Aviation language

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Aviation radio pilot
Talking air traffic controller in the control tower

As fliers language (including pilot language ) called jargon includes terms, codes and formulations of pilots and other aviation personnel are used. The planes language used in particular to secure communications between pilots and air traffic controllers of air traffic control .

Scope of application of the aviation language

The aviation language refers to the entire area of aviation , although there are also specific terms that are only used in the area of civil aviation or military aviation (with overlaps with the soldiers' language ). Since these areas each also represent a social milieu with its own culture, the aviation language is not only a technical language but also a sociolect .

Elements of aviation language

Due to the widespread use of the English language in international air traffic, there are numerous Anglicisms in the German aviation language . So the Einwinker on, for example, the run as Marshaller , the engine cover as Cowling and sideslip as a slip referred. Especially in gliding , however, purely German word creations such as Zachern , Kuller or Lepo have established themselves as technical terms in German aviation language.

The aviator's language also includes the aviator alphabet , which is also known as the international spelling table and the ICAO alphabet , as it was introduced by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) back in 1956. In order to still achieve a good intelligibility in the often disturbed radio traffic, pilots use these spelling boards and also a slightly different pronunciation, see section Language and pronunciation in the article Aircraft radio . For example, words or letters that are difficult to understand can be clearly passed on.

In addition to the aviation-specific technical terms, the aviation language also includes joking terms used by pilots . A comprehensive list of these expressions can be found in the Wiktionary , see section Weblinks .


Many technical terms are abbreviated in aviation. These are only partially used in the spoken aviation language and can be found in the list of abbreviations in aviation . Aviator's language should not be confused with Aviator Latin .

The hands of the Marshaler as a support during landing or parking an aircraft or helicopter are Aircraft marshaling or Helicopter marshaling mentioned.

The transmission of standard messages in radio operation in general, but also specifically in aeronautical radio, can take place with the Q key .


On October 22, 1959, a heavy fighter-bomber Republic F-84F Thunderstreak of the German Air Force crashed over the territory of the former ČSSR (on today's territory of the Czech Republic ). After the two pilots were released on the German-Czechoslovakian border in December 1959, a press conference was held the next day. In order to keep things as small as possible during the Cold War , the pilots were instructed by Lieutenant Colonel Gerd Schmückle , head of the press staff of Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss , "to use the aviator language or the Bavarian dialect if possible." Then the press reported: “At first the journalists didn't understand a sentence. The two pilots reported in NATO gibberish. "


Web links

Wiktionary: Directory: German / Aviator language  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Language and communication in air traffic: Aviation language (PDF, 266 kB) ( Memento from January 25, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) from: Experience knowledge in air traffic - materials for teaching , published by Deutsche Lufthansa AG
  2. Crash over "hostile territory" ( memento from March 9, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Article from March 27, 2007 on the History of the Air Force website of the Federal Ministry of Defense
  3. Random flight to the east: pilots confused the radio beacons . Article in the Nürnberger Nachrichten on February 2, 2010