Aviation Alphabet - Can You Speak the Lingo?

Air Traffic Control Tower

The aviation alphabet is used by pilots and air traffic controllers. This special jargon is used to communicate with one another. It comprises the same 26 letters many of us learned in kindergarten. Each letter has a corresponding word used to identify aircraft, often called the tail number, and taxiways, which are just like the roads we drive on.

A = Alpha H = Hotel O = Oscar V = Victor
B = Bravo I = India P = Papa W = Whiskey
C = Charlie J = Juliet Q = Quebec X = X-Ray
D = Delta K = Kilo R = Romeo Y = Yankee
E = Echo L = Lima S = Sierra Z = Zulu
F = Foxtrot M = Mike T = Tango
G = Golf N = November U = Uniform

Air Traffic Control Tower

This alphabet is based on the phonetic alphabet. For example, a Canadian registered aircraft begins its call sign with either CF or CG. The call sign of my future airplane will hopefully be CFNHB. When I call up ATC, I would say "Terminal this is RV7A Charlie-Foxtrot-November-Hotel-Bravo" instead of "Terminal this is RV7A CFNHB" This allows both the pilot and ATC to send, and receive, their messages clearly.

If you would like to hear an example of the this alphabet in use then please click here to listen to Live ATC transmissions.

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