Welcome back to our Word of the Week!

Besides being a first name and a quaint yet offensive way to describe.. ahem… having errm… intimate relationships with somebody, Roger is one of the most frequently used words in aviation communications. Let’s find out.

Roger (interjection)

UK /ˈrɒdʒ.ər/ US /ˈrɑː.dʒɚ/

I have received all your last transmission.
NOTE: Under no circumstances to be used in reply to a question requiring a direct answer in the affirmative (AFFIRM) or negative (NEGATIVE).

Roger is the kind of word with which we would definitely recommed you to be extremely careful. By using it, you indicate to your radio interlocutor that you have effectively received all of their last transmission. But how can you know that it really is the case? How can you be certain that the person on the other end didn’t have a small problem with their radio and there wasn’t actually one more sentence in their message? The short answer is: you can’t.

On top of that, Roger is very frequently misused as an ersatz form of readback. Do not forget that it is not one, and that when a readback is required, it means that you actually need to read what your interlocutor told you, word for word.

Where does Roger come from?

In the olden days, “Roger” was phonetic for “R” instead of “Romeo”. In radio communication, a phonetic alphabet is used to avoid confusion between similarly sounding letters. In the previously used US spelling alphabet, R was Roger, which then became used in radio voice procedure for “Received”.