The World: Air Talk: Attendez, S'il Vous Pla

îTo the uninitiated, air traffic communication in any language all sounds like Greek. Mainly, it is a hyperabbreviated shorthand of letters and numerals identifying sender and receiver and passing on data about wind conditions, altitudes and airport geography. Herewith a typical conversation, in English and French, as it might be overheard by an Air Canada pilot over Quebec City.

Pilot: Quebec ground, this is Foxtrot Juliet Victor Hotel, radio check. One two decimal nine.

Ground Control: JVH, Quebec ground, radio check.

Pilot: Quebec ground, JVH at hangar number three. Request taxi clearance. Over.

Ground Control: JVH, Quebec ground. Runway zero six, wind zero seven zero...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!