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Call-sign

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Call sign (DSA King Air)

A Beechcraft King Air with N6039U registration number.

Introduction

A Call sign is a unique designation for an individual aircraft operating in Second Life. In most real-life countries, unscheduled general aviation flights identify themselves using the call sign corresponding to the aircraft's registration number (also called N-number in the U.S., or tail number). Before 2015, Second Life aviation generally follows this naming convention. Such call signs are frequently used for interaction with ATC bots via the 119.200 MHz and 117.900 MHz groups in-world.

Old method for creating an aircraft call sign

A pilot's call-sign starts with the country of origin. This is represented by a letter of the alphabet which corresponds to a country. For example, 'F' stands for France, 'N' for the USA, and 'G' is for England.

An older aircraft (registered before 31 December 1948) may have a second letter in its identifier, identifying the category of aircraft. This additional letter is not actually part of the aircraft identification (e.g. NC12345 is the same registration as N12345). Aircraft category letters have not been included on any registration numbers issued since 1 January 1949, but they still appear on antique aircraft for authenticity purposes. The categories were:

  • C = airline, commercial and private
  • G = glider
  • L = limited
  • R = restricted (such as cropdusters and racing aircraft)
  • S = state
  • X = experimental

For example, N-X-211, the Ryan NYP aircraft flown by Charles Lindbergh as the Spirit of St. Louis, was registered in the experimental category.

When the pilot has finished creating their old call-sign it should look something like this:

N1234C

New method for creating an aircraft call sign

We must start from a current basis for this concept to be clear (and always on the basis that few people follow this protocol):

  1. There is a majority of individual civil aircraft using only the registration number (tail number).
  2. There is an intermediate group within the commercial airlines, charter or similar companies that use a flight number.
  3. And there are also quite a number of groups that are linked to military activities, search and rescue, firefighting and security forces who have their own call sign.

Then these three points are developed giving an explanation of how to create each call sign.

1 - Tail number

In the first case it is very easy to create a civil registration number, having only to put the code of our country of origin (if we want to remain anonymous, put SL), and then a combination of four numbers or letters; if we do not care to say where we are, and we want to use the protocol record in each country, we use the method recommended for each country.... see here

Aircraft registration Spain
Aircraft registration USA

For example, if you live in USA, use the "N" initial number and follow the registration code (N76459, N2576B, or N321BZ); if you live in Spain, my case, I put "EC" and only use the first line codes (ECGUS, ECXPZ, ECLOL); even if you do not want to see his repeated code, you can register on the website of Kelly Shergood creating your Pilot Profile (contact Kelly to do so)... see here

TAIL NUMBER

In the photo at right, taken from the map of Kelly, we can see a flight VFR landing at the airport of Palm Grove (SLPG) with the indication of their registration number N9366Y (tail number) and we can see also that the plane is a Bonanza model (although would be correct to indicate it using the format in ICAO, smaller, for example BE35), and left its flight plan in visual, very small but with the basic information (output Foliage and destination Palm Grove).

2 - Flight number

IATA, ICAO & TAIL NUMBER

In the second case, we speak of an airline already established, which has its own callsign (call name of the company, for example IBERIA), ICAO code (three letters used in communications with ATC, eg IBE ) and finally the IATA code (two letters and used to indicate boarding passes and indicating panels a number of specific flight, for example IB).

In the photo at left, taken from Flightradar24 in the airspace of Spain, we see an Air France flight to Buenos Aires, and marked with red arrows the information from the IATA flight number (which appears to the public) and ICAO (used in the aerial communications).

Let's take the example of one of the companies that take more time flying continuously in SL, Vulture Air; a communication with ATC bot would follows:

  • Sending flight plan:
    • SLHA, VUL25YT, VFR FLIGHT PLAN/ CRJ7/M/SQ4432/FL200/SLHA>SLNH/ETD1040/ETA1100/PAX4
    • VUL25YT, SLHA TOWER, FLIGHT PLAN FILED AND REGISTERED
    • FLIGHT PLAN FILED AND REGISTERED, VUL25YT
  • Set designation in the transponder:
    • VUL25YT - CRJ7 (or too: VUL25YT CRJ7)
  • Others communications:
    • SLHA, VULTURE 25YT, REQUEST PERMISSION TO START UP
    • VULTURE 25YT, SLHA TOWER, START APPROVED. DEPARTURE IS 18 LEFT, REPORT BACK FOR TAXI CLEARANCE.
    • START UP APPROVED, VULTURE 25YT
  • Departure notifications (Passengers of SL group or others):
    • Announcing Vulture Air flight VU25YT,
    • in our confortable CRJ700,
    • we departing from Hollywood Airport,
    • destination Baitoushan Airport,
    • estimated time of departure to 10:40 SL time.
    • and we estimated arrival about 11:15 SL time

3 - Other callsigns type:

MILITARY FLIGHT

Military, rescue services or other has you own code; for example, in the military case (in SL military rol play) the callsign can change in flight for reasons of some specific mission (vigilance, transportation, attack); in the photo on the right we can see a flight Marine Corps SL (SLMC), with the indicative BOOMER.

It would be interesting to see take off an entire squadron of airplanes in formation across the map of Kelly; but not be as fun to watch them disappear (setting "STBY" the transponder) and that certainly will attack in somewhere; Maybe one day I can see through the map, in some of the war games that are made in Jeogeot ... something epic!

References for old call sign method

  • Explaining Flight Plans & ATC comms Feb/2014 notecard, 119.200 ATC Crew.

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