Continuing yesterday’s theme of discussing names and labels – today I come to the issue of call signs. I might have mentioned this before in conjunction with attempting to get flights out of various locations. It seems that it is convenient to be able to distinguish not just the flight number but who is crewing the flight. Or why they are flying, that is also a consideration. Somehow, it does not seem strange to hear “Lufthansa Flight 336” or Delta Flight 09, but hearing “Army flight 10” or Air Force Flight 22 or Contract Flight 41 just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
There are two categories of flights with which we need to be concerned: fixed wing and rotary. Surprised? No, I didn’t think so.
The classic rotary crew (for medical) is Dust-Off, the evac folks. The call signs for the non-medical helicopters can vary by job and inclination. None are particularly obscene and frankly, none of the ones down here seem to offer much in the way of imagination or entertainment.
Not so with the fixed wing. We have Dash, Nome, Grizz and Snap all of which are smaller planes hauling parts, mail and the occasional passenger. Moose and Torc do most of the long hauls and are a mix of Air National Guard and regular Air Force. Bandage and Fever, while fixed wing should be self explanatory.
Please remember, these are call signs – not handles. They don’t belong to the pilots. Most of the time, pilots will not share their names with us ordinary mortals.