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Quiz: Do You Know What These 5 ATC Phrases Mean?

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  1. 1) You're practicing takeoffs and landings in the pattern, and tower says you are 'cleared for the option'. What does that mean?

    'Cleared for the option' is an ATC authorization for an aircraft to make a touch-and-go, low approach, missed approach, stop and go, or full stop landing at the discretion of the pilot. It is normally used in training so that an instructor can evaluate a student's performance under changing situations. 

    'Cleared for the option' is an ATC authorization for an aircraft to make a touch-and-go, low approach, missed approach, stop and go, or full stop landing at the discretion of the pilot. It is normally used in training so that an instructor can evaluate a student's performance under changing situations. 

  2. 2) You're inbound to an airport and the ATIS states that "LAHSO" operations are in effect. What does that mean?

    LAHSO (Land And Hold Short) operations include simultaneous takeoffs and landings and/or simultaneous landings when a landing aircraft is able and is instructed by the controller to hold-short of the intersecting runway/taxiway or designated hold-short point. Pilots are expected to promptly inform the controller if the hold short clearance cannot be accepted. 

    LAHSO (Land And Hold Short) operations include simultaneous takeoffs and landings and/or simultaneous landings when a landing aircraft is able and is instructed by the controller to hold-short of the intersecting runway/taxiway or designated hold-short point. Pilots are expected to promptly inform the controller if the hold short clearance cannot be accepted. 

  3. 3) You're holding short of runway 33, and you call tower letting them know you're ready for departure. Tower tells you to "line up and wait" for runway 33. What should you do?

    This is used by ATC to inform a pilot to taxi onto the departure runway to line up and wait. It is not authorization for takeoff. It is used when takeoff clearance cannot immediately be issued because of traffic or other reasons.

    This is used by ATC to inform a pilot to taxi onto the departure runway to line up and wait. It is not authorization for takeoff. It is used when takeoff clearance cannot immediately be issued because of traffic or other reasons.

  4. 4) You're coming in for landing and tower tells you there's a "NORDO" aircraft 4 miles north of the airport. What does that mean?

    Aircraft that cannot or do not communicate by radio when radio communication is required are referred to as 'NORDO'

    Aircraft that cannot or do not communicate by radio when radio communication is required are referred to as 'NORDO'

  5. 5) You're departing a Class C airport, and tower control has instructed you to contact departure. You call departure control and they ask you to "ident". What should you do?

    This is a request for a pilot to activate the aircraft transponder identification feature. This will help the controller to confirm an aircraft identity or to identify an aircraft. 

    This is a request for a pilot to activate the aircraft transponder identification feature. This will help the controller to confirm an aircraft identity or to identify an aircraft. 

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Corey Komarec

Corey is an Airbus 320 First Officer for a U.S. Major Carrier. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at corey@boldmethod.com.

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