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Author Topic: question from newbie  (Read 1735 times)
vdavistx
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« on: January 22, 2013, 10:23:47 AM »

I just like listening to the traffic.  Why do I hear 'cactus' sometimes referring to flight #?    Also, when I listened to the recording of US Airways Flight 1549 that went into the Hudson River, not only did the pilot call his flight Cactus 1549, but sometimes he or the controller referred to it as 1529?  why change the #'s?    Thanks for any help understanding.
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RonR
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 11:00:29 AM »

"Cactus" is the name used by US Airways in ATC communications.  The name Cactus originated from America West airlines before they merged with US Air.  After the merger, US Airways began using the "Cactus" name.  They're not the only airline to use an unusual name; British Airways, for example, is "Speed Bird", Aer Lingus is "Shamrock", etc.  Not sure about the flight number difference, maybe it just sounded like he said 1529 instead of 1549?.  The flight number shouldn't have changed.

Ron
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ZBW (CLIPR32/HTO31)
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RonR
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2013, 11:09:34 AM »

I take back what I said about the flight number difference...I never noticed it before but 1549 was referred to several times as 1539 and 1529 in the audio.  Sorry about that...

Ron
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ZBW/ZNY/ZDC (JFK Area) 2
ZBW/ZNY/ZDC (JFK Area) 3
ZBW/ZNY/ZDC (JFK Area) 4
ZBW (CLIPR32/HTO31)
ZBW (DXR19/SOUTHIE49)
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Hollis
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2013, 01:17:14 PM »

Easy to get confused when you're under duress.
Once had to do a dead stick landing in an open field after an abrupt engine failure, later dtermined to be a broken drive shaft. When asked by the controller, on our way down, gave our location as 1 mile West of town X. Wrong. 1 mile West of town Y. All turned out OK eventually.
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joeyb747
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2013, 10:22:09 PM »

I just like listening to the traffic.  Why do I hear 'cactus' sometimes referring to flight #?

This may also help...

Every airline in the world has a CALLSIGN...a nickname if you will.

Some are simple, American Airlines' callsign is "AMERICAN". United Airlines' callsign is "UNITED".

Some, not so simple. Atlantic Coast Airlines' callsign is "BLUERIDGE". And Virgin Americas' callsign is "REDWOOD".

Some make sense, some don't.

Here is a list of them all:

http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/CNT/3-3.htm

Chapter One sorts by company name first.
Chapter Two lists by callsign first, so if you hear one you don't know, you can look it up!  cool
Chapter Three is by three letter designator first.

See Also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_codes-All
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