Aviation Slang Flight operations shoptalk
Pilots communicate with other pilots and air traffic controllers using aviation-specific lingo. In distinguishing certain aircraft call signs, taxiways or navigation fixes, pilots (who are also licensed radio operators) use the ICAO phonetic alphabet, in which code words are assigned to each letter. (“Doug” spells out as Delta–Oscar–Uniform–Golf.) “Air Canada zero one five, line up and wait runway 23,” for instance, is an ATC (air traffic control) instruction to Air Canada Flight 015 (Toronto to Hong Kong) to taxi to runway number 23 (oriented at 2370 magnetic) and await takeoff clearance. “Deadheading” refers to the industry practice of an airline’s flight crew travelling as passengers to “reposition” either to their next assigned flight or from a previous one.