ATC will soon ask you to ‘Line up and wait’

August 24, 2010

Get ready for a change in ATC terminology expected to take place on Sept. 30. Instead of the familiar phrase “taxi into position and hold,” the controller will issue “line up and wait” instructions to indicate that you may taxi onto the runway and wait for a takeoff clearance.

Just like “taxi into position and hold,” the new phrase is used when a takeoff clearance cannot immediately be issued because of traffic or other reasons. So, although the words change, the meaning will not.

The new phraseology is also expected to minimize confusion with or misinterpretation of ATC instructions such as “position at hold” or “hold position.”

Here’s an example of how the phrase will be used:

Tower: “Diamond Star 334DS, Runway One Six Right, line up and wait.”
Pilot: “Long Beach Tower, Diamond Star 334DS, Runway One Six Right, line up and wait.”

This change brings the United States in line with standard International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phraseology, and it will soon be incorporated in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and the Pilot/Controller Glossary.

Visit the FAA's Runway Safety website to view a video animation of ATC and pilot interaction using the new phraseology.

For more information and updates to the AIM and Pilot/Controller Glossary visit the FAA’s Air Traffic section of its website.
Remember to “line up and wait” after Sept. 30. And, whenever you are unsure of an ATC instruction or clearance be sure to get clarification immediately.