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Radio Communications Phraseology

2. At times, a controller/specialist may be

working a sector with multiple frequency assign-

ments. In order to eliminate unnecessary verbiage

and to free the controller/specialist for higher priority

transmissions, the controller/specialist may request

the pilot “(Identification), change to my frequency

123.4.” This phrase should alert the pilot that the

controller/specialist is only changing frequencies, not

controller/specialist, and that initial callup phraseolo-

gy may be abbreviated.


“United Two Twenty−Two on one two three point four” or

“one two three point four, United Two Twenty−Two.”

e. Compliance with Frequency Changes.

When instructed by ATC to change frequencies,

select the new frequency as soon as possible unless

instructed to make the change at a specific time, fix,

or altitude. A delay in making the change could result

in an untimely receipt of important information. If

you are instructed to make the frequency change at a

specific time, fix, or altitude, monitor the frequency

you are on until reaching the specified time, fix, or

altitudes unless instructed otherwise by ATC.


AIM, Paragraph 5−3−1 , ARTCC Communications

4−2−4. Aircraft Call Signs

a. Precautions in the Use of Call Signs.

1. Improper use of call signs can result in pilots

executing a clearance intended for another aircraft.

Call signs should never be abbreviated on an initial

contact or at any time when other aircraft call signs

have similar numbers/sounds or identical letters/

number; e.g., Cessna 6132F, Cessna 1622F,

Baron 123F, Cherokee 7732F, etc.


Assume that a controller issues an approach clearance to

an aircraft at the bottom of a holding stack and an aircraft

with a similar call sign (at the top of the stack)

acknowledges the clearance with the last two or three

numbers of the aircraft’s call sign. If the aircraft at the

bottom of the stack did not hear the clearance and

intervene, flight safety would be affected, and there would

be no reason for either the controller or pilot to suspect that

anything is wrong. This kind of “human factors” error can

strike swiftly and is extremely difficult to rectify.

2. Pilots, therefore, must be certain that aircraft

identification is complete and clearly identified

before taking action on an ATC clearance. ATC

specialists will not abbreviate call signs of air carrier

or other civil aircraft having authorized call signs.

ATC specialists may initiate abbreviated call signs of

other aircraft by using the prefix and the last three

digits/letters of the aircraft identification after

communications are established. The pilot may use

the abbreviated call sign in subsequent contacts with

the ATC specialist. When aware of similar/identical

call signs, ATC specialists will take action to

minimize errors by emphasizing certain numbers/let-

ters, by repeating the entire call sign, by repeating the

prefix, or by asking pilots to use a different call sign

temporarily. Pilots should use the phrase “VERIFY

CLEARANCE FOR (your complete call sign)” if

doubt exists concerning proper identity.

3. Civil aircraft pilots should state the aircraft

type, model or manufacturer’s name, followed by the

digits/letters of the registration number. When the

aircraft manufacturer’s name or model is stated, the

prefix “N” is dropped; e.g., Aztec Two Four Six Four


1. Bonanza Six Five Five Golf.

2. Breezy Six One Three Romeo Experimental (omit
“Experimental” after initial contact).

4. Air Taxi or other commercial operators not

having FAA authorized call signs should prefix their

normal identification with the phonetic word



Tango Aztec Two Four Six Four Alpha.

5. Air carriers and commuter air carriers having

FAA authorized call signs should identify themselves

by stating the complete call sign (using group form

for the numbers) and the word “super” or “heavy” if


1. United Twenty−Five Heavy.

2. Midwest Commuter Seven Eleven.

6. Military aircraft use a variety of systems

including serial numbers, word call signs, and

combinations of letters/numbers. Examples include

Army Copter 48931; Air Force 61782; REACH

31792; Pat 157; Air Evac 17652; Navy Golf Alfa

Kilo 21; Marine 4 Charlie 36, etc.