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ATC phraseology

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Revision as of 14:57, 16 May 2014 by Elgaton (Talk | contribs) (Added phraseology up to the approach phase)

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This page lists some common phraseologies used in the communication between pilots and ATC. Items in italic need to be replaced by the relevant information; lists are dialogues between the pilot and the controllers.

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

General

Phraseology Meaning Remarks
Affirmative (abbreviation: affirm) Yes
Negative No
  • callsign, contact station on frequency
  • Contact station on frequency, callsign
A controller asks the pilot to change radio frequency and contact another controller; the pilot acknowledges the instruction and then changes frequency. If the new controller does not respond, change to the previous frequency and inform ATC.
Roger I received your information This sentence should not be used in case a readback (repetition of the message you heard, for safety reasons) is required.
Wilco Will comply This sentence should not be used in case a readback (repetition of the message you heard, for safety reasons) is required.
Say again Please repeat your last message
Standby Please wait Often said by a controller because (s)he's busy at the moment
Correction Disregard what has been said immediately before (as it's erroneous) and replace it with the words that follow. Example: Callsign, taxi to holding point runway 22 via N – correction, via A means: Callsign, taxi to holding point runway 22 via A.
Unable, reason The pilot is not able to execute the instruction given by a controller for safety reasons.

Clearance

Phraseology Meaning Remarks
  • Station, callsign, stand stand, aircraft type with information code, request IFR clearance to destination
  • callsign, station, cleared to destination, SID departure, squawk code
  • Cleared to destination via SID, squawk code, callsign
Used by a pilot to ask which SID he is going to use for departure. This is not an authorization to take off.
  • callsign, request pushback
  • callsign, pushback approved facing direction
  • Pushback approved facing direction, callsign
The pilot asks for permission to pushback (be pushed away from the stand by a tug). At the end of the maneuver, the aircraft should be headed direction.
  • callsign, request startup
  • callsign, startup approved
  • Startup approved, callsign
The pilot asks for permission to start up the engines.

Taxi

Phraseology Meaning Remarks
  • station, callsign, stand stand, request taxi
  • callsign, station, taxi to holding point via full list of taxiways
  • Taxi to holding point via full list of taxiways, callsign
The pilot asks for authorization to taxi; the controller authorizes him to taxi to an holding point, reached which the pilot should stop and ask/wait for further instructions. Refer to an updated aeronautical chart to know taxiway names.
  • station, callsign holding short runway number at intersection
  • callsign, cross runway number at intersection
  • Cross runway number at intersection, callsign
The pilot needs to cross a runway and asks the ground controller for permission; the ground controller obtains a clearance from Tower (not reported here) and authorizes the pilot to cross.
  • callsign, hold short of position
  • Will hold short of position, callsign
The ground controller asks the pilot to stop at position (a taxiway entrance, runway crossing...). As soon as the pilot reaches the designated point, (s)he must inform the controller that the aircraft is "holding short".
  • callsign, hold position
  • Holding position, callsign
The ground controller asks the pilot to stop immediately/maintain the current position.

Remark: the controller might ask you to follow an aircraft or to perform a maneuver after another aircraft has cleared the way (conditional clearance). In that case, (s)he will say "After the aircraft type...".

Takeoff and departure

Phraseology Meaning Remarks
  • Callsign, line up and wait runway number
  • Line up and wait runway number, callsign
The tower controller instructs the aircraft to enter the runway, position itself in the center and await further clearance.
  • This is not an authorization to take off.
  • This sentence 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.
  • Callsign, wind is heading at speed knots, runway number, cleared for takeoff
  • Cleared for takeoff runway number, callsign
The controller authorizes the aircraft to take off.
  • This is the one and only clearance that gives a pilot permission to take off.
  • If you are holding short of a runway, this clearance also gives you permission to enter it and align. The controller does not need to tell you to line up and wait beforehand.
  • If the word immediate is added, 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.
  • Callsign, hold position, cancel takeoff, I say again cancel takeoff due to reason
  • Holding position, callsign
The controller cancels the existing takeoff clearance. This form is used when the aircraft has not started the takeoff roll yet.
  • Callsign, stop immediately!
  • Stopping, callsign
The controller cancels the existing takeoff clearance. This form is used when the aircraft has already started the takeoff roll.

Climb, cruise, descent

Phraseology Meaning Remarks
  • Station, callsign, passing current altitude, climbing (descending) to altitude, other ATC clearances assigned
  • Callsign, station, radar contact, (squawk new squawk code), (new clearances)
The pilot has just been transferred to another controller and contacts him/her announcing the current altitude, the altitude (s)he was cleared to and any other ATC clearances previously assigned (SID/STAR, etc.). The controller identifies the aircraft on the radar screen, announces so and, if needed, assigns a new squawk code/issues further clearances. New clearances/squawk codes should be assigned only if needed.
  • Callsign, climb (descend) and maintain new altitude.
  • Climb (descend) and maintain new altitude, callsign.
Climb (or descend) to new altitude and hold it until further instructions are given. Flight levels below FL100 should be referred to as two digit numbers (to avoid confusion with headings).
  • Callsign, turn left (right) heading new heading.
  • Turn left (right) heading new heading, callsign.
The aircraft is instructed to turn left/right to another heading. The pilot must execute the turn according to ATC instructions, even if it's not the most direct way.
  • Callsign, proceed direct fix/navaid.
  • Proceeding direct fix/navaid, callsign.
Proceed along a straight line towards fix/navaid.

Approach and landing

Phraseology Meaning Remarks
x x x

Emergency communications

Phraseology Meaning Remarks
x x x

External links