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Thread: Calsigns!

  1. #1
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Calsigns!

    Did you ever wonder where fighter pilots get their callsigns? A fighter guy is taxiing out for takeoff. He sees a Momma cat and her babies on the taxi way. He stops and creates a stoppage with the launch. What is his callsign?

    SPADE

    Saw Pussy and Declared Emergency!

    It is true!
    Last edited by Eddie Foy; 11-17-2020 at 07:25 AM.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

  2. #2
    Taledrger's Avatar
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    Never cared how you got your names... just said THANKS!!, 'cause it sucks down here.. different wars i'm sure but..Thanks Buddy!!
    Bob D
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  3. #3
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I have heard some good ones over the years. Good for those late night camp fire BS sessions at a fly-in.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  4. #4

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    I had a cousin who's call sign was "Puke." We never asked and he never offered...
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 11-17-2020 at 09:38 AM.
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  5. #5
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Another one. All true.
    Female F-16 pilot

    SHOCK

    Stringy Hair Ovulating Commie Killer
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  6. #6
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Most fighter call signs are acquired in one of two ways. It is either a play on your real name....ie Capt Thorson became "Thor", or Kevin Roll became "tootsie", or Kukulski becomes "Koko"

    OR

    It is acquired due to a gross act of buffoonery. A young man doing flaming shooters spills the drink down his front and basically puts himself on fire becomes "Flame", or as above you get "spade"

    If it is not an obvious play on his name there is a story there and its usually embarrassing. A gross act of baffoonery.

    Slick aka Bill
    Very Blessed.
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  7. #7
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    I was Leroy. A buddy of mine thought Leroy Foy sounded cool!
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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    n40ff's Avatar
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    In general did you pick it or was it given to you by your mates?

  9. #9
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n40ff View Post
    In general did you pick it or was it given to you by your mates?
    Varied. They have naming parties now where your mates choose the name.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

  10. #10
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Calsigns!

    Met a SuperCub pilot a couple years ago that moved to NH, was military and now drives a carrier bus.
    Last name is Wamberg so “Wam” was a natural but he mentioned he had gotten “a number of callsigns” during his stints. Never by his own volition.

    Great guy, dad (based on meeting his three daughters) and pilot.

    Only guy I know that has cross-branch service time, so flew both -16’s and -18’s, along with a host of time in varied aircraft, both land and carrier.

    Speaking of needing more campfire stories....


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org
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  11. #11
    JimParker256's Avatar
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    One of the Warrant Officers in my AeroScout platoon (Army Air Cavalry) received his nickname because he decided to show the "new guy" (me) how cool it was to hover the OH-58 helicopter up underneath a particularly large cottonwood tree. I was on a "local area orientation flight" with him, so he was PIC. I kept telling him "This doesn't look like a good idea to me..." and "Have you done this before?" He kept insisting that it was in the unit SOP (standard operating procedures) to mask the helicopter as far as possible beneath the overhanging limbs because they made for very effective camouflage...

    Yeah, there was sufficient clearance below the branches – right up to the point where the rotorwash began sucking them down. I started seeing chunks of leaves and small branches flying through the rotor system, and then "Whoomp!" An almost 6-inch diameter branch came crashing through the rotor system and literally exploded. For a few seconds there, we were IFR in a brown cloud of sawdust. We landed fairly hard – but seemingly level.

    So, I'm sitting there with my hand on top of the collective lever (to prevent lifting off again), leaning on it with all my weight as Mr PIC is trying as hard as he can to get us airborne again so he can hover out from underneath the tree... I inform him that we're not going anywhere, no matter WHO is supposed to be the PIC for this mission. Landing = end of flight. PIC expires on the ground. I'm the senior officer, and we are NOT moving this helicopter until maintenance has performed the appropriate inspections.

    Turns out there is no such SOP (gee, really?) and he was just trying to show off for the new guy, doing something he'd never done before but always thought would be really cool to try... What could possibly go wrong? Well, for starters, cottonwood trees are notoriously "brittle" and have a habit of dropping huge limbs periodically for no apparent reason. Add a hundred mile-per-hour rotor downwash to the equation, and the result was predictable – thus my earlier questioning of his decision.

    As it turns out, he was really lucky I would not allow him to take off again... The large limb was apparently termite-infested and totally rotten. It left brown stains everywhere (apparently, including in our shorts!) but did little damage. The tail rotor blades, on the other hand, were not quite so lucky. Apparently, he wasn't quite as "level" as it appeared when we landed, or there was a hummock tall enough to be a problem, because both tail rotor blades were damaged enough to have to be replaced. The blade tips were basically ripped open, and they had dirt all over them – not the brown powdery stuff from the limb. Structurally, they were totally shot – you could flex and twist them with your bare hands.

    At the time, I had one of those small Olympus tape recorders that I used on every flight, to record everything that came over the intercom. (I used the tiny earpiece plugged into the mike jack of the recorder, with the earpiece in the earcup of the flight helmet. It was a cheap solution, but it worked like a somewhat "tinny" microphone, recording everything that came through the intercom / radio system. It was a good thing I had it with me and turned on, because the guy tried to blame me, saying I was the one flying the helicopter. I just pulled out the tape recorder, and played back the entire discussion, all the way through to my "We're not moving this helicopter until maintenance clears it for flight" comment.

    His new callsign? Well, his actual last name was "Good", so his new callsign became "NotSo"... The best part was explaining how he got it to every new guy in the unit...
    Jim Parker
    2007 Rans S-6ES
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  12. #12
    jnorris's Avatar
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    I used to work with a guy who was an F-14 pilot. His last name was Elk. His callsign? Moose!
    Joe

    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat

  13. #13
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimParker256 View Post
    One of the Warrant Officers in my AeroScout platoon (Army Air Cavalry) received his nickname because he decided to show the "new guy" (me) how cool it was to hover the OH-58 helicopter up underneath a particularly large cottonwood tree. I was on a "local area orientation flight" with him, so he was PIC. I kept telling him "This doesn't look like a good idea to me..." and "Have you done this before?" He kept insisting that it was in the unit SOP (standard operating procedures) to mask the helicopter as far as possible beneath the overhanging limbs because they made for very effective camouflage...

    Yeah, there was sufficient clearance below the branches – right up to the point where the rotorwash began sucking them down. I started seeing chunks of leaves and small branches flying through the rotor system, and then "Whoomp!" An almost 6-inch diameter branch came crashing through the rotor system and literally exploded. For a few seconds there, we were IFR in a brown cloud of sawdust. We landed fairly hard – but seemingly level.

    So, I'm sitting there with my hand on top of the collective lever (to prevent lifting off again), leaning on it with all my weight as Mr PIC is trying as hard as he can to get us airborne again so he can hover out from underneath the tree... I inform him that we're not going anywhere, no matter WHO is supposed to be the PIC for this mission. Landing = end of flight. PIC expires on the ground. I'm the senior officer, and we are NOT moving this helicopter until maintenance has performed the appropriate inspections.

    Turns out there is no such SOP (gee, really?) and he was just trying to show off for the new guy, doing something he'd never done before but always thought would be really cool to try... What could possibly go wrong? Well, for starters, cottonwood trees are notoriously "brittle" and have a habit of dropping huge limbs periodically for no apparent reason. Add a hundred mile-per-hour rotor downwash to the equation, and the result was predictable – thus my earlier questioning of his decision.

    As it turns out, he was really lucky I would not allow him to take off again... The large limb was apparently termite-infested and totally rotten. It left brown stains everywhere (apparently, including in our shorts!) but did little damage. The tail rotor blades, on the other hand, were not quite so lucky. Apparently, he wasn't quite as "level" as it appeared when we landed, or there was a hummock tall enough to be a problem, because both tail rotor blades were damaged enough to have to be replaced. The blade tips were basically ripped open, and they had dirt all over them – not the brown powdery stuff from the limb. Structurally, they were totally shot – you could flex and twist them with your bare hands.

    At the time, I had one of those small Olympus tape recorders that I used on every flight, to record everything that came over the intercom. (I used the tiny earpiece plugged into the mike jack of the recorder, with the earpiece in the earcup of the flight helmet. It was a cheap solution, but it worked like a somewhat "tinny" microphone, recording everything that came through the intercom / radio system. It was a good thing I had it with me and turned on, because the guy tried to blame me, saying I was the one flying the helicopter. I just pulled out the tape recorder, and played back the entire discussion, all the way through to my "We're not moving this helicopter until maintenance clears it for flight" comment.

    His new callsign? Well, his actual last name was "Good", so his new callsign became "NotSo"... The best part was explaining how he got it to every new guy in the unit...
    Now, THAT is a great story....

    MTV

  14. #14

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    My call sign was Nightrider 02 when I was flying the YO-3A in Vietnam. The nightrider callsign was recognized by most of the province chiefs in the areas we worked, ie the Mekong River and the hochimin trail. Guess they figured anyone out there in the middle of a dark night was there for a reason. We didn’t get the call signs by any devious or other means.

  15. #15
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Wasn't this developed from a Schweizer glider?
    N1PA
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  16. #16
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    You never get to name yourself. Now the use of a callsign like "Nightrider" to other agencies is different. SDcubman I'm surprised your callsign was not balls as it took big ones to do that mission. My hat is off to you Sir.

    Like I said....a gross act of buffoonery......often makes for a great story, however embarrassing.

    "Humor is just tragedy plus time" Mark Twain

    Bill
    Very Blessed.
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    Most fighter call signs are acquired in one of two ways. It is either a play on your real name....ie Capt Thorson became "Thor", or Kevin Roll became "tootsie", or Kukulski becomes "Koko"

    OR

    It is acquired due to a gross act of buffoonery. A young man doing flaming shooters spills the drink down his front and basically puts himself on fire becomes "Flame", or as above you get "spade"

    If it is not an obvious play on his name there is a story there and its usually embarrassing. A gross act of baffoonery.

    Slick aka Bill
    Ok, if there’s a story that goes with that, out with it “Slick”!

    Oz

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    I’ll try to answer a couple of question and a couple of facts. Lockheed tested every civilian airplane they could get ahold of and everyone made way too much noise in flight. One area was the engine cowl inlets, which I didn’t know. Then testing a glider they used it as a basis for design. I remember it had 57 ft. wingspan a IO-360 continental engine and by the time I got in the program it had a 3 blade constant speed prop that replaced the 6 blade fixed pitch. Oly Falin manufactured them. Even with the constant speed setup it took @ 4000 ft to get airborne and the airport elevation was about 20ft. Msl. At full bore on takeoff the prop rpm was 700 and 400 rpm in the mission area. With all the equipment on board the thing weighed 3700 lbs. the fuselage behind the wing all the way to the rudder had a long picallo tube inside of a D shaped fairing with asbestos lining. The cowl was quite thick and consisted of fiberglass foam and fiberglass to quiet engine noise. It was indeed a quiet bird but I remember clear moonlight nights always made the sweat rings quite a bit larger being so visible. We found targets-lots of them and sometimes it went smoothly and sometimes I would ask myself WTF am I doing here. Guess I should write all of stories down before I can’t remember them but the above is a very very small portion of the YO-3A experience.

  19. #19
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    I was flying in the left seat of a OH-58 that belonged to the AZ Army National Guard. I was a FAC in the Air Force and we were working fighters from the helicopter. We were on the North Tac of the Gila Bend ranges. The pilot was a Warrant with Vietnam tours. We were in between flights and just exploring the range. He hovers up next to a hill with a lot of stuff on it. As he is looking at one from about five feet, he asks, "Wonder what that is." My reply. "Well that is an unexploded Mk82." He pulled collective quickly. He was hovering around "HE Hill" The only place on the range where you were allowed to drop live ordnance. I didn't share this experience with his fellow Warrants so he skated.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

  20. #20
    algonquin's Avatar
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    We had a call sign for the unit and numbers which were assigned by your job,ie. Saber 41 as a PLT. Leader, another unit we were aardvark,lol. The guys with special names in the Army were really special, like Pyro and his able body assistant Pyro Jr..

  21. #21
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Calsigns!

    Duplicate

  22. #22
    txpacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    Most fighter call signs are acquired in one of two ways. It is either a play on your real name....ie Capt Thorson became "Thor", or Kevin Roll became "tootsie", or Kukulski becomes "Koko"

    OR

    It is acquired due to a gross act of buffoonery. A young man doing flaming shooters spills the drink down his front and basically puts himself on fire becomes "Flame", or as above you get "spade"

    If it is not an obvious play on his name there is a story there and its usually embarrassing. A gross act of baffoonery.

    Slick aka Bill
    A name can also be based on physical appearance. I have known guys called Yoda, Quatto, Fester, and Sta-puft because that's what they looked like.
    Last edited by txpacer; 11-18-2020 at 10:56 PM.

  23. #23
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    Or state of origin. I'm from Louisiana, so became "Cajun" in the air and "Coonasse" in the bar.
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  24. #24
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Andy Papp became Smear.
    Steve Phylis became Syph.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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  25. #25
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    My sister's was "IVANA". By it's self it means nothing unless you knew her last name was Johnson.
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  26. #26

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    I was an AH-64 Apache Pilot in the 1st Persian Gulf War. My call sign was "Saddle Tramp" because I was a cowboy in my younger life. The guys pick your name in my old Army unit.
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