Pilot Callsigns

The web's largest collection of callsign stories

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The Three Rules of Callsigns

  1. If you don't already have one, you will be assigned one by your "buddies".
  2. You probably won't like it.
  3. If you complain and moan too much about 1. and 2., you'll get a new nickname you'll like even less!

So, how do you get a callsign?

Do something stupid or have it fit with your last name. Obvious examples, 'Crash' or LT 'Cheese' Kraft. Sometimes it's based on a physical appearance thing like 'Carrot'. After you've earned the respect of your buddies, you'll get a more 'heroic' callsign.

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Most recent additions

Our callsigns list contains 1519 callsigns. Here are the latest additions:


 (added: 15 Feb 2021)
Guy was the smallest pilot in the squadron


 (added: 15 Feb 2021)
True Story: F-16 pilot with this call sign was in the process of transferring a F-16 from SC to Louisiana for a Hurricane evacuation. As soon as the pilot leveled off about FL26. He had an IFE with a engine warning light. Without declaring IFE or contacting ATC he dove through airspaces and aimed for nearest field: KXNO. Luckily, the FD was out fueling fire trucks that morning. His wingman performed a low altitude high speed pass over the field to get our attention. There was no communication with ATC tower at XNO, nor was it staffed at the time. Even then they probably only heard static on the radio. I was one of the firefighters that day and noticed the F-16 parked at the end of the runway aiming off the end. We responded to safety the aircraft (pinned gear, and chocking a/c) and allowed for safe shutdown. Mechanics later determined had the engine run for a couple more minutes it could have exploded. It was actively leaking oil out the engine when it landed.


 (added: 1 Mar 2021)
F*@# Is She Huge. When she looks like Xena: Warrior Princess


 (added: 10 Mar 2021)
Canadian pilot who landed slightly short of the runway, resulting in a huge cloud of dust and small rocks thrown up by her jet wash.


 (added: 1 Nov 2020)
OTO0L as in One Takeoff, 0 (Zero) Landings. Mid-shipman arrived from the academy for his first flight in the Navy during his midshipman "cruise" in the back-seat of a two-seat F-5E. He and his pilot were in the air for thirteen minutes before having a mid-air collision. Both the pilot and mid-shipman ejected safely and was assigned the callsign OTO0L. He went on to become a fighter pilot with the Navy.


 (added: 10 Apr 2020)
The friendliest but deadliest whale!


 (added: 14 Apr 2020)
One of our guys engaged a target in Afghanistan and the frag from the AGM killed a bunch of lambs in a field. Callsign Lecter from Silence of the Lambs.


 (added: 17 Apr 2020)
Continuous Awkward Moment. I used to say some crazy, off-the-wall things in my squadron that would make people give me those side-ways glares. Example: while in Afghanistan this one guy in our can (living space) used way too much body spray before going to work one day. I walked outside huffing and puffing, some of the other pilots asked me what was wrong, and I responded “have you smelled the inside of my can? It smells like a urinal in a Portuguese cat-house.” Definitely got some side-ways looks.


 (added: 19 Apr 2020)
Pilot blacked out on his first flight during training, to the amusement of the instructor.


 (added: 19 Apr 2020)
Pilot was late for several briefings, and ended up with a reputation for showing up just in the nick of time.


 (added: 1 May 2020)
The story is simple : I wanted to become at least a Captain, and I love two things : Coffee and Books, so the other started to jokingly call me "Cap' Coffee and Books", with became "Coffee And Books" : CAP.


 (added: 7 May 2020)
I was really into Dungeons and Dragons in the 80s. Anyone whose played knows that it's really hard to get a gaming group together and it's almost like admitting a social disease (at least in my era). "Hey dude, the word "Tarrasque" mean anything to you?" But you need a gaming group, so I had to convert a few people. Well why not start with my Flight? With some liquid courage and a borrowed copy of the 2nd edition I went full christian missionary on them. They thought it was super nerdy and started calling me Mr wizard. I never did get my DnD group, but the name stuck.


 (added: 11 Feb 2020)
I have a big nose, so I was a toucan, or Toucan Sam from fruit loops the cereal.

Short Stuff

 (added: 4 Feb 2020)
My partner called me short stuff in front of my pilot friends one time. Since I was probably the shortest person around the name stuck.


 (added: 31 Jan 2020)
Last name is Dee, this call sign has nothing to do with a swirling dogfight flown out of the MOA after orientation came into question.


 (added: 26 Jun 2020)
In the Navy, back in the 80's the term "Skate" meant someone who walks around and looks like he's doing something when in all actuality he... isn't. I had this lovely callsign bestowed upon me during the Gulf War while I was supervising a bunch of FNG's during UNREP aboard THE U. S. S. Ranger (CV-61).


 (added: 20 Jun 2020)
The man had large ears. What can I say.


 (added: 14 May 2020)
E-6 Wing Commander. Back when he was in pilot training, his girlfriend (eventual wife) came to his graduation. He was caught with her in the backseat of her car. The story preceded him to his first assignment, where they promptly gave him his callsign: Anal Cavity Explorer.


 (added: 16 May 2020)
Loser Of The American Revolution. Royal Navy pilot on exchange with a US navy squadron.


 (added: 20 May 2020)
I always showed up in a good mood, tried to always stay positive in bad situations; to the point that it became a bit annoying to others. Unbeknownst to me, I gained a reputation for my overly positive attitude. One day my CO calls my last name and I responded with a cheerful 'Yes Sir' and a smile. Then he orders me to get my happy ass into his office to discuss something. Upon emerging from his office, my new callsign, 'happyass', was assigned. Not the one that I was hoping for, but it could have been so much worse. The shortened version, 'Happy', while seemingly better, had it's own issues with references to Santa's reindeer and the seven dwarfs.


 (added: 20 May 2020)
A-7 (all USN models). I started out as “Bear” (6’4”-230lbs), big enough to hunt bears with a switch, but after causing a forest fire when a smoke flare malfunctioned during a SAR-EX, changed to “Smokey.” Brian French I started out as Bear (6’4”-230lbs), but after causing a forest fire when a smoke flare malfunctioned during a SAR-EX, became “Smokey.”


 (added: 26 May 2020)
First name Brian. During FTXs and/or flights, I would "B-line it" towards the objective.

Speed Bump

 (added: 12 Jun 2020)
Annoying object used to impede progress. He didn't like his original call sign.


 (added: 4 Jul 2020)
Got the name for having the last name ding. And having a huge.... ;-)


 (added: 12 Jun 2020)
Monkey Undergoing Brain Transplant Operation In a sentence, MUBTO warned Speed Bump to not complain about his call sign. Earn a better one. That's how he got Speed Bump and then Clownboy.