Zulu Time (Quick Flight Tips)

In the aviation world use and refer to time as Zulu time, which is actually Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in the non-aviation world. GMT is located on the 0⁰ line that runs longitudinally through Greenwich, England.

Aviation Zulu time is also known as:

  • Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

  • Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

Everything in aviation operates off Zulu Time (Z), such as:

  • Aviation weather

  • Flight plans

    • Example:  when you file a flight plan with Flight Service Station (FSS) they will ask what time you expect to depart in Zulu Time, not local time.

First you must know how to get military time.

How to get military time:

Simply take your local time and add 12 hours to get military time.

Example:

Morning times are the easiest to figure out. Simply add a zero to the front. So, if your local time is 8:00am, the military time is 0800.

8:00am = 0800 hours

  • Afternoon and evening times, 1:00pm to 11:00pm are the fun ones. If your local time is 8:00pm, the military time 2000 hours.

8:00pm + 1200 = 2000

12:00pm (midnight) + 1200 = 2400

How to get Zulu Time:

Take your local military time. Then Add or Subtract the amount of time zones you are from Greenwich Mean Time, depending on where you live in the world.

 

 

Example:

Since we are located in California, we are in the Pacific Time zone.

  • 9:00am local PT (Pacific Time) is 0900L (local) military time. Then add the number of time zones to GMT, for us we add 8 during Pacific Standard Time (PST). 

0900 + 8 = 1700Z

9:00pm local PT is 2100L military time, again we add 8.

2100 + 8 = 0500Z

 

References

ACS PA.I.D.K3b

AIM Sec. 4-2-12

Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical knowledge FAA-H-8083-25 (Ch. 16)

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