vaporlock
Posts: 3528
Joined: Sat May 19, 2001 9:22 am

What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sat Jan 12, 2002 7:23 am

Hello everyone. In this picture of an A-330's cockpit, beside the white registration placard (bottom right corner) you can see the small words SELCAL CODE with the 4 letters AS-GJ beneath it.

What does the word SELCAL stand for? and what is it's associated code used for?


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Photo © Kevin Palko



I've come across this word before in an aviation magazine, but it wasn't explained.

Thanks in advance!

Phyllis
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sat Jan 12, 2002 7:34 am

SELCAL stands for SELective CALl.

Monitoring the radio, especially on longer flights, can be a real pain in the ears, and a distraction. SELCAL works in conjunction with a VHF or HF radio aboard the aircraft, freeing the crew from having to monitor the radio.

When a company dispatcher needs to contact an aircraft, they get on the radio and key-in the 4-character alpha code specific to the intended aircraft, and when the aircraft radio receives it, a blue light and chime will alert the crew, and they'll then turn up their radio volume and converse as needed.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
EssentialPowr
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Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2000 10:30 pm

RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sat Jan 12, 2002 7:43 am

SELCAL = SELective CALling

The system continuously monitors a preset freq from a network of ground stations that are specially equipped with an encoding device that enables a specific a/c from a specific airline or company to be called.

In a General description of the system, a regionally specific freq printed in the Jepps must be monitored by the (typically) #2 VHF. An incoming call triggers the Aural unit in the a/c to say "SEL CAL", so the crew can then hit the PTT and talk to dispatch. The system is then reset by activating the PTT button.

Cheers-
 
EssentialPowr
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RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sat Jan 12, 2002 7:44 am

Sorry OPNLguy - your response wasn't up when I sent mine.
 
vaporlock
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Joined: Sat May 19, 2001 9:22 am

RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sat Jan 12, 2002 8:08 am

Thank You very much gentlemen. That's great information & you guys sent it really fast too. This SELCAL system sounds good. Pilots must have been very pleased when it was introduced.

Thanks Again.

Phyllis
 
modesto2
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RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sat Jan 12, 2002 10:05 am

Does SELCAL allow pilots to communicate with ATC?
 
EssentialPowr
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RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sat Jan 12, 2002 12:47 pm

No; typically Dispatch
 
EssentialPowr
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Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2000 10:30 pm

RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sat Jan 12, 2002 12:52 pm

To clarify, SELCAL uses a VHF radio, which could be used for ATC comms as needed. Think of it as a special frequency on that enables comms w/ dispatch, but it still uses a VHF tranceiver.

Does that help?
 
dc10hound
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RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sat Jan 12, 2002 12:59 pm

>>This SELCAL system sounds good. Pilots must have been very pleased when it was introduced.<<

Actually,the flight crews consider it more like "Mother's calling... again" : SELCAL is an electronic dog leash.
 Big grin

"Eagles soar. But weasels never get sucked into jet intakes.."
 
vaporlock
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RE: Dc10hound

Sun Jan 13, 2002 2:44 am

Hello guys.

>Dc10hound, I understand what you mean by "an electronic dog leash" especially if Mother keeps calling from the nest over & over again! It sounds like a high power "pager" system, and I guess a lot of questions would be asked if the pilots didn't respond.

The reason I thought that pilots would have been happy when SELCAL was installed is because of what OPNLguy said.."Monitoring the radio, especially on longer flights, can be a real pain in the ears, and a distraction".

I also understand that this system uses a VHF radio that could be used to contact ATC if needed, however it's normally dedicated to the SELCAL.

Phyllis



 
OH-LZA
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RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sun Jan 13, 2002 4:58 am

Modesto2

Yes, it's used in intercontinental operations when VHF doesn't have enough range.

Alexander
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sun Jan 13, 2002 6:15 am

It's true that there are some crews out there who consider SELCAL and other similar devices as a nuisance or otherwise an electronic "leash" , but there's another perspective to consider....

Flightcrew members can initiate contact with their dispatch center just about anytime they want, and the dispatch office never moves or changes its phone number. Conversely, if a dispatcher wants (or more importantly, *needs*) to contact his/her flight(s), the dispatcher has to have a predictable uplink path in order to do so. That means the crews need to have their SELCAL units "on" (a few don't), and the associated radio tuned to the proper frequency. This way, if the dispatcher needs to be the one initiating the contact, they'll get through.

Some crews don't fully consider this need, thinking that once they're airborne, they're completely on their own, and don't have any use for anyone on the ground. In some contexts, they're absolutely correct, but in others, they forget that the airline (as an entity) must maintain positive operational control of the airline, including during flight time.

I can't count the times I've initiated contact to pass along updated weather conditions, changes in planned operation(s), and making contact on behalf of ATC (with a missed frequency change), and if that uplink path wasn't there, flight safety might have been compromised. In these post-9/11 times, we also have more potential security issues to deal with. If I can't contact one of our flights that's temporarily not talking with ATC (missed freq change above), they nowdays get scrambled upon. Not exactly great customer relations when passengers see a couple of F15s or F16s forming up with you at FL330...

To sum it up, sorry if our calls are deemed nuisances, but we have our jobs to do as well.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Guest

RE: What Does "selcal" Stand For On Airliners?

Sun Jan 13, 2002 2:23 pm

I disagree with the satement about using selcal with ATC. It's used quite extensively when crossing the pond. You give your selcal code to ATC and they contact you when they want to talk to you. It saves having to listen to HF for an extended period.

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