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163 votes

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

The difference here isn't between ships and aircraft: it's between Morse code and voice. The SOS signal is only for Morse code. It's short, easy to send, and easy to recognise. But it's not as ...
Dan Hulme's user avatar
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64 votes

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

I'm a controller, not a pilot, so I can only speak from my own perspective. What we are taught in ATC school is that many pilots are reluctant to use the word mayday because they feel it might ...
60levelchange's user avatar
47 votes
Accepted

Why would a pilot request that ATC dim the runway lights?

That is quite a normal request. Runway lights can be extremely bright because they need to be visible through fog during daylight to provide lateral guidance during take-off and roll-out. See this ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.5k
44 votes
Accepted

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

You report unable, and ATC will come up with a different plan. To provide some context: If I ask you to expedite a vertical manoeuvre, it is probably because you are on crossing tracks with another ...
60levelchange's user avatar
42 votes
Accepted

When should a pilot use the word "takeoff?"

The word "Takeoff" should only be used when clearing somebody for takeoff, acknowledging your takeoff clearance, or cancelling/acknowledging a cancelled takeoff clearance. "Departure" should be used ...
Jon Story's user avatar
  • 10.4k
39 votes

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

Short answer Charlie-Charlie is a fancy substitution for a standard affirmative. It comes from the convention of abbreviating Correct/Yes by letter C in codes. It was early standardized and used at ...
mins's user avatar
  • 74.5k
37 votes

When told "call sign only" in a frequency change, how to transmit it?

You always start a communication with the intended receiver, so in this case it would be London Approach, BAW211. What the controller is telling BAW211 is that London Approach has the relevant details ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
37 votes
Accepted

What “slang” do pilots and controllers use to refer to a “hard landing”?

Pilots often refer to hard landings using terminology usually associated with carrier landings, such as "welcome aboard" or "caught the 3-wire" or something similar. One of the ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
36 votes
Accepted

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

It means you've been allocated a block altitude - you can fly whatever altitude you want between 7000 ft and 8000 ft. Typically this would be something you'd request, e.g. to practice unusual ...
pericynthion's user avatar
  • 4,640
35 votes
Accepted

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?

The most obvious thing to me would be to just talk to them: Medevac 123, this is the Diamond on base for 31, do you need to expedite your departure? If they say no, then just continue and land as ...
Pondlife's user avatar
  • 71.8k
33 votes
Accepted

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

"Zero seven five seven" is the correct way to state the time, pronouncing each digit separately per the table below. Aircraft call signs are sometimes grouped instead of annunciating each digit, for ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.4k
31 votes
Accepted

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

There isn't really an official protocol, beyond the conventions everybody uses out of habit. Just pick the most prominent landmark, building or chart-labeled zone you can find or think of. The ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
28 votes

What is the difference between “affirm” and “acknowledged”?

"Acknowledged" means I heard you & understood what you said & I take responsibility for the information you just gave me. "Affirm" and its opposite, "negative," ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
27 votes

Untowered communication when abeam the airport

Simple: don't fly at position B. Seriously, off the departure end of an untowered airport is the wrong place to be. Don't be there. Instead fly over midfield at least 500' above pattern altitude, ...
Nate Vaughan's user avatar
24 votes

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

When transmitting time, only the minutes of the hour are normally required. However, the hour should be included if there is any possibility of confusion. Time checks shall be given to the nearest ...
60levelchange's user avatar
23 votes
Accepted

When do pilots actually use ‘wilco’?

When instructed to report something. ATC: Cimber 626 turn left heading 120, cleared ILS approach runway 09, report established Pilot: Heading left 120, cleared ILS approach runway 09, WILCO, Cimber ...
60levelchange's user avatar
23 votes

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

Runway 03 R would be pronounced as Runway Zero Three Right As ever, although British, I thoroughly recommend CAP 413 the UK's Radio Telephony manual: https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/...
Dan's user avatar
  • 9,308
22 votes

Can we use MAYDAY or PAN PAN on ground?

Yes, it is correct to use MAYDAY or PAN PAN PAN on the ground. In recurrent training we are often reminded that in the case of a rejected takeoff in a foreign country it is important to use MAYDAY ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
22 votes
Accepted

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

I have never heard "tally ho" used in civilian aviation and it not a recognised phrase so should not be used. A civilian ATCO would not think positively about anyone using that phrase. It used to be ...
Simon's user avatar
  • 31.3k
21 votes
Accepted

Flight Levels shall be transmitted by pronouncing each digit separately. And how should be FL200 transmitted?

Your confusion is understandable, since, back in 2016, a number of countries changed this phraseology as ICAO published the 7th edition of Annex 10. In the EU specifically, EU regulation 2016/1185 ...
60levelchange's user avatar
21 votes

What is the exact meaning of "manoeuvring" when said by ATC in reference to traffic?

I haven't been able to find a precise definition in either the CAA or the FAA's materials. However, as I understand it, traffic that's "maneuvering" is traffic that's not going anywhere in ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

Responding to another aircraft without knowing their radio call sign

Non-towered airports are a bit less "by the book" than towered airports in general. More important than strict protocol and the stress that can bring upon new pilots, the most important ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.4k
20 votes
Accepted

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

From the AOPA: Flying into a Mode C Veil Without a Transponder For flying into a Mode C veil without an operable transponder, the pilot needs to telephone the appropriate radar facility ...
DLH's user avatar
  • 5,809
19 votes
Accepted

How is the ATC language structured?

I don't know about a formal structure, but ground to air and air to ground communications usually follow the 3-W or the 4-W rule. For air to ground communication - use the 4-W rule: Who the ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.9k
19 votes
Accepted

Can an issued landing clearance be replaced with "continue approach"?

The example is correct, except that the landing clearance for stack 1 must be cancelled before the takeoff clearance is given to stack 88. The logic is that only one aircraft can ever be cleared to ...
60levelchange's user avatar
19 votes

When told "call sign only" in a frequency change, how to transmit it?

You always include the identifier of the addressee, so London Approach, Speedbird 211. This triggers the air traffic control officer, who may be mentally busy with something else, to listen. If the ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.5k

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