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Old 07-04-2005, 2:20 PM
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Default Pilot vocabulary lessons

Hello,

Could someone kindly direct me to a place that explains what pilots are saying when talking with the tower.

I understand what "heavy" means, full compliment oif passengers. I dont know what "romeo, hotel", etc etc means. Is there a resource that explains it abit??

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-04-2005, 3:03 PM
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Well, this is actually a very in depth subject as the pilot/controller glossary is very big, but I'll list most of the common ones used here. If you have any questions that I don't answer, feel free to ask or PM me and I'll answer any you have.

As far as Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel,...
That's the international phononic alphabet, If an Aircraft has a registration issued by the FAA like N74DW, then it would be called into Tower or anyother controller as "Seven, Four, Delta, Whiskey." most times after the initial call they will shorten it to just "four, Delta Whiskey." Most places will use the type aircraft plus the call sign. "Pilatius, Seven, Four, Delta, Whiskey." is a Pilatius aircraft with the registration of 74DW.

Now "Heavy" doesn't exactly mean a full load. The use of the word "Heavy" has a much more important role, Who cares If he has a full load of people? (unless it's an emergency.) what we as pilots and controllers care about is how much the "Heavy" Aircraft weighs. See, the more heavy an aircraft gets the more turbulance/Vortices (In generial terms) it causes in it's wake, a "Heavy" aircraft weighs more then 250,000lbs and requires special handeling when comming in to land or take off. Usually more spacing behind it, because we don't want a smaller aircraft comming in behind it and getting the ever living crap shooken out of it, or worse!

Some others you may hear;
VFR = Visual Flight Rules, pertains to weather and flight regulations.
IFR = Instrument Flight Rules, (see above)
VOR = Very High Omni-Directional Range, a navigation aid
Intersection = A point where 2 or more radials cross from VOR's, or a GPS waypoint used as an intersection.
DME = Distance Measuring Equipment, self-explanitory
ILS = Instrument Landing System

I can go on forever almost, but this should get you started. If you have a specific question as to a specific conversation please feel free to ask it by either PM'ing me or here on the forms. This is only a sample of what is out there as far as things that are said and conversations between pilots and controllers so ask away.

Kevin
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Old 07-04-2005, 3:05 PM
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Heavy means in excess of 250,000 pounds.

When pilots call the tower and say a word like ALPHA, BRAVO, etc, they are saying they have listened to an up to date weather broadcast on a discrete frequency. Alpha, Bravo, etc is the phonetic pilot alphabet. When planes call the tower, they say what weather broadcast they listened to. Broadcasts change every hour, so every hour they are assigned a different phonetic letter. Say a weather broadcast starts with the letter ALPHA. An hour later, it will become BRAVO, then CHARLIE, etc. It just lets controllers know that the pilot has the most up to date weather. The weather broadcast is over the ATIS frequency. If you have any more questions, just ask since I'm a pilot.

Sorry if this explanation is confusing, it's sort of hard to explain on a computer.
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Old 07-04-2005, 3:08 PM
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Here is a good place to get started in understanding the National Airspace System. This is used as a Tutorial for a Virtual Air Traffic Control thing that NASA is working on but it's all fairly accurate as to how things work and should give you a good understanding of this very complex subject.Virtual Skies Air Traffic Control

Now what "KCChiefs9690" is saying is anytime an aircraft comes around 20-30 Nautical Miles from an airport that has a tower and they will be talking to approach, arrival, or the tower controllers, the pilot will listen to the ATIS information (Automatic Terminal Information Service) now this really isn't just weather. It "terminal information" It will tell the incomming pilots: weather, ANY hazards, What runways and approaches (Visual, ILS, VOR.) are in use, any frequencies that might be different then normal, really just any information that the pilot might need to know about his arrival at that airport. At the begining and End of the ATIS trasmission there is a designator Alpha, Bravo,... this way when the pilot calls the Feeder controller or Local Controller the controller knows the pilot has the info. If the pilot doesn't get the ATIS he can say "Negitive Information." and the Controller will give any purtinant info and usually the Altimeter setting.

You might here it as;
Pilot = "Denver Approach, United 1536 Heavy, Descending through one five thousand for ten thousand, with golf."
Controller = "United 1536 Heavy, Denver Approach, Roger, Expect Vectors for the ILS 34 left approach."

or

Pilot = "Denver Approach, United 1536 Heavy, Descending through one five thousand for ten thousand, Negitive Info."
Controller = "United 1536 Heavy, Denver Approach, Roger, Altimeter 30.15, ILS 34 left Approach Lights are out of service, expect vectors for the ILS 34 left approach, caution birds in the area."

Kevin
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Old 07-04-2005, 4:17 PM
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wow, great feedback. Thanks guys.

the more I listen, the more I want to understand. thanks again.
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Old 07-04-2005, 5:36 PM
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when an ATIS reads: "Monroe Tower Information Mike, 2317 zulu....."

mike is different sometimes, sometimes tange, delta, bravo, etc... why what what does a different letter mean?
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Old 07-04-2005, 6:02 PM
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Default Aviation vocab

On the ATIS, the different letter designation means there's new info or the info has been updated. ATC goes from Alpha to Zulu then start over. They usually update the ATIS every hour but updates occur more frequently with weather changes, runway changes, etc.
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Old 07-04-2005, 6:06 PM
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The different names come from updated info. Thats how the contorlers know if the pilots have the new info. Depending on how the weather is, the name should change every hour. If the weather is bad you should hear a new update every half hour.

Heres some info on D-ATIS
http://www.sasflightops.com/dlk/atis.html:shock:

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Old 07-04-2005, 6:40 PM
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oh so if you hear Bravo when u check ATIS, and u check it again and its Charile, means its new info? and if its Delta, you missed an update?
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Old 07-04-2005, 6:47 PM
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Quote:
oh so if you hear Bravo when u check ATIS, and u check it again and its Charile, means its new info?
Yes, it means it has been updated.



Quote:
and if its Delta, you missed an update?
You haven't necessarily MISSED an update since you are not required to check it every hour. You only listen to ATIS while landing, taking off, or are in the vicinity of an airport. It simply lets the controller know that you have the current weather. Ex: If you say "I have ATIS info DELTA", and the current ATIS is ECHO, the controller will tell you to listen to ATIS to get the most up-to-date weather.
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Old 07-05-2005, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abqscan
The different names come from updated info. Thats how the contorlers know if the pilots have the new info. Depending on how the weather is, the name should change every hour. If the weather is bad you should hear a new update every half hour.

Heres some info on D-ATIS
http://www.sasflightops.com/dlk/atis.html:shock:

Erik
It's important to note that, D-ATIS is not the same as Terminal ATIS. D-ATIS is transmitted over ACARS (Aircraft Communicating and Reporting System) and allows an aircraft with ACARS capabilities to receive Weather and ATIS information from a Distance, so an aircraft in California as example can get ATIS information from Chicago, We use D-ATIS for planning purposes and to inform passengers If you ever fly commercial and the Captian or his Proxy tells you the weather at your arriving airport before you're ever off the ground, or still in cruse flight then he got the infomation over D-ATIS.

Terminal ATIS is gotten locally by radio or by phone, around 0-50 miles from the airport, and should impact you right then and there at that time, not saying you can't get D-ATIS and use it for Terminal because you can. There is a difference between the 2 though.

For D-ATIS, yes it is updated every Hour and in changing conditions it's every 30mins. For Local/Terminal ATIS it's updated every hour, if the conditions warrent a change the controller will issue an amendment and they can re-issue a "Special" ATIS at anytime. Usually this is if weather is changing very rapidly, Some examples would be;
Wind Direction changes in excess of 45 degrees in less than 15 minutes.
Tornado/Funnel cloud ex...
Aircraft Mishaps on the runway.
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Old 07-05-2005, 7:30 PM
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The best way to decipher aviation terms is to listen, listen, listen, and listen some more and it will eventually make since. That's how i learned even before starting to fly. If your airport has an observation point or you can get close take the ole scanner along and put words with actions. It can be very enjoyable. I second all the "Heavy" comments. You take an empty Boeing 777 with only fuel on board and sit it next to say a Boeing 737-700 full of people and cargo the "Triple Seven" will still be designated heavy and the 737 will not. It's all a matter of how much the empty weight is. In this case 250,000Ibs. Have fun.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:29 PM
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Default FAR/AIM

Just head on down to a local bookstore, typically the larger chain stores, and purchase the FAR/AIM (Federal Aviation Regulations/Airman's Information Manual). It's a white, red and blue paperback book, about 2" thick, in the 'transportation' section. Everything you ever wanted to know and then some is in there. It's updated every year.
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Old 07-09-2005, 7:35 PM
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Ok, I think these may be two different things, but I have never gotten a straight answer on exactly what this means:

Sometimes i hear the controller tell the pilot to "fly the numbers"; what is this?

Also I have also heard pilots told to fly "directly accross the numbers"; are they talking about the numbers on the end of the runway?

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The best way to decipher aviation terms is to listen, listen, listen, and listen some more and it will eventually make since.
I agree, and I also bought a how to get your pilot license book which helped tremendously too. The hardest thing I have figured out so far was an approach called the showboat approach. It referenced a large casino called the show boat, but it was bought years ago and the name was changed to the cast-a-way, and that has been closed for serveral years :!: I figured it out after talking to a local who used to frequent the showboat. I was driving in that area of town one day and there were tons of planes flying right down the street to the cast-a-ways. Then it made perfect sense :idea:
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Old 07-09-2005, 9:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJ_NORTON
The hardest thing I have figured out so far was an approach called the showboat approach. It referenced a large casino called the show boat, but it was bought years ago and the name was changed to the cast-a-way, and that has been closed for serveral years :!: I figured it out after talking to a local who used to frequent the showboat. I was driving in that area of town one day and there were tons of planes flying right down the street to the cast-a-ways. Then it made perfect sense :idea:
It's definitely worth picking up the relevant charts for your area either from a local pilot shop or from someplace like sportys.com. Depending on what kind of chart you get, those will have landmarks called out with the names that the controllers would likely use. So it's possible that on the chart, that building is still labelled 'showboat'
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Old 07-11-2005, 6:14 PM
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Don't forget about facilities that only have AWOS.
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Old 07-12-2005, 1:32 AM
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Sometimes i hear the controller tell the pilot to "fly the numbers"; what is this?

Also I have also heard pilots told to fly "directly accross the numbers"; are they talking about the numbers on the end of the runway?
The second one; "Fly directly accross the numbers." Yes, this means for the pilot to fly across the numbers on the ends of the runways.'' This first on; "fly the numbers." I'm not exactly sure what they mean by this, I can't say I've ever heard it. I would say that it probably means the same as number one, only the controllers use it more at that particular airport so they have shortened it. If you're listening to a military airport they tend to have different sayings sometimes and it could be something like the pilot is on an ASR (airport servellance radar.) or PRM (Pricision runway monitoring.) approach and the controller want the pilot to fly the depicted altitudes and headings exactly. It's unknown to me right now, I might be able to help you out a little more if I knew what airport, because he could also be talking about a specific ground or air check point in that area. Which leads me to the next topic.

Quote:
It's definitely worth picking up the relevant charts for your area either from a local pilot shop or from someplace like sportys.com. Depending on what kind of chart you get, those will have landmarks called out with the names that the controllers would likely use. So it's possible that on the chart, that building is still labelled 'showboat'
I would agree that charts would be a very good way of figuring out what is around your area. I would say however, hold your money. Most pilot shops and local FBO's(places you can learn to fly/rent a plane from) have stacks and stacks of old out-dated charts, (when I say out-dated, I mean by a couple of months.) usually you can go to one of these places and ask for an old sectional chart for the area because you like to fly flight simulator and want an actual chart. It's really no skin off there backs to let a couple of "out-dated" charts go. Now, with the whole terror scare someplaces might be a little more un-willing to let them go but it's worth a shot, it could save you $8.00 a chart plus shipping if you get it from somewhere like sporty's. or send me a PM with the airport of interest, I have hundreds of them from all over and have a bunch of connections. I'm sure between us we have what you want. I can't guarentee a VFR sectional, but I know we have IFR enroute charts up the @$$. Now, on that note. Not all checkpoints and waypoints are on charts. I happen to know of of bunch of places that use checkpoints that are not on sectionals (I can think of 8 right now, but there is way more.) and if you're familiar with the area then it should be fairly easy. Most are like "98CW report Tanks, for a 5 mile base to runway 28." which could mean nothing more then some big oil storage tanks or something that the pilot needs to fly over and report. Some can be tricky like the example 'Showboat,' if you didn't know that used to be a casino then you might be out of luck unless you talk to someone.
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Old 07-23-2005, 1:05 AM
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Default Fly The Numbers

Re: "Fly the numbers" if said by approach control refers to the S.T.A.R. Standard Terminal Arrival (Radar) if I recall...I should remember that, but fly the numbers would mean, no direct to this or that, fly the altitudes shown on your S.T.A.R. chart in front of you and leave me alone.....

It's a step-down of altitudes between different fixes in-order to keep all traffic coming-in at the same altitude and same speed when they cross over various fixes behind each other.

It can also be said for a departure sequence called a S.I.D. Standard Instrument Departure from major airports. "Fly the numbers" and leave me alone....I'm busy dealing with other traffic.

It's not likely a pilot flying the pattern at a small field would be told to fly the numbers, but could be construed to mean.....fly the altitudes in and around the airport listed on your chart in-order to avoid maybe radio towers, other airports, etc. I have never heard that though....

One other post mentioned that "Heavey" are aircraft weighing more than 255,000 pounds. Maybe it has changed, but I was flying jets referred to as "Heavey" if the empty weight of the aircraft exceeds 155,000 pounds, but will have to review that...maybe it has changed. My DC-8's I flew were the stretch DC-8's, weighing empty about 186,000 pounds but maxed-out at 355,000 pounds at take-off. "Heavy" is based on certificated empty weight of the aircraft, less cargo/passengers, and fuel.

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