What Do Pilots Say to Gain Permission to Land?
Home » Aviation  »  Ask OSCAR The Pilot  »  What Do Pilots Say to Gain Permission to Land?

In today's quick "As Oscar the Pilot Post". I received this question: "What do pilots say to gain permission to land?"

Pilots are always in constant radio contact with air traffic controllers; we use a special terminology or a special English if you like to communicate with each other. I explained standard Aviation terminology in my article Why Do Pilots Say Niner?

ICAO Phonetic Alphabet

Feel free to check that article first. You will like it 🙂

What do pilots say to gain permission to land?

Landing in its general sense doesn't only start when we line up for a touchdown. The preparation starts from the descent point. This means that we start our descent procedure following an arrival chart that depicts specific routes with pre-planned altitudes and speeds so the aircraft traffic in the region would flow smoothly and all keep a safe distance from each other. Although, sometimes, you would get shortcuts by ATC.

So the first permission you would get from ATC as a pilot is the following: "AvPosts520, you are cleared to descend 6000 ft Via Arrival 2 Bravo"

Here, the ATC told our aircraft (AvPosts 520) that we could (Cleared) descend to an altitude of 6000ft via the arrival procedure named 'Arrival 2 Bravo'. This means that we don't just head towards the airport and start descending. NO! We follow the heading, speed and altitude depicted in the chart that we would have with us printed or in our EFB.

Air Traffic Control at Irkutsk International Airport (UIII)

After this, the ATC will give us permission to intercept the runway (The ILS) and descend with it. This means we follow another chart called the Approach Chart. It depends on the runway and the landing system used.

When we establish the aircraft and line up with the runway, the ATC will give us permission to land by saying, "AvPosts 520, you are cleared to land runway 05".

I hope that this concise and short article answers your question! If you have further questions, please send them my way. I'll be happy to answer.


ICAO (2016). Language to be used. In Aeronautical Telecommunications. Annex 10 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (7th ed, vol. 2). https://store.icao.int/en/annex-10-aeronautical-telecommunications-volume-ii-communication-procedures-including-those-with-pans-status

Please, consider sharing the post if you like it 🙂