Swiss Air Force flight callsigns

The ARAG aircraft detection system can occasionally track aircraft over 100 km from Geneva. Some of these aircraft use strange callsigns.

It was in December of last year that I recognised that the ARAG tracking system was actually sometimes picking up aircraft movements to and from Chambéry airport. This could be deduced from the transmissions of aircraft transponders which included global position data. After some technical effort on the recognition algorithms the GAME system can now indicate when a detected flight is going to or coming from Chambéry. In winter weekends there are quite a number of such flights, in particular from Great Britain.

A very detailed analysis also occasionally showed up flights to or from other airports. These always involved airports to the East or West, the probable reason being that transmissions at low aircraft altitudes from North and South are effectively blocked by the Jura or Salève mountains. No question of bouncing transmissions off the ionosphere, as is possible for some radio waves.

Just occasionally, an aircraft has a badly calibrated GPS system, so the global position is inaccurate. The worst that I saw was a cargo plane to and from Geneva which claimed that it was landing somewhere beyond the far end of the lake (well beyond Lausanne). I did write to the company concerned, but have had no answer!

The most interesting discovery was of some aircraft of the Swiss Air Force over near Payerne. As we know, there is an airport there which can be used by military flights, sometimes involving noisy military aircraft. However, the ones that were registered were not such aircraft: instead, they were Pilatus PC21 aircraft, which are used by the Swiss, and other countries, for training pilots. One nice photo of one of these, with registration A-101, was taken at Sion in September 2008.

One curiosity is that all of those detected used a callsign beginning with one of the three-letter sequences COL, GIZ or PEG. These are actually reserved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for particular airlines, so I don't quite understand why they were used.

Does anyone know?


18:47 Posted in Potpourri | Permalink | Comments (4) | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook


Membre du Comité de l'ARAS de Sion, je suis très intéressé par ce système de tracking des avions.

Pourriez-vous m'envoyer votre E-mail ?


Posted by: Nicolas | 03/07/2011

Un email à webmaster@aragge.ch viendra à moi!

Posted by: Mike Gerard | 03/07/2011

Les PC-21 permettent d’entraîner toutes les procédures tant militaires que civils avec notamment le vol en condition IFR (ceux-ci utilise pour se faire les systèmes civils de navigation et militaires, pour se faire, des zones sont spécialement activées afin de ne pas les mettre en conflits avec le trafic aérien commercial, l’utilisation de code civil permet une détection immédiate des radars primaires civils. Cette simplification a été décidée par l’organe de coordination de la sécurité aérienne de Skyguide qui regroupe les militaires et les civils.

Voir également le lien :

Bien à vous!

Avia news

Posted by: Pk | 03/08/2011

Merci pour les précisions et le lien très informatif.
Néanmoins, le choix des codes civils est toujours curieux.
Pour GIZ, pas de problème: ce code appartient à Africa Airlines.
Pour COL, confusion avec Columbia Air, Cratia: on en a vu des vrais!
Enfin, PEG, je ne l'ai trouvé dans aucune liste ICAO!

Explications de Skyguide?

Posted by: Mike Gerard | 03/08/2011

The comments are closed.