Clearance Shorthand

The following shorthand system is recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Applicants for the instrument rating may use any shorthand system, in any language, which ensures accurate compliance with air traffic control (ATC) instructions. No shorthand system is required by regulation and no knowledge of shorthand is required for the FAA Knowledge Test; however, because of the vital need for reliable communication between the pilot and controller, clearance information should be unmistakably clear.


The following symbols and contractions represent words and phrases frequently used in clearances. Most are used regularly by ATC personnel. By practicing this shorthand, omitting the parenthetical words, you will be able to copy long clearances as fast as they are read.

Words and Phrases Shorthand
Above ABV
Above (Altitude, Hundreds of Feet) 70
Adjust speed to 250 knots 250 K
Advise ADZ
After (Passing) <
Airway (Designation) V26
Airport A
Alternate Instructions ( )
Altitude 6,000–17,000 60-170
And &
Approach AP
Approach Control APC
Area Navigation RNAV
At @
At or Above
At or Below
(ATC) Advises CA
(ATC) Clears or Cleared C
(ATC) Requests CR
Back Course BC
Bearing BR
Before (Reaching, Passing) >
Below BLO
Below (Altitude, Hundreds of Feet)
Center CTR
Clearance Void if Not Off By (Time) v<
Cleared as Filed CAF
Cleared to Airport A
Cleared to Climb/Descend at Pilot’s Discretion PD
Cleared to Cross X
Cleared to Depart From the Fix D
Cleared to the Fix F
Cleared to Hold and Instructions Issued H
Cleared to Land L
Cleared to the Outer Marker O
Climb to (Altitude, Hundreds of Feet)  
Contact Approach CT
Contact (Denver) Approach Control (den
Contact (Denver) Center (DEN
Course CRS
Cross X
Delay Indefinite DLI
 Depart (Direction, if Specified)  
 Departure Control DPC
 Descend To (Altitude, Hundreds of Feet)
 Direct DR
Direction (Bound)
Eastbound EB
Westbound WB
Northbound NB
Southbound SB
Inbound IB
Outbound OB
DME Fix (Mile)
Each EA
Enter Control Area
Estimated Time of Arrival ETA
Expect EX
Expect-Further-Clearance EFC
Fan Marker FM
Final F
Final Approach FA
Flight Level FL
Flight Planned Route FPR
For Further Clearance FFC
For Further Headings FFH
From FM
Ground GND
GPS Approach GPS
Heading HDG
Hold (Direction) H-W
Holding Pattern
ILS Approach ILS
Increase Speed 30 Knots +30 K
Initial Approach I
Instrument Departure Procedure DP
Intersection XN
Join or Intercept Airway/Jet Route/Track or Course
Left Turn After Takeoff
Locator Outer Marker LOM
Magnetic M
Maintain VFR Conditions On Top VFR
Middle Compass Locator ML
Middle Marker MM
Missed Approach MA
Nondirectional Beacon Approach NDB
Out of (Leave) Control Area
Outer Marker OM
Over (Station) OKC
On Course OC
Precision Approach Radar PAR
Procedure Turn PT
Radar Vector RV
Radial (080° Radial) 080R
Reduce Speed 20 Knots -20 K
Remain This Frequency RTF
Remain Well to Left Side LS
Remain Well to Right Side RS
Report Crossing RX
Report Departing RD
Report Leaving RL
Report on Course R-CRS
Report Over RO
Report Passing RP
Report Reaching RR
Report Starting Procedure Turn RSPT
Reverse Course RC
Right Turn After Takeoff
Runway Heading RH
Runway (Number) RY18
Squawk SQ
Standby STBY
Straight-in Approach SI
Surveillance Radar Approach ASR
Takeoff (Direction)
Tower Z
Turn Left TL
Turn Right TR
Until /
Until Advised (By) UA
Until Further Advised UFA
VFR Conditions On Top OTP
Victor (Airway Number) V14
Visual Approach VA
VOR Approach VR
While in Control Area