Our licensed FAA Instructor Pilots who have written, approved FAA training programs, are
from the United States and have been trained to teach English, bring their skill sets to
the classroom environment, along with our network of certified English as a Second
Langue (ESL) Instructors. You can only learn Aviation English by practicing within
realistic dialogues between Pilots, Maintenance and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), and
real world conversations. We only teach Aviation English and Conversational
English with the goal of teaching you, Aviation English without the weight of all the
grammar rules, that surpasses ICOA "Language Testing Criteria for Global
Students will be asked to read materials fostering a clearer hands on
understanding. Instructors will provide Vocabulary, Clarity, Pronunciation, Sentence
Structures, as it is needed in developing Confidence building skills to navigate using
English as a second language that will surpasses ICOA "Language Testing Criteria for
Global Harmonization". We have developed a Shadowing technique that is very effective
in learning English. Shadowing is an advanced learning technique where you listen to a
text in your target language, and then speak it aloud at the same time as the native
Below is an example of one of the many training modules Aviation English Classes uses.
In this example we will use the ATIS (Automated Terminal Information Service) module.
Keep in mind ATIS is not the first step in the process of Flight Planning. We will explain
what elements could and would be contained in the ATIS report. By knowing what to
expect, it will be much easier to understand and you will be better prepared to copy.
The ATIS reports are used for departure and arrival advisories.
Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS)
a. ATIS is the continuous broadcast of recorded noncontrol information in selected high
activity terminal areas. Its purpose is to improve controller effectiveness and to relieve
frequency congestion by automating the repetitive transmission of essential but routine
information. The information is continuously broadcasted over a discrete VHF radio
frequency or the voice portion of a local NAVAID (NAVAID stands simply for navigational
aid. It is any form of device that guides the pilot and his aircraft from one area to another.
There are currently many different kinds of NAVAIDs in use today and their principal
uses are to provide guidance, location, and direction.). Arrival ATIS transmissions on
a discrete VHF (very high frequency/Omni Directional Radio Range (VOR) ) radio
frequency are engineered according to the individual facility requirements, which would
normally be a protected service volume of 20 NM (Nautical Miles) to 60 NM from the ATIS
site and a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet AGL. In the case of a departure ATIS, the
protected service volume will not exceed 5 NM and 100 feet AGL. At most locations,
ATIS signals may be received on the surface of the airport, but local conditions may limit
the maximum ATIS reception distance and/or altitude. Pilots are urged to cooperate in the
ATIS program as it relieves frequency congestion on approach control, ground control,
and local control frequencies. The A/FD (Airport Facility Directory) indicates airports
for which ATIS is provided.
b. ATIS information includes the time of the latest weather sequence, ceiling, visibility,
obstructions to visibility, temperature, dew point (if available), wind direction (magnetic),
and velocity, altimeter, other pertinent remarks, instrument approach and runway in
use. The ceiling / sky condition, visibility, and obstructions to vision may be omitted from
the ATIS broadcast if the ceiling is above 5,000 feet and the visibility is more than 5
miles. The departure runway will only be given if different from the landing runway
except at locations having a separate ATIS for departure. The broadcast may include the
appropriate frequency and instructions for VFR arrivals to make initial contact with
approach control. Pilots of aircraft arriving or departing the terminal area can receive the
continuous ATIS broadcast at times when cockpit duties are least pressing and listen
to as many repeats as desired. ATIS broadcast must be updated upon the receipt of any
official hourly and special weather. A new recording will also be made when there is
a change in other pertinent data such as runway change, instrument approach in use,
Dulles International information Sierra. 1300 zulu weather. Measured ceiling three
thousand overcast. Visibility three, smoke. Temperature six eight. Wind three five zero at
eight. Altimeter two niner niner two. ILS runway one right approach in use. Landing runway
one right and left. Departure runway three zero. Armel VORTAC out of service. Advise you
c. Pilots should listen to ATIS broadcasts whenever ATIS is in operation.
d. Pilots should notify controllers on initial contact that they have received the ATIS
broadcast by repeating the alphabetical code word appended to the broadcast.
“Information Sierra received.”
e. When a pilot acknowledges receipt of the ATIS broadcast, controllers may omit those
items contained in the broadcast if they are current. Rapidly changing conditions will be
issued by ATC and the ATIS will contain words as follows:
“Latest ceiling/visibility/altimeter/wind/(other conditions)will be issued by approach
The absence of a sky condition or ceiling and/or visibility on ATIS indicates a sky
condition or ceiling of 5,000 feet or above and visibility of 5 miles or more. A remark may
be made on the broadcast, “the weather is better than 5000 and 5,” or the existing
weather may be broadcast.
f. Controllers will issue pertinent information to pilots who do not acknowledge receipt of a
broadcast or who acknowledge receipt of a broadcast which is not current.
g. To serve frequency limited aircraft, FSSs are equipped to transmit on the omnirange
frequency at most en route VORs used as ATIS voice outlets. Such communication
interrupts the ATIS broadcast. Pilots of aircraft equipped to receive on other FSS
frequencies are encouraged to do so in order that these override transmissions may be
kept to an absolute minimum.
h. While it is a good operating practice for pilots to make use of the ATIS broadcast
where it is available, some pilots use the phrase “have numbers” in communications with
the control tower. Use of this phrase means that the pilot has received wind, runway, and
altimeter information ONLY and the tower does not have to repeat this information. It does
not indicate receipt of the ATIS broadcast should never be used for this purpose.
At airports with operating control towers, you will find some kind of information service.
ATIS, Automatic Terminal Information Service, is perhaps the one most familiar to you.
You can find your way around an airport when everything is not a surprise. Make use of the
information available to you before you taxi out or land your plane. Lately, so much is
required to be included on an ATIS transmission, many pilots complain they do not get the
important information they need. There is a way to make this easier. Although it has been
changed recently to conform with international standards, ATIS reports are always given in
the same order.
The first part sets one report apart from the prior one.
1. WHERE-for instance Long Beach Airport
2. WHAT -Information “Tango”
3. WHEN -0445 universal time coordinated These are your identifiers.
4. What is important? Well, is it the right airport? How recent is this report? ATIS is
recorded sometime between forty-five minutes after the hour and the top of the hour. It is
given an identifier name, in this case “TANGO”.
5. What do you need to remember from this first group? TANGO. You will use that name in
your call up to let the controllers know you have the current airport information.
The next block of information will be the wind. Here you want to listen for its direction and
velocity since these facts can impact your decision to land or take off. These facts also
help you predict the runways you are most likely to be cleared for.
The third block, visibility, can be short or long. The greater the visibility, the shorter the
information. For instance, sky clear, visibility 25 miles. Do you need to remember that?
Not usually. When the visibility is reduced, the information becomes more detailed. You
might hear, “Visibility 1 mile in rain. Ceiling indefinite.” If you are an instrument rated pilot,
this section is important to your planning. If you are flying by visual flight rules, this
information says you will spend some time on the ground. The temperature and dew point
are in the next information block. This information can give you an idea of trends in the
weather. Early morning ATIS reports with the number spread between temperature and
dew point of two to five degrees let you know you stand a good chance of reduced
visibility. Later in the day, you may notice this spread decreasing again giving you the clue
there may be low clouds and fog in the evening. How important is it to remember this
detail? It is not important once you have registered the trend and applied it to your
situation. The last piece of standard information will be the altimeter setting. You want to
remember this setting so you can check or set your altimeter.
The airport remarks can be critical to your safety. It is important you do not tune them out.
Listen for runway or taxiway closures, out of service navigation stations, anything that
might effect your safety. When we divide an ATIS report into information we use to verify
our status and information we use to make important flying decision, it can be easier to
We Verify the place and the time. We Remember the designator, such as TANGO. Verify
the winds and plan the runway to expect. Listen to the official visibility and ceiling. It will be
most important to instrument pilots. Listen for the temperature/dew point spread for
weather trends. Remember the altimeter setting and set your instrument. Listen for any
remarks that could impact your safety. By knowing the order of an ATIS report, we can
hear it more easily. When you hear, the information becomes available to you. You can
apply it and remember what is important for your safety. One more way to be prepared not
to have a runway incursion.
With the following examples we will test your ATIS advisory listening comprehension skills.
As Pilots do, you will have to listen over an over and over until you train your ears. This is
what all pilots had to do and still do to acquire the skills to interpret the ATIS advisories.
These reports are not easily understood on the first go around, but in time you will begin to
understand what they are saying. It’s about practice and striving to be the best at your