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ATC Call Signs: Why? Which Do You Know Of?  
User currently offlineAguilo From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 243 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 21 hours ago) and read 5998 times:

Anyone know what the callsigns for the major airlines are? Also, why doesn't ATC just use the airline's traditional name? Too hard to clearly enunciate perhaps?

Who comes up with the callsigns? How do callsigns "crystallize" from casual slang by one or two controllers to the callsign always used for that airlines?

British Airways: Speedbird
Continental Express: Jet Link
AirTran: Critter

Anyone know any others? Or know any answers to the above?

30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCoa764 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 328 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (10 years 21 hours ago) and read 5959 times:

The following site will give you all the call signs you could possible look at with different ways to look them up... enjoy
http://www.faa.gov/ATpubs/CNT/3-3.htm



Please oh please Mr Moderator Nazi, dont delete my thread.
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 2, posted (10 years 21 hours ago) and read 5936 times:

Callsigns are shorter and easier to understand even with static.

And they're cooler  Big grin



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineAirplanePeanut From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 452 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 20 hours ago) and read 5897 times:

VALUJET is Critter
Airtran is Citrus




AirplanePeanut


..
User currently offlineTiger119 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1919 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 years 20 hours ago) and read 5890 times:

" AirTran: Critter "
Ah, AirTran is "Citrus" and "Critter" was ValueJet.

Another website I use a lot is http://www.airlinecodes.co.uk

[Edited 2004-04-22 12:15:02]


Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
User currently offlinePHLapproach From Philippines, joined Mar 2004, 1231 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (10 years 19 hours ago) and read 5840 times:

America West = Cactus

A friend and I were listening to his scanner PHL Tower 118.5, they contact tower over his house (Jalto) and we keep hearing "BlueStreak" but they were only going into 35 so my guess is that it is one of the US Express Operators.


User currently offlineAmerican 767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3651 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (10 years 19 hours ago) and read 5811 times:

Here are a few that I know of:

South African Airways: Springbok
Aer Lingus: Shamrock
Atlantic Coast Airlines (UA Express in IAD): Blue Ridge
US Airways Express (in the North East): Commutair
American Eagle: Flagship

Airlines that no longer exist:
Pan Am: Clipper
AOM (Air Outre Mer): French Lines
EBA (Euro Belgian Airlines): Bellstar
British Caledonian: Caledonian

Ben Soriano
Brussels Belgium



Ben Soriano
User currently offlineNyskymasters From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 19 hours ago) and read 5752 times:

Some airlines use a callsign so that it is different from similar sounding call signs. America West, I believe, used America West at one time. After their callsign was confused with American on several occassions they changed it to Cactus. Continental Express' callsign originated when the several different commuter airlines were merged into one. Instead of "favoring" one airline a new callsign was used. Jet Link came about with the thinking that the new airline was the "link to the jets." I know personally that everybody hated it but it has stuck around all these years.

User currently offlinePlanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3512 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (10 years 17 hours ago) and read 5707 times:

I hear "waterski" called a lot around the midwest...could it be ATA?


Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineTiger119 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1919 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 5597 times:

" I hear "waterski" called a lot around the midwest...could it be ATA? " "WaterSki" is Trans States Airlines http://www.transstates.net/
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Photo © Michael F. McLaughlin
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Photo © Guido Latz

.
ATA's call sign is "AmTran"



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 10, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 5591 times:

Speedbird is from the BOAC speedbird emblem (note the tail):
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Photo © Lee Cheng



The current BA emblem harkens back to this. It's called the "Speedmarque":
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Photo © Gary Watt - AirTeamImages




"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineUnited_Fan From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 7387 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 5528 times:

Commutair now operates Continental Connection in the USA NE . Clipper is still used by Pan Am III AFAIK .


'Empathy was yesterday...Today, you're wasting my Mother-F'ing time' - Heat.
User currently offlineB757capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1337 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 5481 times:

Pinnacle airlines DBA Northwest Airlink-CRJ's Callsign is "Flag Ship"


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Photo © Brad Harris




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Photo © Freight-Dawg




The views written by this user are in no manner the views of my employer and should not be thought as such.
User currently offlineModesto2 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2770 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 5461 times:

Actually, many times, an airline's callsign is just the airline name. American, Delta, Continental, United and Northwest use their airline names - nothing special.

User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2368 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 5435 times:

For Cessna aircraft performing flight test operations, the aircraft N number is not used. Each test pilot is given a unique number, so a call sign would be "Cessna Test 41". The 41 is the pilots number, and not related to the aircraft. Therefore the pilot may use the same call sign for years, regardless of the plane he is flying. This is done because the test pilots fly various aircraft, and it alerts ATC as to the nature of the flight.


Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlineFlymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7006 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5384 times:

I thought America Eagle call was Eagle Flight? Also Citrus probaly came from Air Tran because they are based in Orlando Central Florida with all those Oranges.


"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineFlairport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5289 times:

Clipper is STILL PanAm...gives me chills when I hear it!
Southeast Airlines: Sun King (pretty cool!)
American Eagle: Eagle Flight (but usually just Eagle)
Spirt Airlines: SpiritWings (but here at FLL, they often say "Spirit")
Air Florida is Air Florida (yes, it does exist...but it is tiny!) I think they often use the N Number


User currently offlineVenuscat2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 478 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5243 times:

ATA is Amtran (Amtran is ATA's parent company, much like AMR is the parent company of American Airlines).

The story behind Trans State's callsign (waterski) is that they started out flying a lot of people to the Ozarks, and they had a lot of waterskis on board.


User currently offlineCougarAviator From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 349 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5223 times:

continental is "continental" if I'm not mistaken.....American is American...Delta is Delta............


Failure is not an option.....
User currently offlineLondoncenter From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 108 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (9 years 12 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5199 times:

lufthansa=lufthansa
air france=air frans
alitalia=alitalia
iberia=iberia
air portugal=air portugal
klm=klm
scandinavian=scandinavian
malaysian=malaysian
singapore=singapore
cathay=cathay
ryanair=ryanair
brittania=britannia
spanair=spanair
malev=malev

A lot of airlines have their name as a callsign, but some don't especially charter airlines such as:

thomas cook = top jet (formerly globe)
air 2000/first choice= jetset
mytravel=kestrel
excel airways=expo

Could keep going, but think it will get very very boring!


User currently offlineTiger119 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1919 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5060 times:

When Independence Air (ACA) gets up and going, what call sign are they going to use? Will they keep "Blue Ridge?"


Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
User currently offlineAs739x From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6004 posts, RR: 24
Reply 21, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5039 times:

China Airlines-Dynasty

One of my personal favorites...Very elegant

ASSFO



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineMia777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2002, 1165 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5000 times:

I totally agree ASSFO...nothing like hearing 'Dynasty' or 'Speedbird' on the scanner...


MIA777
User currently offlineSidestickA320 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 13 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4950 times:

PHLapproach...
Your assumption of "BlueStreak" being the call sign for USAirways Express was dead on. It is used by affiliate PSA Airlines for all their flights, both on the Dornier 328 and CRJ-200 alike. With PSA serving more cities from PHL, I'm sure you'll be hearing them quite a bit.

Cheers


User currently offlinePHLapproach From Philippines, joined Mar 2004, 1231 posts, RR: 20
Reply 24, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4927 times:

Thank you very much, SidestickA320. I was just talking to the friend with the scanner last night about it again.

25 LAN767Andres : American Airlines= American British Airways= Speedbird Delta=Delta Southwest=Southwest United AIrlines= United American Eagle= Eagle FLight
26 American762 : I really like the term Dynasty for China Airlines. Thats classy. However I'm curious, what is the call sign for JetBlue? Is it JetBlue, or with the fu
27 Flynavy : AFAIK, jetBlue's callsign is simply, "jetblue." Also, my Hornet squadron's callsign is "roman," for the Gladiators of VFA-106.
28 CanadianNorth : Candian North goes by "Empress". I'm not 100% sure so dont quote me on this but I believe since it was at one time a subsidiary of Canadi>n Airlines I
29 Lt-AWACS : Any E-3s out of Tinker AFB will have the front end Callsign of 'Sentry XX' Each squadron uses it's last letter designator as the first letter of the f
30 SpeedbirdHeavy : I'm glad someone mentioned the call sign topic because it hasn't been discussed in about 2 weeks. Please, whatever you do, don't use the search functi
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