Calling aircraft by make/model/common-name?

rframe

pǝʇɹǝʌuı
Was going to post this in reply to the Experimental type question, but decide it was too much of a thread hijacking.

Do controllers have preferences or guidance as to how call signs should be stated, meaning do you like it when people use make/model/common names for production aircraft... so would you prefer:
"Cessna 12345" vs "Skyhawk 12345" vs "Cutlass 12345"
"Piper 5678" vs "Cherokee 5678" vs "Arrow 5678".

I've used all of these and a lot of times the controllers will reply differently.

I might call up "Cutlass 123 blah blah" and they read back "Cessna 123 cleared blah blah". Or I've had the exact opposite happen at airports where the aircraft is based and the controllers know what the airplane is and they'll respond with the common model name.

Seems common model names make the most sense, since a Cessna 150 is going to have a lot different performance than a Centurion. So I tend to use model names.

Just haven't noticed much rhyme or reason as to which gets used.
 

s60

Well-Known Member
It totally depends on the controller. Some people I work with always use type, some never do, and some do on occasion (Center controllers). Often, it depends on whether the controller is familiar with the type. We are allowed, but not required, to use either of those examples. If the controller is familiar with the type, specific helps. Sometimes, we even get confused and mix up types, for example GLF5 and GL5T look very similar when glancing quickly at the types on our scope.
 

Vector4Food

This job would be easier without all the airplanes
My favourite is the newer trainees saying things like "Cessna 22AP" when the a/c type is a C750
Not wrong though I guess :)
 

Chief Captain

Well-Known Member
My favourite is the newer trainees saying things like "Cessna 22AP" when the a/c type is a C750
Not wrong though I guess :)
I've referred to a Citation as a "Cessna twin" before. The controller didn't mind, but you could tell it hit a nerve with the pilot. I thought it was funny.
 

TripSix

Well-Known Member
Here's the book answer:

2-4-20. AIRCRAFT IDENTIFICATION

Use the full identification in reply to aircraft with similar sounding identifications. For other aircraft, the same identification may be used in reply that the pilot used in his/her initial callup except use the correct identification after communications have been established. Identify aircraft as follows:

a. U.S. registry aircraft. State one of the following:

REFERENCE-
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 2-4-8, Radio Message Format.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 2-4-9, Abbreviated Transmissions.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 2-4-15, Emphasis for Clarity.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 2-4-17, Numbers Usage.

1. Civil. State the prefix “November” when establishing initial communications with U.S. registered aircraft followed by the ICAO phonetic pronunciation of the numbers/letters of the aircraft registration. The controller may state the aircraft type, the model, the manufacturer's name, followed by the ICAO phonetic pronunciation of the numbers/letters of the aircraft registration if used by the pilot on the initial or subsequent call.

In regards to the model (for me), I'm a "Cessna" for single piston, "twin Cessna" for twin piston, and "citation" for jet engines - as that is where the actual performance difference lies.

Unless its that crappy citation, they get a "November." ;)
 

TripSix

Well-Known Member
I've referred to a Citation as a "Cessna twin" before. The controller didn't mind, but you could tell it hit a nerve with the pilot. I thought it was funny.
Once upon a time I worked at a tower without a BRITE. Had a citation driver who called himself cessna. First time I ever talked to him he was inbound VFR. I put that on my "things that happen once" list.

Funny guy...
 

Chief Captain

Well-Known Member
OK. I see where that could have gone badly. Fortunately, this tower does have BRITE, and we were on the ground anyway.
 

TripSix

Well-Known Member
OK. I see where that could have gone badly. Fortunately, this tower does have BRITE, and we were on the ground anyway.
Nah, it was all good. He was right, and I learned something that day.

A few days later, same guy called inbound as "albatross." And by that, he meant the one with one S. Learned something that day too.

Sucks being the new kid.

REAL funny guy :)
 

genot

Well-Known Member
I prefer to get type rather than Cessna for example. A Cessna can be a huge range of aircraft from my perspective. Having said that, in your example the difference in a (Commuter, ehem, they have a type name) 150 and Centurion is pretty negligible when you get down to brass tacks. I really prefer type for traffic calls only.

If you tell me you're a Dakota lets say, that does nothing for me. That could be an old wheezing 1960 vintage 160 HP Cherokee or an Arrow III or a Cherokee 6. Specific is good. If I don't need it I can mentally ignore what I don't need to know. Keep calling yourself a Cutlass for example. If I don't care that you are RG and have cowl flaps and I errantly call you a skyhawk, take no offence.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
In regards to the model (for me), I'm a "Cessna" for single piston, "twin Cessna" for twin piston, and "citation" for jet engines - as that is where the actual performance difference lies.
What if it's a T-37 or A-37?
 

msmspilot

Well-Known Member
I prefer to get type rather than Cessna for example. A Cessna can be a huge range of aircraft from my perspective. Having said that, in your example the difference in a (Commuter, ehem, they have a type name) 150 and Centurion is pretty negligible when you get down to brass tacks. I really prefer type for traffic calls only.

If you tell me you're a Dakota lets say, that does nothing for me. That could be an old wheezing 1960 vintage 160 HP Cherokee or an Arrow III or a Cherokee 6. Specific is good. If I don't need it I can mentally ignore what I don't need to know. Keep calling yourself a Cutlass for example. If I don't care that you are RG and have cowl flaps and I errantly call you a skyhawk, take no offence.
um, Dakota is specific. It's the 235HP variant of the Warrior. Performance similar to a 182.

Back to the topic at hand, I fly a PA46 occasionally. I call up as a Mirage, one of the other guys calls it a Malibu. Both are correct. But ATC often tries to call us a Meridian. We don't have a turboprop. :)
 

rframe

pǝʇɹǝʌuı
I If I don't care that you are RG and have cowl flaps and I errantly call you a skyhawk, take no offence.
It's not offensive, maybe if I were a jet jockey in a uber-awesome CitSlotation and you called me a "Cessna" I'd get all huffy (I kid, I kid), I just find it strange how inconsistently it's handled and wanted to be sure I wasn't doing something wrong.
 

Cessnaflyer

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
I remember there was a guy that kept calling his C421 a Golden Eagle.

Controller: Twin Cessna clear to land.
Pilot: Excuse me, do you mean Golden Eagle is cleared to land?
Controller: Do you have two engines and it's made by Cessna?
Pilot: Yes sir! (Very excited sounding)
Controller: Good that means you are a Twin Cessna to me and since you are the only one of those types out there you are still cleared to land.
Pilot: Cleared to land Rwy 21, GOLDEN EAGLE 123!

I loved listening to that controller. Was always such a cool guy. I remember talking to him one dead night and he owned a Bellanca and would cruise around the local area.
 

TripSix

Well-Known Member
What if it's a T-37 or A-37?
I'd call the tower and ask if one of them could grab me a picture.

:)

In the past though, I've called it a tweet. When I got an "a what?" in response - I called it a "jet trainer, small, fast, you probably won't see him - but he's out there." Or something like that...
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
I'd call the tower and ask if one of them could grab me a picture.

:)

In the past though, I've called it a tweet. When I got an "a what?" in response - I called it a "jet trainer, small, fast, you probably won't see him - but he's out there." Or something like that...
Back in the day, if I was ever called out as traffic to an airliner when I was in the Tweet, the old mil guys knew exactly what it was and sounded happy to see one in their response, by the way the controller answered back. :)
 

mikecweb

Third Generation Arizonan
Flying the old shops Turbine Duke we got called a "Duke" VERY rarely. Usually a Beechjet or King Air.
 
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