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Speedbird

Old 27th Jan 2017, 08:37
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Speedbird

Do BA still use this callsign?
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 09:30
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Yes, except for domestic flights which use 'Shuttle'.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 12:11
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I'm intrigued, why is that?
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 12:59
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I think (to be corrected) that the c/s shuttle was used to indicate domestic flights, speedbird was used, as per logo, for all other flights.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 13:29
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The Speedbird logo goes back as far as Imperial Airways in the 1930's.
BA doesn't seem keen to remember the company's history so it's nice that the callsign survives.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 13:40
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Shuttle was introduced when the trunk domestics were turn up and fly, guaranteed a seat. A back up aircraft was on standby for when the first one was full- sometimes a Viscount or One Eleven backing up a Trident.

It has survived into an era when this is no longer the case.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 13:50
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Originally Posted by slingsby View Post
I think (to be corrected) that the c/s shuttle was used to indicate domestic flights, speedbird was used, as per logo, for all other flights.
Correct.

Domestic services from LHR and LGW are flightplanned as SHTxxxx (usually an alphanumeric where the number bit indicates the route) and corresponding ICAO callsign "Shuttle".
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 15:10
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The 'Speedbird' was the name given to the iconic trianglar bird design first adopted by Imperial Airways. When aircraft were required to use a callsign the pilots used the 'Speedbird' callsign as the design was recognised as being attributed to Imperial.

When BOAC came about they took the Speedbird logo and the callsign with them.

Hence it's still in use today.

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Old 27th Jan 2017, 16:50
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The Gatwick - Jersey flights do not use the "shuttle" call sign. They use " speed bird".
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 18:42
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At a place I worked it was always pronounced "Bird seed".... not on the R/T of course!
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 18:51
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The Gatwick - Jersey flights do not use the "shuttle" call sign. They use " speed bird".
That could be because technically speaking it's not a true "domestic" flight.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 19:21
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Just to annoy you lot.

When we flew around the northern isles we used "Speedbird".

At some time there used to be a callsign "Bealine".

For a while "Albion" was used by domestics.

We always used "Speedbird" in BOAC.

As I recall, may have been wound up, when BEA and BOAC amalgamated a comittee was formed to come up with a new callsign.

It was decided that Khartoum, and other places, could probably not cope with a new callsign for what had always been "Speedbird" and it was best left that way.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 19:28
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I believe "Bealine" is still used as a callsign but only by tugs towing aircraft around Heathrow.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 20:35
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Originally Posted by finncapt View Post
At some time there used to be a callsign "Bealine".
I only had cause to visit it once or twice in my time at BEA, but I recall that the HQ at Ruislip (just by the Northolt runway traffic lights) was (re)named "Bealine House" (I think it was originally "Keyline"). Flights in those days certainly used Bealine as a callsign.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 20:37
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It's been discussed on PPRuNe before but Albion was associated with British Airways Regional Division in the 1970s, i.e. the combined BEA, Northeast and Cambrian Viscount fleets. I have a vague recollection of the Leeds Bradford fleet (at least) using the Albion callsign with the last two letters of the aircraft registration, e.g. Albion Echo X-ray (G-APEX). However, I was a mere bairn at the time so I could be wrong.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 21:17
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Originally Posted by Mooncrest View Post
It's been discussed on PPRuNe before but Albion was associated with British Airways Regional Division in the 1970s, i.e. the combined BEA, Northeast and Cambrian Viscount fleets. I have a vague recollection of the Leeds Bradford fleet (at least) using the Albion callsign with the last two letters of the aircraft registration, e.g. Albion Echo X-ray (G-APEX). However, I was a mere bairn at the time so I could be wrong.
IIRC, BA Regional had their own designator as well to accompany the Albion callsign. BZ rings a bell.
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Old 28th Jan 2017, 12:00
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Although BA came formally into being on 1 April 1974 it took some years to become a unitary organisation. Until 1976 ex BEA routes used Bealine and BOAC Speedbird. Northeast and Cambrian (possibly Scottish and Channel too) used their own callsigns as well. Northeast had it's own allocation of Viscount 806s AOYH/Y/L/O/R plus APEX/y

In 1976 Scottish/Cambrian/Northeast/Channel were merged into one regional operation. Some Viscount 802s were scrapped and the rest put into one fleet. For a month or two Regional's domestic flights (at least at Leeds) used BE flight numbers and callsign Bealine while the international route to Dublin was BA/Speedbird.

They fairly quickly reverted to NS flight numbers and callsign Northeast - suspect reports of calsign confusion on Airways and perhaps on Heathrow Director's patch led to this.

Albion and BZ flight number arrived c1978.
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Old 28th Jan 2017, 14:37
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Bealine house was affectionately known, particularly by BOAC folks, as Teatime House.
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Old 28th Jan 2017, 14:45
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And BEA was known to BOAC as the Hounslow flying club.

I don't recall the use of the Albion callsign but my brain is a bit addled now.

One Christmas Eve a Norjet Trident was given Aberdeen direct to Heathrow and did it in record breaking time. I was working in Approach Control and invited the crew up to see us, provided they brought the hosties. Soon after they arrived in Approach en masse complete with cases of lager!! Great days.

Last edited by HEATHROW DIRECTOR; 28th Jan 2017 at 19:46.
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Old 28th Jan 2017, 14:56
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"Albion" & BZ were only around for a short time (2/3 years ?) in the mid to late 70s, as I recall. But, like you , my memory is somewhat sketchy ! I think that I can remember using it during my time at Aberdeen ('76 - '78 ) & at Jersey ( from '78 onwards ).
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