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Who's Behind The Call Signs?  
User currently offlineGoblin211 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 1209 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10817 times:

Who comes up with the call signs for airlines in the first place? And in the case of UA/CO or now officially united, what will the call sign be? Just united, or some random name? For example, US airways is Cactus.


From the airport with love
48 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3737 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10801 times:

US' callsign isn't exactly random, as there's a story behind it. Cactus was America West's callsign & remained the callsign for US after the two merged. Even though the US name survived, there's still a tip of the hat to HP on the radio.


Let's Kick the Tires & Light the Fires!!
User currently offlineqb737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10797 times:

US Airways even use "AWE" as their ICAO code.

[Edited 2010-10-02 08:38:40]

User currently offlineGoblin211 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 1209 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10761 times:

Yes but will United's call sign remain United or will they use Continental?


From the airport with love
User currently offlineB6JFKH81 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2881 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10716 times:

Quoting Goblin211 (Thread starter):
Who comes up with the call signs for airlines in the first place?

There are parameters and rules that need to be followed when creating your call signs (radiotelephony designators) and 2 and 3 letter identifiers. I remember having to do the research when the college I attended got their new fleet of planes and the tail numbers were in complete numerical order and were going to cause confusion in the local tower. So I did the research to file the request for official raiotelephony designators from the FAA, with the guidance of the tower manager at FRG and the (at the time) Regional Administrator of the FAA Arlene Feldman. Unlike the airlines, the call sign "flight number" was directly attached to the tail number, and the "flight numbers" were also sorted out to help identify the aircraft type (for example, the new Warriors that the college bought all were batched together based on the last number in their tail number and that was doubled...so when you heard Farmingdale State 33 or 44 or 55, etc., it was a Warrior.). It is kinda cool to think a student can now fly anywhere around the country and use that call sign LOL. But anyway, the rules dictate how many syllables the call sign can be, its relevance to the airline, how close it can sound to another airlines call sign, how easy it is to pronounce, etc.

I can't go digging through the internet right now since I am at work, but on the FAA's site and IATA's site I am sure you can bring up the actual regulations for it. My primary research (since my college isn't crossing any international borders) was through the FAA and was on an advisory circular which laid everything out.

~H81



"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
User currently offlinetimf From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 969 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 10502 times:
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Quoting qb737 (Reply 2):
US Airways even use "AWE" as their ICAO code.

This was not intentional. They had planned on keeping USA as their ICAO code, but it was confusing too many controllers so they opted to switch back to AWE since that was associated with the "Cactus" callsign.


User currently offlinemcdu From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1459 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 10033 times:

Quoting Goblin211 (Reply 3):
Yes but will United's call sign remain United or will they use Continental?

It will be United for the call sign for all flights once the company achieves SOC.


User currently offlineAirFrance744 From United States of America, joined Aug 2009, 80 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 9824 times:

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 4):
ut anyway, the rules dictate how many syllables the call sign can be, its relevance to the airline, how close it can sound to another airlines call sign, how easy it is to pronounce, etc.

Then why is FL "Citrus". Because they have a hub at MCO which is in Florida?



Flown over 115,000 miles and I'm only 19!
User currently offlinekbpilot5 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 192 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 9687 times:

GoJet's callsign used to be "Gateway" (which I really liked) but they either had to or willingly changed it because it was easily confused with "Getaway" which is USA 3000.

Quoting AirFrance744 (Reply 7):
Then why is FL "Citrus". Because they have a hub at MCO which is in Florida?

Just a guess, but I would think it's because ATA Airlines callsign was "Amtran" which could be confused with "Airtran" over the radios. But again I don't know for sure on this.


User currently offlineamwest2united From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 409 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 9603 times:
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Quoting mcdu (Reply 6):
It will be United for the call sign for all flights once the company achieves SOC.

Really, Where did you get that info?

We are going to use Continental's operating certificate and United's Repair Station certificate.



Life is what happens to you while you making plans to live it!
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4489 posts, RR: 21
Reply 10, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 8641 times:

Quoting amwest2united (Reply 9):
We are going to use Continental's operating certificate

Acquisition of a particular operating certificate doesn't mean you have to adopt a particular callsign.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets87 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 8638 times:

Quoting kbpilot5 (Reply 8):
Quoting AirFrance744 (Reply 7):
Then why is FL "Citrus". Because they have a hub at MCO which is in Florida?

Just a guess, but I would think it's because ATA Airlines callsign was "Amtran" which could be confused with "Airtran" over the radios. But again I don't know for sure on this.

I think it has to do with FL Headquarters being in Florida (even though their largest hub is ATL).

I like British Airways' call sign: "Speedbird"


User currently offlineFX1816 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1400 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 8498 times:

Quoting amwest2united (Reply 9):
Quoting mcdu (Reply 6):
It will be United for the call sign for all flights once the company achieves SOC.

Really, Where did you get that info?

Why would it not be United I mean Northwest became Delta and even changed the to the DAL ICAO. If the planes say United I doubt it would be any different than UAL and "United" call sign.

FX1816


User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15729 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8304 times:

Quoting kbpilot5 (Reply 8):
GoJet's callsign used to be "Gateway" (which I really liked) but they either had to or willingly changed it because it was easily confused with "Getaway" which is USA 3000.

Lindbergh is cooler anyway. I think that the Mercury callsign for Shuttle America is a good one too. My guess is that they couldn't use one with shuttle in it because of Mesa.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1555 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8230 times:

Quoting FX1816 (Reply 12):
Why would it not be United I mean Northwest became Delta and even changed the to the DAL ICAO. If the planes say United I doubt it would be any different than UAL and "United" call sign.

I could see if CO had a catchy callsign that wasn't the airline's name keeping that, but they don't, so it will be United.

The other option is Air Mike, which doesn't really make sense for the callsign of a global carrier.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently offlinecyxuk From Canada, joined Mar 2009, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 7808 times:

Does anyone know the origin of the "Speedbird" callsign for BA?

User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1645 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 7797 times:

A lot of the time, it has to do with whatever thingy they paint on the vertical stabilizer that then sticks with them for decades. Remember "Widget"?

User currently offlineUSAir330 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 822 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 7639 times:

Quoting cyxuk (Reply 15):
Does anyone know the origin of the "Speedbird" callsign for BA?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the call sign "Speedbird" comes from the merger with BOAC.


User currently offlineAirvan00 From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 758 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 7566 times:

Quoting USAir330 (Reply 17):

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the call sign "Speedbird" comes from the merger with BOAC.

I think it dates back a lot longer than that, the speedbird logo has been used since 1932 and has always been used in ATC communications.


User currently offlineplanesmith From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2009, 139 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 7524 times:

Quoting cyxuk (Reply 15):
Does anyone know the origin of the "Speedbird" callsign for BA?

BOAC's aircraft and paperwork carried the "speedbird" logo for many, many years, pictures of the flying boats show it being used, and that continued after the merger with BEA, the new airline, British Airways simply couldn't drop such a brilliant callsign...


User currently offlineflyingalex From Germany, joined Jul 2010, 1016 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 7029 times:

Quoting Airvan00 (Reply 18):

I think it dates back a lot longer than that, the speedbird logo has been used since 1932 and has always been used in ATC communications.

Mostly correct. More details can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedbird

One of my favourite callsigns is "Stardust", which is XL Airways Germany. They started life as a subsidiary of the British XL Group, and operated under the name Star XL for the first few years.

Oh, and a good one that is sadly no longer with us: SkyEurope used the callsign "Relax". 



Public service announcement: "It's" = "it is". To indicate posession, write "its." Looks wrong, but it's correct grammar
User currently offlineskymiler From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 528 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6606 times:

Pan Am was "Clipper" ..... a nod to the flying boats


I love to fly, and it shows!
User currently offline71Zulu From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3073 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6468 times:

Quoting FX1816 (Reply 12):
If the planes say United I doubt it would be any different than UAL and "United" call sign.

The company has said they will use the CO op certificate so the post merger call sign might indeed be "Continental". Really won't be a big deal as many airliners have a call sign different from what is painted on the side of the plane.



The good old days: Delta L-1011s at MSY
User currently offlinemcdu From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1459 posts, RR: 17
Reply 23, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5961 times:

Quoting amwest2united (Reply 9):
Really, Where did you get that info?

Because the airline is named "United"

Quoting amwest2united (Reply 9):
We are going to use Continental's operating certificate and United's Repair Station certificate.

Hate be harsh but we have beaten this horse to death in previous threads. The operating certificate is the NOT the call sign. It is the book of allowable rules for operating the flights. CO flies ETOPS on the 737 and a few other approach and operational changes that would have required the UAL certificate to gain approval for the modifications. The easier path was to adopt the CO certificate as far as the FAA was concerned. This is does not affect the call sign.


User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 819 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5785 times:

I remember "Gopher"? Perhaps from Minnesota?

Clever using a ground burrowing rodent as an airline callsign.


25 einsteinboricua : It would seem really strange calling United flights "Continental" on the ATC. Though call signs are indeed different they don't use the name of an ai
26 1stfl94 : Is British Airways the only carrier to have more than one callsign? They have Speedbird as their main one, Shuttle for UK domestic flights and Santa f
27 xtoler : I always liked Waterski. No offense to the Lindberghs, even though I thought Gateway was pretty good. Either way it's a nod to STL. Some of these call
28 SSTsomeday : Canadian Airlines, originally C.P. Air and Candian Pacific AIrlines, used the call sign "Empress" which, as a boy, I thought was cool since "Air Canad
29 BMIFlyer : Also, "Flyer" for ops out of LCY.
30 ktrick45 : And I remember hearing that this was because "Pan Am" sounded too much like "Panpan" on the radio.
31 BMI727 : American carriers will sometimes fly charters for DoD under the AMC "Reach" callsign. Also, a civil flight with the President or the President's fami
32 nra-3b : I always liked China Airlines "Dynasty" callsign. Also from the the same era, Civil Air Transport (CAT) used "Mandarin". Cheers, Bob
33 Post contains images EHAM : Amsterdam Airlines (AAN) uses the callsign 'Amstel', always reminds me of a nice cold beer
34 FX1816 : Well being an ATC I'm pretty familiar with the different call sign's however I seriously doubt that they will keep the call sign Continental because
35 noelg : Speedbird is from the old BOAC logo and refers to the bird on the logo. Citrus (and code FL) refer to the fact AirTran originally were based in and ar
36 doug_Or : That is the case, after Shuttle America began flying all over the US (as opposed to their old NE stomping grounds) they changed because shuttlecraft
37 Viscount724 : Not entirely correct. CP Air (legal name Canadian Pacific Air Lines) used the callsign Empress. When Canadian Airlines was created when regional carr
38 SSTsomeday : I'm not sure if I agree with this protocol. If I was a pilot looking for traffic, and it was designated "Speedbird," then I would be looking for an A
39 RobK : Reach callsign has been dead for some time on the CRAF aircraft. They use Camber these days.
40 ORDFan : Anyone know of any other callsigns that haven't been listed? A few airlines seem like they could use them: Lufthansa, Singapore, Aerolineas? Continent
41 Post contains images etherealsky : 'Brickyard' is Republic's callsign. (Reference to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) A fair point, but it's been my experience that ATC usually goes by
42 CPH-R : Not to mention "Executive Eagle" for the ATR72 ops out of SJU. Or was that just a 'paper callsign'?
43 faro : "Kestrel" and "trojan" were previously used by the old British Airtours. Don't know if this continued with their transformation into MyTravel and subs
44 Post contains images BMIFlyer : Mytravel continued with Kestrel yes. Thomas cook was TopJet, but is now Kestrel
45 opso1 : One Harrier Squadron I was on toyed with the idea of "Upper" for a while- it made for an interesting frequency check-in for a 2 ship formation : "Uppe
46 oly720man : Air 2000 used to have "Air 2000" as the callsign but it soon became apparent that the number could cause problems so they hit upon "Jetset".
47 pilotpip : We were also "crossroads" for about a day and a half (literally). They changed that one because it sounded similiar to a 135 operator or something. I
48 calpilot : In case you haven't got the word in the last 5days; yes we are using United callsign. You can reference the flight ops bulletin post transaction.
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