The Phonetic Aviation Alphabet is Addictive

Aviation Phonetic Alphabet

Perhaps one of the most fun and entertaining aspects of becoming a well rounded pilot or avgeek is when you instinctually use the phonetic aviation alphabet in place of the normal average joe’s alphabet in your everyday life when people ask you how to spell something.

Putting fun aside for a second, the aviation alphabet we have grown to know and love serves a real purpose for the aviation world. It’s main purpose is to make it easier for others reporting over radios to have a clear way to decipher exactly what the other is transmitting without worrying about perhaps interpreting the spelling or word incorrectly.

phonetic aviation alphabet

A quick example before I get into the full alphabet table below. Think about when you have to spell out your email address or name to someone over the phone. Typically you have to help them with the differences between a B and a D. To the untrained ear these are very hard to tell apart. But when you spell it using the first letter defined by a word with that corresponding letter, Bravo and Delta end up sounding very very different and instantly allow you to realize the correct letter they are referring to.

This is the process and reasoning behind the phonetic alphabet that general aviation, airline pilots and yes fighter pilots use during their daily lives.

The Full Phonetic Aviation Alphabet

LetterHow Us Pilots Say ItPronounce (Phonic) it like...
AAlfaAL • FAH
BBravoBRAH • VOH
CCharlieCHAR • LEE
DDeltaDELL • TAH
EEchoECK • OH
FFoxtrotFOKS • TROT
GGolfGOLF
HHotelHOH • TOL
IIndiaIN • DEE • AH
JJuliettJEW • LEE • ETT
KKiloKEY • LOH
LLimaLEE • MAH
MMikeMIKE
NNovemberNO • VEM • BER
OOscarOSS • CAH
PPapaPAH • PAH
QQuebecKEH • BECK
RRomeoROW • ME • OH
SSierraSEE • AIR • RAH
TTangoTANG • GO
UUniformYOU • NEE • FORM
VVictorVIK • TAH
WWhiskeyWISS • KEY
XX-RayECKS • RAY
YYankeeYANG • KEY
ZZuluZOO • LOO

If you’re new to the whole aviation thing, this could be a bit overwhelming. Have no fear soon enough it will become a natural instinct. However, not only do we have to worry about the alphabet letters, but we also have to worry about how to pronounce numbers in aviation.

Digit #Code WordPronounce it like...
0ZEROZEE • RO
1ONEWUN
2TWOTOO
3THREETREE
4FOURFOW • ER
5FIVEFIFE
6SIXSIX
7SEVENSEV • EN
8EIGHTAIT
9NINENIN • ER

Aviation Phonetic Alphabet shirtsSo there you have it… the jist to avoid confusion in your next radio transmission or phone conversation. Start to use this globally recognized way of pronouncing. Use the aviation phonetic alphabet in your everyday life so that while you flight train or become more versed in the aviation world you will begin to routinely use it without hesitation.

After a while you will start to make aviation jokes out of it. Foxtrot Uniform when you’re angry at someone or Whiskey Tango Foxtrot when you’re just angry in general 😉