AirSean
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Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:27 pm

Was wondering what exactly denotes an aircraft callsign as "heavy"?

Is it a widebody vs narrow thing? any info much appreciated.

Cheers

Sean
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planecrazy2
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:30 pm

I've always wondered that too. Hmmm no idea really
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INNflight
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:33 pm

"Heavy" is any aircraft B767 / A310 upwards.
B757 / A321 and everything below is "normal".

regards, Florian
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syncmaster
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:34 pm

It designates a widebody aircraft.

As explained to me and 200 other people on a UA 763 from SEA-DEN talking about Channel 9, and what designation we were, United XXX Heavy.
 
redtailmsp
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:34 pm

Was used for widebodies initially, but is also used for narrow bodies which can cause significant wake-turbulence - Boeing 757s in particular.
 
nycfuturepilot
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:40 pm

Heavy means that they're referring to has a powerful wake vortex (it can make a lot of wake turbulance) so this alerts controlers that they need to maintain a high level of separation. A heavy has a takeoff weight more than 255,000 lb. Minimnum separation between a heavy and a small plane is 4 miles. The 757 is less than the 255000 lb heavy limit but it has a powerful wake vortext so it has similar separation requirement.
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RayBolt
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:41 pm

It's used for a/c with an MTOW of over 255,000 lbs (im pretty sure that is the number). It has nothing to do with the aircraft id (i.e. A320) or widebody/narrowbody. The B752 is classified as 'heavy' in transmissions because of its wake vortices, even though it's weight is not over the 255.

Dan
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law4fun
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:41 pm

Not just widebodies...deals with takeoff weight I believe. DC-8-60 and 70 series and 707-300 series were also designated as "Heavy". OTOH, 757 does not usually get the designation at a lot of ATC centers. Have a listen to JFK approach and departure ATC with a flytecomm printout of arrivals to get the full feel for heavy designations.

[Edited 2004-04-21 06:43:12]
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OPNLguy
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:41 pm

Here in the USA, it is used to be to signify any aircraft with a max takeoff weight of 300,000 lbs. or more since these type aircraft were more prone to generating more pronounced wake vortex turbulence to aircraft that followed them. After many years, the figure was later revised to 255,000 lbs. Some 757s are above 255,000 and qualify, but some are below 255,000, and while they don't technically qualify as heavies, they are treated as if they were by ATC. This entails ATC increasing the spacing between all "heavies" (or the 757s being treated as such) and other aircraft operating after them to allow more time for wake vortices to dissipate.

From the AIM...

AIRCRAFT CLASSES- For the purposes of Wake Turbulence Separation Minima, ATC classifies aircraft as Heavy, Large, and Small as follows:

a. Heavy- Aircraft capable of takeoff weights of more than 255,000 pounds whether or not they are operating at this weight during a particular phase of flight.

b. Large- Aircraft of more than 41,000 pounds, maximum certificated takeoff weight, up to 255,000 pounds.

c. Small- Aircraft of 41,000 pounds or less maximum certificated takeoff weight.


There have been several threads on this in the past...

[Edited 2004-04-21 06:48:34]
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AirSean
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 2:08 pm

thanks for the info. not familiar with that in PER as there are not enough planes to need to separate  Smile
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PER744
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 2:48 pm

AirSean: Also, ATC in Australia do not use the designation 'heavy' in callsigns.
 
modesto2
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 3:47 pm

It's important to note that the 757-200 generally does not carry a "heavy" designation in radio transmissions. However, controllers always treat it as a "heavy" in separation.

There is a distinction!

Additionally, some 757-200 operators such as DL and UA do NOT operate their aircraft above 255,000. Conversely, some operators, such as ATA, operate high-density 757-200s above 255,000. Therefore, ATA 757-200s may receive this designation. Finally, 757-300 are all above 255,000. There's no confusion with that aircraft.
 
lymanm
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 4:02 pm

Aha, I knew we were due for this topic!

AirSean, everyone is lying to you - "heavy" really means an aircraft that:

a) is a replacement for NWA DC-9s
b) is flying to the new JetBlue destination
c) has PTVs on board
buhh bye
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 4:36 pm

Don't forget that heavy refers to the weight of dirt on AF planes.
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tsentsan
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 4:45 pm

If I'm not mistaken, "heavy" is only used in the USA...can anybody verify that statement?
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beechcraft
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:33 pm

No, it´s used in Europe also,
but you won´t hear it too often. Basically it is just used during initial contact with (e.g.) the tower.

Denis
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Thu Apr 22, 2004 1:14 am

Can heavy be applied to a flight with 'large' passengers? Because if so, than i should be hearing it on Channel 9 during every one of my flights.

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Lt-AWACS
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Thu Apr 22, 2004 4:14 am

The E-3 (707-320) is also a 'Heavy', of course our we are usually around 350,000 lbs at takeoff.

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FinnWings
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Thu Apr 22, 2004 4:23 am

Fighter aircrafts are also treated like heavies if operating from commercial airports. Those have very strong vortex effects due their wing design. Of course they don't use term "heavy" after callsign... would be quite funny.  Smile

Regards,
FinnWings
 
B757capt
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Thu Apr 22, 2004 4:34 am

Hey Guys the FAA is looking a raising the heavies to 300,000 and up heavies are not by aircraft type but BY WEIGHT ONLY!!!
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Lt-AWACS
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Thu Apr 22, 2004 4:51 am

in the E-3 we always preface tower calls with 'Heavy' especially at random airports where we might do transition. usually with center we do not say heavy, Just 'Sentry xx' (for the front end) but 'Heavy' slips sometimes  Wink/being sarcastic

300,000 would still keep the E-3 a heavy in almost every single instance. The E-8 and RJ I am not sure of.

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RareBear
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RE: Term "Heavy" In ATC Communications

Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:25 am

Here at CHS we have a significant volume of C-17, C5, KC-10 and 747 traffic, and the term "heavy" is appended to the callsign of virtually every one of them, even though the tower and the center is familiar with the various callsigns of the squadrons involved. A Tower Air 757 came in several weeks ago, and it used the callsign "Tower 91 heavy" to remind the tower that it required the same separation criteria as a true "heavy".
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