VFR - Callsign for initial tower contact

VFR - Callsign for initial tower contact

Postby AZWildk4t » Fri Feb 26, 2021 3:03 pm

Newbie here and have a question about callsign when making initial contact with tower.

Yesterday I flew my first flight on PE from Sunnyside to Yakima. My initial contact was similar to "Your first flight". "Cessna N635ND is 10 miles out...". The controller recognized it was my first flight. He asked for the full callsign, which confused me. I said I didn't understand, which he asked if it was a Skyhawk, Caravan, Citation, .... I figured he needs this to help with spacing around the airport. I responded "Cessna Skyhawk N635ND is 10 miles out..."

My question is this:
(1) Do I use "Cessna Skyhawk" or "Skyhawk" on initial contact?
(2) After initial contact do I use "Cessna 5ND" or "Skyhawk 5ND"?

I read through AIM Section 4.2.3 and 4.2.4 and still wasn't sure which is correct.

Keith - I want to thank the Controller for his patience and making sure I use the correct phraseology. I had to try it a couple of times but finally got it correct and got clearance to land.

-- Steve
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Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:27 pm

Re: VFR - Callsign for initial tower contact

Postby Keith Smith » Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:52 pm

This is covered in the communications workshop here: https://www.pilotedge.net/workshops/atc-communications.

You can use make OR model, rather than make AND model for your callsign. So, never "Cessna Skyhawk 635ND." You can say "Cessna 635ND" or "Skyhawk 635ND".

ATC needs to know the type at some point if they don't already have a flight progress strip in place for you (ie, it's your first call and you don't have an IFR flight plan on file), so I'd make the initial call with your model (Skyhawk). If you want to swap to make (Cessna) later, feel free.
Keith Smith
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Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:38 pm
Location: Pompton Plains, NJ

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