Controller using the word "request"?

falstro
  • Controller using the word "request"? falstro

    I recently had the opportunity to fly a PAR approach into Büchel Airbase in Germany. It was a ton of fun and I'll definitely try it again when I get the chance. However, as we were getting set up for the approach I received the following call

    (callsign) request heading

    It caught me off guard, and it took a while but I eventually interpreted it as "say heading" and gave him my current heading. He didn't complain, but I'm still not sure if that's what he wanted.

    A bit later I got a similar call

    (callsign) request QNE

    However, I was unfamiliar with that Q-code (as a private pilot in Europe you pretty much need to know QNH, QFE, QDM and QTE) and only later found out it means "pressure altitude". Q-codes suck. Anyway I said "Say again" and he came back and asked how many were on board (which I incorrectly assumed at that point was what QNE meant), again, using "request".

    Anyway, I've never heard a controller say "request" before, is it just army version of "say"? I'm pretty sure the guy was German, so it might be a German military thing, or a NATO thing, or just a simple mistake on his side?

  • "Request " is very common in Europe but it's usually the pilot who will use it to talk to ATC, as in "Request taxi" or "Request to enter your airspace".

    I've never heard this phrase being used by a controller in Belgium, France and The Netherlands (where I've flown the most so far). Seems very odd to me.

  • In civil aviation the ICAO standard phraseology should be used. This phraseology is described in ICAO document 9432. The standard ICAO phraseology is to use the word report in the first case. According to the definitions it means: "Pass me the following information ..."

    [callsign] report heading

    The second phrase is even stranger. QNE is the standard pressure altimetry setting of 1013.25 Hectopascal (29.92 inches of mercury in the US). When an altimeter is set to standard pressure, the normal way of reporting the altitude is in Flight Levels. So in this case the standard phraseology should have been

    [callsign] report Flight Level.

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