Call Sign Confusion

Always in poor weather and often otherwise, when I fly I will put myself in the hands of Air Traffic Control. This puts me on the same radio frequency as airlines and corporate flights.

When talking on the radio, most of us ‘regular’ pilots identify ourselves by the type of aircraft, followed by the plane’s full (or after contact, shortened) registration number. So when talking to Air Traffic Control, I may be “Cessna 7-3-Bravo” (more on the fun of the phonetic alphabet another time).

Airlines and corporate flights are almost the same, but they get to use more fun names in place of the type of aircraft. And the airlines use their flight number instead of their registration number.

Some airlines are proud of their name and heritage, so listening on the radio you’ll hear—“American 4-1-2-1” or “Aeromexico 2-0-7”

Other airlines, no less proud of their name, still use other identifiers for their flights—“Speedbird 2-7-9” (British Airways) or “Springbok 3-9-4” (South African Airways)

Corporate flights vary in the same way—“Ford 1-7-Foxtrot” (Ford Motor Company) or “Air Johnson 3-7-4” (for Johnson Air)

And some relate to individual people—“Shepherd 1” (that would be the Pope’s jet) or “Unicorn 1” (Prince of Wales)

So, on a flight a few years back, I was surprised to hear a call sign I’d not heard before. I had to listen closely to hear it again. Then asked my passenger to confirm what I’d heard. I later looked it up and could not find an official call sign, so the mystery deepened and continues.

So I ask you, gentle reader… who do you think is being flown in an airplane with the call sign identifier: “Cross Dresser”?


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12 Responses to “Call Sign Confusion”

  1. silverstar98121 Says:

    I couldn’t even hazard a guess on that one. Maybe Uncle Miltie if it was many years ago. I seem to remember he liked to wear dresses on his show.

  2. Rob Says:

    That’s not code for “Air Force One”, is it?

  3. UK Says:

    I was thinking Milton Berle as well.

  4. thegnukid Says:

    silverstar – ah, yes… good old Uncle Miltie. But, being dead and all, i’m guessing it wasn’t him. But we have *plenty* of cross dressing choices nowadays…

    rob – i could tell you, but then i’d have to register you as a Republican… it wouldn’t be pretty. care to withdraw the question?

    Uncle Keith – those were the good old days, huh? when a man could wear a dress for laughs, not for looks [sniffle]. gee, but i miss ’em…

  5. nrvs Says:

    Eddie Izzard?
    Although I’m not sure he’s reached the ‘private jet’ stratum yet.

  6. thegnukid Says:

    nrvs – welcome to The Wilds… Eddie? Hmmm… a definiite possibility

  7. kyknoord Says:

    Let’s see now… who gets angry when they have to put their pants on? Bill Clinton, perhaps?

  8. Parenthesis Says:

    Kyk: ahahahahahaha!

  9. daisyfae Says:

    Ah – who else, but simply The Queen!

  10. daisyfae Says:

    PS: i´d TOTALLY want to fly for Air Johnson…. heh, heh, heh…

  11. thegnukid Says:

    kyknoord – if anyone was to go sideways with the logic, i would’ve put money it’d be you… where’s the number for my bookie?

    parenthesis – you are such a happy person… always laughing… i’m thinking there’s a hint of ‘maniacal’ in there

    daisyfae – finally! i had a snide comment about that in my original post draft, but deleted it just to see who would rise to the occasion (so to speak)… [deep bow] you are, indeed, a semasiological goddess!

  12. The Wild Blue Virtually « The Wilds of Ohio Says:

    […] to have business connections with the local Air National Guard.  When he heard that I was a pilot, he asked if I’d be interested in a little time in the local Guard’s flight simulator for the […]

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