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Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications  
User currently offlineAirSean From Australia, joined Apr 2004, 76 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5296 times:

Was wondering what exactly denotes an aircraft callsign as "heavy"?

Is it a widebody vs narrow thing? any info much appreciated.

Cheers

Sean


Work out what you don't do well and don't do it!
21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePlanecrazy2 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 615 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5275 times:

I've always wondered that too. Hmmm no idea really


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User currently offlineINNflight From Austria, joined Apr 2004, 3765 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5257 times:

"Heavy" is any aircraft B767 / A310 upwards.
B757 / A321 and everything below is "normal".

regards, Florian



Jet Visuals
User currently offlineSyncmaster From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 2020 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5255 times:
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It designates a widebody aircraft.

As explained to me and 200 other people on a UA 763 from SEA-DEN talking about Channel 9, and what designation we were, United XXX Heavy.


User currently offlineRedtailmsp From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 206 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5249 times:

Was used for widebodies initially, but is also used for narrow bodies which can cause significant wake-turbulence - Boeing 757s in particular.

User currently offlineNycfuturepilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 791 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5209 times:

Heavy means that they're referring to has a powerful wake vortex (it can make a lot of wake turbulance) so this alerts controlers that they need to maintain a high level of separation. A heavy has a takeoff weight more than 255,000 lb. Minimnum separation between a heavy and a small plane is 4 miles. The 757 is less than the 255000 lb heavy limit but it has a powerful wake vortext so it has similar separation requirement.


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User currently offlineRaybolt From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 255 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5209 times:

It's used for a/c with an MTOW of over 255,000 lbs (im pretty sure that is the number). It has nothing to do with the aircraft id (i.e. A320) or widebody/narrowbody. The B752 is classified as 'heavy' in transmissions because of its wake vortices, even though it's weight is not over the 255.

Dan



You can't join the MHC on the ground.
User currently offlineLaw4fun From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 135 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5209 times:

Not just widebodies...deals with takeoff weight I believe. DC-8-60 and 70 series and 707-300 series were also designated as "Heavy". OTOH, 757 does not usually get the designation at a lot of ATC centers. Have a listen to JFK approach and departure ATC with a flytecomm printout of arrivals to get the full feel for heavy designations.

[Edited 2004-04-21 06:43:12]


Canon Shutter Slut
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5205 times:

Here in the USA, it is used to be to signify any aircraft with a max takeoff weight of 300,000 lbs. or more since these type aircraft were more prone to generating more pronounced wake vortex turbulence to aircraft that followed them. After many years, the figure was later revised to 255,000 lbs. Some 757s are above 255,000 and qualify, but some are below 255,000, and while they don't technically qualify as heavies, they are treated as if they were by ATC. This entails ATC increasing the spacing between all "heavies" (or the 757s being treated as such) and other aircraft operating after them to allow more time for wake vortices to dissipate.

From the AIM...

AIRCRAFT CLASSES- For the purposes of Wake Turbulence Separation Minima, ATC classifies aircraft as Heavy, Large, and Small as follows:

a. Heavy- Aircraft capable of takeoff weights of more than 255,000 pounds whether or not they are operating at this weight during a particular phase of flight.

b. Large- Aircraft of more than 41,000 pounds, maximum certificated takeoff weight, up to 255,000 pounds.

c. Small- Aircraft of 41,000 pounds or less maximum certificated takeoff weight.


There have been several threads on this in the past...

[Edited 2004-04-21 06:48:34]

User currently offlineAirSean From Australia, joined Apr 2004, 76 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 5140 times:

thanks for the info. not familiar with that in PER as there are not enough planes to need to separate  Smile


Work out what you don't do well and don't do it!
User currently offlinePER744 From Australia, joined Mar 2003, 405 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 5092 times:

AirSean: Also, ATC in Australia do not use the designation 'heavy' in callsigns.

User currently offlineModesto2 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2788 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 5018 times:

It's important to note that the 757-200 generally does not carry a "heavy" designation in radio transmissions. However, controllers always treat it as a "heavy" in separation.

There is a distinction!

Additionally, some 757-200 operators such as DL and UA do NOT operate their aircraft above 255,000. Conversely, some operators, such as ATA, operate high-density 757-200s above 255,000. Therefore, ATA 757-200s may receive this designation. Finally, 757-300 are all above 255,000. There's no confusion with that aircraft.


User currently offlineLymanm From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 1138 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 4964 times:

Aha, I knew we were due for this topic!

AirSean, everyone is lying to you - "heavy" really means an aircraft that:

a) is a replacement for NWA DC-9s
b) is flying to the new JetBlue destination
c) has PTVs on board



buhh bye
User currently onlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16994 posts, RR: 67
Reply 13, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 4928 times:

Don't forget that heavy refers to the weight of dirt on AF planes.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineTsentsan From Singapore, joined Jan 2002, 2016 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 4902 times:

If I'm not mistaken, "heavy" is only used in the USA...can anybody verify that statement?


NO URLS in signature
User currently offlineBeechcraft From Germany, joined Nov 2003, 828 posts, RR: 42
Reply 15, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 4829 times:

No, it´s used in Europe also,
but you won´t hear it too often. Basically it is just used during initial contact with (e.g.) the tower.

Denis



That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
User currently offlineStratusdrv From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 3 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4659 times:

Can heavy be applied to a flight with 'large' passengers? Because if so, than i should be hearing it on Channel 9 during every one of my flights.

StratusDRV


User currently offlineLt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (10 years 3 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4512 times:

The E-3 (707-320) is also a 'Heavy', of course our we are usually around 350,000 lbs at takeoff.

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Yankee Air Pirate


User currently offlineFinnWings From Finland, joined Oct 2003, 640 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (10 years 3 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4472 times:

Fighter aircrafts are also treated like heavies if operating from commercial airports. Those have very strong vortex effects due their wing design. Of course they don't use term "heavy" after callsign... would be quite funny.  Smile

Regards,
FinnWings


User currently offlineB757capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1366 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (10 years 3 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4434 times:

Hey Guys the FAA is looking a raising the heavies to 300,000 and up heavies are not by aircraft type but BY WEIGHT ONLY!!!


The views written by this user are in no manner the views of my employer and should not be thought as such.
User currently offlineLt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (10 years 3 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4363 times:

in the E-3 we always preface tower calls with 'Heavy' especially at random airports where we might do transition. usually with center we do not say heavy, Just 'Sentry xx' (for the front end) but 'Heavy' slips sometimes  Wink/being sarcastic

300,000 would still keep the E-3 a heavy in almost every single instance. The E-8 and RJ I am not sure of.

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Uncle Sam's AWAX, The best shine for your jet


User currently offlineRareBear From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 553 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (10 years 3 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4311 times:

Here at CHS we have a significant volume of C-17, C5, KC-10 and 747 traffic, and the term "heavy" is appended to the callsign of virtually every one of them, even though the tower and the center is familiar with the various callsigns of the squadrons involved. A Tower Air 757 came in several weeks ago, and it used the callsign "Tower 91 heavy" to remind the tower that it required the same separation criteria as a true "heavy".


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