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Affirm? Or Roger...

Question

I’m a fairly new pilot, and seem to be struggling with the use of “affirm” and “roger”. I understand the meaning of both, and the context in which they SHOULD be used, but I seem to continually default to saying affirm when I really should say roger. Has anyone else had this problem? 

 

I guess it will eventually work itself out, but I thought someone might have a way they went about drumming it into their head haha.

 

On my last flight I did it so many times it started to become comical! Here’s a short video of it

 

 

 

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"Roger" used to be the phonetic for "R" before the NATO phonetic alphabet became the standard so "R" is now Romeo. Roger is defined as "Read and Understood. I have received all of your last transmission". Affirm means "Yes". So if someone is asking you a question & you can answer with a yes, say "Affirm". It you are being advised of a situation where a readback is not required say "Roger". What is not acceptable is CB speak of "Copy" or "Copy that" etc.

 

There was an article in the October Sportpilot of radio use in class G airspace. There is no difference when you are in controlled airspace except when being provided with information from ATC a readback is usually required to confirm you have read and understood the transmission.

 

 

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Actually, the use of words that are not used in common conversations is an example of poor communication.  When was the last time someone asked you if you would like a drink and you answered, "Affirm"?

 

The use of unnecessarily long phrases, such as, 'at this point in time', 'at the end of the day' and similar is an obnoxious abuse of language, introduced by citizens of the United States of America in an attempt to give the impression of literacy.

 

I remember way back when I was doing circuits and bumps at Bankstown and was about to taxi off the runway. ATC told me to 'expidite'. I asked my instructor what that meant and he said, "Be quick."  Having to ask the question slowed my exit from the runway.

 

 

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 Expedite has been in use for ages . If you do something expeditiously you do it as quickly as possible. You may be cleared for" Immediate " take off and that means what it says. It's Affirmative. also for yes. These words are used to avoid conflict in meaning and for clarity. Yes is "affirmative" and no is "negative"  Say again is used for repeat, sometimes. IF you are given an instruction you can't comply with you say "negative"( to that0  unable to comply "Require" alternate clearance etc.. Wilco means received and will comply. Roger has been gone for a while as is over and out. Went with the Able, Baker Charlie, Dog, Phonetics. Nev

 

 

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Roger is alive and kicking, but note that these days it only means you have received the last message, not that you have understood it! Affirmative is abbreviated to 'Affirm' to avoid confusion with negative in the case of clipped transmissions.

 

 

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Roger is alive and kicking, but note that these days it only means you have received the last message, not that you have understood it! Affirmative is abbreviated to 'Affirm' to avoid confusion with negative in the case of clipped transmissions.

 

You wouldn't use your callsign?

 

 

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 Expedite has been in use for ages . Nev

 

Obviously, since I first encountered it back in the early 70's. 

 

But you didn't answer my question: "When was the last time someone asked you if you would like a drink and you answered, "Affirm"?"

 

Also, Isn't "Yes" a better word to use? It's short and does not sound like "No".  Most transmissions are clipped at the beginning.  "-ative" could be "affirm-ative" or "neg-ative"

 

 

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I don't think the abbreviation Affirm was and is correct . As I said, it's affirmative. These PROCEDURES are used for standardization and clarity taking into account  having word misheard. What you say at the PUB  or the table has nothing to do with it. You are lucky English is the international standard.  You emphasize the first bit. IF you all make it up to suit yourselves its not helping. . Flying to be safe, requires discipline and rules. .I think R/T procedures are worse than ever these days. and with increasing traffic they need to be better not worse..  Nev

 

 

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That's correct FH, our terminology and phrases were developed in the blood of misunderstandings from WW2.

 

Radio has been allowed to deteriorate into a rabble in Australia, and people will pay for it.

 

 

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I don't think the abbreviation Affirm was and is correct . As I said, it's affirmative. These PROCEDURES are used for standardization and clarity taking into account  having word misheard. What you say at the PUB  or the table has nothing to do with it. You are lucky English is the international standard.  You emphasize the first bit. IF you all make it up to suit yourselves its not helping. . Flying to be safe, requires discipline and rules. .I think R/T procedures are worse than ever these days. and with increasing traffic they need to be better not worse..  Nev

 

I assure you that it was, but whether it is now is hard to say as I can't find a current definitive document.  I'd actually like to see more facts from the Facthunter.

 

 

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 The username is not fact teller.  You have to do some work yourself and we all have more to learn.. From practical experience as a CPL in the 60's plus airline  we never used the abbreviation. of affirmative. There was extensive information published about  correct phraseology in Australia and the  Phonetic pronunciation of all the alphabet and the numerals. provided by the DCA at the time. This was the international standard, not an Australian adaptation. Variations of procedure like  "read backs " have changed, but little else.. " report  (when)  Visual" is a common request. traffic "sighted (and passed)" is used for clearance purposes, where no radar or such is available for confirmation.   Nev

 

 

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For Oz, the AIP is the definitive document. And AIP GEN 3.4-25 gives it as AFFIRM.

 

 

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I was watching this series on Youtube  

 

It's radio communications between aircraft and Ground Control at Kennedy Airport. At one stage, a pilot does use the term "Affirm", but I have only seen that once in very many episodes of this series.

 

Here's a Youtuber who is concerned about poor radio use. 

 

 

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 The username is not fact teller.  You have to do some work yourself and we all have more to learn.. From practical experience as a CPL in the 60's plus airline  we never used the abbreviation. of affirmative. There was extensive information published about  correct phraseology in Australia and the  Phonetic pronunciation of all the alphabet and the numerals. provided by the DCA at the time. This was the international standard, not an Australian adaptation. Variations of procedure like  "read backs " have changed, but little else.. " report  (when)  Visual" is a common request. traffic "sighted (and passed)" is used for clearance purposes, where no radar or such is available for confirmation.   Nev

 

I dare say there have been some changes since the 1960s. I got my CPL in the 1980s and I never heard of Affirmative, it was always Affirm. Over and Out are still in use (never used together of course) but mainly for HF rather than VHF. Though in cases of poor VHF reception such as was the case on the far north coasts until 10yrs or so ago, they can still be helpful for understanding.

 

Roger is still in everyday use, as is Wilco.

 

Here is a link to the AIP - see pages 293 & 294 (Gen 3.4 - 25 5.) This is the current version issued a few days ago.

 

A few extracts -

 

AFFIRM        Yes.

 

NEGATIVE    No or Permission is not granted or

                     That is not correct or Not capable.

 

OUT              This exchange of transmissions is

                     ended and I expect no response from

                     you {not normally used in VHF or

                     satellite communication).

 

OVER            My transmission is ended and I

                     expect a response from you {not

                      normally used in VHF or satellite

                     communication).

 

ROGER         I have received all of your last

                    transmission [under NO

                    circumstances to be used in reply to

                    a question requiring READBACK or

                    a direct answer in the affirmative or

                    negative).

 

WILCO         I understand your message and will

                    comply with it.

 

 

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     If it's in the AIP it's official . The date of that would be of interest.   Over is used in poor communications only if needed like scratchy HF  . Nev

 

 

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     If it's in the AIP it's official . The date of that would be of interest. 

 

 

 

I did provide the link so anyone could check, and said "This is the current version issued a few days ago". The date of its release was 8th November 2018. The previous versions have had the same information for Phraseology as long as I can remember. Affirm, for example, goes back to at least the mid 1980s.

 

 

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 Was  still an active topic of discussion in 2006 (12 years ago) in international aviation circles with high time Air Traffic Controllers still saying "Affirmative" is correct  at THAT time in the USA which may still be that way.. Affirm and affirmative are not entirely the same words. Many think one is a shortened version of the other when it is not. Russia has used affirm for a long time but that's where you are required to use English as the standard in International Flights. Nev.

 

 

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 Was  still an active topic of discussion in 2006 (12 years ago) in international aviation circles with high time Air Traffic Controllers still saying "Affirmative" is correct  at THAT time in the USA which may still be that way.. Affirm and affirmative are not entirely the same words. Many think one is a shortened version of the other when it is not. Russia has used affirm for a long time but that's where you are required to use English as the standard in International Flights. Nev.

 

 

 

That's probably where you got the Affirmative from, it's not been used in Australia for at least 35yrs, if at all, but it's always been used in USA. This discussion is about Australia of course. 

 

From AIP (FAA) Gen 1.7-15 (2016) -

 

AFFIRM       U.S. has no phraseology using “AFFIRM”. U.S. uses “AFFIRMATIVE” “Yes”. ; or “ACKNOWLEDGE; or Roger, Wilco.”

 

 

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 Why do you say IF AT ALL. ?   The change appears to have been around 2006 in AUSTRALIA.. and I worked as a full time airline pilot for 25 years. and always used Affirmative  Never  Yes, Roger,,  Over or Out.  Plenty of Australian pilots operate internationally. Nev

 

 

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I started flying in 1965 and "affirmative" was commonly used. Those were the days of full reporting and I think that requirement helped create a higher standard of radio use.....call me old fashioned!

 

 

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