The Alphabet of Communication

ABC: The Alphabet of Communication

Alpha. Bravo. Charlie. We’ve all heard these terms, but do you really know what they mean? Do you know the rest of the alphabet? I didn’t until I read an article in an issue of US Airways Magazine. The article talks about the system and even lists the entire international radiotelephony spelling alphabet.

The system was developed in the 1950s by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) so that letters could be clearly understood when transmitter via radio or telephone, no matter the native language. For example, the pronunciation of the letter E might sound like the letter G. This system helps make sure everyone is on the same page.

This helps make sure letters are clearly understood, but what about numbers? For numbers 3, 4, 5, and 9 the FAA and the ICAO say “tree,” “flower,” “fife,” and “niner” to avoid further miscommunication. I hadn’t seen the entire alphabet until I read this article. The compete list is below. Fun!

  • Alpha
  • Bravo
  • Charlie
  • Delta
  • Echo
  • Foxtrot
  • Golf
  • Hotel
  • India
  • Juliet
  • Kilo
  • Lima
  • Mike
  • November
  • Oscar
  • Papa
  • Quebec
  • Romeo
  • Sierra
  • Tango
  • Uniform
  • Victor
  • Whiskey
  • Xray
  • Yankee
  • Zulu

The next time you hear someone use this terminology, you will know what they are saying. I like “Golf.” What some of your favorite letters of the alphabet?