Cleared to Land – Cleared for take-off phraseology – 1

November 1, 2013 leslie.habig@gmail.com Air Traffic Control

You are about to fly off of an airport with a control tower. You have just taxied out to the runway and are on the tower frequency waiting to depart.  The Air Traffic Control Tower gives you a call on frequency and says “Warrior eight eight four alpha charley, Centennial Tower, runway one seven left cleared for take-off.”  Everything seems straight forward; the words “cleared for take-off” should not be very confusing.  In this witte-up, we are going to go over some of the basic rules controllers have to follow when issuing a clearance to takeoff from a runway and then we’ll go over the clearance to land phraseology.  It’s not super detailed, but there is some specific phraseology controllers need to follow for a few different scenarios.

There are three situations we will look at where the tower controller needs to say the words “cleared for take-off” slightly different.  These situations are: when an aircraft is departing from the runway full length and there are no other aircraft also waiting to depart; an aircraft is departing from an intersection: and, an aircraft is departing from the runway full length and there are multiple aircraft waiting to depart at other intersections.  The FAA Order 7110.65 (the Air Traffic Control handbook) states (Para 3-9-9) “When issuing a clearance for takeoff, first state the runway number followed by the takeoff clearance”. The basic takeoff clearance should sound like this:  “Warrior eight eight four alpha charley, runway one seven left, cleared for takeoff.”  Additionally, the 7110.65 states; “When clearing an aircraft for takeoff from an intersection, state the runway intersection.  A takeoff clearance from an intersection should sound like this:  “Warrior eight eight four alpha charley, runway one seven left, at alpha sixteen, cleared for takeoff.”  When there are two or more aircraft ready for departure; one (or more) at the full length of a runway and one (or more) at an intersection, “the controller needs to state the location of the aircraft at the full length of the runway when clearing that aircraft for takeoff.”  A takeoff clearance in this situation should sound like this:  “Warrior eight eight four alpha charley, Centennial Tower, runway three five right, full length, cleared for takeoff.”  Next, we will go over the phraseology for the landing clearance.

© Leslie Habig and LHabig.com, 2013.

Disclaimer – The views expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of FAA.


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