The Phonetic Alphabet For Aviation

I am really tired right now, but I wanted to get this up. I will explain in the morning when I write my post about today’s flight lesson. What a trip…

The phonetic alphabet is as follows:

A- Alpha
B- Bravo
C- Charlie
D- Delta
E- Echo
F- Foxtrot
G- Golf
H- Hotel
I- India
J- Juliet
K- Kilo
L- Lima
M- Mike
N- November
O- Oscar
P- Papa
Q- Quebec
R- Romeo
S- Sierra
T- Tango
U- Uniform
V- Victor
W- Whiskey
X- X-ray
Y- Yankee
Z- Zulu

A google search would tell you that the Phonetic Alphabet assigns a word to each letter in the English alphabet, so that letters can be exchanged easily and with clarity. Instead of saying “ABC,” you would say “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie.”

To elaborate, communication via radio is notoriously unintelligible. If you listen to ATC (Air Traffic Control) chatter, you’ll notice a considerable amount of background noise when a general aviation pilot is on the mic.

Note, as well, that 9 is “niner”, to prevent confusion with “five.”

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  1. Stephi H says:

    That’s the same one we used in the Army :)

  2. admin says:

    Roger, out.

  3. Paul says:

    you would never say “roger that” on a military circuit, that’s CB talk. It’s “roger, over” or “roger, out” Roger means the message is received and understood. In the days of morse code this was indicated by sending the single letter “R” (.-.). Once voice communication began to be used in a tacticle environment, they used the older phonetic alphabet equivalent for R by saying ROGER.

    WILCO is a legitimate term on a Navy Circuit, but its never “roger, wilco” WILCO means “will comply” so the “I have received and understood your message” is implied.

  4. admin says:

    I did say “Roger, out.” What are you talking about? (haha)

  5. Paul says:

    You can’t change your comments! cheater!

  6. Aviatrix says:

    And three is “tree” and four is “fower” and five is “fife.” For some reason Canadians giggle when Americans say “niner” and Americans giggle when Canadians say “fife.” I dare you to use “tree.” I’ll bet your flight instructor looks at you funny.

    Papa is supposed to be pronounced paPAH, too, but I leave that to the Europeans.

  7. admin says:

    I am going to use “tree” next time I fly. good thing the tail number is N734DS.

    You write very well. I enjoyed your blog.

  8. Jerry says:

    Long ago it was able, baker, charlie. Today it is alpha, bravo, charlie. But who has heard about alpha, bravo, cocoa? I remember it well, from when I was learning to fly. Am I losing my mind, or does someone else remember it too?

  9. admin says:

    I am not sure about the history of the phonetic alphabet, but the funny thing is, I still almost mistakenly use the Greek alphabet…alpha, beta, gamma…Damn those fraternities.

  10. Katie says:

    I thought it was Niner because “nine” means no in German.

  11. steve says:

    Its “Niner” because “Nine” can be confused with “Five”

    In German they count:
    Eins, Zwei, Drei…

    but Phonetically its:
    Eins, Tsvo, Drei…

    English ship distress call: “mayday, mayday…We are Sinking!”

    German Coast Guard: “Vhaat are you Sinking about?”


  12. Brian12566 says:

    On a Navy ship during a countdown, we skip “five” because it sounds too much like “fire”.

  13. Tyler says:

    wow im actually learning some stuff :D