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Similar Call Signs  
User currently offlineDBCooper From Brazil, joined Jun 2004, 202 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 7 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3926 times:

For safety reasons, the ATC folks have over the years made it a policy to notify airlines of similar sounding (or looking) call signs (flight numbers). For example, XX 3568 and XX 3586 can look similar in a rush, and XX 1471 and XX 471 can sound the same in a garbled transmission.

Is anyone aware of any listing of similar sounding call signs (numbers) that I could use for a project? For example, avoid ### and ### within an hour of each other or something?

Many thanks; sorry if this is unclear.


13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineTimT From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 168 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3885 times:

I heard a story some years ago about this. At the time, the Presidential airplane used something other than "Air Force 1" and was in the same approach pattern as an Eastern aircraft that had a similar sounding call sign. Caused quite a stir. After that it was Air Force 1. I'm thinking that it was somewhere on the east coast, like Dulles. Might be a direction to go for your paper.

User currently offlineAJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3865 times:

Flying to Portugal from Frankfurt on a Qantas callsign many European accents made 'Qantas' and 'Condor' sound surprising similar. The Spanish controllers wound up calling us 'Quebec Foxtrot Alpha 60xx'!

User currently offlinePNEPilot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3842 times:

Nothing much to add on this thread, but on one Sunday afternoon recently PNE Tower was sounding rather stressed when he had Cherokee 33788, Cherokee 43788 and two Citabrias with similar call signs all working closed traffic at the same time.

User currently offlineTbanger From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 266 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3822 times:

Eastern Airlines in Australia (Qantaslink) have a flight leave Albury at 6.30am weekday mornings under the flight number callsign of Eastern 2202 and departing Wagga Wagga at the same time is Eastern 2220.

Provided the flights run on time, you get both aircraft operating the same approach into SYD about 10 mins apart, coming from the same direction.

If the Wagga flight is 10 mins late..................................

User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3819 times:

It sometimes gets confusing in Spain with Air Nostrum flights, operating in the 8000 range. As the airline has a dense network within the country, you get many flights with similar flight numbers at the same time.

User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3775 times:

>>>Is anyone aware of any listing of similar sounding call signs (numbers) that I could use for a project? For example, avoid ### and ### within an hour of each other or something?

Are you meaning a list of -actual- ones, or a list of -potential- ones, or like a set of rules?

[Edited 2004-10-07 15:49:20]

User currently offlineDBCooper From Brazil, joined Jun 2004, 202 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3699 times:

I am looking for a set of rules, if anyone has one they don't mind sharing or pointing me to.



User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3673 times:

Maybe SPREE34 or another controller can offer some insight or criteria...

User currently offlineC172N From Switzerland, joined May 2004, 13 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3585 times:

I don't think there are any rules on avoidance of similar sounding call-signs, but I have a vague recollection that if two aircraft pass through the same sector at the same time, with a call-sign which sounds identical (particularly with aircraft likely to be flown by pilots whose first language is not English), ATC will order one of the aircraft to alter its call-sign, perhaps suffixing it with a 'foxtrot', for the remainder of its flight.

I remember hearing on my scanner many years ago, an El Al flight passing overhead South East England on route to the States, which was ordered to alter it's call-sign due to another on frequency which would've caused confusion. I don't remember who the other aircraft belonged to, or what exactly the call sign of the first was altered to...

Obviously, a bit of forethought on the part of the ops teams should avoid clashes with aircraft from the same operator.


User currently offlineTheflcowboy From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3520 times:

Sometimes if they are close enough - ATC will rename one flight to a higher number. For instance Delta 1431 and Delta 1231 or something. One of the flights may become Delta 9038 or something like that.

A318, A320, A332, A333, B1900, B722, B732, B733, B734, B735, B737, B738, B772, CR1, CR2, CR7, CR9, MD80, MD81, MD82, MD8
User currently offlineATCisgreat From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3519 times:

For me, it's depending on what type of flights are involved and how much time I have, anyhow. If I have 2 overflights for example with similar callsign I usually don't bother informing them cause all I have to tell them is "hello" and "goodbye", maybe a little "turn left" or "right" and "resume own nav". But if it involves flights with which I know I have to do some sequencing with a lot of different commands I tell them right on contact "KLMxxx, be aware, company xxx aswell (expected) on this freq". But then again, if those flights have already been flying along with each other for 3 or 4 sectors I expect them somehow to have noticed that already by themselves. It's a bit weird to explain. Sometimes I have criterias sometimes its more about the feeling on a traffic situation. And if it's really really really busy I simply don't have the time for it.
Hope this helps a bit!

Next: 26.05. DUS-LHR BA939, LHR-HKG BA25; 01.06 HKG-LHR BA32; 02.06. LHR-DUS BA938
User currently offlineCopter808 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1603 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3495 times:

Dont recall any "confusion" over similar call signs on this one, but at one time the Wisconsin Army National Guard used the call sign of "Bucky", followed by the 2 digit id of the PIC (pilot-in-command). Normal ATC response, when outside our local area, was "aircraft calling (atc facility), say ID again. This was usually repeated 2, 3, or more times. They later change the callsign!

Also, try changing the first letter of the (Bucky) call sign. Regardless of which letter you use, the call signs all sound alike!

The "Bucky" callsign originated from the University of Wisconsin mascot, Bucky Badger. Strangely enough, the person who came up with that callsign never admitted it, but all the pilots knew who it was!

User currently offlineBackfire From Germany, joined Oct 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3452 times:

You might want to look at this FAA air traffic bulletin:


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