stealthpilot
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Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:33 am

Hi
Every now and then we hear call signs such as speedbird ___ and united heavy etc. When are these call signs used, is it worldwide or region specific.
Is ‘speedbird’ used for ACs on the ground and ‘heavy’ for a passenger loaded bird?
What other calls (or whatever you call them) exist out there.
Details or any comments would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Nikhil
eP007
 
Londoncenter
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:41 am

Speedbird is the ATC callsign for British Airways, United is the callsign for United Airlines etc etc. The heavy part refers to the wake vortex category of the aircraft, which is used for the spacing of departures or arrivals. i.e a heavy needs more room after it to avoid turbulence for following aircraft.
 
daumueller
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:42 am

speedbird means British airways

heavy is added to "big" aircraft (e.g. a340, 747, 777 etc) since controllers need to be aware of the wake turbulences caused by their bigger engines.
 
legendDC9
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:43 am

all aircraft 757 and up in BOW are concidered heavy.
 
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N328KF
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:43 am

Speedbird is the callsign for BA. "Heavy" indicates that it's a widebody.
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brettbrett21
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:46 am

I think the heavy designation is only used in the US. Never really heard it in England thats for sure.

Brett
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Londoncenter
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:48 am

In the UK we use a slightly different system which includes a "medium" category. The 757 is a medium due to its weight, but gets slightly different treatment due to the efficient wing producing higher vortex than a comparable sized a/c.

In the UK, heavy is usually all widebodies, can't think of any heavies that aren't.
 
jeb94
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:53 am

Heavy refers to weight. For instance, a 757-200 is not a heavy, though it is treated like a heavy for wake turbulence and sits just below the weight threshold to be considered a heavy. A 757-300 is a heavy as it sits just over that weight threshold. Exactly what that weight limit is I can't remember at this time. Speedbird is just the callsign for BA as previously mentioned. Airlines use different callsigns so they can be more easily identified by ATC. America West uses Cactus. ValuJet used Critter and so on. I believe there is a thread some where here that has a list of airline callsigns on it.

[Edited 2004-12-03 23:09:14]
 
legendDC9
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:57 am

I believe the weight threshold is aroud 200,000 lbs and the 757-200 is a bit below that. However, it does produce a wake similar to a 767 so greater seperation was needed behind it. 757, what a great aircraft...
 
DavidYYC
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:58 am

SAA uses "Springbok" ?!
 
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airportugal310
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:09 am

Why have 8 people answered the same question 8 times? Read the thread before you answer.

And yes, SAA is "Springbok.
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N328KF
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:11 am

Airportgula310:

The first four posts had a 41-second spread between them.
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
N766UA
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:30 am

Speedbird = BA
Heavy = Over 255,000 lbs MGTOW, widebody or narrowbody it doesn't matter.
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stealthpilot
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:32 am

yea i kinda guessed speedbird was BAs callsign but didnt want to say anything. the 'united' heavy i just typed because i didnt want to say _____ heavy  Smile but thanks anyway!
and thank you for the quick responses
eP007
 
LHSebi
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:33 am

Among others:

Aer Lingus = Shamrock
SAA = Springbok
BMI = Midland (I think)
America West = Cactus
.
.
.
etc
I guess that's what happens in the end, you start thinking about the beginning.
 
shankly
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 8:09 am

Don't forget Lufthansa's catchy callsign..."Lufthansa"
L1011 - P F M
 
Londoncenter
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 8:41 am

Just some of the stranger ones in the UK:
BMI Baby = Baby
MY Travel = Kestrel
First Choice = Jetset
Volar = Funjet
FlyBE = Jersey
EU Jet = Union Jet
Jet 2 = Channex (Channel Express own? this airline?)
Thomas Cook UK = Top Jet (formerly Globe)
 
dogfighter2111
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 8:52 am

FlyBE is Jersey, because BE used to be Jersey European and Jet2 is Channex, because all of the aircraft in their fleet are leased from Channel express
 
Londoncenter
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 9:08 am

Yeah, Jersery European became British European with all the a/c having their titles ammended as such in the early 2000's and then they opted for a change to the low cost arm of the market and went with a more "appealing" name.

Fortunately FlyBE have managed to keep the same RT callsign, just like Airtours/Mytravel did in their change. Unfortunately Thomas Cook seem unable to, they went from flying colours to JMC to Globe to Top Jet within 3/4 years, its difficult to keep up sometimes!!
 
dogfighter2111
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 9:12 am

No, before flying colours, it was Caledonian
 
Pe@rson
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 9:17 am

Ryanair's call-sign is Ryanair.  Laugh out loud
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Londoncenter
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 9:18 am

No what? But good point, Caledonian did evolve into Flying Colours. At what point did Thomas Cook run the airline? Have they always been behind it, I know they were from FCL days, there's a pic on here somewhere of a Flying Colours A320 with a TC sticker on the side. But certainly from an air traffic control point of view the last 4 years have had the most changes with them!
 
Newark777
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 9:20 am

America West has by far the best callsign: Cactus. But I guess anything sounds good when all you hear is "Continental" and "Jetlink" coming over the scanner.  Laugh out loud
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
N1120A
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 9:20 am

AirTran = Citrus
The LAS based National (gone now) = Red Rock (my favorite)
American Eagle = Eagle Flight
Trans States = a really cool one I cannot remember
ATA = AmTran
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LXJTEBGA
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:02 am

Trans States is Waterski...

If I am not mistaken Caledonian merged with Flying Colours to form JMC Air....John Michael Cook right? Recently changing its name to Thomas Cook Airlines.
 
TrappedinMKG
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:04 am

Trans States DOES have a cool callsign: Waterski. (and yes, I joined A.Net after lurking for over a year just so I could answer that question!)

Others I can think of off the top of my head at the moment:

NWA: Northwest (duh)
Mesa: Air Shuttle
Pinnacle (9E): Flagship
Chicago Express (C8): Windy City
Mesaba: Mesaba (again...duh)
 
Newark777
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:35 am

Does anyone know if Trans States flies into Newark? I've heard Waterski on my scanner a few times, and I've been trying to figure out what airline it is.
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
TrappedinMKG
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:43 am

::let's see if I get beat by two minutes this time::

They sure do, as UA Express.
 
flyboy36y
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 11:17 am

American Eagle - Eagle Flight
Civil Air Patrol- Cap Flight
 
loggat
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 12:43 pm

Back around 2000 (ish), Trans States had a base at JFK as TWA Express. At that time, it was very common to hear the Waterski in the NYC area. Now, the most common places to hear us are St. Louis, Washington Dulles, Pittsburgh, and O'Hare.

Some other callsigns...

Independence = Independence
Chautauqua = Chautauqua
ASA = Candler

Does anyone know any good stories as to where some of the less obvious callsigns started?
I can tell you that Waterski came from the days of Resort Air before they became Trans States. I could go more in depth, but I won't bore you all.

Newark777: As a general guide... "Waterski 3___" is a US Airways, and 8___ is a United flight.

Regards
Loggat
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 4:58 pm

Remember the good old days . . .

Pan Am = Clipper . . .

Classic
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TrappedinMKG
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 5:04 pm

I forgot my all-time favorite callsign. Before the whole 592 crash/AirTran merger/salvation deal, ValuJet was "Critter".
 
spacecadet
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 5:07 pm

Not too difficult to find a comprehensive list of airline call signs:

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

Some of my favorites:

Titan = Zap
TNT International = Nitro
Trans Air Link = Sky Truck
Valujet = Critter
African Safari = Zebra
Air Alsie = Mermaid
Air Shot = Byte
Atlas Air = Giant
China Airlines = Dynasty
Flugdienst Fehlhaber = Witchcraft
Germania = Joker
Hapag Lloyd Express = Excellence
Inter-Island Air = Ugly Van
Nantucket Airlines = Ack Air

I'd be pretty embarrassed to fly for an airline with a call sign of "Ugly Van". Can't do much for your self esteem as a pilot  Smile
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 5:17 pm

Spacecadet . . . good web site referenced, good, not great . . . missing two of the most obvious not on that list . . . AS and AQ.
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
eham
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 8:47 pm

VLM (Belgium) = Rubens
...named after the famous Belgian painter  Smile
 
spacecadet
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 11:27 pm

Spacecadet . . . good web site referenced, good, not great

Ah, I should know better than to post actual information here, there's always somebody around to criticize you for it.

Well, back to your thinking up call signs one by one, I guess. Have fun.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
727200er
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sat Dec 04, 2004 11:27 pm

Another balst from the past that I miss
CP Air - Empress
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Lufthansa747
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 12:28 am

Anybody know if DD (Nok Air) uses Nok, Sky Asia (holding company) or Thai?
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 12:35 am

"Spacecadet . . . good web site referenced, good, not great.
Ah, I should know better than to post actual information here, there's always somebody around to criticize you for it.
Well, back to your thinking up call signs one by one, I guess. Have fun"

It is good info, more than anyone else provided . . . bad call on my part . . . apologies offered. Thanks
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
IntruderPC
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 12:47 am

to Spacecadet: Flying with an airline callsign "Ugly Van", What about an airline callsign "Witchcraft"! Who does the maint. on their brooms? LOL!!!
Really some of the names are great! I don't scan for flight talk, but read and absorb all I can about our artificial flight skins. At least our feathers don't get wet when it rains!!
A-6's and Navy Air forever!!!
 
qr332
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 12:54 am

Another good place to find callsigns along with logos and other information is http://www.aerosite.net
"The greatest threat to knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."
 
bar032
Posts: 62
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 1:09 am

According to JAR-OPS:

The wake turbulence categories are

Light = A/C with MTOW <7000 kg
Medium = A/C with MTOW 7000 kg to 135999 kg
Heavy = A/C with MTOW at 136000 kg or more

And Heavy-category A/C must include the word heavy after their callsign at initial contact with each ATC-service.

In the U.S. though, I think every time you speak on yhe ATC you have to amend the word "Heavy" to your callsign.

/BAR032
Aviate, Navigate, Communicate
 
B757capt
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 1:33 am

Guys is it 255,000 Lbs or greater? For the heavy callsign. I thought that was changed.

I recall it being something like 220 or greater?????

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XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 2:35 am

255,000 pounds maximum takeoff weight or greater qualifies for a heavy callsign. Note that is maximum takeoff weight, not actual weight. The 757-200 serious in the US is treated very similar to a heavy jet, it is in a "medium" category..though there are a few 757-200's that have been delivered to a few operators that do carry the heavy callsign as they are certified for a heavier takeoff weight.


My airline's callsign is Flagship.  Smile
Chicks dig winglets.
 
ceo@afg
Posts: 178
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 2:59 am

Another good tool for looking up Airline callsigns, codes etc. is http://www.airlinecodes.co.uk
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue." Steven McCroskey, Airplane!
 
10mid
Posts: 188
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 4:02 am

Try this site.

http://www.faa.gov/ATPUBS/CNT/3-3.htm
 
PHLapproach
Posts: 1056
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 7:24 am

Everywhere I look, it says Frontier's callsign is Frontier Flight. I don't know how they do it in Denver. But you will never hear Frontier Flight, yet only Frontier in other cities.
 
dtwclipper
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RE: Speedbird.... Heavy...?

Sun Dec 05, 2004 7:35 am

And of course, New York Air was "apple"

Compare New York Air, the Airline that works for your Business