ATC using “decimal” when giving freq. change

Get rid of the word ”decimal” in ATC frequency changes.
ATC will use phrases like contact ground “point” 75 or contact tower on 118”point”3. Pilots don’t even use the “point” for most freq changes and just say something like 24 4 for 124.4. Tower controllers will usually just say contact departure expecting you to know or they will say contact departure on 124”point”7. The “Point“ being is that if you listen on any freqs on LiveATC you will not hear many if at all any controllers or pilots use the word “decimal”. It takes up too much bandwidth. And trying to remember the freq numbers when they throw in that 3 syllable word between them is much more difficult. So Asobo wanted to make the scenery real why not make some of the ATC a little more real? In all of my flying years I have rarely if ever heard or used that word.


I agree with you. The reason they say “decimal” is because that’s what they say in Europe, A bunch of Europeans did the code work on this.


That’s understandable I suppose but it is annoying to this U.S. flyer. I never have flown in Europe but I will give a shoutout to a friend who is an ex 787 Dreamliner pilot about his trips over there.

Maybe they made a deal: we get our decimals and you your inch instead of our Hektopascal :-).

At the end, the deal was more worse for us, because you have your gallons, but we dont have our kilograms. :wink:


They should code this thing so the weights and measures can be tailored to whatever system one uses. That way everyone is happy.


Decimal is the correct ICAO phraseology. While not used exclusively in the domestic US, it is not uncommon either.


A comment from

*In the United States the FAA’s publication 7110.65 (the US atc rule book) states that you must use “point” when issuing a frequency. *

*A) Point is succinct, uncluttered and less likely to be confused with some other word, number or phrase. *

*B) Most facilities in the US are too busy to be using a three syllable word instead of a one syllable word. During a normal session of working traffic at a high altitude sector at Indy Center I save 120 syllables per hour using “point” instead of “decimal”. *

Believe me, when you’re working twenty aircraft at a time with a thousand knot closure rate that extra minute of time to think, plan, implement and react can make all of the difference.

I’ve never understood why some ICAO committee would think replacing point with that multi syllabic word was a good idea.


That is correct, but does not address what I said. The AIM (which regulates pilots) in the US specifies that ICAO requires the use of decimal, and will be honored by ATC when used by military, and aircraft that are required to use ICAO procedures.

So as I said, the term Decimal is not uncommon in the US, and is correct for ICAO. (You are correct that point is more common, and correct in the US.)

This game was released globally, therefore it makes more sense to be based upon the ICAO rulebook. Further, it was developed by a French Studio, and France uses ICAO.

Lastly, there is a large push to standardize the US to ICAO procedures and phraseology. This has already happened in a bunch of other areas. Granted, they have been all significantly more important than semantics of decimal vs point. Example, Taxi into position, and hold vs. ICAO Line Up and Wait.


That change seems to be for the better. From 9 syllables down to 4. Clear and succinct.

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I agree, they would often abbreviate it as “Position and Hold.”

I honestly don’t know why ICAO shunned the word point. However, it is possible that in some language somewhere it poses a safety threat. (ie, point sounds close to something drastically different) So they decided that the phrase decimal was better. This is all rampantly speculative though, I suppose they could have also done it just to be different than the US.

As an ATC IRL, I can confirm that “decimal” is the standard phraseology. There are many things which are not standard in MSFS ATC dialogs. Starting with “we are clear of the runway”, which shouldn’t have been used since the small “Tenerife incident”.


“Point” is useless and can be surprisingly close to “eight” in a scrambled transmission. But you can say 1-2-4-7-5 (or even 2-4-7-5 since each VHF freq starts with a 1), and anybody will understand where the point goes. My French ATC colleagues and I never use “point”, but they are a lot of national cultures in ATC, so you may hear it in other countries.
If the transmission is really difficult, “decimal” can help to understand where the digits go. With 8.33 kHz separation, there are a lot of digits in each frequency.


The use of point is all I ever hear in the U.S. ATC system. Listening to KMIA approach on LiveATC right now. Approach controllers are only using “point” or nothing when telling pilots to change to tower or any other freq. I have never heard the word decimal used at U.S. ATC facilities. They don’t have time for 3 syllables. To make it even shorter Contact ground is a common phrase from the tower controllers.


Well anyway in Europe we use more and more datalink transmissions for the frequencies, so it will soon not be a problem anymore.:wink:

Let’s trade, point for hPa :stuck_out_tongue:


I’d like the ATC to be somewhat localised. Flying in regional Australia I shouldn’t be hearing exclusively American accents and QNH in inHg units. This could extend to localised phraseology as well, so if you fly to the US you hear point but if you fly to a country that uses decimal you hear the change at the FIR boundary.


That would be a welcomed addition for sure.

Keep the decimal. I like the official ICAO phraseology. ATC in the US is terribly, we dont need the SIM to be THAT realistic :wink:


The ATC system is already very Americanised with the transition altitudes, Inches of mercury, callsigns etc. “Decimal” is used in majority of countries so to me it seems correct.


I have NEVER heard “decimal” used in the U.S. - ever. Not even a single time! And that’s over decades of real flying time. So please… don’t give me this is what they use in the rest of the world. I don’t care. The rest of the world probably makes up 12% of MSFS total sales!

Anyway, it should be localized. When in the U.S. use point or nothing. When flying in places where they say decimal then say decimal. And use their accent. But it doesn’t really matter what’s used in the rest of the world. In the U.S. it’s point - so if it’s a SIMULATOR which means it’ supposed to be as realistic as possible - then it should be point - when flying in the U.S.

And same goes for the altimeter. No one says, “altimeter two nine decimal nine two”! That’s LUDICROUS! They say, “altimeter two niner niner two”. They don’t say decimal or point. Everyone knows the altimeter is 4 digits and the last two come after the decimal point.

Just keepin’ it real.