In its infinite wisdom, the United States Navy
a letter of the alphabet
to each time zone. Contrary to what one might expect, the zones don't start at "A" and wrap continuously around the earth. To add to the confusion, each time zone is referred to by its "phonetic" name, used to avoid confusion over the radio:
This isn't the most intuitive system:
- "Uniform" time refers to the US Pacific Coast. Nothing uniform
- The Zulus aren't in Zulu Time. Bravo for them.
- Quebec isn't in "Quebec Time" although its neighbor, Newfoundland,
- Argentina isn't in Tango Time, but Salt Lake City is.
- And why are all of those folks in Myanmar doing the Foxtrot?
- If I were to make a date to meet some girl at 8:00, Romeo Time, she'd
probably hang up.
- And finally, for a tragic story about Zulu Time, follow the link.
To add to the confusion, the Navy published a map for years that incorrectly labeled the zones.
The FAA has picked up this system, so the world's entire civil aviation system has to understand it.
Gritchka posits a plausible theory about the origin of the system: "Z" stands for "Zero". The Navy may have picked up the British usage of "1200 h Z" for GMT and generalized it.