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Aviation Learning Center Document Radio Communications Phraseology and Techniques - P-8740-47
Author: Federal Aviation Administration Date: revised April 2006
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Note: Information in this document was adapted from FAA pamphlet P-8740-47.

Radio communications are a critical link in the ATC system. The link can be a strong bond between pilot and controller or it can be broken with surprising speed and disastrous results. This pamphlet provides basic procedures for new pilots, and highlights safe operating concepts for all pilots.

The single most important concept in pilot-controller communications is understanding. It is essential, therefore, that pilots acknowledge each radio communication with ATC by using the appropriate aircraft call sign. Brevity is important, and transmissions should be as concise as possible while still ensuring that the controller understands what you want to do. Moreover, you, the pilot, must understand exactly what ATC wants you to do.

Pilots will find the Aeronautical Information Manual's Pilot/Controller Glossary very helpful in learning what certain words or phrases mean. Good phraseology enhances safety, and is the mark of a professional pilot. Jargon, chatter, and "CB" slang have no place in ATC communications. The Pilot/Controller Glossary is the same glossary used in the ATC controller's handbook. Pilots should study and review this document from time to time to sharpen communication skills.

Calls to air traffic control (ATC) facilities (ARTCCs, approach control facilities, towers, FSSs) over radio and ATC operational telephone lines (lines used for operational purposes such as controller instructions, briefings, opening and closing flight plans, issuance of IFR clearances and amendments, etc.) may be monitored and recorded for operational uses such accident investigations, accident prevention, search and rescue purposes, specialist training and evaluation, and technical evaluation and repair of control and communications systems.

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