When pilots stopped using “Morse” code and switched to voice operation, they used the word “Roger,” which was the phonetic designation for the letter “R,” which was previously the abbreviation for “received.”
“Roger” became the designation for R in 1927 as part of the first phonetic alphabet, developed by the International Telegraph Union. But why they didn’t use received instead of “Roger?” It was 1943 when the term became popular, and there is a logical explanation why. Not everyone spoke English during World War II, and the term became part of the international ‘aviation language.’
Both the British and American military used “Roger” frequently during the war, and in 1957 it was replaced by “Romeo,” but by 1957 “Roger” was already synonymous with received
The British and American military used the following phonetic alphabet during World War II:
“Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy, Fox, George, How, Item, Jig, King, Love, Mike, Nan, Oboe, Peter, Queen, Roger, Sugar, Tare, Uncle, Victor, William, X-ray, Yoke, Zebra.”
Both the British and American military used “Roger” frequently during the war, and in 1957 it was replaced by “Romeo,” but by 1957 “Roger” was already synonymous with received.
Today, “Romeo” is a part of the phonetic alphabet, which is adopted worldwide:
“Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee, Zulu.”
But what do pilots actually mean when they use the words “Roger Wilco?” We now know what “Roger” means and “Wilco” is just the short form of “will comply.
Every information the pilot might get or share with the ground staff can be crucial, and it might save the lives of both the aviation personnel and the passengers.