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Radio Communications
« on: April 30, 2015, 04:53:58 AM »

Hi Folks,

Let's talk a bit about our pilot chatter, the stuff we usually spill into our Teamspeak Channel when flying on the SAS Gameserver.
For those of you who have never joined us on Teamspeak: Our member Gubi is so kind to operate a Teamspeak Server which we use to talk to each other while we're flying on the SAS Gameserver.
If you fly on the server without using Teamspeak, you're of course as welcome as all others, but you'll miss 90% of the fun ;)

Back to the pilot chatter.
There's nothing to say against the usual chatting which we maintain on the Teamspeak Channel.
As long as there are few members online (let's say less than 5) and there's not much action going on, that's okay.

However there are always situations (and we regulary face them on our sunday sessions) when you have 10 or more people on the Teamspeak channel, the heat of action rushes in and some funny guys start to occupy the channel with useless lengthy chatter.
Why is this so annoying?
It's because the common TeamSpeak channel, quite like the radios used for airborne communication, is a shared media and as long as one guy occupies it, useless or not, the channel is blocked for all others.
See this as an exercise for yourself: Let's learn some pilot phraseology in order to get through such situations better next time.

Let's start with an imaginary talk between two pilots climbing on our server:

John Doe: "Joe, what’s your altitude?"
Joe User: "I am at one thousand three hundred and fourty feet, working my way up to twenty one thousand feet."
John Doe: "Okay, I am at one thousand four hundred and I think I have you in sight, what altitude are you climbing to?"
Joe User: "I am climbing to twenty one thousand feet, I just passed two thousand and I am still climbing."
John Doe: "Okay, I am now passing one thousand eight hundred about to pass two 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.
John Doe: "Joe, say altitude."
Joe User: "One thousand three hundred climbing to two one thousand."
Nothing more needs to be said. John asked a simple question and Joe responded with a clear and concise answer that relayed all necessary information.

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)
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)

If you prefer, you can use the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet which was a radio alphabet developed in 1941 and was used by all branches of the United States military until the promulgation of the ICAO spelling alphabet (Alfa, Bravo) in 1956, which replaced it:
A   Able
B   Baker
C   Charlie
D   Dog
E   Easy
F   Fox
G   George
H   How
I   Item
J   Jig
K   King
L   Love
M   Mike
N   Nan
O   Oboe
P   Peter
Q   Queen
R   Roger
S   Sail/Sugar
T   Tare
U   Uncle
V   Victor
W   William
X   X-ray
Y   Yoke
Z   Zebra
0   Zero
1   One
2   Two
3   Three
4   Four
5   Five
6   Six
7   Seven
8   Eight
9   Nine

...and for the perfectionists, if you fly brits up to mid 1942, this is the historical accurate phonetic alphabet to use:
A Ack
B Beer
C Charlie
D Don
E Edward
F Freddie
G George
H Harry
I Ink
J Johnnie
K King
L London
M Monkey
N Nuts
O Orange
P Pip
Q Queen
R Robert
S Sugar
T Toc
U Uncle
V Vic
W William
X X-ray
Y Yorker
Z Zebra

Note however that if you want to make sure that others understand what you're saying, you'll be better off using the contemporary ICAO one (the top of the three above).

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

Figures (Numbers)

Aviation communications for figures, or numbers, uses hundreds and thousands in round numbers for ceiling heights. Upper wind levels up to 9900 are expressed as follows.

    500 - "five hundred"
    4500 - "four thousand five hundred"
    10,000 - "one zero thousand"
    13,500 - "one three thousand five hundred"
    V12 - "Victor twelve"
    J533 - "J five thirty-three"
    10 - "one zero"
    122.1 - "one two two point one"

Altitudes and Flight Levels

Up to but not including 18,000 feet MSL, state the separate digits of the thousands, plus the hundreds, if appropriate. For example:

    12,000 - "one two thousand"
    12,500 - "one two thousand five hundred"

At and above 18,000 feet MSL (FL 180) say the words, "flight level" followed by the separate digits of the flight level. For example:

    190 - " flight level one niner zero"


The three digits of bearing, course, heading or wind direction should always be magnetic. The word "true" must be added when it applies. For example:

    (magnetic course) 005 - "zero zero five"
    (true course) 050 - "zero five zero true"
    (magnetic bearing) 360 - "three six zero"
    (magnetic heading) 100 - "one zero zero"
    (wind direction) 220 - "two two zero"


The separate digits of the speed followed by the word "KNOTS." Controllers may omit the word "KNOTS" when using speed adjustment procedures, e.g., " reduce/increase speed to two five zero" For example:

    (speed) 250 - "two five zero knots"
    (speed) 190 - "one niner zero knots"


Aviation uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), now called Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) or "Zulu," (Z) for all operations.
Aviation also uses the 24-hour clock system in radio communications. The hour is indicated by the first two figures and the minutes by the last two figures of the time description. For example:

    0000 - zero zero zero zero
    0920 - zero niner two zero

Time may be stated in minutes only (two figures) in radio communications when no misunderstanding is likely to occur. Current time in use at a station is stated in the nearest quarter minute in order that pilots may use this information for time checks. Fractions of a quarter minute less than eight seconds are stated as the preceding quarter minute; fractions of a quarter minute of eight seconds or more are stated as the succeeding quarter minute. For example:

0929:05 - time zero niner two niner
0929:10 - time zero niner two niner and one-quarter

And last but not least here are some pilot slang terms from WW2 for your reference:

Brevity CodeMeaning
Ack-ackanti-aircraft artillery
Angelsa term used in airborne radio communications. One angel was 1000 feet, thus "angels 13" was 13,000 feet of altitude
Arse end charlierear gunner (R/AG)
Bale or bail outto leave an aircraft by jumping - hoping that some "clot" had packed your 'chute correctly
Bags ofa great amount, as in "bags of flak over the target"
Balbolarge formation of aircraft
Banana-boataircraft carrier
Bang onto be right on target. By extension, to be right on the mark about any observation (also "spot on")
Banditenemy aircraft
Beatupto fly very low over a populated airfield
Beehivevery close formation of bombers (hive) with fighter escort (bees)
Beltto travel at a high speed or to hit target heavily
Belt upbe quiet
Blitz timethe time briefed for all aircraft to pass over target
Bogeyan air contact whose identity is unknown
Boostthe amount of supercharging given to an engine to increase power
Brassed offextremely unhappy. Also "browned off"
Burton"Gone for a Burton" - killed in action - from an old beer commercial for Burton Ale
Busan aircraft
Buy itsee "Burton". As in "Fred almost bought it over Verona last op". Also to "buy the farm"
Chop, to get thesee "Burton"
Chuffedextremely unhappy
Clota person whose intelligence should be questioned
Cockupa situation that has become extremely disorganized (from the term "cocked hat")
Cookiea 4000 H.C. bomb consisting of two light cased cylinders welded together and filled with amitol high explosive. It had the aerodynamic shape of a brick and was used to demolish large structures - also called a blockbuster
Conedwhen one searchlight, often radar controlled, picked up an aircraft all of the others in the target area would swing onto that aircraft, thus "coning" it - then the flak would be "poured into the cone"
Conservatorycabin of a plane (from the perspex on three sides)
Corkscrewevasive maneuver performed when attacked by night fighter - sharp diving turn to port followed by sharp climbing turn to starboard
CricketGerman night fighter plane
Deckthe ground
Dicey-doa particularly hair-raising operation
Dim view, to take ato view with skepticism or disapproval
Ditchto perform a landing in the "drink" - usually when one's a/c was unable to fly any more
Down the flightsthe area on an airfield where the aircraft were serviced between ops
Drinkan ocean, river or lake
Dromeaerodrome - an airfield
Driver, airframea pilot. This term was a play on the way that the RAF quartermaster labeled everything, such as "Gloves, Airman, For the use of"
Duffbad or not accurate, as in "duff gen"
ETAestimated time of arrival
Finger, to remove one'sto hurry up and/or to pay attention
Fishheadsthe navy
Flakantiaircraft fire. From the German, "FLugAbwehrKanonen'. In reports "heavy flak" did not refer to the concentration or degree of flak but to the caliber observed. "Heavy flak" referred to anything of 88 mm and up while "light flak" consisted of quick firing 20, 30 or 40 mm. guns. By extension flak came to mean any grief given to you by anyone else
Flameraircraft shot down in flames
Flamingmild, all purpose expletive
Flaming onionsanti aircraft tracer
Flannelto avoid the truth, to try and bluff one's way or to deceive
Flapas in "theres a flap on" - excitement or some especially chaotic event
Flare patha row of lights (either kerosene gooseneck flares, or, on a more permanent base, electric lights) that marked the boundary of the runway for taking off and landing
Flighta bomber squadron was often divided into two Flights - "A" and "B" consisting of 6-8 aircraft and crews and commanded by a Squadron Leader who was the Flight Commander or Leader - "A" Flight aircraft were lettered from A-N and "B" Flight from M-Z
Flying ProstituteB-26
Frozen on the stickparalyzed with fear
Georgethe automatic pilot
Gerry or JerryGerman
Gone for sixdead
Gone Westdead
GPGeneral Purpose Bomb as in "6 x 250 GP"
Green, in theall engine control gauges operating correctly. A needle which swung into the "red" indicated a malfunction
Green, to get theto receive permission to take off, generally expanded to refer to getting permission for anything. To give an aircraft permission to take off the airfield control officer would signal in Morse code using an Aldis Lamp with a green lens. Usually the Morse code signal was the letter of the aircraft
Greens, threeboth main "undercart" legs and the tail-wheel down and locked. This was indicated by three lights on the flying panel. Up and locked would be indicated by "three reds"
Grief, to come toto be destroyed or to get into trouble
Groupa formation of "Wings"
Had Itthat is, "I’ve had it", "he's had it", and so on. In some cases it inferred a disastrous ending
HalibagHandley Page Halifax
H.CHigh Capacity - see "cookie"
Hedge-hoppingflying so low that the aircraft appears to hop over the hedges
HercA Bristol Hercules sleeve valve air cooled radial engine of the type used on the Wellington Mk.X
Hop the twigCanadian term meaning to crash fatally
Illuminatora crew tasked with dropping flares on a night target so that the following aircraft could aim accurately - usual load was 54 parachute flares
Jink awaysharp maneuver, sudden evasive action of aircraft
Juiceaviation fuel (as in "we are low on juice"). Also "gravy"
KIAKilled in Action
Kitean aircraft
Knotmeasure of air or ground speed - one nautical mile per hour (1.150 statute miles per hour)
LibConsolidated B-24 "Liberator" bomber
M.CMedium Capacity Bomb as in "500 lb. MC"
M.I.AMissing in action
Old lagexperienced airman
Opoperation - an attack on the enemy (USAAF term - "mission")
Pack up, toto break down, as in "My port engine packed up coming out of the target area"
Packet, to catch ato be on the receiving end of offensive fire, as in "I heard Nobby caught a packet over Verona last night"
Plasterto bomb heavily and accurately
PomAustralian term for the British. Also "Pommy" used as in "What a typical Pommy cockup"
Portthe left side of an aircraft as seen from pilots seat
Prangto crash an a/c or to hit a target well
Press on regardlessunofficial motto of RAF, meant to show "keenness" to fly through adversity to the target - often stupid advice. Many men died "pressing on regardless" of severe icing and "duff" engines and died because of it. Often used in an ironic way to show resignation to keeping on with a task no matter how ridiculous or unpleasant. Also used as an expression to "buck up" those who were depressed about something
Pulpitcockpit of aircraft, also "office"
Roddie or rodded bombsbomb fitted with a rod in the nose so that it would explode above the ground - used in antipersonnel ops
Ropeyuncomplimentary adjective "A ropey landing", "A ropey type", "A ropey evening", etc
Roundone cartridge of ammunition. Ammunition was measured in number of rounds carried
Runupto test engines for magneto drop before taking off - also the route taken into the target area before the bomb dropping point was reached
Run-Away Propa propeller out of control and stuck in the high speed setting
Salvobomb selection which released all bombs at the same time
SBCSmall Bomb Container - canister to hold a load of the standard 4 lb. magnesium incendiary bomb - usual load was 6 to 8 SBC's
Scramblemainly a fighter term. To get airborne as quickly as possible
Scream downhillexecute a power dive
Screamerbomb that makes a whistling sound as it comes down
Scrubto cancel an op
Shakey-dosee "dicey do"
Shot down in flamescrossed in love or severely reprimanded
Shot upvery drunk
Shot to ribbonstotally incapable through drink
Showperformance or situation - ("that was a good show over Budapest" or "he put on a bad show")
Shuftito look
Six, to hit for ato score maximum points - to put on a very good show (from cricket)
Skipperthe pilot/captain of the aircraft and crew leader
Sortieone aircraft doing one trip to target and back
Spam cana B-24 Liberator
Spawnyvery lucky
Spoofa diversionary raid or operation
Spot onsee "bang on"
Squirtto fire a short burst from machine guns, as in "the rear AG gave him a squirt before we went into the corkscrew"
Starboardthe right side of the aircraft as seen from pilot's seat
Tail-End Charliethe last airplane in a bombing formation
Ten-tenthsno visibility because of total cloud cover. Also 10/10ths flak - very heavy concentration
T.Dtime delay fuse setting on bomb which determined when bomb would explode
T.ITarget Indicator - colored pyrotechnic devices dropped by Pathfinder Forces to identify targets
Tiggerty-booall in order
Tin fishtorpedo
T.O.Ttime on target. The time briefed for aircraft to attack target area
Tool alongfly aimlessly
Touch bottomto crash
Touch downto land
Tracera type of machine gun round which glowed as it moved showing the way to the target and allowing for adjustments in sighting
Twitsee "clot"
Undercartthe undercarriage of an aircraft
Vicaircraft formation in the shape of a V. Usually three aircraft but could be more
Waffle/wafflingout of control, losing height; or cruising along unconcernedly and indecisively
Weavinga gentle form of corkscrew. An evasive maneuver to allow gunners maximum view around aircraft
Weaving, to getto get going, hurry up
WimpyVickers Armstrong's Wellington Bomber
Wingunit made up of two or sometimes three squadrons
Wizard or wizzoexcellent - superlative (eg. a "wizard prang")

Best regards - Mike
Don't split your mentality without thinking twice.


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Re: Radio Communications
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2015, 01:23:56 PM »

Top hole. Bally Jerry pranged his kite right in the how's your father. Hairy blighter, dicky-birdied, feathered back on his Sammy, took a waspy, flipped over on his Betty Harper's and caught his can in the Bertie.
Whattho; Bunch of monkeys on the ceiling. Must grab one's egg and fours and let's get the bacon delivered.

I'm off....cabbage crates coming over the briny chaps!!


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Re: Radio Communications
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2015, 07:10:07 AM »

I'm extremely happy and glad this was brought up and taken into account.


At the same time, I'm contemplating this and will be missing the nonsense we'd all be speaking.. But after all, the SAS server has grown in numbers, and looks like we'll (me, in particular) have to grow up..

Many thanks Mike.

Best Regards,
But whenever they talked about him, they always had a slight smile on their faces.. And that, perhaps, maybe your answer.


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Re: Radio Communications
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2015, 10:32:57 AM »

All good stuff.  The key take away here is to "cut the chatter".  It's called voice discipline.  Storebor's example is a good one.  There is no need for a blow-by-blow description of what you are doing as it;
a. takes up valuable air time,
b. annoys the hell out of your flying buddies, who are probably busy themselves, and
c.  in real life would be providing intelligence to the bad guys (assuming your comms were in the 'clear').

Another example of "don't do"
Pilot: "I'm approaching the (enemy) guy on the left, second one down.  Attacking with machine guns.  Got his engine smoking.  He's trailing coolant.  He's falling back.  I'm breaking off and setting up for another run."

Should be....
Pilot:  "Attacking now.  Got him (I think).  Going around."

And even that might be too much, LOL.

There's no requirement for a detailed description of your landing approach, procedure etc either (e.g. "I'm approaching the airfield."  "I'm lowering my gear."  "I'm lowering my flaps".  etc ad naus).  Most of your fellow pilots don't care unless you are in trouble and need help.  Excessive chatter also makes it hard for a "leader" to get his commands out or can prevent someone from giving a warning in time.

Granted it's easier said than done once the shooting starts but there is a reason for Call Signs and Abbreviations etc. 
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