Video Fix: Air Traffic Control Phraseology

April 28, 2019 10:49 am



The ATC (Air Traffic Control) is a service whose main objective is to prevent collisions between aircrafts, in the airspace as well as in the airport’s manoeuvring areas, and more generally to maintain an orderly flow of the air traffic.

Some examples of ATC clearances and instructions are:

  • Clearance to maintain Altitude (FL), climb or descend
  • Fly in a certain direction (heading)
  • Increase/reduce speed
  • Increase rate of climb/descend (vertical speed)

Not only the phraseology but also a correct and unambiguous spelling of aircrafts’ names has to be assured. Usually for each letter of the alphabet there is a keyword, for instance: A-Alfa, B-Bravo, K-Kilo (KEY LOH: the first letter has to be always spelled fully is such cases, where the first letter could also be replaced by another one), L-Lima, N-November and so on.

I wholeheartedly suggest the reader to deepen this subject clicking on this  link.

In the following video you can have an insight of the radio communication between an ATC and a pilot in the real life.
This case, one of the very few “bad” examples, has the only objective to make the dear reader smile and at the same understand how much psychological pressure and fatigue is on the back of these amazing professionals, who work behind the scenes for our safety during extremely long work shifts.


Selected and introduced by Cosimo Palma, Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg).



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