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  • A Guide to Pilot Lingo – Talk Like an Aviation Expert

A Guide to Pilot Lingo – Talk Like an Aviation Expert


pilot lingo


Pilots tend to be a tight knit group with plenty of lingo, inside jokes, and career specific terminology that is hard to grasp when you’re looking in from an outsider’s point of view.  

In the world of aviation, language can be an obstacle in clear communication. This is something a pilot cannot afford. Pilots have a language of their own that helps them communicate quickly, effectively, and helps prevent miscommunication.

Whether you are looking to learn Avgeek lingo, or a newbie in aviation, here’s your guide to to speaking fluent pilot.

Understanding the Phonetic Alphabet

Language is complex. And it only seems to be evolving by the day. One of the things catalyzing the evolution of language is innovation. English will always be English. But, while some people know B for ball, or Z for zebra, pilots may assign different meanings to letters.

In pilot lingo, “B” stands for bravo, and “Z” stands for Zulu, which refers to a time zone. A good understanding of the phonetic alphabet in the world of pilots is a great start at knowing the lingo.

Learning the Jargon

In the same way an attorney can talk to another lawyer without anyone knowing what’s going on, pilots can too. Jargon is any type of vocabulary used in a particular field. The following are some words you will have to familiarize yourself with in the world of aviation:

  • Wilco– Will comply.
  • Rodger– Affirming hearing from the other side
  • Mayday– Distress call or signal
  • Met– Referring to weather
  • Flight Level– Altitude
  • Hold Position– Not moving the airplane, especially before takeoff
  • Gone tech– Referring to technical issues with the aircraft.
  • Mach– Measure of speed with relation to sonic speed
  • Give way– Allowing another airplane to pass before proceeding
  • Expedite– Hurry something along

Comprehension of Code Words

Other than having unique vocabulary for easy work, pilots also have code words. Such words help foster exclusive communication. Here are some code words you’ve likely heard before especially if you are into aviation:

  • Air pocket– Short thrust caused by turbulence
  • EFC time– Expect further clearance time
  • Deplane– Getting off the airplane
  • Ground stop– Refers to a curtailing of flights due to backlog
  • Gatehouse– Boarding lounge
  • Apron– Where the airplane gets parked or serviced, also called ramp
  • Alley– A taxiway found between ramps
  • George– Nickname for an autopilot system on airplane

Examples of Pilot Lingo Used in Sentences

  • It’s 16:00 Zulu time.
  • George is currently flying the plane.
  • We’ll be up in minutes folks; we’re waiting for another airplane to clear the alley.

What Now?

Now that you know how to “speak pilot,” you’re ready to soar! Visit us over here at Saker Aviation to fuel up, get a quick tune up, or even plan your next big adventure! Contact us to find out more.