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US Airways=Cactus  
User currently offlineLaxboeingman From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 553 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10306 times:

Hello fellow Airliners.net bloggers,

Today, I was wondering why the call signs for US Airways flights are "Cactus" and then the flight number. I have seen this on several occasions, looking at pictures here on Airliners.net, and remembering the ATC tapes from when US 1549 went down in the Hudson. (Thank God that everyone survived.) Do the controllers say Cactus because they cannot say "US " over the radio, or they cannot say "Uniform" over the radio. (Uniform is the NATO alphabet equivalent of U.) Wouldn't it just be easier for the controllers to say "Uniform" instead of "Cactus", or do I just think that? Thanks for the answers in advance.

laxboeingman  chat   airplane   Confused


The real American classics: LAX and Boeing.
41 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23021 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10291 times:

Cactus is HP's old callsign. They began using it for the combined carrier after US and HP merged.


I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineFutureUScapt From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 765 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10243 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 1):
Cactus is HP's old callsign. They began using it for the combined carrier after US and HP merged.

Actually, the east side just began using the Cactus this past fall (Sept 1, IIRC). Boeingman, prior to that date, US-east (the old US Airways) did use the callsign "USAir"


User currently offlineOuboy79 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 4599 posts, RR: 22
Reply 3, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10251 times:

It was the bone they tossed to the ex-HP people...plus I'm sure the fact that they are out in Tempe now and not the beautiful expensive glass walls of the Crystal Palace had something to do with it to.  Smile

Prior to the switch over, it was just USAir.


User currently offlineJosh32121 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 369 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10211 times:



Quoting Ouboy79 (Reply 3):
It was the bone they tossed to the ex-HP people

What do you mean "bone they tossed to the ex-HP people?" HP bought US and took its name. I think they got the whole farm.

The callsigns are just abbreviations used over ATC that may or may not be obviously related to the name of the airline (BA is Speedbird; FL is Citrus; EV is Acey; etc.)


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25338 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10107 times:

Quoting Josh32121 (Reply 4):
Quoting Ouboy79 (Reply 3):
It was the bone they tossed to the ex-HP people

What do you mean "bone they tossed to the ex-HP people?" HP bought US and took its name. I think they got the whole farm.

In addition to the Cactus callsign, they also adopted the old HP 3-letter ICAO code AWE for the merged airline, but kept the US Airways "US" IATA code. Prior to the merger US Airways' ICAO code was USA.

[Edited 2009-04-29 21:00:48]

User currently offlineJBo From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 2343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10056 times:



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 5):
In addition to the Cactus callsign, they also adopted the old HP 3-letter ICAO code AWE for the merged airline, but kept the US Airways "US" IATA code. Prior to the merger US Airways' ICAO code was USA.

Originally, when the certificates officially merged, they were going to keep USA for the ICAO code, but use Cactus for the callsign. However, I understand this caused confusion among ATC, so they went back to the AWE code to match up wtih the callsign.



I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
User currently offlineOuboy79 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 4599 posts, RR: 22
Reply 7, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 9993 times:



Quoting Josh32121 (Reply 4):
What do you mean "bone they tossed to the ex-HP people?" HP bought US and took its name. I think they got the whole farm.

Dear god. It isn't even worth clarifying for those that refuse to educate themselves on the actual facts of the transaction that resulted in the merger. TL:DR version - US had the cash from ATSB and 3rd parties...a new Corp was started...both airlines were essentially purchased by the new company...companies merged from there. The only thing that states HP bought anything was the tax return. Go back and research the details of the transaction specifically though before commenting.


User currently offlineWn676 From Djibouti, joined Jun 2005, 1038 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 9942 times:



Quoting FutureUScapt (Reply 2):
Actually, the east side just began using the Cactus this past fall (Sept 1, IIRC).

They started using "Cactus" on 9/1, but still used the USA identifier. Due to the confusion, on 9/19, they switched to the AWE identifier.



Tiny, unreadable text leaves ample room for interpretation.
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 9, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 9886 times:



Quoting Josh32121 (Reply 4):
What do you mean "bone they tossed to the ex-HP people?" HP bought US and took its name. I think they got the whole farm.

 checkmark  And the CEO is HP's guy.



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 10, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 9668 times:



Quoting Wn676 (Reply 10):

Don't point that to me.... point that to Josh32121. All I was stating is that Parker is the CEO and ran HP.



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineJosh32121 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 369 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9335 times:

This is splitting hairs, but the fact that HP's management and headquarters trumped those of US and the fact that former HP board members outnumbered former US board members on the board of the newly-formed company, I believe most people in the business world agree that HP had the upper-hand over US after the merger and would constitue the acquiring party. That said, from what I found on the interwebs, it sounds like the creditors ended up with the upper-hand over both former HP and former US management since they ended up owning such a substantial part of the combined company.

I believe the OP's question has been answered, though, by explaining the origin of "Cactus" as US' callsign.


User currently offlineDivemaster08 From Cayman Islands, joined Jul 2008, 337 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 8526 times:

I have to say that it caused a lot of confusion when they went to the callsign "cactus" but left the identifier still as USA. Finally they went fully over to AWE which made things a lot easier to stop the confusion that was happening!

I wonder tho why they had to do this??

US and HP merged. however they still fly under the name "US Airways". I may be blunt here but if your going to call the airline US Airways then why did they change the callsigns and identifiers over to HP? it just seems to me to be very odd when they all seem to be flying with US Airways now on the body and flying the US Air Logo. why didnt the HP boys just come over to USA?



My dream, is to fly, over the rainbow, so high!
User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 8158 times:



Quoting Josh32121 (Reply 4):
(BA is Speedbird; FL is Citrus; EV is Acey; etc.)

South African is "Springbok", Virgin America is "Redwood". I believe that VA actually held a contest among employees for the callsign, but I could be wrong.

Quoting Divemaster08 (Reply 12):
US and HP merged. however they still fly under the name "US Airways".

The US Airways was used because the new airline considered itself a national and international carrier and America West would not be a good name for flights to Europe mainly run out of PHL and CLT

Quoting Josh32121 (Reply 11):
I believe most people in the business world agree that HP had the upper-hand over US after the merger and would constitue the acquiring party.

That goes without saying. US Airways was still in bankruptcy court when they merged with America West. Had US Air not agreed to the merger, it likely would have been liquidated. It was their second trip through bankruptcy in a few years and as a standalone, they were not considered viable especially since the merger with United was scuttled by the Feds.


User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 8157 times:



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 13):
South African is "Springbok", Virgin America is "Redwood".

China Airlines uses the callsign Dynasty.


User currently offlineAAtakeMeAway From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 319 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 7126 times:

Sorry to hijack, but since we're discussing HP.... When I flew into LAS on Monday, I saw a US plane in old, old HP livery (the livery in the link below). Unfortunately I didn't get the reg. Would this have been a retro jet, or does US still have old HP planes flying around in the old old HP livery?

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Ameri...d=f0a472859443319b049dba47b97e0736


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23021 posts, RR: 20
Reply 16, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 7054 times:



Quoting AAtakeMeAway (Reply 15):
Would this have been a retro jet

Yes, N828AW


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Royal S King




I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5647 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 7025 times:



Quoting AAtakeMeAway (Reply 15):
Would this have been a retro jet

Yup, N828AW.

Quoting Divemaster08 (Reply 12):
why didnt the HP boys just come over to USA?

I'll keep it simple and say employee morale, although that's only one of the reasons for it.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5163 posts, RR: 22
Reply 18, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 6343 times:

It kind of surprises me that in 17 responses, nobody actually explained to the poster why the thing is called "Cactus".

Here's the deal: Some airlines use their name or an abbreviation thereof as their callsign, some don't. In the olden days, there were maybe more of them that used specialized callsigns. Perhaps the most famous of all among the American carriers was PanAm's radio callsign: "Clipper".

America West Airlines was started by an airline consultant, Ed Beauvais, who believed that Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix was the ideal hub for a new airline. Among other things, he liked the fact that the year-round climate in Phoenix was conducive to an absence of weather delays at the hub.

Phoenix is basically in the desert. A common desert plant is the cactus. Beauvais liked the idea of having a descriptive callsign, like PanAm did. Hence, the radio callsign "Cactus".

When America West essentially bought USAirways, the America West name went away on the merged airline, but the "Cactus" callsign was kept.

On to other things: I noticed that there was a reference to ASA's lame current callsign: "Acey". Back when it was headquartered in Atlanta and owned by Delta, it used the callsign "Candler". Why? Atlanta is the headquarters of Coke. Everyone in Atlanta seems to know everything about Coke and its history (as they also seem to about Chik-Fil-A). The founder of Coke was Asa Candler. Everyone in Atlanta knows this. Someone made the connection between "ASA Airlines" and the Asa in the name of the founder of Coke, and Voila! -- one of the more creative but least understood callsigns out there. (I also know the background to "Waterski", but we'll leave that for another day.)

[Edited 2009-04-30 14:14:23]

User currently offlineOuboy79 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 4599 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 6154 times:



Quoting Josh32121 (Reply 11):
This is splitting hairs, but the fact that HP's management and headquarters trumped those of US and the fact that former HP board members outnumbered former US board members on the board of the newly-formed company, I believe most people in the business world agree that HP had the upper-hand over US after the merger and would constitue the acquiring party.

The only reason why Crystal City was dropped was because US was in Bankruptcy, not HP. They were able to reject the lease on the Crystal Palace and move west. Also I don't think most people would have wanted to keep the US people around, though some did remain including Mister Union Buster himself. HP had a young CEO, head of a company that was able to compete with Southwest. HP was also in the position though to where its own survival without being part of M&A activity was in doubt (they were starting to run low on cash).

Shockingly enough, Wiki has actually kept a good record of the transaction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America...dings#Merger_with_US_Airways_Group

Bruce Lakefield, then US's CEO, was a money guy and headed up for th fund raising. They were able to use the money from the ATSB to help make the merger happen. Air Wisconsin, ACE (Air Canada), EADS, and a few investment firms pooled the money that was used for the creation of the new US Airways Group. The new Group acquired US on the exit of chapter 11, it also had a subsidiary that acquired America West and allowed them to be merged together.

This is probably the thing that catches people...

Under terms of the merger agreement, America West Holdings was merged into Barbell Acquisition Corporation, a subsidiary of US Airways Group Inc., on September 27, 2005. Through this transaction, America West Holdings became a wholly owned subsidiary of US Airways Group.[8] For accounting purposes only, America West Holdings was treated as the acquiring company in accordance with SFAS No. 141, which enabled the newly formed company to expedite and immediately make public its stock, foregoing a lengthy registration and IPO process.[9] Both of the merged airlines retained their names and continued operating until September 25, 2007 when America West's FAA certificate was merged into US Airways.

References: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/da...012305011287/p70803a2sv1za.htm#138
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/da...012305011287/p70803a2sv1za.htm#134

It is all pretty pointless...but for accuracy sake, no...that airline out in Phoenix didn't buy anything - they didn't have the money. A group of well funded investors that was organized by Bruce Lakefield came together and purchased both airlines and put them together with the promise that Doug Parker could do a better job than Wolf, Gangwal, and Siegel.


User currently offlineSparky35805 From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 283 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5673 times:
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ASAs original callsign was ACEY and was changed to Candler and then back to ACEY.
Sparky


User currently onlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8269 posts, RR: 23
Reply 21, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5657 times:



Quoting JBo (Reply 6):
However, I understand this caused confusion among ATC, so they went back to the AWE code to match up wtih the callsign.

To say it caused confusion is an understatement. Using "USA" and "Cactus" together was one of the stupidest things anyone's ever decided to do.

It's better now that it's changed to AWE, though now you'll ocassionaly hear controllers call cactus flights "Air Wisconsin" and vice versa.



This Website Censors Me
User currently offlineApodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4280 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5397 times:



Quoting N766UA (Reply 21):
To say it caused confusion is an understatement. Using "USA" and "Cactus" together was one of the stupidest things anyone's ever decided to do.

It's better now that it's changed to AWE, though now you'll ocassionaly hear controllers call cactus flights "Air Wisconsin" and vice versa.

Thats the big problem in many of the eastern stations, especially DCA, LGA, and PHL where Air Wisconsin, who uses AWI, have big operations as a USAirways express carrier. Now that the Cactus call sign has been used for a while now, wouldn't it be less confusing to switch back to USA. This shouldn't be as confusing now.


User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 23, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4943 times:



Quoting Ouboy79 (Reply 19):
It is all pretty pointless...but for accuracy sake, no...that airline out in Phoenix didn't buy anything - they didn't have the money.

That sort of clears it up, but then again....US didnt have the money either. But look who is running the show at US: the HP folks!  wave 



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineF9fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 696 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4664 times:



Quoting Laxboeingman (Thread starter):
Today, I was wondering why the call signs for US Airways flights are "Cactus" and then the flight number. I have seen this on several occasions, looking at pictures here on Airliners.net, and remembering the ATC tapes from when US 1549 went down in the Hudson. (Thank God that everyone survived.) Do the controllers say Cactus because they cannot say "US " over the radio, or they cannot say "Uniform" over the radio. (Uniform is the NATO alphabet equivalent of U.) Wouldn't it just be easier for the controllers to say "Uniform" instead of "Cactus", or do I just think that? Thanks for the answers in advance.

Well, DL still uses Delta as their call sign, even though Delta is D in the phonetic alphabet. In some places in the southeast, I heard, they use Dixie as the D on radio signs instead of Delta.

By the way, with Valuejet now gone, I wonder if Frontier ever considered using the "critter" call sign?
 duck   flamed 


25 Ouboy79 : Pretty much. US did have the ATSB funds but it wasn't in their bank account since those were just loan guarantees. When they hired Bruce Lakefield as
26 TN486 : LOL I was wondering when someone was going to answer it. Thank you, I learnt something new today.
27 AirframeAS : You might want to also add that Tempe, AZ is the CHQ for the new company. Now THAT counts far more than anything else.....
28 Ouboy79 : And I think the rent was half as much as what Crystal City, VA was...and OH yeah...they were in Chapter 11 so it was easy to reject the lease and dro
29 Tarmacphotos : Its another day. I've always wondered the origin of Waterski for Trans States.
30 Saab2000 : Occasionally? Try all the frickin' time.
31 SwivelHeadLAX : Trans States goes by the callsign "Waterski" and the ICAO 3-letter identifier of "LOF". These two unique features are due to their former airline nam
32 AirframeAS : The new company was going to be based in Tempe all along anyway, so your point is moot.
33 Tarmacphotos : Thanks for the history.
34 P3Orion : Last week I was kinda busy on South Local and kept calling "Bluestreak" (JIA), "Jazz" (JZA). Thankfully, the crew knew what I wanted.
35 Eghansen : I'm sorry, but you really don't know what you are talking about. First of all, US Airways was in bankruptcy. Whatever cash US Airways had was immater
36 Cubsrule : ...none of which proves that HP bought US. When I buy a Coke, that generally means that I've used my money to buy that Coke.
37 Eghansen : But when you buy a new car, you trade in your old car and are given a cash allowance for it. America West shareholders turned in their HP stock and r
38 AirframeAS : And HP would have been a total stand-alone carrier today if the merger never happened.
39 Cubsrule : Right, but that transaction alone doesn't mean that I've bought a new car. I could go to Carmax tomorrow and give them my car and get a cash allowanc
40 Caspian27 : ouboy, why do you care so much about who bought who in the merger? What difference does it make now?
41 Ouboy79 : I really don't care. It just boggles the mind how people forget ALL the facts when they bring this up, and for accuracy sake I guess I feel a need to
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