The Aviation Alphabet by ICAO

The Aviation Alphabet by ICAO

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When you flew the plane, there were probably memories when you heard the pilots saying words like Tango, Alpha or Whiskey. Do not worry! It wasn't about an invitation to dance or the Alpha male. As for Whiskey, they certainly didn't start drinking. It was a routine communication in aviation, which you can meet in the navy or army.

The avian alphabet

alphabet, phonetic-aviation-jpg

Each letter of the alphabet has a word associated with it. The purpose of this alphabet is to convey the correct message or code, without confusion. Instead of "n", it is possible to understand "m" or instead of "d" it is possible that the recipient of the message understands "p", "b", etc.

The first aviation alphabet was approved in the 1921 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It was used by the Royal Navy in the First World War, very different from what is used today in aviation.

The phonetic alphabet of the First World WarApples, Butter, CHarlem Duff, Edward, Freddy, George, Harry, Ink, Johnnie, KEng, London, Monkey, Nuts, Orange, Pudding, Queenie, Robert, Sugar, Tommy, Uncle, Vinegar, WIllia, Xerxes, Yellow, Zebra

The Aviation Alphabet by ICAO

Until 1950, the phonetic alphabet has changed. Finally, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has developed the aviation alphabet, which is still in use today.

Aviation Alphabet by ICAOALPHa, BRavo, CHarlem DELTA, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hsteel, India Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscale, Pthe water, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, TAnglo, Umixed developments, Victor, Whiskey, Xray, YAnke, ZUlu.

The pronunciation matters a lot! In the video below, Ian Hoyt does a diction exercise.

From the series "did you know that": - "Delta" is replaced by "Data", "Dixie" or "David" on the airports with many flights operated by Delta Air Lines. A measure to avoid confusion. Delta Air Lines has the "Delta" sign.

  1. DC says

    It is the INTERNATIONAL phonetic alphabet used in professional / commercial radio communications. Including in maritime communications. Including radio amateur ones! 🙂

    1. Sorin Rusi says

      Correct! An early adopt of telecommunications services in several areas 🙂

  2. of honor says

    And whiskey is being replaced in Muslim countries

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