Radiotelephony is an essential part of Aviation English. If you are a beginner in aviation, you can learn basic radiotelephony with our free course. Read the articles and then try the exercises.
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Welcome to this free course in basic radiotelephony from Aviation English Asia.
Pronunciation of letters used flight operations is very important. To avoid confusion, the ICAO phonetic alphabet is used. This is sometimes known as the NATO phonetic alphabet. The 26 code words in the NATO phonetic alphabet are assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order as follows: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.
Read and memorise all of the ICAO phonetic alphabet. The stressed syllable is in bold.
You will find it helpful to say the phonic (pronunciation) aloud. After you have learned them all in sequence, try saying them backwards.
- Spell your name using the ICAO phonetic alphabet
- Look at the pictures of aircraft below. How would you pronounce their tail numbers?
When you are confident using the ICAO phonetic alphabet, start the next lesson, which is about the pronunciation of numbers in aviation.
Pronunciation of numbers used flight operations is very important. To avoid confusion, the ICAO phonetic numbers are used. Numbers are particularly important for flight levels, headings, speeds, fuel quantities and weather information.
NOTE: Sometimes Flight Levels are used to express altitudes, e.g. 33,000 is Flight Level 330. Due to international differences some countries use different Flight Level Notation. For example in the US Flight Levels start at 18,000 feet.
Read and memorise all of the ICAO phonetic numbers. To increase intelligibility it is good to say them slowly and clearly.
0 Zero Ze ro
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 Ate
9 Nine Nin er
10 Ten Ten
Thousand Tau sand
- Spell your phone number using the ICAO phonetic alphabet.
- Look at the flight levels below. How would you pronounce them?
- Try the exercise again, but this time pretend to be a controller and say "climb and maintain" before each altitude.
When you are confident using the ICAO number system, start the next lesson, which is about listening to ATIS.