Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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sportjen
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Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby sportjen » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:06 am

Hello everyone,

I thought I'd ask how folks announce themselves to ATC or FSS when they call up. :)

I hear different things from folks, out in the real world. Sometimes they say "Light Sport..." Sometimes they say "Sport...." Sometimes they say type aircraft, such as "Kitfox..." or "RV....." or "Cruiser....." (for SportCruiser).

Enjoy,

Jen

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David
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby David » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:22 am

Experimental 25DV

I had this tail number on a E-LSA sport hornet 1st, then moved it to a S-LSA sport hornet and now it is on my RV12 EAB. I flew out of a class D / TRSA about 7 years ago when the LSA movement was fairly young. The controllers preferred Experimental instead of Light Sport and I have just stuck with it and no complaints from ATC today. But I also think today Light Sport is very acceptable.

Paul your thoughts?

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CharlieTango
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby CharlieTango » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:56 am

'Flight Design 102CharlieTango' works well.

I haven 't used anything but for at least 5 years but there is a controller in Camarillo that insists that I say 'Light Sport' instead of 'Flight Design' He has even corrected me when I was talking to a ground controller, he got on the ground frequency to correct me :roll:

ct4me
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby ct4me » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:06 pm

I personally use something like "Phoenix approach, this is CT xxxxx" or maybe "Flight Design xxxx". But the response you get will very often drive the conversation. Really. It depends on the controller's personal interest in aircraft. Officially, Light Sport Aircraft barely even show up in the FAA databases. The identifiers, if any, come from the ICAO database, and it only describes you to the controller as a "single-engine, land-based, piston-powered, aircraft less than 15,000 pounds".
So, sometimes, after their second "say type of aircraft"... you'll settle for "light sport", or "like a cessna 172"... but don't be surprised if they refer to you as "experimental" later, or when pointing you out to someone else.
It seems you can "train" them, too. Up here in Phoenix, I have the controllers used to "CT", but in Tucson, Roger has them using "Flight Design". When flying in unfamiliar territory, when they ask for "type of aircraft" I just use "High-Wing Light Sport", and that seems to work.
Last edited by ct4me on Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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FrankR
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby FrankR » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:50 pm

"Allegro XXXXX."

If they answer with "Experimental," as they have occasionally, I will use "Experimental XXX."
Frank
Fayetteville, NC

jnmeade
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby jnmeade » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:17 pm

Flight Design Three One Niner Charlie Tango Experimental on the first call. (mine is ELSA)
If they ask what type of plane I tell them "Foxtrot Delta Charlie Tango per the ICAO book". If they want more I tell them it's size and flight characteristics are similar to a Cessna 172.
I've not had any grief. I've never announced as Light Sport (light sort doesn't tell them anything, anyway. What is the difference between a Champ with gross weight of 1300 and one with 1350 - none.)

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drseti
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby drseti » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:42 pm

David wrote:Paul your thoughts?


Odd you should ask, David. What, you think I have an opinion? :wink:

Before I answer the question that was asked, let me answer the one that wasn't asked - how to ID at a non-towered airport. Here at KLHV, our CTAF is shared by four other nearby airports, so spectrum clutter can be a problem. It's important to keep transmissions brief, snappy, and informative. Those folks who ID as "November two five delta victor" are wasting nine syllables and providing no useful information whatever. So, in the pattern with no tower, omit the call sign. I like to use simply "light sport" because, in just two syllables, I've told folks in the pattern that I'm small and slow. (If the pattern's crowded and I want to make sure my traffic sees me, I might splurge an extra syllable, and say "blue light sport"). Also, of course, because the frequency is shared, I insist my students start and end every transmission with the words "Lock Haven" (which is five syllables more efficient than saying "Piper Memorial Airport").

Now, as for ATC: hereabouts, controllers don't know a Sting Sport from a Sport Cruiser from a SportStar from a Flight Design from a Kitfox. With something like 120 different LSAs out there, there's no way controllers can possibly keep up with all the different model designations. Likewise, using ICAO codes is merely going to send them to the book to look them up. So, other than your N number, what does the controller really need to know? My friend Tony, the tower chief at nearby Williamsport (and a fellow CFI), says the critical information is that we're small and slow. Seems to me "light sport" conveys that best. If the controller wants to call me "experimental", that's fine (except that it wasted three syllables).

Now, when talking to the Lockheed Martin wx briefer, I will use that ICAO code, but most of them can't find the book to look it up. So if they press me, I might tell them to put me down on the flight plan form as an experimental. They should have a blanket code for all LSAs, but they don't.

Bottom line: go with the flow. Never argue with the controller over what he or she wants to call you. But, given the choice, KISS (keep it short and sweet).
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Jim Stewart
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby Jim Stewart » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:47 pm

"Flight Design" followed by the N-number.

I used to use "Light Sport", but now there's so many of us I prefer to be a little more exclusive.
PP-ASEL, Flight Design CTSW owner.

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drseti
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby drseti » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:02 pm

Jim Stewart wrote: now there's so many of us I prefer to be a little more exclusive.


I guess it all depends on where you live, Jim. Hereabouts, there's only one Flight Design within about 100 miles, so the controllers still don't know what one is.

Early on, I had a controller in NY Approach airspace ask me my type. I tried ICAO code, make, model, etc. and still got no recognition. Finally, ATC asked me, "are you a helicopter?" Guess she was looking at my low altitude and airspeed. :D
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
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AvSport.org
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dstclair
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby dstclair » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:35 pm

I lean towards Paul's approach with minor addition (sorry for the extra syllable! :D ) and go with "Light Sport Sting". This seems to generate the least number of 'say agains' while giving the controller the information they need. I've used this with good results in flying through much of the US southeast and southwest.

I found being correct and sticking with just the ICAO identifier in the callsign non-productive in getting timely clearances into the DFW Class B airspace. These controllers don't have the time to ask what are you, then follow up with even more clarifying questions. They would put me at the bottom of the list to clear.
dave

sportjen
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby sportjen » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:48 pm

Hmmmm.... Okay. Hmmm... (Thinking: chin on hand, brow creased. Thoughtful expression.)

I fly out of a tower airport, but it's not so large that controllers won't learn most of the aircraft well, as well as pilot capabilities. I've enjoyed, several times, a controller calling on me to do something different to relieve congestion or help him aid traffic because he knew I'd understand his instructions and do it well... I enjoy that kind of thing, too.

I agree that calling up needs to be efficient and descriptive. I'm sure I'll go along with whatever they require. But in just thinking and talking, here, processing things, I'm not sure that "Light Sport" as the primary descriptor is informative.

My SportCruiser flies about the same speeds as my Cardinal, and also my Stinson Reliant SR-9B (former), and faster than my old Cessna 120 by quite a bit, and none of them are light sport. Plus some light sports are even slower than my old C-120... I'm gong to make it E-LSA, too, and Experimental seems appropriate, there, too, but some of those will go 300 mph, where some of those will also go quite a bit less than the C-120. (The C-120 does not qualify to be flown LSA because its GW is 1450. :) )

In the end, I'm thinking that they'll get used to the plane they know, and some call sign will be recognized as what the plane is. Like: The Stinson. It was an antique TC'd airplane, but we always called it "Gullwing xxxxx," all over the country, as it had this huge gull wing on it (descriptive when they saw it...). Same call sign in Demoines, Dallas, Las Vegas.... A couple times --- DO NOT DO AS I DID!! --- over Los Angeles, a flight following controller asked me "Say type aircraft," and I'd answer specifically "SR-9B." Later on, I'd get say type aircraft again, and I said, "...It's like an old packard Al Capone would have loved to have." I wasn't being difficult. I was reading the controller's interest and was replying with camaraderie, and I got a chuckle for it on the radio. If I thought he was really trying to get me to be literal, I'd have given him that for sure.

But on the home airport, I'm thinking I'll start with "Cruiser xxxxx," as they already know my speed, etc., due to their scope in the tower. If they require "Light sport," I may reply "Light Sport Cruiser," as that's more descriptive. (I speak in an efficient, chopped manner on the radio, so I'm not contributing to frequency congestion, I don't think, overall.)

So we'll see. I've heard it different ways. One, was a preference for the type or model aircraft, as, even if controllers are not familiar with newer designs on thue market, the type or model is more descriptive and specific than the general category "Light sport" or "experimental...," to me...... Aeronca not being light sport, CTLS being notably faster than it is....

(Just my thoughts, enjoying the conversation. In reality, I cooperate with them, do as appropriate/instructed...)

Jen

ct4me
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby ct4me » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:50 pm

It's just amazing that, in an industry that prides itself with such precision communication, the whole FAA/LSA thing is so screwed up. 'Talk about wasted communication and bandwidth... Sometimes, it takes two or three calls to get properly identified, and then I still am pretty sure they have no idea if I'm a butterfly or a dragonfly. It seems, most of the time, they are just resigned to write down *something*, right or wrong. A generic identification, like "light sport", with possibly the addition of high/low-wing would serve the purpose. The wing distinction would help others visually identify close-in traffic.
Tim
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Jim Stewart
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby Jim Stewart » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:08 pm

drseti wrote:
Jim Stewart wrote: now there's so many of us I prefer to be a little more exclusive.


I guess it all depends on where you live, Jim. Hereabouts, there's only one Flight Design within about 100 miles, so the controllers still don't know what one is.

Early on, I had a controller in NY Approach airspace ask me my type. I tried ICAO code, make, model, etc. and still got no recognition. Finally, ATC asked me, "are you a helicopter?" Guess she was looking at my low altitude and airspeed. :D


It's not uncommon to have two or three "light sport" planes talking on CTAF at the same time at my airport. The controllers have become aware of the makes and don't seem to question us on it any more.
PP-ASEL, Flight Design CTSW owner.

nbjeeptj
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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby nbjeeptj » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:41 pm

The several ATC I deal with while on flight following between my airport and my dads, at first were a confusion, but now it seams like they know what I am flying somewhat. I have a 601xl but they call me a moony most of the time. I figure I dont care, just identify that I am there so we all are safe. If you wanted to call me a ford f250 that would be fine as long as you aren't telling me to call 803-???-???? As soon as I land.

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Re: Your Callsign--How do you announce yourself?

Postby theskunk » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:32 pm

I'll chime in -- it depends on the aircraft i'm flying. Skycatcher seems to get their attention in this area, so it goes pretty well. Allegro had me mistaken for a life-flight helicopter and I was given priority clearance straight over top of RDU (missed several calls due to that, too, but was never in their airspace, so it didn't seem to matter). I should have picked up on it when he couldn't find me, and I should have just said 'light sport'.

Only thing I *don't* like about the call-sign 'light sport' is that it does not convey anything about what another pilot should look for when calling me out for traffic... am I a high-wing? Low wing? pusher prop? ultra-light?.... I usually like to find something that is a 'middle ground'... when in the sport cruiser, I typically say I'm a vans RV if they've never heard of me, as it seems to get the point across. High-wing, from now on i'm planning to say skycatcher if they don't recognize me, since that has yet to be missed. I've had one controller ask me what the code for it is, and he asked if that was 'the new little cessna'... so one more is educated!


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