Ask FLYING: Takeoff Versus Departure

What do you say to air traffic control when you’re ready to go?

Q: After lineup for takeoff, what do we say to ATC (air traffic control): “A-BCD is ready for departure” or “A-BCD is ready for takeoff”?

A: The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) contains a great deal of guidance on what to say and when in Chapter 4. While it doesn’t come right out and state: “use ‘departure’ before you get on the runway” and “‘takeoff’ when you are on the runway,” it can be inferred through the example given in 4-3-10:

“Cleveland Tower, Apache Three Seven Two Two Papa, at the intersection of Taxiway Oscar and Runway Two Three Right, ready for departure.”

When working with ATC — presumably the tower — use takeoff when acknowledging a clearance:

“Cessna 1234, cleared for takeoff, Runway One Seven.”

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