Flying routes that were involved in accidents

Hello VATSIM world! I’ve only been on the network a couple months and received my first supervisor report.

I was flying Colgan 3407 from EWR to BUF, and then was planning the return trip to EWR as CJC3437.

While flying I was contacted by a supervisor about flying a call sign that was involved in an accident. My intent is never accident reenactment, I was using the call sign because I like to fly real world routes. I knew about not flying any routes involved in 9/11, but didn’t know CJC3407 would cause a problem.

The supervisor and I had a nice conversation and I was allowed to continue the flight, the supervisor was mainly concerned about my intent with the flight. They did not mention anything about “don’t do it again”, all they said was have a good flight.

My question is this, when flying routes that have been involved in an accident etc, should I put a remark or comment “not a reenactment” when filing? What really is the police regarding accident flights? AGAIN flying with full intent to complete the flight safely.

Hi Andrew!
My recommendation would be to not use the exact same callsign, on the same route/area where the accident happened. Even if you plan on completing the flight safely, it’s just not appropriate, and the Code of Conduct mentions recognizing those events as well - not just re-creating them. That’s why I pointed you to the Code of Conduct section A17 - The CoC Companion Document has some additional insight into this.

As for the Restricted Callsigns (Such as the ones involved on 9/11) - Callsigns on this list are not allowed at all, regardless of where you’re flying

But one can not be expected to know all the callsigns involved in disasters, so that consideration of being “not appropriate” is very far-fetched

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From the Companion Document:
“You should avoid intentionally using the callsign of a crashed aircraft in a similar area/route”

Judging intent is complicated, so it’s best to just avoid using it if you can/know that callsign is related to an incident

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So this leads to another question and recommendation.

If VATSIM is able to prevent the filing and logging on of people using the same call sign, why can’t the server block call signs of accident flights?

Having such a “blocked call sign “ feature would eliminate all grey areas and would prevent honest mistakes from being intervened by a SUP

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I agree with everything else here, except for one thing. That list should be longer for restricted callsigns. Granted, those callsigns were restricted from 9/11 going forward, and we were left to our own discretion for any other callsigns.

That said, I hope that outside of naivety (lack of a better word; a lot of users here may not have been born when certain incidents occurred!) we would continue to avoid such callsigns as PAA103, AAL197, TWA800, etc.


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It think it is naive to think, that the ordinary VATSIM pilot keeps track of airplane disasters and which callsign was involved. There is a list of prohibited callsigns you can refer to, but apart from that I for certain do not keep an extended list of airplane disasters in my head. Avoiding each and every callsign involved in accidents is silly, unless the said flights are placed on the prohibited list. If a supervisor is concerned he can naturally make a call to the pilot, but unless the pilot are makíng maneuvers replicating an accident flight, I think the benefit of the doubt should be granted to the pilot.


Absolutely. I personally had no idea about Colgan 3407 until the report came in.
And that’s why the companion document recommends not using the exact callsign on the same route/area. Especially regarding accidents with fatalities, you never know how it may affect other members.

Please re-read the exchange described by Andrew on the original post. As I mentioned before, judging intent is complicated, so it’s best to avoid it if you know about the accident with said callsign on that route. And of course, remarks on the flight plan or any maneuver/communication that implies the pilot is trying to re-create it would make it obvious.

I hear what you’re saying. But isn’t it then somewhat random, who gets a headsup from a supervisor, depending on his/hers knowledge or lack of callsigns involved in an accident. This is what troubles me most.


I really do think it would be inexpensive and rather easy to incorporate a filter into VATSIM that would block the filing of accident callsigns and not allow users to log on to the network when using an accident call sign.

This really would do the community good both ways, one by respecting the tragedy that occurred, and two by automatically helping pilots who aren’t aware of an event from violating the VATSIM community guidelines in an honest mistake

Computer programming isn’t a specialty of mine by any stretch, but if the network can prevent 2 users from using the same call sign, I know it can be programmed to prevent logon and flight plans of accident flights

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Can’t comment on possible tech limitations for a restriction like that, but the issue is not the callsign itself.

This conversation pops up from time to time. Here’s one for reference from the old forums with some input from the BoG: Restricted callsigns question. - General Discussion - VATSIM Community

Will refer to the post! But for now I don’t have a problem changing the callsign next time I fly EWR to BUF in the Colgan livery on the Q400. Happy flying everyone!

That post definitely says a lot, especially when it comes to intent, as well as how VATSIM almost shut down due to those using callsigns that are restricted.

Now, I get that most won’t know what callsign has been in what incident nowadays since we are so far separated from them, or aren’t as widely known as others (Imagine someone coming on as LIO610), but perhaps we should (if the forum software allows for it) have a Wiki type post that can be added to that tells us what callsigns outside of the ones already restricted that we should use caution in and try to avoid.


As also stated in the old forum by the BoG, as long as you do not replicate the accident flight, then there should be no problem in flying with a callsign, which have been involved in an accident. One way I try to avoid the problem is by using RW callsign as of today. If a company has “retired” a flightnumber/callsign due to an accident, then I use todays callsign, not the old “accident involved” one. E.g. flying from Milano Linate to Copenhagen Kastrup I use today callsign SK688/SAS688 and not SK686/SAS686.
And offcause not using the banned callsign at all.

And there we go. This is the proper way around the banned callsign issue.


Brad, I just repeat what Simon Kelsey (BoG) wrote:
“There are a list of callsigns which are restricted, which are shown in the link - which AFAIK has not changed substantially since the old version of the CoC. There is also a general prohibition on recreating accidents etc, but no specific prohibition on the use of any callsigns other than those specifically mentioned.”

You can not recreate an accident flight, but you are allowed to use a callsign similar to one, which has been involved in one.
If the BoG changes this interpretation in the future, I’ll naturally comply with this.

Not all callsigns/routes with accidents have been changed or have they? If I want to fly a real life flight and it has happened to have an accident 20 years ago then so be it.

I agree with Torben (and Simon).

A fair amount of them have. KAL007 has been replaced by KAL82, KAL85, and KAL250. Same route. That is what I am getting at. More than likely a new flight number is in use for a flight that had an incident. I know they replaced all of AAL’s flight numbers that had incidents in 9/11. And I want to say that AAL587 was also replaced as well. Same routes, but different flight number.

I believe what is being said here is that you could fly as the new flight number on the route that had an incident, and be okay. But flying on the network as the flight number that had the incident and the route that that incident had is discouraged.


It all comes down to intent, as well as common sense. For some accidents it would be completely fine, like it the actual flight had little to do with the accident. In other cases, it would be a hard no.

If you’re in doubt, then it’s best to stay away or simply use another callsign. :slight_smile:

So I’m seeing SUPs are aware of ALL flights that were involved in accidents. Interesting