wilco
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Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 1:17 am

Curious if anyone out there knows why the term "souls" is used instead of "passengers" when an aircraft comes in for an emergency landing? Is it just to make you freak out even more?! HELLO, I'm not dead yet!

[Edited 2004-03-06 17:18:16]
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hirisk
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 1:31 am

i think it's a holdover from the maritime industry.thats where the airlines got most of their terminology.but i could be wrong about that
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Starlionblue
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 1:32 am

Probably a transfer from "SOS", which means "Save Our Souls".

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
aa757first
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 1:38 am

Probably a transfer from "SOS", which means "Save Our Souls".

SOS doesn't mean anything. SOS was simply chosen because it was easy to tap out on the telegraphy machine, and it was distinctive.

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gr8slvrflt
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 1:40 am

Souls onboard accounts for the total number of humans: ticketed passengers, infants and crew.
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SlamClick
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 1:41 am

"souls" on board is more useful than "passengers" because the rescue crews need to know how many human beings are on board - including crew, deadheaders, jumpseaters and lap children.

"souls" sounds better than "bodies" now, doesn't it?

Origin? Don't know. Probably maritime.

SOS never meant anything. It is just an easy and distinctive sequence of dots and dashes to send and to identify.
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wilco
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 1:52 am

Thanks for all the quick responses... maybe I should clarify. I know WHAT souls aboard refers to, I am curious about the word's origin in aviation.

Thanks for pointing out that the word "passengers" won't work due to it being exclusive of crew. But why not: people, persons, individuals, OR... why not just "I have 132 onboard". I am just curious why this ominous word stuck. I'm not knocking it, just curious about its origin. (the origin of aviation terms interests me, thats why I posted the "origin of the word 'cheat line'" thread last week)

Regards...
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Starlionblue
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 2:03 am

Hmmmm, I have checked this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOS and it seems that I am wrong.

However as you see from the entry I am not the only one  Big grin
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Aerosvit
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 2:25 am

According to my many years of reading on the Titanic, and the first time they used SOS was when it was going down, SOS means Save Our Ship.
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NWAA330
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 3:10 am

Yes Souls does sound better than bodies...but whats wrong with just saying " XXX PEOPLE aboard." Doesn't that seem to be the obvious choice? Just a thought...

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Starlionblue
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 3:13 am

Maybe it includes dogs?

It's probably just archaic. People is rather modern language usage in this form.
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LV
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 6:10 am

hospital helicopters use "souls" as well, and if you are lifeflighted in you are in pretty bad shape usually. if you say "people"...are you still a person if you have died but they are still in route to the hospital?
 
bullpitt
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 6:29 am

I don't now the origin but I think it has something to do with the fact that on a plane you can have, for example; an extra seat purchased for a musical instrument for instance then although lets say there are 150 pax on board or ticketed, there are only 149 souls.
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iluv727s
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 6:50 am

My initial flight instructor told the answer to this one years ago...

"Souls" are the number of live human beings onboard an aircraft. Some airlines ferry bodies (i.e. deceased) onboard as freight. Souls is a more accurate description of people onboard the flight than "passengers". A passenger may be a dead corpse in a coffin.

Hope this helps...

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wilcharl
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 7:03 am

guys.. its simplier then that... Souls on board came from the nautical days... Its a nautical term.

Souls on board... SOBs

everyone should know what an SOB is..

Back in the nautical days when a ship went down, they would have the # of poor sons of b****s to clean it up the acronym sob remained but it became souls on board... This was in flying magazine a few years back when someone asked the origion of Souls on board
 
mconway
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 7:17 am

Whenever I work an emergency on the North Atlantic, and there are many, I use the phrase "persons on board" instead of souls on board. I never did understand or like that phrase.
 
kalakaua
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 8:04 am

"Souls On Board" has more empathy to the sound, arousing feelings during an emergency. When you're about to crash, you don't want to refer to people as "342 ticketed passengers, 4 babies, 8 flight attendants, etc..."
Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.
 
iluv727s
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 8:14 am

From the above posts, it seems we have a bunch of sensationalizing journalists attempting to read alot more into the issue than what exists...

"souls on board" differentiates live people from dead people. You may have single engine FedEx Caravan with one pilot ferrying a dead body to Walla Walla, WA. In his case, there is one SOB on board - the pilot!

I am sure the nautical explanation carries some weight but the use of "souls on board" today indicates live human beings, whether child, adult, infant, male, female, etc. Pets aren't included... sorry

I assure you that a pilot trying to land crippled A/C could care less if "souls on board" sounds more dramatic than "people", "passengers", "bodies" or whatever other term that comes to mind.

I will let someone else invoke empathy while I try steer my flaming can of kerosene to the earth!




[Edited 2004-03-07 00:30:32]
A lack of planning on your behalf does not create an emergency on my behalf.
 
haveric
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 8:47 am

I've known quite a few SOBs in my day...
 
kalakaua
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 9:00 am

Poppycock Iluv727s. Pilots want to live too. I have flown many SOBs in my days, as well.
Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.
 
Jumpseat70
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 9:07 am

Dont' know the origin. However, used to be babies were never in the passenger count. So in an emergency, they were included as an obvious, "All souls onboard" count.
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AA777MIA
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 9:24 am

Hmm, how do I explain this. This is how it was told to me, when they request souls on board, it is to know how many "living" passengers and crew are on the aircraft. Keep in mind, sometimes in cargo, airlines do carry dead humans to transport them to their final resting place. If there was an incident/accident, and was an investigation, they would not want to count the "stiff" as a possible "living passenger"..
 
AirDude66
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 10:44 am

As a former J7 employee...this was a huge mess over the crash of 592. There were multiple infants on board and the airline as with other carriers never had a formal method of tracking infants since they were not ticketed or manifested.

The only requirement to account for infants used to be international only and that was a mandate fromd customs for GenDec's and entry requirements.

Souls on Board is an industry term though and if passengers are hearing this being used then then the employees are not being discrete enough.
 
wilco
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RE: Origin Of "# Of Souls Aboard"

Sun Mar 07, 2004 4:38 pm

airdud66: I doubt the public ever hears this stuff. I only know of it cuz of my time in working in a tower... during 'alert' arrivals we needed to know the # of souls so that rescue units could respond with the appropriate equipment & personnel.

Thanks for all the anecdotes, answers and other responses... it makes a lot more sense when considering the transport of bodies in cargo and the need to differentiate them.
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