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What Is The X In Virgin Atlantic Flight 20X?  
User currently offlineVulindlela From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 474 posts, RR: 1
Posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 11430 times:

I was at SFO yesterday and heard the Virgin 744 refer to itself as "Virgin 20 X-Ray." When did this "X" get added on, and what does it mean?


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23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinetommy212 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2005, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 11123 times:

It seems to be the common thing with airlines in Europe to now use alpha-numerical callsigns,
for example:
Speedbird 888 is Speedbird 8EG
Lufthansa 4781 is Lufthansa 4RK
Bee-Line 2713 is Bee-Line 9T
Air Berlin 8342 is Air Berlin 400D
Easy 8917 is Easy 917Q
Wizz Air 704 is Wizz Air 704K

There's no rhyme or reason for most of them, I think its to help out controllers and pilots from mishearing a callsign as their own.

[Edited 2010-06-05 06:43:08 by srbmod]

User currently offlineChase From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1054 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 10654 times:

I'm not familiar with that particular flight, but another possibility is some type of irregular op. At the airline I used to work for, if flight #100 from ABC-XYZ had a mechanical issue and returned to ABC, then we'd record it as two flights:
#100A: ABC-ABC
#100: The subsequent ABC-XYZ

Other airlines would do it vice-versa, so the first flight was 100 and the second was 100A.


User currently onlinefcogafa From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 781 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 10401 times:

The ATC callsigns are used to reduce the possibility of callsign confusion on frequency

User currently offlineas739x From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6119 posts, RR: 23
Reply 4, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 10313 times:

Quoting Vulindlela (Thread starter):

SFO has been getting Virgin 19X/20X and Speedbird 11B, your right! Been happening for about 2 months now!



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlinebospatriot From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 10293 times:

VS implemented alpha numeric call signs last year. They've all be changed a few times as well. IE: the VS12 BOSLHR has been 12R, 12Y, and now 12E. Not all flights; just where there have been ATC discrepancies

User currently offlineheathrow From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 979 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 10098 times:

Quoting tommy212 (Reply 1):
Speedbird 888 is Speedbird 8EG
Lufthansa 4781 is Lufthansa 4RK
Bee-Line 2713 is Bee-Line 9T
Air Berlin 8342 is Air Berlin 400D
Easy 8917 is Easy 917Q
Wizz Air 704 is Wizz Air 704K

Pardon my ignorance, but some of theese make absoloutely no sense to me. Would you mind clarifying the logic in this a bit? I'm still in the dark!!!

I've noticed most MT flights out of YYZ carry a letter on the end of the flight number also


User currently offlineJulian773 From Australia, joined Aug 2009, 116 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 9586 times:

It´s for the pilots to practice their alphabet   
Just kidding.

I thought that those call signs were used for ferry flights or on flights which were scheduled to departure but were canceled so they have to go the next day. So there are 2 flights e.g. AAL1 and AAL1A.

One day when I was listening to Langen radar almost every LH flight had some letter in it.


Julian


User currently offlineYYZRWY23 From Canada, joined Aug 2009, 561 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 9024 times:

When I flew Thomas Cook from YYZ-LGW, the call sign was TCX 54L. Seems common with the European carriers, have never heard it on N.A carriers.

Quoting heathrow (Reply 6):
Pardon my ignorance, but some of theese make absoloutely no sense to me.

I am certainly not in airline operations but I'm going to hazard a guess and say that the letters assigned are completely random or are assigned based on direction (east/west). The airline may have its own system for assigning the letter, or as in this example:

Quoting as739x (Reply 4):
SFO has been getting Virgin 19X/20X

It could be for a route. For example, the 'X' could be attached for SFO bound flights, then say 'C' for all Las Vegas flights...you get the idea. But these are all just layman's guesses.

YYZRWY23



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User currently offlineandyinpit From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 320 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 8224 times:

I always thought it was for through routing of flight numbers. I see United use a lot of them at work. For example flight 16 routes SAN-ORD-BWI. I don't know if it's the same plane, but same number. And I always thought that say, SAN-ORD was late, they would add a letter on the end to distinguish which flight is which, so both could be in the air at the same time. So at work I always see UAL16T.

User currently offlineDazed767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5494 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 7929 times:

Why do they do it some days and not others then? Today I noticed only 1 of 4 VS flight to MCO had a letter at the end and that was VS15C.

User currently offlinetopjet330 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 236 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 7590 times:

Thomas Cook UK and Thomson Airways use random codes for call signs such as

TOM2442 could be TOM4EH
TOM5667 could be TOM2HQ

TCX56K is changed to TCX4HQ
TCX371K is changed to TCX35TQ

Very Strange.


User currently offlineANITIX87 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 3302 posts, RR: 13
Reply 12, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 7423 times:
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This thread may get some better feedback in Tech/Ops.

However, in the research I have done, I was under the impression that this was done to distinguish flight numbers for ATC. For example, if flight ABC123 is scheduled to arrive at XXX at 17:40, and flight XYZ123 is scheduled to arrive at 17:55, then it is conceivable that they will be in the air at the same time around the destination's radar coverage area. Therefore, airline XYZ may modify their flight number (usually done in-flight) to XYZ123A in order to help ATC controllers distinguish, at a glance, the two flights (since they, out of habit, tend to look at the flight number, not the airline, since airlines can have multiple flights to that airport).

I could be wrong. I'm not in the industry. But that seems to be the best explanation I've found.

TIS



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User currently offlinemcoatc From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 194 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 7121 times:

Quoting fcogafa (Reply 3):
The ATC callsigns are used to reduce the possibility of callsign confusion on frequency

  

This is what I have been told by VS crews who I spoke to when this started popping up. It is a European ATC issue, and I'm not sure what the exact issues are.

As others have mentioned, normally we only see this when a carrier is going to have two flights with the same flight # airborne simultaneously and don't want any confusion. I'm almost certain that this is not the case here.

Quoting Dazed767 (Reply 10):
Why do they do it some days and not others then? Today I noticed only 1 of 4 VS flight to MCO had a letter at the end and that was VS15C.

That is the real question that I have.


User currently offlinextoler From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 953 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 7045 times:

Now that I remember, we did that in the Air Force. Like 11E1 and 11E2. 11E1 would got MHZ-RMS-AVB and leave AVB-TOJ-FRF-MHZ as 11E2 and then change to a different flight number heading back Stateside. There was a rhime and a reason for the designation of our flight numbers, but that was years ago, and I really can't remember what it was but it made sense to me back then, working ops I had to come up with a few flight numbers and knew what the numbers and letters meant. I had a cheat sheet on my desk.


EMB145 F/A, F/E, J41 F/A, F/E, because my wife clipped my wings, armchair captain
User currently offlineANITIX87 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 3302 posts, RR: 13
Reply 15, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 6461 times:
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Quoting Dazed767 (Reply 10):
Why do they do it some days and not others then?
Quoting mcoatc (Reply 13):

That is the real question that I have.

If my post is correct, the consider a slightly varied case. Let's say ABC123 is schedules to arrive at 13:30 and XYZ123 is scheduled to arrive at 15:30. Normally, there wouldn't be any conflict. If, however, ABC123 is delayed, it is possible that, on a given day, they arrive at nearly the same time and their flight numbers would be adjusted to avoid confusion. On other days when the flights are on-time or do not interfere, the flight number is as scheduled.

TIS



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User currently offlineEagleboy From Niue, joined Dec 2009, 1807 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 6147 times:
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Quoting tommy212 (Reply 1):
There's no rhyme or reason for most of them, I think its to help out controllers and pilots from mishearing a callsign as their own.
Quoting fcogafa (Reply 3):
The ATC callsigns are used to reduce the possibility of callsign confusion on frequency

This is the reason. Logically using letters over numbers is no less confusing,its just that we are accustomed to hearing flight NUMBERS.

E.G. The majority of EI shorthaul flights use alphanumeric codes while their T/A flights use the numbers.


User currently offlinekl692 From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 676 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5156 times:

yep, this becoming normal thing now for the European Airlines. I recent discover that KL691 AMS to YYZ now have a call sign KL031. Kind if weird having been used to KL691/692


A310, A330,A346,B73H, B747,B772,B77W,CRJ
User currently offlineCWAFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 669 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4725 times:

Not sure why a long-haul flight would do this, but US carriers do it a lot because of through flights and many that are not the same airplanes and/or crew. This is so that the same call sign is not in the same airspace at the same time if the first segment is running late. Some airlines automatically assign the continuation leg the 11X or 50W or whatever so that they don't have to remember to change that leg if the first one happens to be delayed.

User currently offlinevv701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7457 posts, RR: 17
Reply 19, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4492 times:

Here are some examples of BA flights between thr UK and the USA:

Flight BA112 (JFK-LHR) uses the call sign BAW23F.

Flight BA174 (JFK-LHR) uses the call sign BAW11J.

Flight BA218 (DEN-LHR) uses the call sign BAW17V.

Flight BA285 (LHR-SFO) uses the call sign BAW11M.

However for most flights, such as BA197 (LHR-IAH) the call sign, in this case BAW197, matches the flight number.

My understanding is that there is likely to be less confusion in conversations between flight crew and controllers, particularly when they are of different nationalities, between any two alpha-numeric call signs, for example 'one-one-mike' and 'one-one-juliet' than there could be between two numeric call signs such as 'one-two-four' and 'one-four-two'. But I assume that the alpha-numeric call signs are only assigned when there is a possibility that two flights that could be in the air in the same general area at the same time might just be confused. But this is no more than a guess.


User currently offlineGCT64 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2007, 1382 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3888 times:

This has been discussed on many occassions before and is by no means a "new change".

BA Alpha-numeric Flt Numbers To N America (by Wagz May 8 2008 in Civil Aviation)
Flightaware BA Weird Flight Numbers? (by Sflaflight Jan 21 2009 in Civil Aviation)

The systematic use of alphanumeric callsigns instead of the flight number goes back ~20 years in the UK and ~10 years transatlantic.



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User currently offlinedanfearn77 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2008, 1812 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3572 times:

Quoting YYZRWY23 (Reply 8):
When I flew Thomas Cook from YYZ-LGW, the call sign was TCX 54L. Seems common with the European carriers, have never heard it on N.A carriers.

In my experience all TCX outbound are ended in K and inbound ended in L. So for example:

MAN-ACE; TCX123K
ACE-MAN; TCX321L

Not sure whether thats right or not just something i have noticed?



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User currently offlinedavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7369 posts, RR: 14
Reply 22, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3518 times:
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Quoting danfearn77 (Reply 21):
Not sure whether thats right or not just something i have noticed?

A/B used to be for Britainnia/Thomsonfly. C/D was Air 2000./First Choice. K/L are regular Thomas Cook with "special charters" being G/H. Howverver TCX are using alphanumerics for a lot of their European ops now.


User currently offlineTS-IOR From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 3462 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3506 times:

But this morning the unexpected happened... RYR4CV and DLH4CV almost same position, same routing, same airspace sector and same controller !!!

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