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FLIGHT SIMULATOR X - Notes from a virtual Air Traffic Controller and occasional virtual pilot

 

Page 1

The down-side of ATC sessions
Ways to mess up a game
Look before you leap
Sequence and simple checks for a flight

Page 2

To Take-off, Perchance to land
Watch your speed
Circuits, Flips, and Trips
Show me the way

Page 3

That dial is going backwards
On approach
Two white, two red, three green
Come on down

Page 4

Standard words and phrases
Commonly used aviation abbreviations
Murphy's Laws 1 - 4
Radio/Mic Check

Page 5

George is flying
Who are you?
Are we there yet?
Landing delays

Page 6

The Phonetic Code
Numeric Pronunciations
Clock Headings
Worded compass headings


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THE PHONETIC CODE

The Phonetic Code is the system used whereby words are used in place of letters as an aid to clarity.  Many letters when spoken have a similar sound and can be easily mistaken for a different letter.  In order to eliminate such ambiguity each letter is substituted with a word to reduce the possibility of errors of hearing.  For example, 'B, C, D, E' said as letters could easily sound like 'D, E, C, B'.  But, spoken and spelt out as 'Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo' they are far less likely to be confused.  Below are the 26 letters of the alphabet along with their phonetic names and a simple pronunciation guide.

 

A = Alpha = "Al-fa"
B = Bravo = "Braa-vo"
C = Charlie = "Char-lee"
D = Delta = "Del-ta"
E = Echo = "Ek-ko"
F = Foxtrot = "Fox-trot"
G = Golf = "Golf"
H = Hotel = "Ho-tel"
I = India = "In-dia"
J = Juliet = "Joo-li-et"
K = Kilo = "Kee-lo"
L = Lima = "Lee-ma"
M = Mike = "Mike"

N = November = "No-vem-ber"
O = Oscar = "Oz-car"
P = Papa = "Pa-pa"
Q = Quebec = "Kew-Bek"
R = Romeo = "Ro-mio"
S = Sierra = "See-e-ra"
T = Tango = "Tan-go"
U = Uniform = U-ni-form"
V = Victor = "Vik-ter"
W = Whiskey = "Wiss-kee"
X = X-ray = "Eks-ray"
Y = Yankee = "Yan-kee"
Z = Zulu = "Zoo-loo"

 


NUMERIC PRONOUNCIATIONS

Numbers are less prone to confusion but there is still a need for numbers to be spoken in a clear manner.  For example, two numbers that are prone to sounding similar are five and nine, care must be taken when speaking these numbers.  Again, a simple guide follows…

 

1 = One = "Won"
2 = Two = "Too"
3 = Three = "Tree"
4 = Four = "Fower"
5 = Five = "Fife"
6 = Six = "Six"
7 = Seven = "Seven"
8 = Eight = "Ait"
9 = Nine = "Niner"
0 = Zero = "Zero" (not "Nought")
100 = One Hundred = "Won Hundred"
1000 = One Thousand = "Won Tausand"

 

Headings are always given with all three digits so '270 degrees' should be spoken as "Two, Seven, Zero".  Runways are designated by two digits of heading corresponding to the nearest whole ten degrees.  So, a runway with a true heading of 082 degrees would be runway "Zero, Eight".  On the other hand, a runway with a heading of 087 degrees would in fact be runway "Zero, Niner".  Some number groups are notoriously prone to misinterpretation.  A good example is the number fifteen which when spoken can sound very similar to fifty.  In this case fifteen should be spoken as One, Five.  Other examples abound.  When quoting figures with a decimal point, for example the radio frequency 123.45, it should be pronounced "One, Two, Three, Decimal, Four, Five".

 

A special number group, altitudes, can lead to some confusion also.  When quoting altitudes, like 9000 feet (niner tousand feet) it may also be expressed at 'Flight Level Zero, Niner, Zero' (FL090), the last digit is omitted.  In the case of quoting heights in Flight Level format:  The first of the three digits indicate tens of thousands of feet; the second of the three digits indicates thousands of feet; the last digit indicates hundred of feet.  Both formats are in widespread use for ATC/pilot purposes.


CLOCK HEADINGS

On occasion directions may be given to a pilot by way of a 'Clock Heading'.  This is a system where by an 'hour' is used to direct a pilot's attention to, for example, the presence of another aircraft or where an airfield is.  In simple terms...

 

12 O'clock = Ahead
(1 or 2 O'clock = Ahead, Right)
3 O'clock = Right
(4 or 5 O'clock = Behind, Right)
6 O'clock = Behind
(7 or 8 O'clock = Behind, Left)
9 O'clock = Left
10 or 11 O'clock = Ahead, Left)

 

The above system could also be used along with further directions by saying something like:  "Traffic at your 3 O'clock, High" (Aircraft is right of you, higher up).  Or perhaps:
"Caution, another aircraft at your 6" (Beware, there is an aircraft behind you).


WORDED COMPASS HEADINGS

It is normal to quote or dictate a direction or heading by way of three digits (045 etc.) but on occasion it may be useful to use a worded heading for directions, thus:

 

000 = North (N)
030 = North, North, East (NNE)
045 = North-East (NE)
060 = East, North-East (ENE)
090 = East (E)
120 = East, South-East (ESE)
135 = South-East (SE)
150 = South, South-East (SSE)
180 = South (S)
210 = South, South-West (SSW)
225 = South-West (SW)
240 = West, South-West (WSW)
270 = West (W)
300 = West, North-West (WNW)
315 = North-West (NW)
330 = North, North-West (NNW)
360 = North (N)

 

(Note that strictly speaking the heading "360" doesn't really exist since the first degree of the compass is actually "000".  But, it is commonly accepted and understood that "360" means "000".  In aviation parlance North is usually referred to as "360".) [It is also easier to say and less likely to be misunderstood!]


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© Derek Haselden 2017

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