rw774477
Posts: 1020
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2001 4:15 am

Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:42 pm

Why are some flight numbers suffixed with an alpha character e.g. KL777A

What is "information kilo" / alpha / zulu etc etc

rw774477
 
Pu752
Posts: 423
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:29 am

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:59 pm

Quoting Rw774477 (Thread starter):
What is "information kilo" / alpha / zulu etc etc

Thats the METAR or meteorological information given at an airport updated each hour, for example the 1400hrs METAR is "information BRAVO", then the one at 1500hrs is "CHARLIE",etc, etc.

Rgds.
 
miamiair
Posts: 4249
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:42 pm

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:01 pm

Quoting Rw774477 (Thread starter):
What is "information kilo" / alpha / zulu etc etc

The ATIS. ATIS is the continuous broadcast of recorded non-control information in high activity terminal areas. Its purpose is to improve pilot and controller effectiveness and to relieve frequency congestion by automating the repetitive transmission of essential but routine information.
Molon Labe - Proud member of SMASH
 
miamiair
Posts: 4249
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:42 pm

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:04 pm

Quoting PU752 (Reply 1):

In the US it is an ATIS, not a METAR. A METAR is the international standard code format for hourly surface weather observations which is analogous to the SA coding currently used in the US. The acronym roughly translates from French as Aviation Routine Weather Report. SPECI is merely the code name given to METAR formatted products which are issued on a special non-routine basis as dictated by changing meteorological conditions. The SPECI acronym roughly translates as Aviation Selected Special Weather Report.

The ATIS also provides which runways/approaches are in use.
Molon Labe - Proud member of SMASH
 
Mir
Posts: 19108
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:27 pm

Quoting Rw774477 (Thread starter):
Why are some flight numbers suffixed with an alpha character e.g. KL777A

To distinguish them from similar sounding flights that would likely be in the air at the same time.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
don
Posts: 251
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 4:44 pm

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:15 pm

ATIS is not updated hourly all over the world as in US. Most places it is updated half-hourly while there are places where ATIS is updated only when data changes.
But most of the airports will update the ATIS anytime when there is a significant change in the weather or the change of runway. Japan is well known for this as ATIS changing 5-6 times in 30 minutes when there is a major weather event such as an approaching hurricane. Thank god for ATIS auto update via ACARS these days.

The pilot is required to report the ATIS code that he has received to ATC when approaching an airport to confirm that he has latest information, which is goes like "Atlanta Approach, Delta 100 approaching 10000' with information Alpha".

It is always a thrill to say "We have Whiskey", especially when going to places where it is illegal bring in liquor.

[Edited 2007-11-09 09:27:06]
 
pilotboi
Posts: 711
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:16 am

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:47 pm

Quoting Rw774477 (Thread starter):
Why are some flight numbers suffixed with an alpha character e.g. KL777A

This is typically done when a flight is 'stubbed'. For example, ASQ931 (DL4931) is ROC-ATL-DAB. Often the ROC-ATL leg is delayed (like today!). If an extra ship and crew can be found, the second leg will be stubbed, meaning they'll grab the new ship and cew and use them. This is usually only done when the first leg is extremly late. Because of this, what often happens is that both legs of the flight can be in the air at the same time, since the first leg is delayed, and the second would now be on time. But no flight number can be used twice at the same time, so the second flight is amended with A, but only to ATC and the pilots. So they would use ASQ931A, pronounced "Acey 931 Alpha". I have seen B used as well.

Note, this is usually only done if there has not been a set range of flight numbers set aside for stubbed flights. For example, Delta Mainline uses some 9000 numbers for stubbed flights.
 
bahadir
Posts: 1295
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2001 4:57 pm

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 09, 2007 6:07 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 4):
To distinguish them from similar sounding flights that would likely be in the air at the same time.

Acutally the crazy amount of flight numbers sometimes is dictating the use of letters. Not just for 'stubbing' purposes.
Earthbound misfit I
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2821
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:02 pm

Quoting Bahadir (Reply 7):

Acutally the crazy amount of flight numbers sometimes is dictating the use of letters. Not just for 'stubbing' purposes.

This has become a big problem in a number of airports. ORD recently sent a memo to us about callsigns. We're supposed to say each number individually. Example: Waterski 8400. Normally, I'd say "Waterski Eighty-four hundred" They want us saying "Eight Four Zero Zero".

I recently sent a report to our company regarding two similiar flight numbers. LIT-STL was something like 5560 and OKC-STL was 5460. Both arrived within 10 minutes of each other and we were on the same frequencies throughout the whole flight. On about four different occasions it caused confusion on the part of all three parties.
DMI
 
CoolGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 8:13 am

RE: Some ATC Questions

Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:15 pm

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 8):
This has become a big problem in a number of airports. ORD recently sent a memo to us about callsigns. We're supposed to say each number individually. Example: Waterski 8400. Normally, I'd say "Waterski Eighty-four hundred" They want us saying "Eight Four Zero Zero".

Sounds like you have an intersting job at ORD! I would have thought that each number separately was the standard since that's how it works with runways.
 
atct
Posts: 2472
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:42 am

RE: Some ATC Questions

Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:31 pm

Quoting CoolGuy (Reply 9):
I would have thought that each number separately was the standard since that's how it works with runways.

We (as controllers) break 4 digit flight numbers up into two segments

For COA1776 I would say "Continental Seventeen Seventy-Six"
For LOF8440 I would say "Waterski Eight-Four Forty"
Etc.

More and more I am noticing "SKW40F" (Which would be "Skywest Four Zero Foxtrot" or "Skywest Forty Foxtrot") and stuff of the like. Mainly I have seen this is due to the aircraft sharing a callsign with an aircraft that is still in the air. (BTA - Jetlink, ExpressJet, will change their first digit in a callsign to a "7" if there is a dup flight plan active. Example: BTA2475 is still active, the flight about to leave will be changed to BTA7475)

ATCT
Trikes are for kids!
 
jgarrido
Posts: 258
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:40 pm

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:05 am



Quoting CoolGuy (Reply 9):
Sounds like you have an intersting job at ORD! I would have thought that each number separately was the standard since that's how it works with runways.

In the US Air Carrier call signs should be said in group form while runways (and most other numbers) are singular form. Of course, always any form can be used for the sake of clarity.

"2. Air carrier and other civil aircraft having FAA
authorized call signs. State the call sign followed by
the flight number in group form.
NOTE-
“Group form” is the pronunciation of a series of numbers
as the whole number, or pairs of numbers they represent
rather than pronouncing each separate digit. The use of
group form may, however, be negated by four‐digit
identifiers or the placement of zeros in the identifier.
EXAMPLE-
“American Fifty-Two.”
“Delta One Hundred.”
“Eastern Metro One Ten.”
“General Motors Thirty Fifteen.”
“United One Zero One.”
“Delta Zero One Zero.”
“TWA Ten Zero Four.”
NOTEAir
carrier and other civil aircraft having FAA authorized
call signs may be pronounced using single digits if
necessary for clarity.
EXAMPLE-
“United Five One Seven.”
“United Five Seven Zero.”'
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2821
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Some ATC Questions

Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:18 am



Quoting CoolGuy (Reply 9):

Sounds like you have an intersting job at ORD! I would have thought that each number separately was the standard since that's how it works with runways.

It's interesting until I'm waiting for my gate to open up at F. All I want to do is shut down and go get a damn gyro. United's scooby snacks aren't very good so I need to get some food in me before the next flight.

The big thing is that so many different carriers are operating in the same area that it's not unusual to get very similiar callsigns. Add to that the pace at which things are happening and it can lead to some confusion.

You've seen the visa commericals where everybody's paying with debit cards and the one joker decided to pull out cash and screws the whole flow of things? Kinda like that  Smile
DMI

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