View Full Version : Callsigns

10th Aug 2016, 21:00
Why isn't giving aircraft type in call sign more popular.
Situation locally two based aircraft with very similar call signs.
Difference is type. Giving full call sign a pain for all.

Calling downwind with type eg Cessna AB is more informative than G-AB.
Aircraft behind expect to see a high wing and not say a flexwing, gyro or low wing Piper.
Constantly saying Golf in call is a waste of time when the opportunity to give more relevant information is missed.

For instance if my initial call was "Birmingham radar Piper G-XXXX request zone transit" get the type, probably conditions and type of service out of the way.
Reply "Piper XX pass details".

Probably a US sixties thing, but would work.

And company call signs used by commercial schools and examiners is a joke when controllers ask to confirm the reg. for the logs.

12th Aug 2016, 19:30
Well, down in our part of the World, in the Summer months, we get D-XXXX, F-XXXX, OO-XXX, PH-XXX and increasingly M-XXXX and 2-XXXX as well as the usual smattering of N and G, so yes, the 'G' does matter.

However, I'm with you re use of company callsigns rather than reg.

14th Aug 2016, 15:41
Why isn't it more popular?

Because, thankfully, most pilots still adhere to correct RT procedure.

If sounding "different" on the RT is important to you then fly N reg where type does get included.

14th Aug 2016, 20:53
"Why isn't it more popular?
Because, thankfully, most pilots still adhere to correct RT procedure."

I assume correct RT only comes about because some committee has a meeting and discusses how RT can increase safety. Changes are recommended and implemented.
For instance AFIS a/c calling ready for departure, reply was for a/c to give callsign only.
Nonsense. I always taught to say taking off or holding, and later CAP413 was changed to that procedure.
Anything can be changed.
I suggested on OnTrack and others must have, to print zone freq's around the boundaries of Zones and that happened. (Although they messed up the zone altitude bits).
Also what's the significance of a Country letter in callsign.
If a German Falcon jet was ahead of me in the circuit I might not know that from it's D reg.
The fact it is German registered is insignificant, that it's a jet is.

Can't see anything wrong in old 1960's US version of Bonanza 23bravo downwind, call.

Option to give aircraft type is permitted in CAP413, go read. (The days have changed from the old HMSO 20 page publication).
And I think it should be used more often.

Round my way we now have the possibility of three AA on freq, a Piper, Cessna and Gyro.

16th Aug 2016, 06:39
Many "popular" things are the ones being taught. If you listen for a period of time in advance, you get the aircraft type as part of the initial call, at least in the current RT procedures.

If you feel it will support enhanced safety, just call out type and others may feel the same. In a busy situation I do occasionally. And yes, I support the country call-out. If there is a D-, N-, OY- in front of me in a UK traffic pattern, I switch to enhanced surveillance, because I assume enhanced unfamiliarity with the local peculiarities. Further yes, there are situations at busy aircraft flow, where the type is more helpful, such as I experienced in the pearl chain to KOSH.

16th Aug 2016, 21:26
I can certainly see the benefit in mentioning type of aircraft especially at uncontrolled fields as there will be no help from ATC. When you have a mix of MEP and SEP in the circuit it is very important to know who/what is ahead or behind of you with the varying speeds on downwind. Just think of a Cessna at 90kts on downwind with a seneca doing 120kts behind him! Type of aircraft very important then to allow adequate spacing.

17th Aug 2016, 05:48
...but it's no good just saying 'Cessna' or 'Piper'. We had a Cessna 150 and a Cessna 303 in the circuit a while ago. Then folk are going to take up airwave space detailing their aircraft . Cessna 150 with the pretty green paint scheme and the noseart Golf-XXXX downwind right hand for 27.

If by 'uncontrolled' you mean no radio on the ground and everyone making blind calls, then the clue is in the name 'visual circuit'. You ought to be able to see the difference between a flexwing and a twin and space accordingly.
In all things radio, brevity is King.


17th Aug 2016, 08:39
but it's no good just saying 'Cessna' or 'Piper'. We had a Cessna 150 and a Cessna 303 in the circuit a while ago
Surely "Cessna" and "twin Cessna" would have worked then, just like it does in the States.
We teach at a busy grass airfield in the UK, which is A/G and often all 3 of our C150/152s will be in the circuit together, plus any other based aircraft or visitors... I've taken to giving the aircraft paint colours on the initial call if I hear another one of our lot in the circuit and an "outsider" to give some idea of which one we are.

Most problems (in my mind) seem to be caused by people so desperate to get their calls in, that you'll get "G-XX downwind" when they have just turned onto downwind and aren't abeam the departure end of runway, and also "G-XX Final(s)" (why plural?!) during their turn onto final or even before then.

I would agree that hearing "Cessna BC final" or "Cherokee AD downwind" would be a miles better way instead of saying the "Golf" bit each time that adds nothing in the way of useful information.

19th Aug 2016, 08:37
Without becoming too 'spotterish', how many UK GA pilots know what each type is...

Skylane, Skyhawk, Stationair, Cardinal, Skywagon, Skynight, Skylark, Skycatcher...
Archer, Warrior, Cherokee, Cadet, Dakota, Pacer, Tri Pacer, Vagabond, Carribean...

Whilst I see some merit in the system (and CAP413, Table 10 on page 14 does mention this) I can see a few pilots going 'Now, just WTF type is ahead of me'.

Yes, your SA may be improved, but there is no replacement for the good old MK.1 eyeball.

19th Aug 2016, 21:16
As an aircraft is required to give its full call-sign on initial contact, and only to abbreviate it once the ground station has first done so, then the onus is on the ground station to use the aircraft manufacturer, model, or category as they think fit, or to ignore this option.

Mickey Kaye
22nd Aug 2016, 18:36
And what about at airfields where the air ground is unmanned or they use safetycom?

I have to say I prefer the US "Cessna 1856 downwind"

I also find the G bit a waste of time. I rather we say the last 3 letters. Less likely to have duplicate call signs on frequency.

23rd Aug 2016, 03:42
Any airfield I occasionally fly at has a standard cx and a tighter/lower microlight cx. A method of identifying a/craft type there would be useful now and again.

24th Aug 2016, 22:14
Years ago the circuit only consisted of Cessnas, Pipers, the odd Grumman or Rallye.
Now there are all types in the circuit, flexwings, micros, gyros, high perf Cirrus.

24th Aug 2016, 22:18
I spoke to our local ATC and they have already adopted the type in callsigns where appropriate.
Helicopter XX has been going on for some time so no different for fixed wing.

Mickey Kaye
25th Aug 2016, 06:02

Which airfield is that?

if you don't mind me asking.

25th Aug 2016, 06:15
We recently had two aircraft on field with very similar call signs so tried using type and reg.
But that has passed since one seemed to have departed.

27th Aug 2016, 19:29
Interesting enough, suddenly the registration system over here in germany nearly does make sense when reading that. Yes, it all starts with the D, but the next thing after that actually defines aircraft class (and weight). Therefore the full callsign is helpful to give a (very) rough idea about what is in the circuit or about to join. Of course there are some exceptions, larger flight schools use company callsigns similar to airlines. At least one uses airline callsigns (lufthansa), but they only fly (small) jets in germany anyway (Cessna CJ1).

Captain Stravaigin
29th Aug 2016, 12:52
Normally, having worked for many years for a German company I would dismiss Denti's comments with a derisive "typical excessive engineering" philosophy. But in this case it makes a huge ammount of sense...