N723GW
Topic Author
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Question About Flight Numbers

Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:18 pm

Back when I was a ramprat watching flightrax, I remembered seeing a few NWA flights that had letters in them. For example, NWA1689A. I was told this was because the flight was carrying body parts. Is this true?
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TimRees
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RE: Question About Flight Numbers

Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:13 pm

Don't know about that, but here in Europe many flights have alphanumeric callsigns now to avoid ATC confusion.

Back in Pan Am's days they added 'A' in multisector and change of equipment flights...eg PA103 LHR-JFK but if it originated on a 727/737 in say FRA the FRA-LHR flight was PA103A. Until recently UA did similar on their flights through LHR (don't think they have any transitting these days).
 
BDKLEZ
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RE: Question About Flight Numbers

Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:38 pm

Quoting N723GW (Thread starter):
NWA1689A

Could be that flight's particular ATC callsign which may or may not be the same as the commercial flight number. Which in this case it obviously isn't, if that's what it is, if you know what I mean...???

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IAHFLYR
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RE: Question About Flight Numbers

Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:47 pm

I believe the reason is if as example NWA1800 had a stop and equipment change in MSP on a from DTW-MEM-SEA and continues to SEA using another aircraft which is common.....if the company determined the DTW-MEM was late inbound and the MEM-SEA portion was ready to go, rather than wait they will dispatch the MEM-SEA segment as possibly NWA1800A for ATC purposes as the HOST computer will not accept 2 flights with the same call sign in the air at the same time. I am sure there are other reasons as well but I know that one sticks out in my fading memory!
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BDKLEZ
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RE: Question About Flight Numbers

Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:53 pm

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 3):
rather than wait they will dispatch the MEM-SEA segment as possibly NWA1800A for ATC purposes as the HOST computer will not accept 2 flights with the same call sign in the air at the same time

Plausible indeed, but I've just remembered some additional info. Dunno about the US, but here in Europe a callsign can only consist of maximum 4 characters, ie NWA"1800". A NWA"1800A" would be rejected by the ATC authorities as it consists of 5 charachers in addition to the 3 ICAO operator identifier characters. Is that the same in the US?
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Newark777
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RE: Question About Flight Numbers

Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:54 pm

AZA7C1 is a regular visitor to EWR.

Harry
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N723GW
Topic Author
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RE: Question About Flight Numbers

Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:44 pm

Quoting BDKLEZ (Reply 2):
BDKLEZ From Ireland, joined Jun 2005, 686 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted Wed Jan 18 2006 14:38:21 UTC+1 and read 38 times:


Quoting N723GW (Thread starter):
NWA1689A

Could be that flight's particular ATC callsign which may or may not be the same as the commercial flight number. Which in this case it obviously isn't, if that's what it is, if you know what I mean...???


I know what you're talking about. Comair, ASA and Eagle all do that in a way. If the flight number is like Comair 1234, so the pilots aren't saying all of that, they will just say Comair 234. But, like I said before, I seen this on flightrax (moving map flight tracker) and the identifier on the program had a letter in it. But when it came in, ATC just called it something like NW1689. No letters.
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IAHFLYR
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RE: Question About Flight Numbers

Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:04 am

There could be some sanitising of aircraft on those systems that ATC does or doesn't use for the call signs......

In the US there is a max of 7 characters in call signs
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RAFVC10
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RE: Question About Flight Numbers

Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:16 am

Most british summer charter flights from some cities in GB to Spain has letters in its flight numbers.
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FlyKev
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RE: Question About Flight Numbers

Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:39 am

Generally most airlines in the uk are odd numbers east, even numbers west.
DP use letters (c out, d back) and I know other charters do the same.
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