American Pilots Line Up And Wait on September 30

On September 30, the words “position and hold” will be replaced by the phrase “line up and wait” in ATC parlance here in the United States. The change is being implemented to increase standardization with the international aviation community and to reduce runway incursions. What does this mean for pilots? To pilots, the phraseology change should be uneventful. When instructed to “line up and wait,” the pilot should read back the clearance as usual, then line up with the runway centerline and wait for the takeoff clearance. So how does this pan out for real? Suppose you are taxiing Cessna 12345 to runway 36 at a busy towered airport.

Line up and wait video tutorialATC: Cessna 12345, runway 36, line up and wait.

Cessna 12345: Line up and wait, Cessna 12345.

The pilot taxies into position on the runway centerline.

ATC: Cessna 12345, runway 36, clear for takeoff.

Cessna 12345: Runway 36, clear for takeoff, Cessna 12345.

For more information, see what the FAA has to say about line up and wait, or watch the video.

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About the author
Pat Flannigan is a professional pilot and aviation blogger. He has been flying for fifteen years and is currently working as an airline pilot in the United States.

5 Replies to American Pilots Line Up And Wait on September 30

  1. Paul says:

    Well, looks like us crazy Canucks finally beat you guys at something. Welcome to 2009.

  2. Thanks for the heads up. I think it is good that the U.S. is trying to increase standardization with the international aviation community. It is about time. This change doesn’t seem to be too complicated for a start. Time will only tell if it helps reduce runway incursions and warrant further changes.

  3. Windtee says:

    Use of “Position and hold” is by far, better and naturally-intuitive than the “new” alternative. It should never have changed.

    For aviation, the word “hold” is used extensively in various ATC/Pilot transmissions. Remember “hold short of…”, “intercept fix and hold”, “hold for IFR release”? Makes aviation sense.

    So, should we as pilots now grab our flightbags and expect an aviation future filled with official phrases like, “wait short of…”, “intercept fix and wait”, “wait for IFR release”?!

    Hello FAA and ICAO… airplanes “hold”, they don’t “wait”! Kind thanks for a fix or break which was long… overdue.

  4. Windtee says:

    Oh, one more thing… what happened to “traffic holding in position”? Its still in use. Are you now going to change that, FAA?

    Creating a “new” official phrase like, “traffic waiting in position”… will now eliminate the current mental-gymnastics of trying to keep one side on “hold” an the other “waiting”. Sounds safe? Of course it does. 😉

    Remember, airplanes “hold”, they don’t “wait”.

  5. JetAviator7 says:

    It always amazes me when airliners are allowed to pass us corporate types onto the runway while we hold for an opening.


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