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Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me on the subject of callsigns. When connecting to VATSIM using SB3, as we all know, an aircraft callsign must be entered. Normally an airline identifier code and flight number are entered such as BAW956. This particular code relates to British Airways and the callsign Speedbird, flight 956. My problem is two fold.

 

Firstly, where do you find the airline identifier codes? So far I have resorted to using the logos file downloaded with Servinfo, I would have thought there is an easier way than trawling through dozens of thumbnails!

 

Secondly, I fly mainly Military (RAF) Aircraft. Now there are two logos for RAF in the folder, RAF and RRR. I have been using RRR with the callsign Ascot for transport command A/C. I'm not sure if RRR refers to Ascot alone or if other callsigns can be used with it, it's simply that a controller asked me to use RRR after I logged on as Ascot.

 

The point I'm getting at is that there are dozens of callsigns in the RAF, do I simply use RRR or RAF and then on initial contact with ATC state my individual callsign? I would appreciate any input on this matter as I don't want to log on incorrectly.

 

Thanks in advance for reading and any replies, Jon.

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Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me on the subject of callsigns. When connecting to VATSIM using SB3, as we all know, an aircraft callsign must be entered. Normally an airline identifier code and flight number are entered such as BAW956. This particular code relates to British Airways and the callsign Speedbird, flight 956. My problem is two fold.

 

Firstly, where do you find the airline identifier codes? So far I have resorted to using the logos file downloaded with Servinfo, I would have thought there is an easier way than trawling through dozens of thumbnails!

 

This website should be pretty thorough as it's through the US FAA http://www.faa.gov/ATPubs/CNT/3-3.htm

 

 

Secondly, I fly mainly Military (RAF) Aircraft. Now there are two logos for RAF in the folder, RAF and RRR. I have been using RRR with the callsign Ascot for transport command A/C. I'm not sure if RRR refers to Ascot alone or if other callsigns can be used with it, it's simply that a controller asked me to use RRR after I logged on as Ascot.

 

The point I'm getting at is that there are dozens of callsigns in the RAF, do I simply use RRR or RAF and then on initial contact with ATC state my individual callsign? I would appreciate any input on this matter as I don't want to log on incorrectly.

 

OK, speaking as ATC from NY here on VATSIM we get quite a few from all over the world and I don't know a good bit of them.

 

If you sign on as RRR1234 you're gonna have me wondering, but if you put "ASCOT 1234" in your remarks and ID yourself as "Ascot 1234, would like blah blah blah" I'll call ya Ascot.

 

I've seen the callsign "SUPERMAN", "NEWBIE", "MATRIX", and just about anything you can think of so if you're asking can you sign on as what you want, the answer is YES.

 

If you're asking can you sign on as RRR1234 and give "Ascot 1234" YES, but to help me out as ATC, just put "Callsign ASCOT" in your remarks and try and enunciate the word the first time.

 

It's easy for me to say "Waterski 2156" and "Chataqua 1949", but when it's the first time I hear 'em and it's cold, meaning all the sudden I hear "Waterski 2156" at 600 mph in my ear, I tend to miss it.

Matthew Kreilein

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OK - I can't hold it in any longer, so time for me to do a random venting of the spleen... Please take the following with a pinch of salt, and you may just want to skip past this post if you're of a delicate nature!

 

Callsigns have been one of my biggest pet peeves over the last few months! I know I need to take a "chill pill" over the issue, and usually I do a pretty good job, but I've been dying to say something on this topic, so here goes! Also note, a lot of this applies to USA only, so if it doesn't apply to your country, like I said, you may want to just skip it. In keeping with the FAA Order on ATC (FAA 7110.65), all phraseology below is in all-capital letters - I'm not really shouting...)

 

Thought Number 1: "Group Form".

In the USA, if you are an airline/air carrier/air taxi operation, your callsign should normally be pronounced using something called "Group Form". This means that if your callsign is AAL422, you should be calling yourself "AMERICAN FOUR TWENTY-TWO". You should NOT be calling yourself "AMERICAN FOUR TWO TWO". Pronounce the number as you would in plain English, and don't spell it out. Other examples:

DAL3004 = DELTA THIRTY OH FOUR

BAW987 = SPEEDBIRD NINE EIGHTY SEVEN.

 

Thought Number Two: In the USA, Airline flights don't have "leading zeroes" in them. They might have them on the flight board in the terminal, and they might be on your ticket, but in the ATC computer they don't, and on the radios they don't. Therefore callsigns like "BAW001" drive me up a tree! In real life, they'd simply be "AAL2", and would be pronounced "AMERICAN TWO", not "AMERICAN ZERO ZERO TWO". Use the shorter callsign please - when it's busy, I don't want to waste time having to listen to you say all those zeroes!

 

Thought Number Three: Use the proper military callsigns. If you're flying a military flight, learn the proper military abbreviations. If you're simulating an Air Force flight, use a callsign like A42334 (Air Force Four Two Three Three Four). Real military flights don't have the callsign USAF in front of them, and when you call me saying you are "Air Force Four Two Three Three Four" I waste a lot of time telling ASRC to pull up the strip for A42334 because I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume that you have entered it correctly, and when you haven't, it takes longer to find you. On a side note, I must say that personally, I think it's a bit silly that some of the virtual military organisations can't use the proper abbreviations and use something -other- than standard abbreviations. I spent 8 years of my life typing "G" for "guard" in real life, and it's going to be a hard habit to break just because some group of pilots has suddently decided that their national guard flights are going to use something else.

 

Thought Number Four: realistic civilian callsigns

Civilian callsigns in the USA are restricted (AFAIK) to a certain number of digits, and the longest I've ever seen was seven. N67806 is a proper callsign. N433582K isn't. Also, the traditional pattern for callsign is that if there are letters and numbers, there's usually two letters at the end, preceeded by numbers. N423KJ N111CJ, etc. If you're making up a callsign, try to avoid ones like N1DF1D. It's just hard to pronounce, and I'm not even sure it's legal IRL.

 

Thought Number Five: single word callsigns

OOOH, This is REALLY driving me nuts. Not even the PRESIDENT uses a callsign like MICHAEL or STINGRAY. He has to have a callsign, followed by a number: AIR FORCE ONE. Something just feels wierd calling a plane "MICHAEL, TURN RIGHT HEADING 160". Again, some thoughts here: In the USA, generally, the only time you get words as callsigns are with specially coded military flights, and a few other "special" flights by groups like the National Guard, or the Nuclear Regulatory people. These callsigns are almost always 5 letters long, followed by two numbers. For example: VIPER12, PILGM33 (Pronounced "PILGRIM THREE THREE"), LASER44. You DON'T see callsigns like STINGRAY, or even STINGRAY42.

 

Finally, to second a very good thought earlier, if you're going to make up your own VA, remember that the vast majority of the online world isn't going to automatically know that ZYZ means "Singing Rainbow Happy Airlines" or whatever you decide to call it. IMHO, I enjoy it more when folks use REAL callsigns, but there's no rule about a single person making up a fictional airline - but PLEASE, if you do so, do three things...

 

1.) Remember that in the real world, there's the name of your airline, but there's also your RADIO callsign, which are often two different things. Your radio callsign should be SHORT, and UNIQUE. No more than two words, and it should be easy to pronounce. Just like America West's callsign is "CACTUS", yours should be short and sweet. Don't pick a radio callsign like "PSYCHEDELIC BUMBLEBEE TWENTY THREE". It's too long to pronounce, and in the real world, I'm pretty sure that ICAO/FAA would NEVER permit you to use one that long.

 

2.) In the remarks, tell us what your radio callsign is, like this:

ZYZ=BUMBLEBEE

 

3.) Finally, go to VATSIM's VA page and REGISTER your airline name, airline code (THREE letters please) and your RADIO CALLSIGN, so that next time I see you coming towards my airspace, I can look it up and be ready when you call me a 600mph saying "PSYCHEDELICBUMBLEBEEZEROZEROZEROZEROFOUR".

 

OK - I'm done. I seriously need to stop drinking those red bulls, huh?

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Just a reminder that on the other side of the pond,

Callsigns should be spoken by each numeral ie. BAW123 should be said Speedbird one two three. The likes of RRR is a real military callsign and I hear it quite often from where I live due to the proximity of a number of military aerodromes. The radio callsign for RRR is Ascot and there are a number of others about for the RAF/Navy/Army, some even being the name of the airport they left eg. Shawbury 123!

 

Matthew

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Hiya,

 

Just to clarify, RAF is not a correct callsign. For RAF flights there are several ICAO codes available (exept RAF itselve)

 

ICAO Radio Remark

=====================================

RRR "Ascot" mainly transport flights(prop, jet)

RFR "RafAir" mainly jetfighter and helicopters

 

For the rest you have a list of callsigns bases on the airfield the aircraft is based, some examples:

KIN "Kinloss" aircraft based on Kinloss AB

LEE "Javelin" aircraft based on Leeming AB

 

Regards,

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Jeff,

 

Should we add that civilian aircraft in the US don't use the N at the front when calling their callsign? For instance:

 

I'm flying a Cessna 172 with registration N725RG. When I call it is Skyhawk 725 Romeo Golf.

I'm flying a Citation with registraion N774AT. When I call it is Citation 774 Alpha Tango.

 

Don't say November 725 Romeo Golf checking in. Aaahhhh! And ATC, don't call me that either!!

 

Neal

Neal Gl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ett

UNI725

www.uniair.org

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Jeff,

 

Should we add that civilian aircraft in the US don't use the N at the front when calling their callsign? For instance:

 

I'm flying a Cessna 172 with registration N725RG. When I call it is Skyhawk 725 Romeo Golf.

I'm flying a Citation with registraion N774AT. When I call it is Citation 774 Alpha Tango.

 

Don't say November 725 Romeo Golf checking in. Aaahhhh! And ATC, don't call me that either!!

 

Neal

 

Thanks for bringing that up. That's something I'm definitely guilty of when controlling No more

Jason Harris

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Jeff,

 

Should we add that civilian aircraft in the US don't use the N at the front when calling their callsign? For instance:

 

I'm flying a Cessna 172 with registration N725RG. When I call it is Skyhawk 725 Romeo Golf.

I'm flying a Citation with registraion N774AT. When I call it is Citation 774 Alpha Tango.

 

Don't say November 725 Romeo Golf checking in. Aaahhhh! And ATC, don't call me that either!!

 

Neal

 

Thanks for bringing that up. That's something I'm definitely guilty of when controlling No more

 

There's a WEE bit more to this one...

 

In the US...FAA Order 7110.65P...2-4-20. Aircraft Identification, Sec a, Part 1 states

 

1. Civil. State the prefix "November" when establishing initial

communications with U.S. registered aircraft followed by the ICAO

phonetic pronunciation of the numbers/letters of the aircraft registration.

The controller may state the aircraft type, the model, the manufacturer's

name, followed by the ICAO phonetic pronunciation of the numbers/letters

of the aircraft registration if used by the pilot on the initial or subsequent

call.

 

So if you call me as N1234MK, and spell it out, so does ATC. If you call me as Cessna Skylane 1234MK, THEN ATC can reply the same is how I read that one.

Matthew Kreilein

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Well, that may be the reg, but I've never heard it on the radio. Maybe it's just the southern US way of doing it, but I always called as Skyhawk blah blah blah. Never ever ever when flying into a quite busy biz jet/GA airport in Dallas did I hear one person call with November. Granted I don't have 100's of hours, but I spent a good deal of time listening to the real world controllers. I guess if someone were to call with November, then ATC has to read it back. But I was trying to keep it real...

 

Neal

Neal Gl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ett

UNI725

www.uniair.org

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Well, that may be the reg, but I've never heard it on the radio. Maybe it's just the southern US way of doing it, but I always called as Skyhawk blah blah blah. Never ever ever when flying into a quite busy biz jet/GA airport in Dallas did I hear one person call with November.

 

Neither have I...in agreement with ya there that it's not common at ALL for someone to say N1234XX or whatever, but if they do ATC's stuck with it until the pilot uses the shorter form...moral of the story...I hate saying N1234XX 200 times also...use the other form.

Matthew Kreilein

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...but if they do ATC's stuck with it until the pilot uses the shorter form...moral of the story...I hate saying N1234XX 200 times also...use the other form.

 

I think you've got it a bit backwards, though this may be the case only in the U.S., but it is the controller who initiates the use of the shortened callsign. Until the controller calls the aircraft with the shortened callsign, the PILOT must continue to use the full callsign.

 

If I have a pilot call me as "N1233XX" one of the first things I'll do is ask him to confirm aircraft type, then reply with "Cessna (or whatever it is) 3XX copied, thanks."

Fly Safe! Have Fun!

Craig Moulton

 

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In the UK the pilot MUST use his full callsign until the controller shortens it. After all the pilot comng on frequency doesn't know if there's already a pilot on frequency with a similar callsign e.g. GABCD and GBBCD. Controllers must use the full callsign for the clearance, but after that can shorten it. The use of the aircraft type in the callsign is permitted, but rarely used, so GABCD will normally be shortened to GCD

 

Ruth

VATUK2

Ruth McTighe

Heathrow Director, Essex Radar, Thames Radar, London Information

[Mod - Happy Thoughts]t webmistress CIX VFR Club http://www.cixvfrclub.org.uk/

Webmistress Plan-G http://www.tasoftware.co.uk/

Now not a VATanything

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I think you've got it a bit backwards, though this may be the case only in the U.S., but it is the controller who initiates the use of the shortened callsign. Until the controller calls the aircraft with the shortened callsign, the PILOT must continue to use the full callsign.

 

I dunno...I read this sentence as pretty straight forward...

 

The controller may state the aircraft type, the model, the manufacturer's

name, followed by the ICAO phonetic pronunciation of the numbers/letters

of the aircraft registration if used by the pilot on the initial or subsequent

call.

Matthew Kreilein

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Sorry, try again. Don't know the context of your quote but the AIM is pretty clear on this:

 

4-2-4. Aircraft Call Signs

 

a. Precautions in the Use of Call Signs.

 

1. Improper use of call signs can result in pilots executing a clearance intended for another aircraft. Call signs should never be abbreviated on an initial contact or at any time when other aircraft call signs have similar numbers/sounds or identical letters/number; e.g., Cessna 6132F, Cessna 1622F, Baron 123F, Cherokee 7732F, etc. ...

 

2. Pilots, therefore, must be certain that aircraft identification is complete and clearly identified before taking action on an ATC clearance. ATC specialists will not abbreviate call signs of air carrier or other civil aircraft having authorized call signs. ATC specialists may initiate abbreviated call signs of other aircraft by using the prefix and the last three digits/letters of the aircraft identification after communications are established. The pilot may use the abbreviated call sign in subsequent contacts with the ATC specialist.

Marc Sykes

Toronto ACC Trainee

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