General resources


Radio telephony procedures


Ground station callsigns AIP GEN 3.4

ATS callsigns

ATS units are identified by the name of the location followed by the service available, as follows:

En route area control, including SIS and FIS
Approach control where provided as a separate function
Departure control where provided as a separate function
Radar control providing vectors onto final approach
Aerodrome control or aerodrome and approach control where these services are provided from an aerodrome control tower, for example Coffs Harbour
Surface movement control
Clearance delivery to departing aircraft
Flight Information Service

The name of the location or the service may be omitted providing that satisfactory communication has been established.

Aircraft callsigns AIP GEN 3.4

Improper use of callsigns can result in pilots executing a clearance intended for another aircraft. Callsigns should never be abbreviated on initial contact, or at any time when other aircraft callsigns have similar numbers/sounds or identical letters/ numbers. For example:

‘charlie whisky zulu’‘whisky charlie zulu’.

Pilots must be certain that aircraft identification is complete and clearly identified before taking action on an ATC clearance. ATS will not abbreviate callsigns of air carrier or other civil aircraft having authorised callsigns. ATS may initiate abbreviated callsigns of other aircraft by using the prefix and the last three digits/letters of the aircraft identification after communications are established. The pilot may use the abbreviated callsign in subsequent contact with ATS. When aware of similar/identical callsigns, ATS will take action to minimise errors by:

  • emphasising certain numbers/letters
  • repeating the entire callsign
  • repeating the prefix
  • asking pilots to use a different callsign temporarily.

Pilots should use the phrase ‘verify clearance for (complete callsign)’ if doubt exists concerning proper identity.

Civil aircraft pilots may state the aircraft type, model or manufacturer’s name, followed by the digits/letters of the registration number, when using CTAF procedures, for example:

‘Bonanza charlie alpha echo’

‘Cherokee alpha bravo charlie’.

The prefix ‘helicopter’ before the callsign must be used by rotary-wing aircraft when first establishing contact on any frequency. For example:

VH-BFK – ‘helicopter bravo foxtrot kilo’.

Ground vehicles AIP GEN 3.4

Ground vehicles shall be identified by the type of vehicle, for example car, truck, tractor or tug, or an ATS-approved format, followed by the assigned vehicle number spoken in group form, for example:

Truck 12 – ‘truck twelve’

Car 23 – ‘car twenty three’

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