Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Hello and welcome back... A reader was asking about Airband Terminology and what various codes are used in flight procedures...

Often when listening to Airband / Aircraft radio, some of the codes used can get a bit confusing, so i will attempt to clarify what various things mean...

Hopefully by the end, you will know what a PAX is and whether you can push them under a aircraft's wheels.


AACC - Area Approach Control Centre.

ACC - Area Control Centre.

ACARS - Aircraft Communications Addressing System - Kinda like a messaging system so air and ground staff know whats happening with the aircraft.

ADF - Area Direction Finder.

AFB - Air Force Base.

ADIZ - Air Defense Identification Finder.


AGL - Above Ground Level. (also a gas company but you already knew that)

AIREP - Transmitted report inc weather.

AIRSPEED - Aircraft speed in Knots.

AIRWAY - Beacon path for aircraft.

ALTERNATE - Airport used in diverted landing.

AM - Amplitude Modulation.

ANO - Air Navigation Order

ANR - Air Navigation Regulation

APU - Air Turn Back = Go back to the airport. May be due to an illness or bad weather.(can also mean Auxiliary Power Unit depending on situation)

ATA - Actual Time of Arrival.

ATC - Air Traffic Control.

ATS - Air Traffic Services.

ATIS - Automatic Terminal Information Service

AUSY - RAAF flying international route callsign.

AUSSIE - RAAF callsign.

AUW - All Up Weight.

BFO - Beat Frequency Oscillator (some shortwave radios have this)

BLOCK - Altitude clearance with lower/upper parameters.

BOGEY - Military term for 'Target Aircraft'.

BUNT - pushing the aircraft nose down into a dive (hang on to your hats)

CAT - Clear Air Turbulence (also a small fluffy animal but you already knew that)

CAVOK - Ceiling and Visibility better than expected.

CARRIER - Commercial Passenger Airline.

CBS - Cumulonimbus cloud formation (thunderstorm?)

CHARLIE CHARLIE - Slang term on HF 'Copy Your Message' (could also be a name of someone 'so good, we named you twice')

COMMS - Communications 

CONFIG - Configuration or layout of the plane (seat layout)

CSM - Customer Service Manager = The poor bastard that cops all the shit when something goes wrong.

CTA - Controlled Airspace.

CX - Cancelled = Your flight has been Cancelled. You will now want to speak to the CSM.

CVR - Cockpit Voice Recorder

CW - Continuous Wave (Morse Code)

DELTA - Suffix to flight number meaning 'delivery flight'.

DIW - Dead in the Water (not good)

DME - Distance Measuring Equipment.

DMEA - 200Mhz Distance Measuring Equipment.

DX - Long Distance Communications.

ELT - Emergency Locator Transmitter.

ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival  = 'are we there yet?'

ETD - Estimated Time Departure

ETOPS - Extended Range Twin Engine Operations = Approval for aircraft with two engines to fly long distances over water.

FIR - Flight Information Region.

FIS - Flight Information Service.

FLAMEOUT - Jet Engine Failure (do you believe in god?)

FLIGHT LEVEL - FL310 = 31,000 feet

FOD - Foreign Objects Debris = Bits and pieces found on the runway that can cause problems to aircraft when taking off or landing.

FRM - For Routine Maintenance

FREQ - Frequency = Mhz, Khz

FS - Flight Service

GCA - Ground Control Approach = sometimes used in military.

GNS - Omega Navigation System

GO ROUND - Aborted Landing = 'you screwed up, go round and try again'.

GPU - Ground Power Unit

GRADU - Gradually.

GREEN - Military speak for Scrambled Speech Mode 

GROUNDSPEED - Speed in Knots = wind speed across the ground

HAC - High Altitude Chart

HEAVY - Aircraft bigger than a 707 (American slang)

HF - High Frequency (shortwave)

HOLD - Air pattern flown in a oval shape while waiting for clearance.

IAS - Indicated Airspeed

ICAO - International Civil Aviation Organisation

IFR - Instrument Flight Rules

ILS - Instrument Landing System

IMC - Instrument Meteorological Conditions

INS - Inertial Navigational System

INTER - Intermittent

J - Business Class

KHZ - Kilohertz (frequency)

KNOT - Nautical Mile per Hour.

LATITUDE - Meridians running east / west

LOCALISER - Radio aid to assist landing

LONGITUDE - Meridians running north / south

LSALT - Lowest Safe Altitude

MACH - Speed of Sound.

MAVERICK - Military speak for 'Target aircraft'

MEDEVAC - Medical Evacuation Flight

MET - Meteorology aka weather

METAR - Aviation Routine Weather Report

MISSED APPROACH - 'you screwed up, go round and try again'.

MIKE SIERRA - Maintenance Status

MLS - Microwave Landing System

MTOW - Maximum Takeoff Weight

NAUTICAL MILE - Equal to 1.151 statute miles

NAVAID - Navigational Aid


NDB - Non Directional Beacon

NIGHT VMC - Night Visual Meteorological (weather) Conditions

NOSAR - No Search & Rescue Watch Required

NOSIG - No Significant Change

NOTAM - Notice to Airmen = Information for pilots regardless of gender.

OAT - Outside Air Temperature

OCA - Oceanic Control Area

OCTA - Outside Controlled Airspace

OKTA - 1/8 of sky covered by cloud

OMEGA - Worldwide Navigational System using 8 Low Frequency radio stations across the globe.

OPS - Operations 

ORBIT - similar to holding pattern.

OVERSHOOT - Go round, sometimes emergency related or done in practice.

PAR - Precision Approach Radar

PAX - Passengers.

POB - Persons on board

QNH - Altimeter sub-scale setting giving elevation if the aircraft was on the ground (barometric pressure adjusted to sea level)

QSL - Conformation of Reception

RAAF - Royal Australian Air Force

RED - Military speak for  'In Clear Communications'

RNC - Radio Navigational Charts. 

RNP - Required Navigational Performance = Its a really really good GPS system in the cockpit.

RT - Radio Telephone

ROGER - Communication Acknowledged

ROMEO DELTA ALPHA - Re-despatch accepted by flight crew.

ROMEO DELTA UNIFORM - Re-despatch not accepted by flight crew.

RVR - Runway Visual Range.

SAM - US Air Force special air mission.

SAR - Search and Rescue

SARTIME - Time Search action is required to commence.

SELCAL - Selective Calling Device (used on HF (High Frequency)

SHEAR - Sudden change / speed of wind direction.

SID - Standard Instrument Departure

SKED - Schedule

SOB - Souls on Board (Passengers and crew)

SQUAWK CODE - Transponder code which identifies an aircraft on radar.

SSB - Single Sideband Radio Mode (used in Shortwave radio)

SSR - Secondary Surveillance Radar.

STOL - Short Takeoff and Landing

STUD - Frequencies for Military airfields. (also a name for myself)

TACAN - Tactical Aerial Navigation

TAS - True Air Speed

TEMPO - Temporary

TOPS - Cloud Tops (where angels live) 

TOGA - Take Off, Go Around = Throttle setting that puts the plane in max power, often used when aborting landings due to weather, or a PAX (wearing a toga) on the runway.

TOW - Takeoff Weight

UHF - Ultra High Frequency.

UM - Unaccompanied Minor.

UNDERSHOOT - Just short of the runway.

UNIFORM - Military speak for UHF Radio.

US - Unserviceable Equipment.

USAF - United States Air Force.

USB - Upper Sideband Radio (used on shortwave radio)

VASIS - Visual Approach Slope Indicator System.

VECTOR - Directional Steering Oriented by Radar.

VFR - Visual Flight Rules.

VHF - Very High Frequency

VICTOR - Military speak for VHF Radio

VMC - Visual Meteorological (weather) Conditions

VOLMET - Scheduled Aviation Terminal Weather Broadcasts.

VOR - VHF Omni-Directional Radio Range

VSB - VHF Survival Beacon.

WHEELS UP LANDING - Landing where the wheels have failed to extend.

WX - Weather

Y - Economy Class (aka cattle class)

ZULU - Universal Co-Ordinated Time

Don't forget to shout me a coffee (see link top right corner).. Any amount big or small is much appreciated and it keeps this site happening :)

Photo = Mike Wyss

Thanks to Qantas & Bob Bell for some of the info used ...


1 comment:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.