Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?

If you’ve ever boarded a flight and listened to your Captain speaking, the following thought may have crossed your mind – ‘Are they speaking a foreign language?’ The answer is, sort of!

Pilot lingo is often times something we hear during flights that leave us piecing sentences together! Pilots need to have excellent communication skills, especially when using voice procedures by radio, so while the words may sound odd to us, pilots are speaking an international ‘aviation language’.

In order to help you ‘talk like a pilot’ and understand the lingo, we’ve selected some of the most common aviation terms you may be likely to hear on your next Trial Introductory Flight!


“I have received all of the last transmission”. Originating from the phonetic alphabet, during the time period when the radio was first invented – “Roger” was used for the letter “R”. While the modern alphabet now uses “Romeo” for the letter “R”, Roger is now a crucial word used in pilot lingo.

Next time someone asks you if you’ve heard that learning to fly makes you awesome, you can respond with a “Roger”!


Wilco means – “I will comply”, meaning that the speaker will follow the instructions to which they are replying. Unlike term “Roger” where pilots confirm they have received all of the last transmission, “Wilco” means that the message has been received, understood, and will be complied with.

So, when your mum or wife asks you to put the dishes in the dishwasher rather than on the kitchen bench, respond with “Wilco” and not just “Roger”!


Standby means – “pause for the next transmission”. Essentially the controller is telling pilots “I’ll get back to you in a minute”. Many pilots will spend hours debating whether a response to “standby” is necessary. While some pilots will often respond back to the controller with a “standing by” and their identification number, many others will sit silently waiting for the next response from the controller. If the airport is very busy, some pilots will double click their responder, as a response to signify that they have received the transmission, while others believe a double click response is rude.  

To put this argument to rest, we can confirm that the Jeppesen Australian Airway Manual states that “standby” does not in fact, require a response to close the dialogue.


“Call sign squawk ident”. A squawk code is a discrete transponder code. Air traffic controllers will use the term “squawk” when requesting a pilot to identify their airplane on the air traffic control radar. Pilots will push a button on their transponder to show their location and become correctly associated with their identity.

Over and out:

You may have heard the term “over and out” used in movies often; however, this is one term you will not hear your pilot say! “Over” means “end of transmission, expect response” when used in aviation, while “out” means “end of transmission, not expecting response”. This means that the words “over and out” are not only incredibly confusing, but negate one another. Both the term “over” and “out” are used very rarely in aviation, instead “roger” or “wilco” is a far better response.

So now that you can talk like a pilot, do you think you’ve got what it takes to
be a pilot or a flight instructor?

If you think you’ve got the pilot lingo down pat, and want to learn to fly like a pilot too, why not get yourself a
Trial Introductory Flight or go straight for that Diploma of Aviation you’ve been dreaming of doing!