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pilot#476398

Tower Helicopter 153TT...?

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I've flown with a number of different schools on both sides of the country, and so far, its always the same. When we're on the radio its always "Tower helicopter such and such...". Why is that?

 

The fixed wing guys always seem to go by their manufacturer's name, i.e. "Cesna...", "King Air...".

 

So, any of you Robbie guys out there (or even Hughs/Schweizer/Sikorsky guys) actually say on the radio, "Tower Robinson,...", "Schweizer..."?

 

...because I've been thinking about doing it?

:huh:

Edited by pilot#476398

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From the AIM

 

3. Civil aircraft pilots should state the aircraft type, model or manufacturer's name, followed by the digits/letters of the registration number. When the aircraft manufacturer's name or model is stated, the prefix "N" is dropped; e.g., Aztec Two Four Six Four Alpha.

 

EXAMPLE-

1. Bonanza Six Five Five Golf.

 

2. Breezy Six One Three Romeo Experimental (omit "Experimental" after initial contact).

 

4. Air Taxi or other commercial operators not having FAA authorized call signs should prefix their normal identification with the phonetic word "Tango."

 

EXAMPLE-

Tango Aztec Two Four Six Four Alpha.

 

5. Air carriers and commuter air carriers having FAA authorized call signs should identify themselves by stating the complete call sign (using group form for the numbers) and the word "heavy" if appropriate.

 

EXAMPLE-

1. United Twenty-Five Heavy.

 

2. Midwest Commuter Seven Eleven.

 

6. Military aircraft use a variety of systems including serial numbers, word call signs, and combinations of letters/numbers. Examples include Army Copter 48931; Air Force 61782; REACH 31792; Pat 157; Air Evac 17652; Navy Golf Alfa Kilo 21; Marine 4 Charlie 36, etc.

 

https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim/aim0402.html

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With a manufacturer name, they may or may not realize it's a helicopter. Saying 'helicopter' gives other people a very good idea what your flight characteristics are and for what kind of aircraft they should be scanning the sky.

 

There are some other instances where people don't stick to just the manufacturer name. For example, many people say "Twin Cessna" as a callsign rather than just "Cessna" when they're flying something like a Cessna 310 (a multi-engine cessna), so they aren't confused for the much more common, slower Cessnas like 152/172/182s.

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I go for the double whammy,

 

Lafayette tower, petroleum helicopter 4 4 4 papa hotel.....

 

One guy goes even further (on an uncontrolled field)

 

Kearny traffic, petroleum 4 4 4 papa hotel, black and yellow bell 206, ....

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Helicopters should avoid the fixed wing flow of traffic .

Notifying the tower you are a helicopter does them a favor of not having to waste effort trying to sequence you.

That enables them to make use of the tremendous flexibility a helicopter affords.

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I just thought, they automatically know a Cesna's an airplane, by now I would imagine they know a Robinson is a helicopter, especially when there are a lot of them training in the area?

 

If I said, "Tower Robinson 154TT inbound for the South helipad", I think that they might get that I'm a helicopter? ;)

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You can say Robinson if you like... Bqmassey said it best...

By saying copter your helping atc with your speed and landing characteristics. Some may know Robinson is a helicopter.. Some may not

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I always call in as "Bell 407 ABCD"at controlled airports, thinking that they know what is what. At uncontrolled, I usually say "helicopter ABCD". Not sure if it is right or wrong, but I do figure that controllers know most aircraft types.

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I just thought, they automatically know a Cesna's an airplane, by now I would imagine they know a Robinson is a helicopter, especially when there are a lot of them training in the area?

 

If I said, "Tower Robinson 154TT inbound for the South helipad", I think that they might get that I'm a helicopter? ;)

Cessna produced a helicopter they are rather proud of. I don't think any of them are still flying though.

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Bravo tower, Airbus 123FW, 6 SE, 500agl, with info Xray for landing on the Charlie taxiway.

 

That might shake things up!

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I always say "Helicopter" or "Cessna", "Piper" etc. When Im in a helicopter, I don't say the model. But when Im in an airplane it is the standard practice to go that route. Better than saying "airplane" I guess. On my initial call-up if Im in an airplane, Ill say "N123456, Cessna 210......" From then on, they know what my capabilities are. In a helicopter, I could be an R22 or an AW139, they don't really care if Im VFR. But if Im a Cessna 172 or a Cessna Citation....... it makes a big difference.

 

If Im on an LE flight, I use the aircraft call-sign "Air 1" vs the tail number. It lets the tower know that Im going to be just wandering around, orbiting here..... hauling butt back and forth, orbiting there.... If I just use my tail number and I start doing things like that, if Im in different airspaces, the controllers always as "Helicopter XXXXXX, state intentions please." If they know from the start that its an LE helicopter it makes them less anxious when Im just darting back and forth.

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I've always qualified with "helicopter" for exactly what Aeroscout says. Any good controller who knows their job will do their best to accommodate you, but it can also save them issues if they have fast moving traffic behind you. I would often fly between 2 airports where their main bread and butter flights were corporate jets and knowing that you have an aircraft that is slow by comparison helps them slot you in or gives them the ability to put you in direct to your landing area if it helps keep the inbound/outbound traffic moving. I've been told to go direct from the west, coming in over the west boundary fence to the hangar before, keeping me clear of a backlog of bizjets on approach.

 

I've also been asked to move to a holding location to OGE hover for assist them in keeping things moving. It's never been a directive, they ask and I have accommodated where possible. Keeps things happy in the tower, but also affords you the ability that once they get to know you and your movements like say the kind of operations that flying pig does (when he's not making us jealous with sunset pics from the air), if you say you can't accommodate them, they'll be more understanding and get you in and make other traffic jump through hoops when you need it.

 

Back in my LE days, I remember being on approach to IND and the tower keeping all the heavy traffic stationary while we shot back to the hangar directly down the middle of the 2 active runways. The tower ever requested we do a flyby of their tower at eye level on the way back in where they were all plastered against the windows waiving at us. That's a good example of a a great working relationship with the tower controllers :)

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I was flying into El Monte, CA and was cleared to land using my LE call sign. I landed and was rolling out on the runway in my Cessna T206H when the tower guy says "Air 1" Im still not seeing you. For a second I thought I had landed at the wrong airport!!!!.... I say... "Im the white cessna rolling out on the runway." Tower says "OH.. I thought you were a helicopter. OK, please expedite off the runway and contact ground, I have a King Air on short final."

 

I get over to ground and I get the dreaded "Can you copy down a number?" Im thinking "Uhhh.... OK, I didnt do anything wrong, but OK." I call the guy up and he says it was their error. I was a C206, but being from the LA basin where most agencies use just helicopters, it had been relayed as a B206 when I came over to LA center. Somewhere it had been lost in translation. Fortunately we laughed it off and moved on with life. A lot of Jet Rangers coming over the mountains at 14,000 I guess :)

Edited by Flying Pig
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That feeling that you might have landed at the wrong controlled airport. That's one no pilot would want.

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I had it for about 10 seconds..... I was about to open the door and throw up. With LE brass/VIPs on board who all looked at me as if to say "WTH did you just do Deputy????"

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I had it for about 10 seconds..... I was about to open the door and throw up. With LE brass/VIPs on board who all looked at me as if to say "WTH did you just do Deputy????"

That 10 seconds can seem like forever. But, it would have seemed a lot longer if you actually had landed at the wrong controlled airport.

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With Eurocopter's rebrand to Airbus Helicopters- has anyone tried making any radio calls on the radio in an AS350 as an "Airbus 350" for the ramp or taxiway?

Edited by Retreating Brain Stall

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With Eurocopters rebrand to Airbus Helicopters- has anyone tried making any radio calls on the radio in an AS350 as an "Airbus 350" for the ramp or taxiway?

You mean, like "Tour, Airbus (Airrrrrrboos) 01ABC, 15 Nord-Est pour la rrrrrampe avec xrrrrray" (remember to roll those Rs!) and then be all snarky-like when tower demands Eeenglish.

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I had it for about 10 seconds..... I was about to open the door and throw up. With LE brass/VIPs on board who all looked at me as if to say "WTH did you just do Deputy????"

How long did it take you to unsuck the seat from your keister? lol

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Lol. Funny story. I never really considered the added stress of switching back and forth between two different communications systems.

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I still have some genuine Cessna pleather in my buttcrack all these years later.

You know the FAA actually offers surgery to remove that. Their surgeons have the same motto as the field guys "we're not happy until you're not happy" so keep that in mind before going under the knife mate.

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