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Thread: Radio Communications Phraseology and Techniques

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    Default Radio Communications Phraseology and Techniques

    Every profession has its own language.

    Have you ever stood in wonderment while listening to medical personnel communicate with one another? Or, how about the legal profession, and police and emergency professionals. I will even bet that whatever you do for a living you have a language unique to what you do.

    With that in mind, let’s look at the world of flying. Because we communicate via radio, or in this case Team Speak, we do not have the luxury of rambling on and on when we speak. As I have mentioned before, radio traffic is one way, or what is called “simplex”. When a radio transmits, it blocks out all other transmissions on that frequency. Of course that’s not the case with Team Speak, but let’s pretend that that is the case with Team Speak as well. So when you are talking, you are in effect blocking out anyone else that might be trying to talk. And if someone else is talking and you jump in, then you are blocking their transmission. Simple enough right.

    Radio Communications Phraseology and Techniques
    General
    A. Radio communications are a critical link in the combat environment. The link can be a strong bond between pilots or it can be broken with surprising speed and disastrous results.
    B. The single, most important thought in pilot-pilot communications is understanding. It is essential, therefore, that pilots acknowledge each radio communication. Brevity is important, and contacts should be kept as brief as possible.
    C. Good phraseology enhances communications.

    Radio Technique
    A. Listen before you transmit. Many times you can get the information you want by monitoring the frequency. If you hear someone else talking, the keying of your transmitter will be futile and you will probably jam their receivers causing them to repeat their call.
    B. Think before keying your transmitter. Know what you want to say or ask.

    Now let’s take a look at the language of flying. First and foremost, you need to learn the phonetic alphabet. No more excuses, take the time to learn it and use it. You can impress your friends and family if you start using it, guaranteed.

    Phonetic Alphabet
    A Alfa (AL-FAH)
    B Bravo (BRAH-VOH)
    C Charlie (CHAR-LEE)
    D Delta (DELL-TAH)
    E Echo (ECK-OH)
    F Foxtrot (FOKS-TROT)
    G Golf (GOLF)
    H Hotel (HOH-TEL)
    I India (IN-DEE-AH)
    J Juliett (JEW-LEE-ETT)
    K Kilo (KEY-LOH)
    L Lima (LEE-MAH)
    M Mike (MIKE)
    N November (NO-VEM-BER)
    O Oscar (OSS-CAH)
    P Papa (PAH-PAH)
    Q Quebec (KEH-BECK)
    R Romeo (ROW-ME-OH)
    S Sierra (SEE-AIR-RAH)
    T Tango (TANG-GO)
    U Uniform (YOU-NEE-FORM)
    V Victor (VIK-TAH)
    W Whiskey (WISS-KEY)
    X Xray (ECKS-RAY)
    Y Yankee (YANG-KEY)
    Z Zulu (ZOO-LOO)
    1 One (WUN)
    2 Two (TOO)
    3 Three (TREE)
    4 Four (FOW-ER)
    5 Five (FIFE)
    6 Six (SIX)
    7 Seven (SEV-EN)
    8 Eight (AIT)
    9 Nine (NIN-ER)
    0 Zero (ZEE-RO)

    In addition, no longer is ‘no’ no or ‘yes’ yes. It is negative or affirmative. Now here is a chance to really impress someone, namely your kids or even your spouse. When they, (the kids) ask to spend the night with a friend you are uncomfortable with, tell them ‘negative’. They will think the old man really means it this time. How about when the wife asks you to have dinner with the in-laws. “Negative honey I have to clean the wax out of my ears”, will usually get you out of it. (Note: be sure to include ‘honey’ when responding with a negative. It makes life just a little more bearable).

    Now let’s look at some other terms associated with flying:

    Headings are always three digits. For example a heading of 45 degrees is spoken as “heading zero four five”. Heading south is spoken as “heading one eight zero”. Heading north is spoken as “heading three six zero”, not zero. If you say you are “heading 5 degrees”, do you mean 005 degrees or 50 degrees? A heading of 5 degrees is spoken as “heading zero zero five”. No need to say degrees because that is implied when using the proper format.

    Numbers:
    A. Numbers indicating hundreds and thousands in round number, up to 9,900 shall be spoken in accordance with the following.
    EXAMPLE 1
    500 = five hundred
    EXAMPLE 2
    4,500 = four thousand five hundred
    b. Numbers above 9,900 shall be spoken by separating the digits preceding the word "thousand."
    EXAMPLE 1
    10,000 = one zero thousand
    EXAMPLE 2
    13,500 = one three thousand five hundred
    EXAMPLE
    10 = one zero

    Altitudes are relatively easy. 5,000 ft. is spoken as “five thousand”. Easy enough right, how about 5,300 ft. It is spoken as “five thousand three hundred”. Notice that I have dropped the word feet, ‘feet’ is implied when using the correct format. When we are flying above 9,900 ft. the format changes. 10,000 ft. is spoken as “one zero thousand”. 12,300 ft. is spoken as “one two thousand three hundred”. If I am flying at “one niner thousand six hundred”, you would be correct if you placed my altitude at 19,600 ft. All of these spoken altitudes should be appended when necessary. For example when climbing or descending. “One niner thousand six hundred descending” or “One two thousand three hundred climbing”.

    Let’s look at a typical conversation between two aircraft climbing to 21,000 feet.
    Peter the pilot. “RJ, what’s your altitude?”
    RJ. “I am at two thousand two hundred and twenty feet, working my way up the twenty one thousand feet.”
    Peter the pilot. “Okay, I am at one thousand four hundred and I think I have you in sight, what altitude are you climbing to?”
    RJ. “I am climbing to twenty one thousand feet, I just passed three thousand and I am still climbing.”
    Peter the pilot “Okay, I am now passing two thousand eight hundred about to pass three thousand climbing up to twenty one thousand.” And on and on and on and on, get the picture?

    Now let’s look at how it should be done.
    Peter the pilot. “RJ, say altitude.”
    RJ. “Two thousand two hundred climbing to two one thousand.”
    Nothing more needs to be said. Peter asked a simple question and RJ responded with a clear and concise answer that relayed all necessary information.

    We know you can 'walk the walk' now it's time to 'talk the talk'

    Ramblin' Jack
    Training Officer
    352nd Fighter Group


    "The most important branch of aviation is pursuit, which fights for and gains control of the air"
    U.S. Brigadier General William Mitchell

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    Quote Originally Posted by ramblin_jack View Post
    Every profession has its own language.

    *snip*

    Now let’s take a look at the language of flying. First and foremost, you need to learn the phonetic alphabet. No more excuses, take the time to learn it and use it. You can impress your friends and family if you start using it, guaranteed.

    Phonetic Alphabet
    A Alfa (AL-FAH)
    B Bravo (BRAH-VOH)
    C Charlie (CHAR-LEE)
    D Delta (DELL-TAH)
    E Echo (ECK-OH)
    F Foxtrot (FOKS-TROT)
    G Golf (GOLF)
    H Hotel (HOH-TEL)
    I India (IN-DEE-AH)
    J Juliet (JEW-LEE-ETT)
    K Kilo (KEY-LOH)
    L Lima (LEE-MAH)
    M Mike (MIKE)
    N November (NO-VEM-BER)
    O Oscar (OSS-CAH)
    P Papa (PAH-PAH)
    Q Quebec (KEH-BECK)
    R Romeo (ROW-ME-OH)
    S Sierra (SEE-AIR-RAH)
    T Tango (TANG-GO)
    U Uniform (YOU-NEE-FORM)
    V Victor (VIK-TAH)
    W Whiskey (WISS-KEY)
    X Xray (ECKS-RAY)
    Y Yankee (YANG-KEY)
    Z Zulu (ZOO-LOO)
    1 One (WUN)
    2 Two (TOO)
    3 Three (TREE)
    4 Four (FOW-ER)
    5 Five (FIFE)
    6 Six (SIX)
    7 Seven (SEV-EN)
    8 Eight (AIT)
    9 Nine (NIN-ER)
    0 Zero (ZEE-RO)

    Ramblin' Jack
    Training Officer
    352nd Fighter Group

    Greetings, folks...

    I'd like to add something (beside thread necro) to this post. This is not the phonetic alphabet used in WWII. I don't know if it would be easier to use the modern one or more immersive to use the correct one for the era. It's up to you folks to decide. Here is the correct WWII US Army/Navy phonetic alphabet.

    WWII Phonetic Alphabet.jpg



    Keep 'em flying!

    -Irish

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