged [phraseology]

For questions about standard words, phrases, and abbreviations used by pilots and ATC in aviation radio communications. (More general questions about aviation-specific words, phrases, or definitions used outside of radio communications should usually be tagged [terminology] instead.)

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14 votes
2 answers
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 ...
reirab's user avatar
  • 19.5k
3 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the difference between fuel exhaustion and starvation?

Is there any technical difference between fuel exhaustion and starvation? And what does it mean if a pilot says he has a "fuel shortage"?
eduardoguilherme's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
9k 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 ...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
  • 56.3k
14 votes
3 answers
6k 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?
Jason's user avatar
  • 373
22 votes
4 answers
6k 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 ...
jCisco's user avatar
  • 1,068
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the correct use of the verb "to leave," for exiting the runway?

What's the correct way to say, according to the phraseology; I will leave the runway; I will vacate the runway; or I will exit the runway?
eduardoguilherme's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
abelenky's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the difference between "amended" and "revised" clearances?

Reading the ICAO Phraseology Reference Guide I saw the term amendment applied to clearances, and I got a bit confused about how to differentiate it from a revised clearance. What does each one mean? ...
eduardoguilherme's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

What does the phrase “turnouts approved” mean?

What does the (apparently nonstandard judging by its absence in the Pilot/Controller Glossary) phrase “turnouts approved” mean when given in the context of a takeoff clearance?
Greg Bacon's user avatar
  • 5,710
21 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
CGCampbell's user avatar
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16 votes
6 answers
22k 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 ...
TomMcW's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
PilotGuy's user avatar
  • 193
1 vote
2 answers
401 views

What does the phrase from the FAA, "clear to maneuver" mean?

What, if anything, does the phrase, "clear to maneuver" mean if given by an FAA airspace controller?
charlie123's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
7k 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?
eduardoguilherme's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why are aircraft callsigns pronounced over the radio in a non-phonetic alphabet way?

Why is it numbers are not always pronounced in a phonetic way? For example a flight number of 2390 is pronounced "twenty-three ninety" instead of "two three niner zero"
Devron's user avatar
  • 83
27 votes
5 answers
15k 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 ...
ryan1618's user avatar
  • 14.9k
5 votes
1 answer
379 views

Can we use the term CONTAMINATED RUNWAY for other meanings, such as: oil spill or debris on the runway?

Contaminated Runway is used to say that the runway surface area (25%) is covered by 3.0 mm or more of: water, slush, snow and ice. But is it also possible to use this term to say about: heavy rubber, ...
eduardoguilherme's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does STERILE RUNWAY mean?

When a pilot receives the message : THE RUNWAY IS STERILE, what is the meaning?
eduardoguilherme's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
477 views

Why do some towers reference departures by compass direction, others by leg of pattern?

Got my Private about 6 months ago, and I've always wondered - let's say I request a VFR departure to the South, with the active runway being, say, 2. Some towers will give my departure clearance in ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 547
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

What's the correct ATC phraseology to enter a nonpublished hold?

Before entering on a hold (stack), the ATC should instruct the turns and headings to be accomplished by the crew. If it is not printed on the charts, as on STARs, what is the correct phraseology to ...
eduardoguilherme's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
3k 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", ...
user12972's user avatar
  • 371
6 votes
2 answers
13k views

Can pilots use PAN PAN Medical, even if they were not on MedEvac mission?

If there is a medical emergency on board, on a passenger or crew member, will the crew be cleared to use PAN PAN/MAYDAY MEDICAL on their R/T? Is there any DOC in which regulates these phraseology?
eduardoguilherme's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
4k views

Where can I get an list of ATC phraseology terms in Spanish?

I'm considering flying in a Spanish-speaking country and would like to have a passing familiarity with how to communicate with ATC in Spanish. Is there an ATC English-to-Spanish dictionary?
Mike's user avatar
  • 452
26 votes
3 answers
120k 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.
garyv440's user avatar
  • 2,177
2 votes
4 answers
14k views

What is the meaning of “American 755, turn right, heading 320"?

I am studying a text entitled Unmanned Aircraft Systems. How can we simplify the instruction in quotes so that it is more understandable and can be understood by a nontechnical. Please note I am not ...
Mehdi Haghgoo's user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
9k 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 ...
Sherwin's user avatar
  • 261
16 votes
3 answers
31k 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 ...
singwukgwu's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
608 views

What are good resources for learning more about communications? [closed]

As title says, which book/web site/etc.. are available for learning proper communication (for Private Pilot License)?
ak7483's user avatar
  • 163
14 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
flyinghigh's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is the meaning of these slang terms used in ATC?

I have heard some slang terms used mainly by ATCs: follow the black holes taxi not too deep how is your ride What do they actually mean and are there others?
Eduardo Guilherme's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
5k views

May I enter Class C airspace if I'm told "remain VFR"?

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 ...
Greg Bacon's user avatar
  • 5,710
6 votes
4 answers
4k views

When to turn base at towered airport?

When at a towered airport and instructed to make "left pattern for runway 3," am I supposed to wait for the base leg turn until tower clears me for landing? This seems to be the norm, but I can't ...
David's user avatar
  • 334
76 votes
4 answers
99k 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 ...
End Antisemitic Hate's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
22k 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?
pmoubed's user avatar
  • 2,035
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

What does "traffic in position..." phrase mean?

Recently heard the phrase "traffic in position..." issued by controller to one of the pilots, just wondering, what could it mean?
barmatat's user avatar
  • 497
30 votes
2 answers
23k 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?
CGCampbell's user avatar
  • 11.1k
9 votes
2 answers
6k 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 ...
falstro's user avatar
  • 11.8k
11 votes
2 answers
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: ...
woliveirajr's user avatar
36 votes
7 answers
53k 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 ...
MDMoore313's user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
8k 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 ...
user2105469's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
7k 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 ...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
  • 56.3k
10 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
falstro's user avatar
  • 11.8k
16 votes
1 answer
8k 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 ...
Josh Anderson's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
Lnafziger's user avatar
  • 59k
31 votes
3 answers
74k views

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

In Airplane there is a famous sequence: ...
Jason's user avatar
  • 809
16 votes
1 answer
35k views

What is "clearance delivery" meant for?

I was recently having a conversation where the term "clearance delivery" popped up, and was talking about his time flying into PHX, but in all of my time flying, I've never heard of the term before! ...
Qantas 94 Heavy's user avatar
28 votes
5 answers
40k 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/...
Danny Beckett's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
33k 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 ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 2,610
45 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
falstro's user avatar
  • 11.8k

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