FlightAware Discussions

Need help with Pilot-Speak for a short story

I’m writing about a pilot flying a private jet who is diverted because of thunderstorms in Shreveport LA and needs to land at Clinton National FBO in Little Rock. I want dialog with tower to be authentic. The flight originates from La Guardia NY, so over Kentucky the pilot contacts Little Rock for permission to land there instead. Looking for things like what the pilot would ask tower, what pilot and tower would discuss on approach, especially with unsettled weather, and how a pilot might request a different runway from 36-18, which is the FBO runway when there are easterly gusts, and more challenging than landing on runway 4-22 (L or R) for commercial aircraft. I don’t know what I don’t know, so I’m sure it’s way more complicated than I imagine LOL Thank you in advance for your help.

A couple of points to start with.
If the flight is en-route it will be in contact with an ATC Centre (or center if you prefer). He would announce a change of destination to the controller who would then issue a revised ATC clearance.

Aircraft do not request permission to land at an airport unless it is a private one or a military one that requires prior landing permission. They get a clearance to land, but that comes when they are on or close to short final approach.

If a pilot has an operational reason to land on other than the designated landing runway, then he advises ATC that he 'requires runway…". Assuming that there are no reasons other than traffic, he will eventually get the runway he wants.

So yes it is complicated to the un-initiiated.

What kind of jet? Make/Model

The airplane is a GULFSTREAM G500.


You could try listening to the online stream from ATC at your airport of interest.


Thank you SweetPea11. I will try that.


ATC/aircraft communication will depend on where the plane is when the pilot decides to divert. Looking at its probable routing I’d guess it would be in Memphis Centers airspace. The G500 (N12345) would probably be operating in the FL400 range.

You’ll need to work out the time intervals between calls. the G500 will be moving at about 8 NM a minute and handoffs between controllers is a function of location. I’ve put a series of question marks between expected longer intervals.

Comm would go something like this -
AC : Memphis Center Gulfstream 345 - request
ZME: Gulfstream 345 - go ahead (or say your request)
AC : 345 would like to divert to Clinton Little Rock, Shreveport is forecast to have thunderstorms at our arrival estimate.
ZME: Gulfstream 345 - Standby
AC: 345 - Roger
ZME: Gulfstream 346 - Memphis
AC: 345 Go ahead
ZME; Gulfstream 345 is cleared to the Clinton Liitle Rock airport via J6 Direct Little Rock Maintain Flight Level four zero zero
AC: 345 is cleared to Clinton Little Rock via J6 Little Rock Maintain Flight Level four zero zero
ZME: Readback correct. Contact Memphis Center on 124.125
AC: Memphis on 124.125. Good day
AC: Memphis Center Gulfstream 12345, Level Flight Level four zero zero.
ZME: Gulfstream 345 , good afternoon, Maintain Flight Level four zero zero
AC: Gulfstream 345 Roger, maintain FL four zero zero
ZME: Gulfstream 345 descend and maintain one seven thousand (Probably about 200 miles from LIT)
AC: 345 leaving FL four zero zero for one seven thousand
ZME: Gulfstream 345 contact Little Rock Approach on 119.5
AC: 345 Little Rock on 119.5. Good day
AC: Little Rock Approach, Gulfstream 12345 passing two one thousand for seventeen
LIT App: Gulfstream 345 , Little Rock, descend and maintain six thousand (depending on conditions 345 may be advised of the expected approach at this time)
AC: 345 continue to 6 thousand.
LIT App: Gulfstream 345 expect the XXXXX approach to Little Rock Adams Field

Note: The G500 can handle the 6200 foot GA runway easily. It does not need the 8200 runways. The GA runways only have GPS approaches. Both have a one mile visibility minimum and about a 500 foot descent minimum. The 4 longer runways all have ILS approaches with much lower minimums. Therefore weather would be a factor.

I’d suggest listening to ATC to get a feel for what actually goes on. In addition, the center and approach frequencies above are my best guess. A lot depends on where (how far out) 345 decides to divert and whether or not ZME has a very high altitude sector frequency for that area. Further, after 345 gets closer the pilot will monitor the LIT ATIS ao that when approach advises 345 to “contact the tower”, 345 will be able to advise the tower on initial contact they have “Information XXX”

Hope this helps.