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Airline Call Signs

Old 17th Jan 2018, 19:31
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Airline Call Signs

When I was a lad, all those years ago, there was a number of airline call signs that were not as mundane as the airline name, but did have some connection. Pan Am was ‘Clipper’ (who remembers “This is the Clipper One” as if it was the only flight that had ever arrived in Europe? Presumably the pilots had to wind themselves up on their seats before calling anyone in European radar), Air 2000 was ‘Jetset’, which I thought was rather nice, Canadian Pacific Airlines was ‘Empress’, and the Kiwis were ‘Teal’, an acknowledgement to their ancestry as Tasman Empire Airways Limited. Those first three examples no longer are with us, and the Kiwis rather boringly announce themselves as ‘New Zealand’ these days.

The only call signs that I can immediately think of that are just that tad obscure and still in use are ‘Speedbird’, ‘Shamrock’ and ‘Springbok’. So the questions are:

• Can anyone think of any other, current or historic, call signs used by the larger carriers (there are some slightly obscure names in use by small and charter operators), that are not immediately connectable to the airline name?

• Does anyone know when Air New Zealand (formed, I see, on 1 April 1965), stopped using ‘Teal’?

And then for those who have a Transport Command pedigree…

I can remember a summer trogging all round the Mediterranean at the end of the 1970s as a supernumerary in a Whistling Wheelbarrow… and I am sure that the call sign used was ‘Ascot’. Elsewhere, I see that the current RAF call sign is ‘Rafair’. Can anyone help with whether ‘Ascot’ no longer is used (perhaps it was dropped to avoid confusion with One’s Landau when it’s on short finals for the home straight to open Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot)? And, if it’s still in use, what determines whether ‘Rafair’ or ‘Ascot’ is given to a particular flight?
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 20:16
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"Ascot" = Air Support Command operationtal traffic. As the Royal Air Force (Happy Birthday!) now only has an Air Command for everything it has long gone!

Bill.
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 20:20
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During my time ASCOT was a c/s used by the 1 Group (later 38 Group) Transport Fleet: eg Hercules C1 were ASCOT 4xxx and Hercules C3 were Ascot 5xxx.

ASCOT had been inherited and stood for Air Support Command Operational Tasking.

RAFAIR was used on overseas flights by non Transport Fleet aircraft such as Nimrods when deploying to Cyprus, or Dominies on overseas trainers. The callsign block on the Flight Plan would be filled in as: RFR.

Last edited by ExAscoteer; 7th Mar 2018 at 10:28.
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 20:39
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These come to mind - Canada 3000 "Elite", Titan Airways "Zap", Thomas Cook previously "Globe" then "Topjet" then "Kestrel". Another Uk Charter Airline in the 90's, possibly Air World used "Envoy"
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 21:11
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Nowadays Rafair (ICAO RFR) tends to be used by fast jets, helicopters, Tucanos, etc while Ascot (ICAO RRR) will typically be a 146, Voyager, A400M, C17, etc.

Some present-day callsigns that spring to mind include China Airlines "Dynasty", Virgin America "Redwood", AirAsia X "Xanadu", Jetstar Japan "Orange Liner".
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 21:34
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“Nitro” TNT?
“Brickyard” American Eagle, operated by Republic.
“Cactus” America West then US Airways.
“Giant” USAF MAC.
“Reach” USAF MAC.
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 21:42
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Does anyone know when Air New Zealand (formed, I see, on 1 April 1965), stopped using ‘Teal’?
Funnily enough, the same date as Her Majesty, perhaps against her better judgement, saw fit to grant me a commission.
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 22:35
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Diverging from the actual question asked, but relevant to the Ascot & Rafair question; who remembers the RAF five letter "registrations" written on the black nose radome of the Hastings - MOGCC etc; & the Varsities with MPTLA etc. ? I think I also remember the Beverley used the same call sign system.
What was the origin of these ?
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 22:35
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Clipper One as I recall was Pan Am's east-bound round the world flight and Clipper Two was west bound. Is that right?

BEA were Bealine, not remit of the question though.

Military Airlift Command used to be MAC followed by the aircraft's FY serial, though I gather if, say, C-5 70-0446 had gone tits up on the ramp, and 70-0457 flew the mission, the flight planned serial was used! My teenage spotter's logbook was a tissue of lies folks...
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 23:36
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Originally Posted by kcockayne View Post
Diverging from the actual question asked, but relevant to the Ascot & Rafair question; who remembers the RAF five letter "registrations" written on the black nose radome of the Hastings - MOGCC etc; & the Varsities with MPTLA etc. ? I think I also remember the Beverley used the same call sign system.
What was the origin of these ?
Farnborough based aircraft were allocated in the sequence MPDX- eg MPDXA was Comet XV814. The last one ever allocated was when we got the Dakota (KG661/ZA947) from West Freugh so we gave it MPDXY.
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 00:20
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Krueger -MK Airline (cargo airline,not the one in Mauritius) // named for its boss.
Dynasty -China Airlines (Taipei)
Xanadu -Air Asia X
Quality - TNT Air

Anilv
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 00:33
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A rather boring one, but I like the fact that Flybe still use 'Jersey'. A nice nod back to their origins as Jersey European.
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 01:01
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I heard some upstart airline using 'Bealine' the other day; shouldn't be allowed as whoever it is can't be anything like BEA.
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 04:56
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Wikipedia has a list, didn't t know there where that many
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List...ine_codes_(0–9)
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 06:04
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If you want a list of spoken callsigns, the ICAO one is hard to beat.
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 06:07
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Originally Posted by GemDeveloper View Post
When I was a lad, all those years ago, there was a number of airline call signs that were not as mundane as the airline name, but did have some connection. Pan Am was ‘Clipper’ (who remembers “This is the Clipper One” as if it was the only flight that had ever arrived in Europe? Presumably the pilots had to wind themselves up on their seats before calling anyone in European radar), Air 2000 was ‘Jetset’, which I thought was rather nice, Canadian Pacific Airlines was ‘Empress’, and the Kiwis were ‘Teal’, an acknowledgement to their ancestry as Tasman Empire Airways Limited. Those first three examples no longer are with us, and the Kiwis rather boringly announce themselves as ‘New Zealand’ these days.
'Clipper One' was Pan Am's flagship flight; it was a 'round the world' service westbound from the USA; 'Clipper Two' was the opposite direction equivalent.

Last edited by chevvron; 19th Jan 2018 at 02:49.
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 07:21
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Isn't it true that once created, an airline cannot change its call sign?

Hence SAA is still Springbok.
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 08:31
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Originally Posted by ian16th View Post
Isn't it true that once created, an airline cannot change its call sign?

Hence SAA is still Springbok.
No, NetJets have changed several times.(Skyshare, Fraction)

Last edited by chevvron; 19th Jan 2018 at 03:05.
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 09:02
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beetours was bea airtours/british airtours

jetset was air2000

kestrel was airtours intl

aspro was IEA (i think)
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 10:33
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I believe Bealine is used by British Airways tugs at Heathrow.

Jet2 still uses Channex.

About a hundred years ago Northeast Airlines (the British one) was using either Norjet or Norprop regardless of aircraft type. I don't know why they didn't use Northeast. Then after the BA amalgamation the callsign was variously Albion or Bealine until about 1980 when Speedbird found its way to the Regional fleet.

This subject was discussed on here about ten years ago so it may be in the archive. I started it !
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