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Thread: Air Traffic Indentifiers for the RAF

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    Default Air Traffic Indentifiers for the RAF

    Hello All,
    When I first came into contact with RAF air movements in the early 50’s that had to be declared to international Air Traffickers (via Flight Plan), or on A/G R/T, or W/T, circuits, they were “RAFAIRxxxx”. Then it was “ASCOTxxxx” (Air Support Command Operational Transit xxxx). Then there was a big gap. Now (retired for a dozen years), today I found an RAF a/c on http://www.flightradar24.com/ who’s Callsign was labelled as “RRRxxxx”. This was an A330(?) tanker going into Brize. Is this normal? Do they now announce themselves to Air Tragic as “Romeo Romeo Romeo 1234”? Yonks ago, when most of you were nobbut lads/lasses, the Station Flight at either Wattisham, or Waterbeach, was given, by 11Grp, the R/T call-sign, for the month, of “Codfish”. Staich declared that there was no way he was going to announce himself over the air as “Codfish One”. There are some well-known local R/T callsigns “Rainbow”, “Red Dragon”, etc, and who can remember the tightening of sphincter muscles in ATC when an a/c said “This is IRIS”?!!! Anyone know how this all works these days, or – indeed – worked in the past? Was there a plan – or did they just make it up as they went along, and then subsequently claimed it was all part of The Big Scheme Of Things? Just interested.
    TIA
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hi Peter
    From my ATC memory the RRRxxxx was used in writing , Radar labels, Flight Progress Strips etc but would translate verbally as "Ascot". In much the same way British Airways was BAxxx visually but Speedbird on the R/T except for the internal Glasgow/Edinburgh flights when they used the callsign Shuttle but BAxxxx on the Terminal Departure Boards
    Your Codfish seems like the wartime practice and was random but there were post war planned callsigns such as Pedro for sar a/c, the Queen's Flight had it's set of Callsigns depending on who was on board,similar to the USA Airforce1. For W/t we used a "civil" type i/d Mxxxx. a random selection, where a civil a/c would have used Gxxxx with the x's being the registration letters as on the fuselage and this would have been used phonetically on R/t, the Military one would translate as Ascot or Rafair for R/t use.
    Having been retired for 15 years I am as rusty as you are!!
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 17th January 2013 at 17:11.

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    Dick, Hi,
    Tks yrs - much appreciated. But learned only today that the RAF still using RRR for written notification, but still using 'ASCOTxyz' for R/T. Only complication comes when AirTanker are operating when, presumably, they use civilian procedures? One recent movement out of Brize was using the ident TORxxxx.
    Good 'ere innit?
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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