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Common IFR-Communication/Phraseology




'N1234..., turn L/R heading …, maintain (ALT…) until established on the Localizer, cleared for the ILS (RWY..)'

It's one of the longest Approach clearances that you can receive from ATC.

However, besides understanding the meaning of this clearance, only 3 things are really important:​

1. Heading to turn to - 2. ALT to maintain until G/S intercept - 3. ILS to RWY you are cleared to.

As most ATC-Clearances are supposed to be read back, you can basically just copy this entire sentence.

If you should have trouble with this for some reason, you can also just read back the most important facts, as stated above.



ATC: “N1234..., turn R heading 030, maintain 1.600 until established on the Localizer, cleared for the ILS RWY 07L”


PILOT: “Turn R heading 030, maintain 1.600 until established (on the LOC), cleared ILS RWY 07L, N1234...”

“The callsign maybe be mentioned either at the beginning or at the end."

"If you fly within European Airspace, you should start with your call sign at all times”





Get your Holding-Instructions as soon as possible, so you will have enough time to set up your instruments and be able to figure out your best Entry. Flying the airplane should always be first! 

'N1234E.., hold (N/NW/SW...) on the …. Radial, make Left Turns*, maintain …. (ALT), expect Further Clearance (UTC) ….'

This instruction must be completely read back with all its wording!

Further Clearance may be abbreviated as 'EFC' by the pilot

*Right Turns will not be mentioned, as they are considered to be 'standard'.



Do you know what the following IFR Instructions from ATC mean?

“Cleared for the Approach”

You are cleared for the approach you requested from ATC. ATC is also expecting you to fly the approach as published on the Approach Plate.

The pilot can acknowledge this by simply saying the same sentence “Cleared for the Approach”. This will also simplify or lessen ATC communications. After acknowledging the clearance, you are fully responsible for all Altitudes and Courses and whatever the APPR-PLATE says.


“Cleared for the Option”

A very flexible clearance actually. Getting and acknowledging this Clearance will allow you to decide for yourself what you would like to do at the End of your Approach. You can decide between the following options...

- go missed (Missed Approach)

- make a touch and go

- or full-stop landing

Unless you decide to do a missed approach, ATC must not be advised of your decision.


“Report established”

The controller might lose you on the radar screen or is expecting some other difficulties eventually. This is not a bad thing, but it could make it more complicated for him to issue instructions and so on, so he requests you to “report (tell) him when you are established on an approach segment or any other phase of flight. This instruction could also be heard before entering a hold.”

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions

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