Using descriptors instead of N number

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Unit74, Sep 10, 2019 at 7:25 AM.

  1. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    I have noticed a significant increase in pilots not using their N numbers at uncontrolled fields instead opting for “white and red Cessna” or “white low wing” as their call sign.

    In the Bahamas, this is status quo, but did I miss the memo on omission of N numbers in the US when using the radio?
     
  2. ChemGuy

    ChemGuy Cleared for Takeoff

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    Don't *have* to use the radio so they can say what they want...:D

    I could care either way. I normally use N number but if there are a couple planes flying around I may use color/description so they know who to look for.
     
  3. dreyna14

    dreyna14 Pre-Flight

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    I care more about where the plane is and what it intends to do than any descriptor or call sign. It's all about situational awareness.
     
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  4. donjohnston

    donjohnston Line Up and Wait

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    When I flew a Cessna, I used N number unless there were multiple Cessna's in the area. Then I would use color.

    Now I don't worry about color. :D
     
  5. snglecoil

    snglecoil Filing Flight Plan

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    If I'm close enough to see that you are, in fact a red, and white C172 turning final, I might be too close. My biggest fear is that I somehow missed the other red and white C172 now on a 3 mile straight in for the same runway. I personally prefer call sign, but to be honest, I'd be happy with whatever if it is accompanied by an accurate position report.
     
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  6. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    “White Cessna”. Thanks, how helpful. There’s only 5 other white Cessnas in the pattern.

    You have a unique identifier. Use it.
     
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  7. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    I use “RV10” or “red & white RV10”. I can’t see anyone’s identifier unless I’m way too close and figure the same applies to others (?).

    I mean I could use my name and SS number.

    I also limit myself to position and intent and avoid conversations as much as possible.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  8. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    What I use will depend on what's in the traffic pattern. Citabria, Cherokee and C150 in the pattern with callsigns 123AB, 213AB and 323AB? I'll use color/type. Bunch of white Cessnas? I'll use callsign. Nobody in the pattern and I'm still 10 miles out? Whatever is shortest and most expedient.
     
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  9. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    I use, per my CFI's suggestion, "Cherokee XXY," i.e., shortened call sign when on ctaf to announce. Saves a bit of time on frequency in the pattern when there's a lot of traffic, workloads are high, and lots of communications going on. Just enough to be unique, but not more than necessary. If there's another plane in the area with the same last three numbers, which has never happened yet, then full sign or colors.
     
  10. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Other than when you're taxiing on the ground, when in the world is your unique identifier of any use to anyone in the air at an uncontrolled field? Nobody can read it, so it means nothing. Type of aircraft and sometimes colors can be identified. At an uncontrolled field I always use "Yellow Green Mooney" along with position.
     
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  11. Lachlan

    Lachlan En-Route

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    ADS-B out/in makes N numbers helpful, as other aircraft equipped as such can indeed see your N numbers on their devices. Just saying “white Cessna” is how you employ anonymous mode. ;)
     
  12. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    In the case of the bunch of white Cessnas, how does the use of your call sign aid anybody? This is why you include the secondary color and even if you can't make out different colors (often the case) you can make out Cessna. N123AB means nothing to anybody but you. Ultimately, the position report is the key information followed by intentions.
     
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  13. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    ha, first time saw this discussion....





    in a few months :p
     
  14. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    I have been flying since 1994 and the first time I ever heard anyone use color/type was in 2016 flying in Illinois. People there are weird.

    N number is a unique identifier which is way more useful. If I’m able to see what color stripes are on your airplane it means we are formation flying and I’m not worried about your position report.

    There were two cessnas coming into canton one day when I was working there and they were both using the color/type thing. It was harder to keep tract of who was doing what. One guy stopped and actually walked over to chat. Nice fellow. I asked him who the dumb ass was that taught him to use color/type. Asked him how useful would it be if I had all 5 of my buddies to agree we would all start saying yellow and blue air tractor instead of our N number for the rest of the day there in canton. He got the point.

    And please to the ones getting all lubed up to reply and tell how great it is just stop now. I won’t reply and you won’t change my mind. I’ve participated in this discussion before. I’ve seen the arguments. They are not compelling.
     
  15. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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    A neighboring CTAF field is extremely busy Sunday afternoons with rusty pilots out for an afternoon jaunt. Any given Sunday is both comedic and terrifying. No joke there's like 15-20 planes at peak times in the vicinity of the field. At times there are so many confused pilots, calling out plane type and color as number XX on the down wind/baser/final is needed.
     
  16. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Some people wipe their butt with their hands too. You might as well be telling me that’s better than using TP.


    On the ground is about the only time I can actually see you well enough to identify you visually but that’s the one time you say you could see using the N number??? Really ...
     
  17. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    I just announce "Podunk traffic, White Are Vee six A with orange and yellow stripes and an orange vertical stabilizer, 20 mile final, er 10 mile final since I've been talking so long, podunk."

    That and ATITAPA I'm ready to land!
     
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  18. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    FCC regulations require that each transmission include the station identification, not its description (and not two mike clicks)....but that is in the US. Bahamas is a different ballgame. If your airplane has an N number you are subject to FCC regulations.

    Bob Gardner
     
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  19. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    I was going to say the same thing. It's an FCC requirement, not FAA.

    I disagree about a US registered airplane in the Bahamas. You still have to comply with your FCC radio station license, and applicable FCC regulations, when outside of the US. I have no idea what requirements might be in place for aircraft registered in the Bahamas but it wouldn't be surprising if the use of the station identification is (nearly) universal.

    If you think color helps, there's nothing prohibiting a pilot from including "Teal Cessna, ..." in his transmissions. It doesn't replace the need for the station identification, though.
     
  20. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    No, but if I know Cessna 1234, Cessna 4567, and Cessna 7890 are in the pattern I know there are 3 separate aircraft. If all three say “white Cessna” I may think there is only one aircraft.

    The unique number really helps identify different aircraft.
     
  21. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If I am approaching an airport and I am not totally sure how far out another plane is, I'll say how many minutes to arrival.
     
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  22. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I always use the descriptor "Piper twin" before the registration call sign when flying the Aztec. I think it helps if other traffic knows what kind of airplane they should be looking for. The registration is essential imo; how else you gonna identify which "white Cessna" of the 5 you are having trouble placing?
     
  23. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Yeah, there are only 5 other airplanes in the pattern that you can't read their tail number while flying, so tail number is very useful.
     
  24. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

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    Bob is right, regulations require you to use the full registration identifier. However useful it is in the pattern, especially for aircraft with 2" symbols (instead 2' symbols).
    If the FCC wants to ask the FAA to pull my license if I "forget" to use my full ID, I'd like to see the bureaucratic inter-agency cooperation to make that happen! :D

    But yes, this has NEVER been discussed before. Never ever. First time for sure. Let's see if we can start WW3 over it.
     
  25. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Where's the FCC reg that states you have to identify your station when broadcasting on aviation frequencies for aviation purposes without an FCC license?
     
  26. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yep, I have done this too. ADSB has helped sometimes finding out which plane is talking.
     
  27. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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  28. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    When it gets busy I switch myself. If someone can read my tail number they're WAY too close. You can see color and type a bit farther out. The less confusion we have the safer we all are.
     
  29. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    My friend has ****probably**** the only purple RV-9A in the pattern. Much better than a number!!

    Foremost, I need to know the location and intentions of other aircraft at a non-towered. Numbers & colors are of far less importance.


    IMG_1964.jpg
     
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  30. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    And you can see the "N" number from at least maybe 50 feet away?

    There is no good solution for this problem.
    My personal preference, to say and hear, is a descriptive type, color, distance, direction and altitude.
    "Yellow J3 159, 4 miles, northwest, at 2,000 ft" gives me a lot of info, plus I now know it's going to take some time for it to be somewhere else.
    "White Cessna, 4 miles due west at 2,000 ft" is a lot less helpful when it's a Cessna Citation, not a C-150.

    Also you have the problem in places like 44N, GBR and a few others I can name where the locals have NOTHING else to do than listen to the radio, write down your "N" number then lie to the FAA about what you are doing.
     
  31. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    I just use Heavy and the tail # so everyone gets out of my way.
     
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  32. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Cleared for Takeoff

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    Hmm, I missed the prior incarnations of this "war" :D Anyone have an executive summary they can offer?

    This is a local phenomenon here too, I freaking hate it. I can make a mental map of where 18Z, 42A, and 67C are in the pattern based on their recent calls, and I'd hope they could do the same based on mine. The color call-outs waste airtime and don't aid me one bit in a busy pattern.
     
  33. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    We are talking about the planes, not the pilots....
     
  34. tiger

    tiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You don't have to read anything in flight to get value from differentiating the airplanes, as @skier already explained.

    As you're maneuvering to enter the pattern, suppose you hear "White Cessna turning left downwind", followed shortly thereafter by "White Cessna turning left base".
    Now suppose instead you hear "White Cessna 12A turning left downwind", followed shortly thereafter by "White Cessna 89Z turning left base".

    If you're on your SA game, I'd suggest you have some clues to what's going on in scenario two you won't have in scenario one.
     
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  35. bradg33

    bradg33 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I use my N# just out of habit, but I find merit in omitting it. At an uncontrolled field, your N# really is irrelevant most of the time, unless there are multiple white Cessnas with similar sounding voices.

    As far as the FCC regulations, jaywalking is also illegal...
     
  36. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    FAA advisory circular 3-13-2018. Section 10.3.1

    Just saying....
     
  37. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    In before the "Advisory Circulars aren't regulatory" crowd.
     
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  38. bradg33

    bradg33 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Funny, that AC was clearly written by someone in the Kansas City FSDO (references to "Mosby," "Midwest National" and "Clay County."
     
  39. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They are just using common sense, it’s easier for me to pick out a blue Cherokee from a white 172 vs picking out N1421 from N2341
     
  40. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Thanks for the disgusting post. :rolleyes: You didn't answer my question though...