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Reason For "Kilo" Being Appended To UA Callsign?  
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 6106 times:

I am monitoring the KIAD frequencies on LiveATC.net and just heard some flight referred to as "United 990 KILO" all throughout approach and landing. Never heard that before. It was a 752. The only thing out of the ordinary is that from what I looked up it was 75 minutes late, but last time I checked there were no special codes for late flights.

Been scourging like mad through the FAR/AIM and can't find anything on it. I'm sure there's some simple explanation for this. It was just one of those WTF moments and I was curious as to the meaning behind the KILO being appended.

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23014 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 6099 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Thread starter):
The only thing out of the ordinary is that from what I looked up it was 75 minutes late, but last time I checked there were no special codes for late flights.

That's actually precisely the reason. They can't have 2 Flight 990s on the ground at Dulles or in the air at the same time, so if 990 ORD-IAD is late enough that it might "overlap" with 990 IAD-ACC, they append the K to ORD-IAD so ORD-IAD is UAL990K and IAD-ACC is UAL990.

FWIW, it is possible to have two flights with the same call sign in the air in different places at the same time. When MQ filed their jet flights as 3 digit flight numbers, it happened sometimes (e.g. 3459 DFW-VPS was sometimes in the air at the same time as 4459 ORD-JAX; both filed as EGF459).



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 6081 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 1):

That's actually precisely the reason. They can't have 2 Flight 990s on the ground at Dulles or in the air at the same time, so if 990 ORD-IAD is late enough that it might "overlap" with 990 IAD-ACC, they append the K to ORD-IAD so ORD-IAD is UAL990K and IAD-ACC is UAL990.

FWIW, it is possible to have two flights with the same call sign in the air in different places at the same time. When MQ filed their jet flights as 3 digit flight numbers, it happened sometimes (e.g. 3459 DFW-VPS was sometimes in the air at the same time as 4459 ORD-JAX; both filed as EGF459).

Ah yes, that makes sense now, I did notice an equipment change for the next leg but the possibility of overlap didn't cross my mind.

Is it any random letter assigned by the airline itself or given by ATC?

I wonder if it's in the 7110.65... too lazy to go through the million pages though  


User currently offlineGoBoeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2698 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 6064 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 2):
Is it any random letter assigned by the airline itself or given by ATC?

I think the airline has the option of what to do. After all, they can make the callsign whatever they want as long as it's in the remarks section.

United seems to use K.

USAirways seems to use P.

My company drops the number completely and uses the four digit ship number as the flight number.

So they are all different.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25376 posts, RR: 49
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 6027 times:

From United's FOM:

Whenever there is the potential for two United airplanes to have the same flight number
while operating in the same airspace, a radio flight number is assigned to one of the flights.
Domestically and internationally, radio flight numbers use the base flight number (e.g., 165) with
an alpha suffix (i.e., A, C, J, K, L, T, W or Y) (e.g., 165A). For domestic flights, there may be
limited occasions where radio flight numbers in the 8100-8299 range are also used. This is
especially true if the original call sign is a four-digit number.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 6000 times:

Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 3):

I think the airline has the option of what to do. After all, they can make the callsign whatever they want as long as it's in the remarks section.

United seems to use K.

USAirways seems to use P.

My company drops the number completely and uses the four digit ship number as the flight number.

So they are all different.

I figured, as ATC most likely doesn't really care as long as it's shown on the strip   

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 4):
From United's FOM:

Whenever there is the potential for two United airplanes to have the same flight number
while operating in the same airspace, a radio flight number is assigned to one of the flights.
Domestically and internationally, radio flight numbers use the base flight number (e.g., 165) with
an alpha suffix (i.e., A, C, J, K, L, T, W or Y) (e.g., 165A). For domestic flights, there may be
limited occasions where radio flight numbers in the 8100-8299 range are also used. This is
especially true if the original call sign is a four-digit number.

Interesting. So it's pretty much random then.


User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5647 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5943 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 5):
So it's pretty much random then.

While the alpha suffix can indeed be a random choice, each airline generally uses a specific one as a matter of tradition.

As was stated before, I've only ever seen US "A-sections" as we call them with a "P" attached. Mesa likes to use "A". Southwest doesn't use any, they refile with a 8000 or 9000 flight number.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5754 times:

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 6):

As was stated before, I've only ever seen US "A-sections" as we call them with a "P" attached. Mesa likes to use "A". Southwest doesn't use any, they refile with a 8000 or 9000 flight number.

Ah gotcha. This thread has been enlightening.   


User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5731 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 2):
I wonder if it's in the 7110.65..

Nope.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 4):
From United's FOM:

You would most likely find their procedure refers to some part of CFR (FAR) Pt. 121.

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 5):
I figured, as ATC most likely doesn't really care as long as it's shown on the strip  

Absolutely correct!



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlineBrick From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1585 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4995 times:

I was on UA902 today DEN-IAD. The flight number continues on as IAD-MUC with a change of aircraft. We used a callsign of United 902 Charlie. I understand the overlaping flight thing, but we were the first UA902 operating today. Why did we get a suffix added to our callsign?


A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
User currently offlinePapaChuck From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4971 times:

I had to attach a letter to an AA callsign once when our computer, for whatever reason, had issues passing a flight plan from an adjoining Center. We just could not, try as we might, get the aircraft to track in our system (I think there was a duplicate entry somewhere). The solution was to create a new flight plan using an "A" at the end of the callsign. We gave the flight the new squawk code for the new flight plan and told them something along the lines of "American XXX, we had a problem with your flight plan, so from here on we're going to call you American XXX Alpha." Not the most graceful of solutions, but it worked.


In-trail spacing is a team effort.
User currently offlinePWMRamper From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 622 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4934 times:

How does it work with 4 digit flights numbers, ala RJs?

You can't have GJS 7358K, too many characters?


User currently offlinePapaChuck From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4878 times:

Good point, 4-digit flight numbers are another issue since the system will only accept up to seven characters for an aircraft callsign. We'd have to be a little more creative. The first step would be do to some quick detective work and track down the flight plan with the duplicate flight number. If that flight is on the ground or has left our facility's airspace, the flight plan could most likely be deleted, removing the conflict. If that doesn't work, tell the flight crew about the problem and have them call dispatch so see if they can figure it out. Dispatch may come back with a new flight number or some other solution (we can't just change flight numbers on our own). If that doesn't work, we could change the callsign to something like GJS358A and make a note in the flight plan remarks that the flight is still operating as GJS7358. There really isn't a good way to solve a computer or a flight plan glitch. We just have to figure something out on the fly and make it work.


In-trail spacing is a team effort.
User currently offlineegph From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4872 times:

Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 3):
I think the airline has the option of what to do. After all, they can make the callsign whatever they want as long as it's in the remarks section.

United seems to use K.

USAirways seems to use P.

My company drops the number completely and uses the four digit ship number as the flight number.

In the UK (I may of course be wrong as I am not as knowledgeable as some of the people here) "Papa" is only used by Positioning flights or other non passenger carrying flights where there is no "flight number" as such. I certainly hear Loganair flying around central Scotland with say "Logan 177 Papa", very often moving Saabs between their main bases at EDI and GLA up to DND.

Also I remember about 5 or 6 years ago when I first got my very first airband radio I heard a BMI flight from EDI - LHR that was going to be coming into contact somewhere along the way with a very similar flight number say for example Midland 990 and Midland 997 and to avoid confusion the flight out of EDI had to use the registration as the callsign.


User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9101 posts, RR: 75
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4865 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 4):
From United's FOM:

And for a second I thought they were going metric     



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineRDUOODL From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 70 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4759 times:

Quoting Brick (Reply 9):
Why did we get a suffix added to our callsign?

To keep the original callsign for the flight across the pond.



Previous: RDU-DTW-LAS-LAX-SYD Up Next: RDU-ATL-MEX
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21631 posts, RR: 55
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4743 times:

Quoting PWMRamper (Reply 11):
How does it work with 4 digit flights numbers, ala RJs?

You can't have GJS 7358K, too many characters?

The flight number gets shortened somehow. Probably to GJS358K or GJS58K.

But regional carriers don't normally have two-leg flights operated by different aircraft, so this wouldn't be something you'd have to figure out on the fly. I know that some carriers fly for a couple of majors, and have the same flight number on two or more of those majors (i.e. Skywest flying both DL5280 and UA5280 - just making those up). Obviously, using the flight number doesn't work for that, so an alternative has to be worked out. But that's not hard at all if you know about it in advance.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3474 posts, RR: 46
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4710 times:

Quoting PWMRamper (Reply 11):
How does it work with 4 digit flights numbers, ala RJs?

Can't speak for other airlines, but at AA the following applies....

Stub Originations.
1. One, two or three digit flight numbers will be amended by adding an alpha character. Flight schedules require that four
digit flight numbers be used. Due to character limits in the ATC filing format, the first digit of a four digit flight number must be dropped when adding an alpha character; thus, flight numbers will be adjusted as follows.


Base Flt. No. 123 : 1234 : 2615
. . .1st Stub. 123P : 234Q : 615R
. . 2nd Stub. 123T : 234U : 615V

2. A flight will be assigned a stub number if there is a possibility that two flights with the same flight number will be operating simultaneously in a given FAA Center Airspace.
a) A flight will be assigned a stub number when a flight is originating at a station other than scheduled origination.
3. The flight plan and the TPS/Departure plan may be obtained by using either the base flight number or the stub number. ACARS will not accommodate alpha - numeric inputs, thus, base flight numbers will always be used. The stub number and alpha characters will be used during all air to ground voice communications.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineWestWing From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2134 posts, RR: 7
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4708 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 4):
an alpha suffix (i.e., A, C, J, K, L, T, W or Y)

Ok, so the logical next question is why only these eight letters? Is this a FAA/ATC defined subset or is it a Company defined subset? I realize that some letters (e.g, D/Delta, M/Mike) might be potentially confusing over the air because of the conflict with operator callsigns - (for DL, CS) and so should be avoided.



The best time to plant a tree is 40 years ago. The second best time is today.
User currently offlinepilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3150 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4699 times:

Quoting PWMRamper (Reply 11):
How does it work with 4 digit flights numbers, ala RJs?

You can't have GJS 7358K, too many characters?

We've had a lot of problems with similiar call signs recently so we started going to the aircraft number on some flights. I don't know which is worse, myself or ATC trying to say "Mercury 639" over saying the 5900 (delta) and high 7000 numbers (united) I've been saying for the last 4 years.

Saying three digits seems so dirty...  



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