ICAO English

[General Usage]

Request an earlier slot

example: request a new slot

Ready to push back

Advise current QNH

Advise the type of the traffic ahead of us

Confirm heading = What’s the heading?

Confirm parking stand = Please tell the parking stand

Note: “Advise” and “Confirm” are used in a question, but the later one usually used in making clarification before read-back

Say again = 1) say one more time 2) please explain

Say again all before /after (specific part in the conversation)

Unable to (do sth.): we (…plain language explain…)

example: Unable reduce our speed: we are already at our minimum clean speed (at speed)

Negative, (…plain language explain…)

example: Negative contact : we are in IMC

Affirmative (= Affirm)


[Plain language]

Can you give me an update?

So how long can I expect to wait?

How much longer will we be holding?

Do you have an estimate for an improvement in the weather?

At the moment it’s a bit difficult to say.

I think you may be waiting quite a while. I’ll get back to you shortly.

We didn’t get that information before we leave HKG.

We are approaching minimum fuel

The winds didn’t work out as as forecast crossing the pond.

crossing the pond– Often used to go to USA to the UK, and vice versa. Basically, an other word for the Atlantic Ocean 

We’d like a priority landing = We need to get on the ground as soon as possible = Request priority landing.

Let me know if you have a/any problem, please?

We’ll have to take our alternate, Taipei,  if we cannot get the clearance in next 10 mins

When did you last (do sth.)? – e.g When did you last fly this route?

Does your/our company provide ….?

Has the weather improved?

Did (some event) cause any damage? – Did the bird strike cause any damage?

for the time being… = at the time, at the moment

(sby.) expected (n.) to … 
[e.g We expected wind to be 340 degree at 10 KT]

(sby.) has/had been told (not to) expect …

[e.g We had been told not to expect any holding, but on arrival in Hong Kong , we had been told to hold for 30 mins.]

The runway has a Takeoff run available (TORA)/Takeoff distance available (TODA)/Landing distance available (LDA) of 3800 m and 60 m wide.

Did you say that …   = (Please) Confirm ….
Did you hear that? He did say …, didn’t he?
Can you confirm (sth)?
Can you just confirm if (S+V+O)?
I just wanna verify that …
You say
the access panel is on the right wing under the fuselage?
134.260, was that?
Is there such a gate?

Our chart say that we can… Could we do …
Affirmative, that works also.
Can you do that in (meter/ a unit like km)?

I don’t know that part yet.
I just get word that …
….that’s just a guess at this point.
We are unsure at this point (= We are not sure at this time),but we’ll find out and let you know right away.

I’ll double check it.
Will double check that for you.
We just prefer whatever is the faster way.
We just prefer whatever is quicker.


Strong obligation Have (got) to/ must/ mustn’t/ shall
Recommendation Should/ ought to
No obligation Don’t have to/ needn’t
Permission may/ can/ are allowed to
Prohibition Can’t/ don’t


[Expressing concern]

I am (very) concerned about (the TORA/sth.)

I am very concerned about whether (S+V+O.)

I am puzzled by (the altimeter reading/sth.)

I am worried about (the airspeed accuracy/sth.)

I am not sure (S+V+O / he understood.)

(Don’t think) It’s strange that we reach 10,000 feet less than 10s

I thought (S+V+O / we were overhead the waypoint RASSI)

I’m afraid that (S+V+O)


[Checking and asking for an alternative]

Are you sure?

Can you confirm climb back FL130?

Did you say FL180?

Do you mind if we stay on FL130?

Can I use ILS RWY25L rather than ILS RWY 25R?



  1. take/took
  2. last/lasted


  • The thunderstorm lasted from 1000 to 1600
  • It took eight hours
  • There was heavy fog yesterday. It lasted for 24 hours
  • It was sunny in this morning. The sunshine lasted from 0800 to 1000




Future – we will intercept the localizer 10 miles from the threshold

Condition – if VHHH is not available, we’ll divert to MCCU

Failure – the flap on port side will not extend.



There are 5 miles from (the final approach fix) to (the threshold)
There are 8 NM between A and B

(waypoing) is 3 NM to the left of the expended centerline of RWY25L

Location A is 8 NM from Location B

We are one dot above the glide slope

Notes: Can you do that in (meter/ a unit like km)?



switch over to (118.25/ a frequency)

We can’t here you very well, can you speak up?

How do you read?

Read five = Reception is good

Read two / two out of five = Reception is poor

Sorry, you’re totally unreadable.

EVA852, I am reading you two out of five. Reception is very poor on our present frequency.

Note: on frequency, on 118.5 MHz

We would like to work this frequency.

Your transmission is breaking up.





[Requesting and giving reasons]

Requesting reasons

  • Why did + S + V
    e.g Why did the windshield crack?
  • What was the reason for (sth)
    e.g What was the reason for the windshield cracking?
  • What caused + S + to + V
    e.g What caused the windshield to crack?


Giving reasons

  • It is because…
  • It was due to …
  • (sth) caused the (consequence).


[Ask for engineer]

Do you have contact with an aircraft engineer?

We’d like an engineer to look at our aircraft.

We have an intermittent refuelling panel warning light.

We have a cracked windscreen and I think we had an impact with the nose gear.

You say that an engineer is on his way.

Please confirm if an engineer is on his way.

Can you let me know the location of the panel?

We’ll need assistance for PAXs.




[Push back – non-routine]

EVA852, we are having a problem with …./ we seem to have a problem with… Expect (30) minutes delay. Could we call you back when ready?

EVA852, we seem to have a problem with… We have shut off the fuel supply.

EVA852, we have just offloaded PAX and ground staff are locating check-in baggage from cargo hold. We are going to be delayed for a while.

EVA852, our push back truck seems to have broken down. We are waiting for another one.

EVA852, we seems to have technical problem with our hydraulic system, request return to stand.

EVA852, a A320 is stopping at B3, request take the (second/third) turning on the left/ take the (second/third) left turn off

turn off RWY07L at exit B2



Go straight ahead at the intersection

Give way to (traffic) from left to right

Take the (first) turning on the (left/right)

Take the first left turn-off [usually for vacating RWY]

EVA852, say again? What kind of traffic ahead of us?

Vacate onto BRAVO, left onto TANGO for gate 18

We are taxing out.


[Take off – non-routine]

EVA 852, stopping. Take-off abandoned due to airspeed discrepancy. Request returning parking stand.

EVA 852, stopping. Take-off abandoned. Two tyres on right body gear have blown out. We have contact our handling agent for maintenance service, unable to vacate runway at the moment.

EVA 852, our aircraft is bogged down on taxiway A, we have 180 POB, request passenger steps and buses to take them to terminal.

[Initial Climb – non-routine]

EVA 852, we have shut down no.1 Engine after a bird strike. Request proceed to fuel dumping area for jettison drill.

EVA 852, fuel dumping in progress, estimating complete time at 1543z




ATC: EVA 852, squawk ident.

  1. Identing, EVA852.

ATC: EVA 852, squawk 2477.

  1. Squwking 2477, EVA852


[En-route – Traffic information]

  1. EVA 852 [callsign]
  2. Negative contact, request vectors / Traffic in sight

[En-route (routine) – position reports]

  • EVA852, good morning

ATC: Go ahead, EVA852

  • EVA852,  VORA [reporting point] at 33[current minute], FL120, estimating VORB[next reporting point] at 55


[Crew Briefing]

“SEA-ICE” Method

  1. Safety and Security issues and considerations
  2. Equipment issues (INOPS?)
  3. Abnormal procedures
  4. In case of Emergency (ICE)

Important notes

  • PIC sets the tone
  • Always close with “Any questions?”


SEA-ICE on Arrival

Arrival briefing is helpful for focusing on what might get missed. Some elements should be included:

  1. Current and expected WX conditions (come from current WX and NOTAM reports) MUST be considered
  2. Flight instruments, FMCs, NAV and COM radios, and other avionics MUST be programmed and set up
  3. A verbal approach briefing MUST be exchanged between the pilots

Indeed, the cockpit crews need to make a briefing to cabin crew as well –  NITS brief  would be helpful:

  1. Nature of the problem
  2. Intention
  3. Time needed – to sort out the problem
  4. Special instructions if required (Safety and Security)
  5. Do you have any questions?


(ISM/CSM’s name), we have a suspect to technical problem. We were getting a fire warning in the rear cargo hold. We are going to be diverting to (somewhere). We have approximately 20 minutes to landing. As we start to descent, the smoke may potentially come into the cabin. After the aircraft lands, I’ll give you the command to evacuate if I think we need to make an evacuation drill or unless you feel that the situation is catastrophic then you start the evacuation by yourself. Do you have any questions?    

  1. Nature of the problem – fire warning in the rear cargo hold
  2. Intention – diverting to (somewhere)
  3. Time needed – approximately 20 minutes to landing
  4. Special instructions if required (Safety and Security) – 
    smoke may potentially come into the cabin as we start to descent;

    PIC will give command to execute evacuation OR ISM/CSM feel that the situation is catastrophic then he will start the evacuation
  5. Do you have any questions?




Briefing of En-route situation – turbulence 


(ISM/CSM’s name), thanks for noticing the seat belt signs have been illuminated (= seat belt signs have been put on = seat belt signs come on).  They come on because we are going through some bumpy air at the moment. The catering service can remain, but please don’t serve any hot drinks at the moment Also, please help the PAX return to their seat and fasten their seat belt securely until the signs have been switched off . And I will make the PA as well. Do you have any questions?

  1. Nature of the problem – we are going through some bumpy air at the moment
  2. Intention –
    catering service can remain, but please don’t serve any hot drinks;
    help the PAX return to their seat and fasten their seat belt securely
  3. Time needed – until the signs have been switched off
  4. Special instructions if required (Safety and Security)  – I will make the PA
  5. Do you have any questions?



[En-route (non-routine)]

  1. (Target frequency), MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY or PAN PAN, PAN PAN, PAN PAN
  2. EVA 852 [call sign]
  3. Squawking 7700 [in case MAYDAY can verbally say it]
  4. (there is …/We have…)
  5. We are making an emergency descent to (FL 120), heading to VHHH for emergency landing OR We intend to … OR Request …. immediately

Example 2

  1. Hong Kong Tower,  EVA 852
  2. (there is…/We have…)
  3. Request immediate divert  to VHHH


Example 3

  1. Hong Kong Departure, EVA 852
  2. Request (10 degree) heading change (left/right) of track to avoid build-up

Example 4

  1. Hong Kong Radar, EVA 852
  2. We are clear of CB now

Example 5

  1. Hong Kong Departure, EVA 852
  2. We have just had to (climb/ do some maneuver) to avoid colliding with (unknown traffic/a drone/converging traffic)
  3. Request file an air miss report and we are checking if the passenger are OK, will advise.

Example 6

  1. EVA852
  2. We have just encountered (= come through) some severe turbulence, 6 PAX have been badly bruised
  3. We are consulting Medlink service, will advise more details
  4. (EVA 852, request priority landing and emergency services)
    Or Request full emergency services


Example 7

  1. Hong Kong Departure, EVA852
  2. We have just encountered severe turbulence, 6 PAX have been badly bruised
  3. We are consulting Medlink service, will advise more details


Example 8

  1. Hong Kong arrival, EVA852
  2. We have a problem with the pressurization, we’ll have [音: ≈lab/left] to descent slowly.
  3. For your information, our cabin altitude is still within tolerance. The oxygen masks have been released and we are donning our masks


Example 8

  1. Hong Kong Tower, EVA852
  2. We have a problem with a violent passenger on board
  3. He has hit  our cabin crew.
  4. We have a passenger who is endangering the safety of the flight. He is drunk.
  5. We have an aggressive passenger onboard.
  6. We have an intoxicated passenger who is now under control, request security service after landing at gate OR
    The cabin crew have reported some very unruly passenger in the economy cabin and the flight attendants are having a lot of trouble containing them (contain someone = manage someone), request immediate turning back to VHHH and request security service. OR
  7. The agitated passenger is restrained
  8. We need services to remove this unruly passenger from the plane


  • (some/an)  intoxicated passenger / unruly passengeragitated passenger/ violent passenger/ aggressive passenger
  • cabin crew / flight attendants


Example 9

  1. PAN PAN PAN x3, EVA852 transmitting blind due to receiver failure.
  2. EVA852, FL130, heading 220. Over CH VOR this time, descending to FL100 by TC, standard arrival procedure for RWY 25 at VHHH

Notes: transmitting blind should be transmitted twice.


Example 10

  1. EVA852
  2. Our cabin team have reported a suspicious individual who seems having animal in his cabin luggage. Request quarantine or customs services at gate.

Example 11

  1. PAN PAN x3, EVA852
  2. Our cabin team have found a suspicious bag which seems to be a bomb. Request immediate turning back to VHHH.

Example – bomb threat

  • a PAX whose seat 56D is claiming to have a bomb.
  • Could you please relay message to our operations in (Taipei), that we are landing in (Hong Kong) due to unruly passenger?
  • Request local standby/ full emergency
  • Request bomb squad and anti-terrorist squad
  • POB is 160+2 and 6 crews, and there is no dangerous goods on board
  • Remaining fuel is 5.6 tons
  • Request follow me car



[technical problems – non-routine]

Engines Electrical power Flight Controls Fuel Navigation Pressurization and air conditioning
  • Compressor Stall;
  • Flame-out
  • IDG disconnect;
  • GEN 1 overload;
  • AC bus 1 fault


  • Aileron Power Control Unit;
  • Stabiliser trim runaway;
  • Flap asymmetry
  • Tank low pressure;
  • Cross-feed valve jammed;
  • Filter clog
  • Spurious INS warning;
  • Altimeter discrepancies;
  • Air Data Computer failure;
  • DME 1 failure
  • Outflow valve jammed open;
  • Flow control valve stuck closed;
  • Pack controller

Language – Technical conditions

  • The cable could be broken.
  • The filter may be clogged.
  • The windshield is cracked.
  • The situation is dangerous.
  • The autopilot is disconnected.
  • The oil pressure is dropping.
  • The oil temperature is too high.
  • The tanks are almost empty.
  • The transmission was garbled.
  • The indication is intermittent.
  • The slats are jammed retracted.
  • The hydraulic reservoir is leaking.
  • The level is locked.
  • The oil level is low.
  • Part of the wing tip is missing.
  • The Localizer is unserviceable.
  • Both PFD and ND are failed = Both PFD and ND have just failed.
  • Allthe left-hand display units are blank
  • Yaw control is no longer responding
  • The reading is fluctuating.
  • The nose gear will not extend.

Describe the problems

  • (sth) may be/could be (the proble) -e.g The filter may be /could be clogged.
  • (sth) is (the problem) – e.g   The windshield is cracked.
  • (sth) are failed = (sth) has/have just failed
  • We were subjected to (a lighting strike)
  • We were experienced (some power transient / momentary power cut)

Asking about consequences

  • What effect will (the loss of the generator) have?
  • What effect will have if…?

Discuss the consequences

  • In the event of (an engine fire), we ‘ll turn back
    (“in the event of” is usually used before some happen)
  • If the hydraulic leak continues, we’ll have to request…
  • As/Since we are about our MLDW, we’ll have to dump fuel.

Describe the monitoring actions

  • We are monitoring …
  • We are watching the engine parameters …


Example – nose gear fail to extend


We have tried recycling the gear, but we still have a red light.

We plan to come in for a low pass (= make a low pass).When we pass over, could you check out (=inspect) our landing gear?

When we get to you, the gear should be down.

We’ll try to lower the gear again, but if we are still unable to release the nose gear (= if it is still stays up), then we’ll land with all three up.

Please check if some birds stuck in the mechanism.

It could be that we swerve to the left on landing – be aware that we could come off the runway to the left, EVA 852.


Example – Technical problems


  • Say again the waypoint, please?
  • We have got 180 souls onboard (= POB 180)
  • Be advised, …
  • EVA 852, Windcheck, please?
  • We are uncertain at this stage, so you may want to have a look.


Example – Engine fire


Standby one = please give us a minute
We’ll get back to you in a sec.

Somebody say: …Please let us know. -> Ans:  You bet (=”certainly”), thank you.

We gonna need a little room here…we are not climbing very well
We appreciate you keeping people away from us right now.
Request an altitude block spanning  3,000 ft above and below

Which engine is it?

Be advised that …

We still have an indication of fire on our left engine.
We plan on stopping straight ahead, if you could have the fire department inspect our engine and let us know whether it’s safe to taxi.

We plan to make a full stop on the runway and we would like the fire department to inspect the right engine to see if it is safe to taxi.


What’s the RAFF frequency?
[RAFF 音: Arfu]

We’ll need to be towed off the runway then.
Do you want us to shut down the right engine?

We wanna to verify if there is any indicator of fire?
Was there any fire on the main gear then?


Example – Engine surge on takeoff


We are unsure at this point (= We are not sure at this time),but we’ll find out and let you know right away.

I believe they are holding over (somewhere) right now.

I would assume that they are gonna need to return

They are probably gonna burn off some fuel, but that’s just a guess at this point.

How long do you anticipate it is gonna take? ( = How long do you anticipate it’s gonna take? )

It’s likely to take about 20 mins to dump down the fuel.

Q: You said 22 mins? – Ans:  At this moment, it takes 20-22 mins.

It’ll just take us 10 mins or so to go through our checklist prior to fuel dumping.

No guess about the time yet?

We are happy to downgrade to MAYDAY at the moment.

Sorry, please say your last part?

We have just come down to MAX LANDING Weight.

We would like to stop the roll-out toward the end of the runway. (= Request use the full length of RWY 07L = We’ll need the longest runway)

Just for your information, ….

Lovely, thank you.

That’s lovely, thank you.

I just wanna verify that


Example – Smoke in cabin


(groung frequency), EVA852, Maday x3, we are declaring an emergency.
Look like we got smoke forming in the cabin, request immediate diverting to (somewhere).
The smoke is mostly in the cabin, although we were starting to get a little bit of it into the flight deck.

EVA68, we are on stand 33, we just want to know if there’s gonna be a hold time for takeoff?


[In-flight medical problems]


We have a passenger with (severe chest pain).

Is the pain really crushing pain?

Did he/she describe how the pain feels and how severe it is?

Shortness of breath?

We have got him on oxygen


We have a problem with (a diabetic patient).

Apparently he took his/her insulin before coming on board.


We have a passenger who has had a seizure.

The patient’s family reported that he/she has epilepsy in his/her medical history

He/She is epileptic apparently.

Our cabin crew reported that it started off with some twitching of his/her face and hands, and it has gradually got worse and worse.

Both his/her arms and legs have been jerking

He/She seems to have stopped that now.

He/She is/isn’t awake.

He/She loses consciousness.


We have a distressed passenger.He/She is asthmatic.

His/Her inhaler has been packed in the cargo compartment.

We don’t appear to have a doctor on board.

The sick passenger having lots of trouble breathing.

We have found an inhaler in our onboard medical kit.


We have a sick passenger – a young boy/girl.

He/She has really nasty stomach pains.

Our cabin crew suggested that it may be appendicitis.

Our cabin crew reported that he/she has been looking really painful.

Our cabin crew reported that the boy/girl is in agony.

Our cabin crew reported that the boy/girl is suffering in pain.

His/Her face is really red.


We’ve got a passenger, who is male/female. He/She has fallen and cut his head/hand badly.

He/She has hurt badly.

He/She is bleeding a lot, with a open wound there is blood everywhere (= all over the place)

He/She has got a massive bruise all down the side of his/her face.

Our cabin crew suggested that he/she is likely to have bone fracture


Reference –



Example – Medical Emergency

Can you confirm the age and sex of the patient, please?
EVA852, PANPAN, it’s a flight crew member. It’s a 1966 male.
Can you just confirm if the patient has had seizures (癲癇發作) and if he is conscious at the moment?
It was a pilot and we are two capable pilots (have two active pilots) in the flight deck at the moment
134.260, was that?
EVA 852, can we expect a jet bridge or remote stand?
Do you have a tow bar that fits the 787?
I’ll double check it.
We just prefer whatever is the faster way.
There is a SIGMET in force, SEV TURB FCST

I have question to you
Is there such a gate?
We have got a A380 coming in here in about 45 mins with a medical emergency
I don’t know that part yet. I just get word that they’re coming in with some sort of medical issue
Ok, I’ll call down and let them know.
(call down = To call by phone or yell to someone)
EVA 852, could we take the landing wind? = windcheck please?
Our chart say that we can take A2 and A1. Could we do A2 A A1 back onto the RW 22?
Affirmative, that works also.
You can turn left at A2 join A and then A1 back onto RW30L
I will be your lead
Pull up on runway = flare
Which door would you like us to use?
Just give us a countdown and we’ll slam the brakes on
Can you do that in (meter/ a unit like km)?
Please give us few minutes to shut the engine down.
EVA852, we are shut down, you can approach the aircraft.
Hi there, just didn’t know if you were still there or not.
We are hoping to go in about 45 minutes.

The video below is quite useful for listening practice:




[Explain  situation]

We encountered …

There has been a spillage of some of our flammable cargo

  • We can see…
  • I can’t see…
  • We saw…
  • We noticed…
  • We observed…
  • I can hear …
  • I heard …
  • I can smell…
  • I smelt…
  • We are experiencing…
  • It feels (like)…
  • I can’t feel…
  • We experienced…
  • It felt (like)…
  • It appears …
  • It (doesn’t) seem …
  • There seems …
  • It looks like …
  • I think…
  • I don’t think…
  • I guess…
  • I suppose…



[Describe and discuss a photo]

Always imagine that you are talking to someone who can’t see the picture.

To tell others about the relative position on the picture, we could use the language below:

  • In the top (left/right)
  • At the top
  • In the center/ middle
  • On the (left/right)
  • In the bottom (left/right)
  • At the bottom


Source: https://www.tes.com/lessons/OQ3dhfpLUjYzMg/copy-of-story-quilt-collage
  • In the foreground
  • In the mid-ground / In the middle ground
  • In the background

Also, try to use some language to elaborate your idea:

  1. There is…
  2. There are…
  3. The picture shows…

In addition, you could add your feeling:

  1. I suppose
  2. Maybe…
  3. It [must]…
  4. Perhaps ….


Obviously, the photo (above) is the screen snap from a footage. There is a control bar at the bottom of the image and there is a red subscription button in the bottom right. I suppose it is one of the youtube video clip. The image shows “in the center” at the middle and “at the top” above and “at the bottom” below. I guess the author is trying to take a record for learning.


[In what place would you often expect to find below weather conditions?]

1) Widespread sandtorms (SS)
dry, dessert areas

2) Snow (SN) and Ice (IC)
northern latitudes

3) monsoon rainfall
any where that receives most of its rain during one season

4) hot dry sumers
desert areas

5) fog (FG) and drizzle (DZ)
moderate maritime climates

6) hurricanes
coastal regions; the term is usually for the tropical storms in the North Atlantic Ocean

8) Typhoon (TC)
Coastal regions; the term is usually for the tropical storms in the Western Pacific

7) cool moist winters
Moderate maritime climates




(Refer to ICAO Doc8400)

APCH = approach

CNL = cancel or cancelled

FU = smoke

FCST = forecast

FM = from

MNM = minimum

MAX = maximum

SFC = Surface

TWR = tower

VIS = Visibility

VV = Vertical Visibility

VRB = Variable

FBL (-) used to indicate the intensity of WX phenomena
so, ‘FBL RA” = “- RA”



snowplough – getting rid of compacted ice

fire engine – putting out fires

aircraft de-icer – spraying icy wings

sweeper – cleaning debris

flat-bet truck – carring cgo

fuel tanker – delivering kerosene

heavy plant – transporting construction materials


dense fog

gusting winds

severe thunderstorms

flash flooding

broken clouds

blowing dust

drifting snow

scattered shower

tropical storm

widespread sandstorms

snow and ice

monsoon rainfall

hot dry summers

fog and drizzle


cool moist winters



[ph. of ground movement]

  • slow down! You are taxiing too quickly
  • make the steering unresponsive
  • skidded off the runway
  • carry on past the stationary 777
  • pick up a little speed and catch up the 777 ahead of us
  • I can see a 777 is just moving off. Should I still hold position?
  • How much longer do I have to wait?



  • Near collision – avoiding manoeuver appropriate
  • airprox – danger – aircraft are too close
  • conflicting traffic – traffic on collision course
  • holding – delaying or waiting
  • identified – aircraft appears on radar screen
  • level burst – over 300 feet outside assigned level
  • aborted take off – aircraft doesn’t become airborne

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