Air Traffic Control Common Phraseology

"Cleared to taxi" When told by ground control or tower that you are cleared to taxi, the controller has given you instruction to taxi along taxiway centerlines according to taxiway markings. It is important to repeat all controller instructions and runway crossing instructions, as you may be told to "hold short" of a specific runway and wait for further instructions. "Position and hold" The tower expects you to taxi onto runway centerline and maintain a stopped position while the aircraft in front of you gains separation or clears the runway. It is important that, prior to crossing the hold-short lines, you verify your instructions, verify runway of use, and scan extended final for traffic. "Cleared for takeoff" The tower controller is the only authority to clear you for takeoff at a controlled airfield. Repeat back your takeoff clearance and call sign, as well as scan final for traffic. The tower may request other specific instructions, so listen closely to your takeoff clearance. "Enter closed traffic" The tower has acknowledged the pilot's intention to perform successive operations involving takeoffs and landings or low approaches where the aircraft does not exit the traffic pattern. "Cleared for the option" When you are cleared for the option you have been given permission to either do a touch-and-go, make a low approach, missed approach, stop and go, or full-stop landing. If requesting this clearance, the pilot should do so upon establishing downwind on a VFR traffic pattern. "Cleared touch-and-go" When authorized by the tower, the touch-and-go procedure allows the pilot to land on the runway, reconfigure the airplane and perform a takeoff to re-enter the traffic pattern. If requesting this approach the pilot should do so upon establishing downwind on a VFR traffic pattern. "Cleared low approach" A low approach clearance allows the pilot to perform a simulated emergency landing or normal landing down to the runway environment (100' AGL) and then perform a go-around to re-enter or depart the pattern. If requesting this approach you should do so upon establishing downwind on a VFR traffic pattern. "Cleared stop-and-go" A stop-and-go clearance allows the pilot to land on the runway, come to a full stop, and then takeoff on the remaining length of runway. The pilot must be aware of runway lengths and takeoff distance requirements. This procedure can be beneficial in keeping costs lower when performing night currency. If requesting this clearance the pilot should do so upon establishing downwind on a VFR traffic pattern. "Cleared to land" When given clearance to land the tower has authorized you to land on the runway in use. The phrase "cleared to land" gives you immediate use of that runway, unless the tower advises that you are in sequence for landing ("number two to land, number three, etc..."). After advising approach or tower that you are inbound for landing at your destination you do not have to make any further request for clearance to land. "Land-and-hold-short" The land-and-hold-short procedure requires the pilot to perform an accurate landing on the runway so that the pilot can stop the aircraft before reaching an intersecting runway, intersecting taxiway, or construction area. If you are unable to comply with landand-hold-short operations, you may request clearance for a different runway. "Make Short Approach" Used by ATC to have a pilot to alter their traffic pattern so as to make a short final approach. If unable to execute a short approach, simply tell the ATC so. "Parking with me" Under normal conditions you would exit the runway at the first available taxiway, stop the aircraft after clearing the runway, and call ground control for instructions if you have not already received them. If the controller says "parking with me", he or she has given you clearance to taxi to your destination.

ADF . you should immediately scan for it with "Looking for traffic" and report back to the controller whether you have the aircraft in sight or not. Aileron . For example: "8081G is five miles southwest of the airport at one thousand two hundred feet" "Expedite" ATC would like you to hurry up whatever it is that you're doing. Unless otherwise instructed. AFT . .Automatic Direction Finding via automated radio. "Report position" The controller wants to pinpoint your position relative to the airport. taking off.Above Ground Level. "Squawk" Followed by a squawk code or function button on the transponder. climbing.. AIM . VFR aircraft executing a go around should overfly the runway while climbing to pattern altitude. distance. "Go around" Pilots receiving this transmission should abandon their approach to landing.Automatic flight control system that provides inputs to the fight controls to assist the pilot in maneuvering and handling the aircraft. This helps the controller to confirm an aircraft identity and position. descending. Air Terms and Aviation Glossary AGL . and differentiated from MSL.Attitude direction indicator."Caution: wake turbulence" This call from ATC advises the pilot of the potential for encountering wake turbulence from departing or arriving aircraft.Altitude indicator. Shows the roll and pitch of the aircraft. You should report altitude. AFCS .The movable areas of a wingform that control or affect the roll of an aircraft by working opposite one another-up-aileron on the right wing and down-aileron on the left wing. then enter the traffic pattern by way of the crosswind leg." Usually followed by the direction and distance of the traffic. ATC issues individual squawk codes to all aircraft within radar service in order to differentiate traffic.Airman's Information Manual . as a measurement of altitude above a specific land mass.. "Frequency change approved" You've reached the edge of the controller's airspace and may change your radio to your next frequency. the controller wants you to continue straight on your downwind until he or she tells you to turn base (often followed by "I'll call your base"). Usually used by ATC once you've been vectored clear of other traffic in the area. "Proceed direct" You may turn to the direct heading of your destination (often followed by this heading). AI . landing. Additional instructions from ATC may then follow. "Ident" ATC request for a pilot to use his aircraft transponder identification feature (usually an IDENT button).A primary FAA publication whose purpose is to instruct airmen about operating in the US airspace system. ADI . Displays the aircraft's altitude above sea level. and direction. "Watch for Traffic.Referring to the rear of the aircraft. or taxiing to your destination. "Extend Downwind" While this may seem obvious. In all likelyhood you're going to have a long final. Keep course and scan for other traffic.

A method of an automatic flight control system which controls primary flight controls to meet specific mission requirements. indicated airspeed. ATC . ARCID .Automated Terminal Information Service usually containing vital information on wind direction.The primary aircraft angles in the state vector.An onboard instrument which registers velocity through the air. nacelles. A lighting system installed on the approach end of an airport runway and consists of a series of lightbars. Approach Speed . ALT . providing lateral guidance to a radio station. pressure readings. Attitude Indicator .The barometric pressure reading used to adjust a pressure altimeter for variations in existing atmospheric pressure. AGR . usually in knots. fairings.Straight-line distance from the aircraft to a point on the ground.Approach light system. or a combination of the two that extends outward from the runway end. Equipment that determines bearing to a radio station. AOPA . Altimeter .The shape of the wing when looking at its profile.Height of an aircraft. ALS . ATA .A basic guidance mode. As opposed to ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) used in filing a flight plan. usually with respect to the terrain below. APP . cowlings. Airframe . ATIS . As opposed to ETD (Estimated Time of Departure) used in filing a flight plan.The angle between the chord line of the wing of an aircraft and the relative wind. strobe lights.The speed of an aircraft relative to its surrounding air mass. Attitude .Actual Time of Departure. Airspeed Indicator .Aircraft Identification. and yaw. roll.A service operated by the appropriate authority to promote the safe.Air Traffic Control . and active runway assignment for that particular airport. Different from ground speed.Automatic Direction Finding . Angle of Attack . .Actual Time of Arrival.Approach (Control).A primary sensor-based navigation data source. AO .Short term for Altitude. Annual .The fuselage. ADF . Airspeed .An onboard instrument which senses air pressure in order to gauge altitude. ATD . pitch.A vacuum powered instrument which displays pitch and roll movement about the lateral and longitudinal axes.Air-Ground Ranging . Altimeter Setting .Aircraft Owner and Pilot's Association. Usually a teardrop shape.Aeronautical Information Service. and airfoil surfaces of an aircraft. See: calibrated airspeed. Altitude .The recommended speed contained in aircraft manuals used by pilots when making an approach to landing. orderly. and expeditious flow of air traffic.ADC . velocity. Autopilot . booms.Air Data Computer .Aircraft Operator. true airspeed. Airfoil . AIS .Mandatory inspection of airframe and power plant that occurs every 12 months.

Federal Air Regulations.A stall in the takeoff configuration with power.The measurable distance between the leading and trailing edges of a wingform. Dead Reckoning .A frequency designed for the purpose of carrying out airport advisory practices while operating to or from an airport without an operating control tower. corrected for position and instrument error.Clear Air Turbulance. ETA . AVGAS . B.The heights above the earth's surface of the lowest layer of clouds or obscuring phenomena that is reported as "broken. elapsed time.Common Traffic Advisory Frequency .Descending flight with engine and propeller stopped. CAT ." or "obscured".Distance Measuring Equipment. oil.The process of estimating one's current position based upon a previously determined position. and course. CAS . and E airspace. . D. Controlled Airspace . C. A commercial operator supplying fuel.The resisting force exerted on an aircraft in its line of flight opposite in direction to its motion. The CTAF may be a UNICOM. CAVU . Ceiling .The movable part of a horizontal airfoil which controls the pitch of an aircraft. and other services at an airport. and advancing that position based upon known speed. CTAF . as well as its groundspeed and time to/from the station. maintenance. DME .Estimated time of departure.An airspace of defined dimensions within which air traffic control service is provided to IFR flights and to VFR flights in accordance with the airspace classification.The indicated airspeed of an aircraft.The convex or concave curvature of an airfoil. Camber . the static balance point. Bernoulli Effect . Crabbing .The longitudinal and lateral point in an aircraft where it is stable.The weight of an engine exclusive of any fuel. FAR . FSS.Estimated time of arrival. flight training.Center of Gravity . and coolant. FBO . or tower frequency and is identified in appropriate aeronautical publications. ETD . Drag . Dry Weight . Chord . Controlled airspace is a generic term that covers Class A.A rotorcraft flight condition in which the lifting rotor is driven entirely by action of the air when the rotorcraft is in motion. a radio navigation device that determines an aircraft's distance from a given ground station. CG .A panel instrument providing a gyroscopic reading of an aircraft's compass heading.Fixed-Base Operator.Aviation Gasoline (piston aircraft fuel).Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited. the fixed part being the Stabilzer. Multicom. Elevator . Departure Stall ." "overcast.Autorotation . Deadstick . Deviation (Magnetic) . CAS is equal to true airspeed in standard atmosphere at sea level. Directional Gyro . or fix. ideal flying weather.Airflow over the upper surface of an airfoil causes suction (lift) because the airstream has been speeded up in relation to positive pressure of the airflow on the lower surface.Calibrated Airspeed . as in a landing approach.The error of a Magnetic Compass due to inherent magnetic influences in the structure and equipment of an aircraft.A rudder-controlled yawing motion to compensate for a crosswind in maintaining a desired flight path.

temperature. Flight Envelope .or high-winged aircraft because its wings are closer to the ground. then gliding to earth. airfoils do not "float" on air. FSS . Fuselage . and assist lost aircraft.Said of an aircraft's control cabin which has all-electronic. atmospheric density. including fuel. distance from clouds.but are "pulled up" (lifted) by low air pressures trying to equalize.080').Air traffic facilities which provide pilot briefing.Instrument Landing System. aka Takeoff Weight. Gross Weight .A control wheel maneuver performed moments before landing in which the nose of an aircraft is pitched up to minimize the touchdown rate of speed. and passengers. satellite-based navigation.A direct instrument reading obtained from an air speed indicator uncorrected for altitude. in most single-engined airplanes.An unpowered aircraft capable of maintaining altitude only briefly after release from tow.Flap . Glider .Tower control.9mph. by radioed instructions from air traffic control. passengers. cargo. Flare . tail and.Instrument Flight Rules. IFR .One nautical mile. Compare calibrated airspeed and true airspeed. digital and computer-based. Ground Speed .Specified information relating to the intended flight of an aircraft. .Global Positioning System.A movable.like a boat hull floats on water .The force exerted on the top of a moving airfoil as a low-pressure area [vacuum] that causes a wingform to rise.General Aviation . A radar-based system allowing ILS-equipped aircraft to find a runway and land when clouds may be as low as 200' (or lower for special circumstances). filed orally or in writing with an FSS or an ATC facility. specifically the curves of speed plotted against other variables to indicate the limits of speed.15 statute miles (6. ILS . It affects a low-winged aircraft more than a mid.Meteorological conditions expressed in terms of visibility. enroute communications and VFR search and rescue services. one component of an instrument landing system (ILS).An aircraft's performance limits. it combines the aircraft's airspeed and the wind's speed relative to the aircraft's direction of flight.That portion of civil aviation which encompasses all facets of aviation except air carriers holding a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Civil Aeronautics Board and large aircraft commercial operators. or instrument error. engine are attached. IAS . Knot . Glass Cockpit .The total weight of an aircraft when fully loaded.Indicated Air Speed . Flight Plan . designed to increase lift or drag by changing the camber of the wing or used to slow an aircraft during landing by increasing lift. IMC . Lift . rapidly replacing dead reckoning methods. (2) A tightly-focused radio beam transmitted from the approach end of a runway indicating the minimum approach angle that will clear all obstacles.An aircraft's main body structure housing the flight crew. and cargo and to which the wings. of aircraft ground movements at an airport. as is often assumed .The actual speed that an aircraft travels over the ground�its "shadow speed".Flight Service Station .(1) The angle between horizontal and the glide path of an aircraft. governing flight under instrument meteorological conditions. about 1. and ceiling less than minimal specified for visual meteorological conditions (VMC). Glide Scope . instrumentation. Ground Effect . Ground Control .Instrument Meterological Conditions .Increased lift generated by the interaction between a lift system and the ground when an aircraft is within a wingspan distance above the ground. altitude. GA . eg: 125kts = 143. usually hinged airfoil set in the trailing edge of an aircraft wing. GPS . and acceleration that a particular aircraft cannot safely exceed.

Lift-Drag Ratio . Load Factor . perforated.The height above sea level at which an aircraft with normal rated load is unable to climb faster than 100' per minute under Standard Air conditions.The lift coefficient of a wing divided by the drag coefficient. Flying an entire pattern is called a 'Circuit'. foglike cloud layer. coaxial tube that measures the static pressure.Precision Approach Radar. the up-and-down movement. Rudder . resulting in a sideways movement from a projected flight path.Non Directional Beacon . as the primary measure of the efficiency of an aircraft. capable of calibration to compensate for magnetic influences within the aircraft. PIC . used as a reference for elevations. Pitot Tube .The pilot responsible for the operation and safety of an aircraft during flight time. working in conjuction with a closed.Compass course + or .The path of aircraft traffic around an airfield.More accurately but less popularly used. LORAN . MF. at an established height and direction. .a unit of force equal to the force of gravity times one.Pilot in Command . and differentiated from AGL.The proportion between lift and weight commonly seen as g (sometimes capitalized) .Lighter-than-air craft.Acronym in FAA pilot briefings and weather reports simply means an "aviation routine weather report". Service Ceiling . METAR . Pitot-Static Tube.The movable part of a vertical airfoil which controls the YAW of an aircraft. this specifies the vertical action. At tower-controlled fields the pattern is supervised by radio (or. Roll . Scud .An accessory that produces and distributes a high-voltage electric current for ignition of a fuel charge in an internal combustion engine. aka wet compass.Of the three axes in flight. a ground-radar-based instrument approach providing both horizontal and vertical guidance. NDB . a small tube most often mounted on the outward leading edge of an airplane wing (out of the propeller stream) that measures the impact pressure of the air it meets in flight. located near 71° North latitude and 96° West longitude.deviation.The most common liquid-type compass. the fixed part being the fin.A low. Pattern . MAG . calibratable compass floating in a liquid as a panel instrument.Magneto .A non-electronic. aka L/D ratio. Includes helicopters and gyroplanes.A movement of an aircraft in which a relative flow of air moves along the lateral axis.A heavier-than-air aircraft that depends principally for its support in flight on the lift generated by one or more rotors. Pitch . PAR . MSL .An LF. Magnetic Course . Liquid Compass .Mean Sea Level. this specifies the action around a central point. generally referring to powered blimps and dirigibles. in non-radio or emergency conditions by red and green light signals) by air traffic controllers. Rotorcraft . The average height off the surface of the sea for all stages of tide. but often also includes free balloons. Magnetic North .Of the three axes in flight.The magnetic North pole.Utilizes timing differences between multiple low-frequency transmissions to provide accurate latitude/longitude position information to within 50'. that attracts a magnetic compass which is not influenced by local magnetic attraction.Long Range Navigation System . Sideslip . especially a downward slip toward the inside of a banked turn. or UHF radio beacon transmitting non-directional signals whereby the pilot of an aircraft equipped with direction finding equipment can determine his bearing to or from the radio beacon and "home" on or track to or from the station. Magnetic Compass . LTA .

one engine out .Too shallow a bank in a turn. curved tube. a combined turn indicator and lateral inclinometer to show forces on an aircraft in banking turns.True Air Speed . Trim Tab . Skid . TAS . Stabilizer . resulting in a loss of velocity and an abrupt drop. listed below: VA = Maneuvering Speed (max structural speed for full control deflection) VD = Max Dive Speed (for certification only) VFE = Max Flaps Extended Speed VLE = Max Landing Gear Extended Speed VLO = Max Landing Gear Operation Speed VNE = Never Exceed Speed VNO = Max Structural Cruising Speed VS0 = Stalling Speed Landing Configuration VS1 = Stalling Speed in a specified Configuration VX = Best Angle of Climb Speed VXSE = Best Angle of Climb Speed.A common radio frequency (usually 121.(1) Sudden loss of lift when the angle of attack increases to a point where the flow of air breaks away from a wing or airfoil. density. airspace not designated as Class A. Squawk Code .Universal Communication . adjustable mechanically or by hand. and pressure. D or E. but proceeds immediately to another take-off. Also referred to as "needle & ball" indicator.True Air Speed. one engine out VY = Best Rate of Climb Speed VYSE = Best Rate of Climb Speed.Landing practice in which an aircraft does not make a full stop after a landing.The driving force of a propeller in the line of its shaft or the forward force produced in reaction to the gases expelled rearward from a jet or rocket engine.0 mHz) used at uncontrolled (nontower) airports for local pilot communication.Used in defining air speeds. gyroscopic force acting in opposition to an axis of rotation.A small. especially in a glide in still air under given conditions of equilibrium. Slipstream . Sinking Speed . and ballast. to counteract ("trim") aerodynamic forces on the main control surfaces. true air speed is usually calculated by adjusting an Indicated Air speed according to temperature. Stall .The flow of air driven backward by a propeller or downward by a rotor. B. Uncontrolled Airspace . V .A twisting.Sink. may also provide air traffic control with an aircraft's altitude. the needle as the gyro's pointer and a ball encased in a liquid-filled.The weight of crew. causing it to drop. Because an air speed indicator indicates true air speed only under standard sea-level conditions. Useful Load .The speed at which an aircraft loses altitude. fuel. (2) A maneuver initiated by the steep raising of an aircraft's nose. generally excluding emergency or portable equipment and ordnance.A four-digit number dialed into his transponder by a pilot to identify his aircraft to air traffic controllers. baggage. such as with a turning propeller.Velocity . causing an aircraft to slide outward from its ideal turning path. C.Primary air-driven gyro instrument. auxiliary control surface in the trailing edge of a wingform. passengers. Torque . Opposite of drag.Too steep a bank in a turn. Touch-and-Go .The fixed part of a horizontal airfoil that controls the pitch of an aircraft. Transponder . aka Torsion. UNICOM . the movable part being the elevator. Thrust .Class G Airspace.An airborne transmitter that responds to ground-based interrogation signals to provide air traffic controllers with more accurate and reliable position information than would be possible with "passive" radar. Slip . causing an aircraft to slide inward from its ideal turning path. Turn & Bank Indicator .

The VOR periodically identifies itself by Morse Code and may have an additional voice identification feature. distance from clouds. hourglass-shaped metal tube. Venturi Tube . VOR .A system of lights on the side of an airport runway that provides visual descent guidance information during the approach to a runway.The control wheel of an aircraft. VFR . Yaw . akin to a automobile steering wheel .VHF OmniRange .Vertical Speed Indicator.A ground-based navigation aid transmitting very high-frequency (VHF) navigation signals 360° in azimuth. VMC .VASI . Now outdated by more sophisticated means. Also used by pilots and controllers to indicate a specific type of flight plan.Of the three axes in flight. and ceiling equal to or better than specified minima.Visual Flight Rules that govern the procedures for conducting flight under visual conditions. The term is also used in the US to indicate weather conditions that are equal to or greater than minimum VFR requirements. usually set laterally on a fuselage in the slipstream to create suction for gyroscopic panel instruments. Yoke .Visual Meteorological Conditions . Voice features can be used by ATC or FSS for transmitting information to pilots.Expressed in terms of visibility. as in skewing. A panel instrument that gauges rate of climb or descent in feet-per-minute (fpm).Visual Approach Slope Indicator . Also called the Rate Of Climb Indicator. on radials oriented from magnetic nort.A small. this specifies the side-to-side movement of an aircraft on its vertical axis. VSI .