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.

Air Terms and Aviation Glossary AGL . distance.. "Squawk" Followed by a squawk code or function button on the transponder.Airman's Information Manual .. .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.Automatic Direction Finding via automated radio.Altitude indicator. "Ident" ATC request for a pilot to use his aircraft transponder identification feature (usually an IDENT button)."Caution: wake turbulence" This call from ATC advises the pilot of the potential for encountering wake turbulence from departing or arriving aircraft. ADF . 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"). Shows the roll and pitch of the aircraft. "Proceed direct" You may turn to the direct heading of your destination (often followed by this heading). Displays the aircraft's altitude above sea level. You should report altitude." Usually followed by the direction and distance of the traffic. as a measurement of altitude above a specific land mass. AI .Above Ground Level. taking off. landing. "Report position" The controller wants to pinpoint your position relative to the airport.Attitude direction indicator. ADI .Automatic flight control system that provides inputs to the fight controls to assist the pilot in maneuvering and handling the aircraft.A primary FAA publication whose purpose is to instruct airmen about operating in the US airspace system. climbing. Unless otherwise instructed. "Go around" Pilots receiving this transmission should abandon their approach to landing. ATC issues individual squawk codes to all aircraft within radar service in order to differentiate traffic. "Watch for Traffic. "Extend Downwind" While this may seem obvious. AFCS . VFR aircraft executing a go around should overfly the runway while climbing to pattern altitude. Keep course and scan for other traffic. 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. then enter the traffic pattern by way of the crosswind leg. AIM . and direction. This helps the controller to confirm an aircraft identity and position. descending. 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. Aileron . Usually used by ATC once you've been vectored clear of other traffic in the area. AFT . and differentiated from MSL. "Frequency change approved" You've reached the edge of the controller's airspace and may change your radio to your next frequency. Additional instructions from ATC may then follow. In all likelyhood you're going to have a long final. or taxiing to your destination.Referring to the rear of the aircraft.

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

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

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

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

to counteract ("trim") aerodynamic forces on the main control surfaces. Also referred to as "needle & ball" indicator. resulting in a loss of velocity and an abrupt drop. aka Torsion. 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. Because an air speed indicator indicates true air speed only under standard sea-level conditions. curved tube. one engine out VY = Best Rate of Climb Speed VYSE = Best Rate of Climb Speed.Velocity . Stabilizer .Class G Airspace. Turn & Bank Indicator .The weight of crew. baggage. passengers.Landing practice in which an aircraft does not make a full stop after a landing. TAS .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. and pressure.Too shallow a bank in a turn.Sink.0 mHz) used at uncontrolled (nontower) airports for local pilot communication. B. such as with a turning propeller. Skid . especially in a glide in still air under given conditions of equilibrium.Primary air-driven gyro instrument. Useful Load .True Air Speed.Universal Communication .Too steep a bank in a turn. (2) A maneuver initiated by the steep raising of an aircraft's nose. Trim Tab .A small. Sinking Speed . one engine out . causing an aircraft to slide inward from its ideal turning path. adjustable mechanically or by hand. Slipstream . V . but proceeds immediately to another take-off. Torque . Thrust .A twisting. C. UNICOM . Slip . causing an aircraft to slide outward from its ideal turning path. Squawk Code . the needle as the gyro's pointer and a ball encased in a liquid-filled.True Air Speed . may also provide air traffic control with an aircraft's altitude.The speed at which an aircraft loses altitude. Uncontrolled Airspace .Used in defining air speeds. airspace not designated as Class A. the movable part being the elevator. causing it to drop. and ballast. a combined turn indicator and lateral inclinometer to show forces on an aircraft in banking turns. generally excluding emergency or portable equipment and ordnance. true air speed is usually calculated by adjusting an Indicated Air speed according to temperature.(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. auxiliary control surface in the trailing edge of a wingform. fuel. Touch-and-Go . Transponder . density.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. gyroscopic force acting in opposition to an axis of rotation.The flow of air driven backward by a propeller or downward by a rotor. D or E.The fixed part of a horizontal airfoil that controls the pitch of an aircraft.A four-digit number dialed into his transponder by a pilot to identify his aircraft to air traffic controllers. Stall . Opposite of drag.

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

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