ATC phraseology

From FlightGear wiki
Revision as of 13:39, 15 May 2014 by Elgaton (Talk | contribs) (Clarified the usage of "line up and wait" and the scenario when a takeoff clearance is issued without asking the a/c to align first)

Jump to: navigation, search

This page lists some common phraseologies used in the communication between pilots and ATC.

For a detailed tutorial in ATCing, please take a look at the ATC Tutorial.


  • Abbreviation: aff



Contact me. Usually ATC asks you to make contact after you've done something or you are ready to do something.

Cleared for takeoff runway two-eight-left

You are cleared for takeoff from runway 28L. Only this sentence (and really nothing else) gives you clearence for takeoff from the said runway.

If the word immediate is added (eg. Cleared for immediate takeoff runway 28L), you are only cleared for takeoff if you are able to do so within a very short time. Usually traffic is coming in on the same runway, so do not enter the runway if you are not ready for takeoff in this case.


  • ATCs may issue this clearance even if you're not still on the runway. In that case, you are authorized to enter the runway, align and then take off - there is no need to ask/wait for a clearance to "line up".

Cleared to land runway two-eight-center

You are cleared to land at runway 28C. Only this sentence (and really nothing else) gives you clearence to land at the said runway. Always make a visual check to see if the runway is really clear!

Climb and maintain eight-thousand feet

  • Abbreviation: c/m.

Climb to 8000 ft and hold that altitude until further instructions are given.

Descend and maintain eight-thousand feet

  • Abbreviation: d/m.

Descend to 8000 ft and hold that altitude until further instructions are given.

Hold short

  • Abbreviation: h/s.

You are cleared to taxi to a certain location, but you should wait at the designated point. This can be a runway entrance, or a taxiway crossing. As soon as you reached the designated point, you inform the ATC that you are "Holding short".

Initiate missed approach

For some reason ATC wants you to abort the landing; there might be traffic on the runway. Immediately abort your landing and follow the missed approach procedure appropriate to your aircraft. Usually the ATC will give some instructions like altitude and heading. As you have to redo your approach, you are requested to contact approach again.

Line up and wait runway xx

Enter the runway, position yourself in the center and await further clearance. This is not an authorization to take off.


  • "Line up and wait runway xx" is used only when ATC can not issue a takeoff clearance immediately (e.g. because there is still traffic on the runway). Controllers must not use this command unless needed.
  • The phrase "(taxi into) position and hold" is no longer used.


  • Abbreviation: neg


One orbit to the left

Make a circle to the left and then continue on the original heading. ATC may tell you to do so if a little more spacing between you and the aircraft in front of you is required.

Report established

Tell the ATC once you are established.


  • Abbreviation: rgr

I received your information.

Say again

Repeat your last message.

Will Comply

  • Abbreviation: wilco