British airways speedbird

Hi, I recently started using VATSIM with msfs and I am curious of something.I noticed that every British airways flight is referred to as ,speedbird’’ and I was wondering: if I want to make a BA flight, which callsign do I enter in V-pilot when I connect to VATSIM, the standard BAW callsign and just be referred to as speedbird, or is there a special callsign?

Welcome Luca,

Airline Codes can be in a couple of major formats, but generally the ICAO standard is three letters followed by the company flight number. So as you have seen BAW and ATC will call you Speedbird. If you search ICAO airline codes you will find lots of codes. The other format is IATA which is a two letter code for BAW its BA. Often the IATA is used for passenger flight numbers, but in the air the controllers use ICAO.

If you weren’t sure the Controller knows your ICAO airline ‘callsign’ you can add in the comments of the flight plan RTF/Speedbird for example.

Alright, thank you very much:)

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Also check this.

it will give you an idea of what flight numbers are used for particular routes, but as far as VATSIM is concerned you can use any number.

The callsign SPEEDBIRD was inherited from BOAC, which in turn inherited it from Imperial Airways. It comes from the Speedbird emblem of Imperial Airways which continued to be used as the BOAC and later BA logo until 1984.


It’s also worth noting if you’re flying particular routes with particular aircraft types you can (if you want) use one of the BA subsidiaries, BA CityFlyer (ICAO: CFE, callsign FLYER) which operates the Embraer 190 out of London City or BA EuroFlyer (ICAO: EFW, callsign GRIFFIN) which operates the A320/A321 out of Gatwick.

Take for example BA EuroFlyer EFW2792 from Gatwick to Malaga. If you want to fly that route on VATSIM as EFW2792 with callsign GRIFFIN or BAW2792 with callsign SPEEDBIRD, the controllers won’t care either way.


Thanks guys, it really hepls.
Also I have one more question that isn’t related to this but I didn’t want to make a new topic.
Let’s say I’m flying on VATSIM and I want to depart from Bucharest and arrive at Gatwick. If I don’t have a controller at Bucharest, can I connect on Unicom, depart on my own and contact the first atc controller I fly over?

I mean can I fly from an airport without any controller and contact atc during my flight?

Yes. The ability to fly online is not limited by ATC attendances. The only rule is that if you enter an area which is under control you must contact that controller. I have had cases where I’ve departed on Unicom, encountered ATC enroute, and then gone back to Unicom to land. Just depends on when and if a controller connects.

Alright, but I have another scenario: Let’s say you only have a controller on the tower frequency at your destination airport( you don’t have approach), do you contact tower for your approach and landing?

No. On VATSIM we have a top down policy for ATC. ATC can only operate at or below their certificate. So a TWR cannot provide approach/departure services. In some small number of cases a TWR might extend to the circuit area replicating real world services.

So if I was inbound to an airport with only TWR online, I would check the ATIS and see if a runway assignment had been made by the controller. Then call established on rwy XX when established.

NOTE: If for whatever reason you needed a different rwy to that in the ATIS, I send a PM to TWR stating that as early as possible.

Ok, thank you for clearing that up.

There’s also BA’s shuttle services (ICAO: SHT, callsign SHUTTLE), which you occasionally see people flying up and down Britain on VATSIM. There’s an early 80s advert for the service you can watch on YouTube!

I for one like flying British Caledonian (ICAO: BCC, callsign CALEDONIAN) which was one of the many independent British airlines that were merged into BA.