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 1651 callsigns. Here are the latest additions:
Lava (Lamp)
 (added: 1 May 2023)
Looked good but wasn't very bright
 (added: 13 Sep 2023)
I knew a Greek guy who was always saying that he was the last line of defence. We asked what the last letter of his alphabet was, and there you go.
 (added: 10 Jun 2023)
He thought it meant he was super-scary and warlike.

We all knew it meant "not very sharp; used as a last resort".

 (added: 7 Sep 2023)
One young newcomer decided to tell us about how he had not finished Medical college. Sooo... since he was not a Doctor, he must be a Nurse!
 (added: 26 Sep 2022)
F-15 pilot, last name Sharp
 (added: 14 Feb 2023)
Opposite of Fun. NUF was a single guy that acted like a 80-year old grandpa when it came time to push up the fun meter.
 (added: 25 Jun 2023)
Panties in pool. Female Viper driver
 (added: 17 Apr 2023)
Female pilot (Capt at the time) from Hill AFB I met at a "Women in Aviation" event with my daughter. Her last name is "Wolfe".
 (added: 20 Jan 2022)
Belgian Air Force solo display pilot Stephane Darte... Hence Darth Vador, and he's a Star Wars fan as well. The F-16 used for his display was nicknamed The Dark Falcon, in a special paint scheme.
 (added: 7 Sep 2023)
Ewan McGregor, famous for playing "Obi-Wan" (/ˈoʊbiːˌwɑːn'/) Kenobi in Star Wars, has a brother Colin. Colin McGregor is an RAF pilot, formerly working out of RAF Leuchars. His callsign is Obi-Two.

This only makes sense if you know that “Wan” means ‘one’ in Scots language. Undeniably cool.

 (added: 7 Sep 2023)
“Boomer” took out all of the windows in a strip mall in Georgia while engaged in unauthorized DACT with a couple F-15s out of Warner-Robins.
Horse Killer
 (added: 23 Aug 2023)
I killed a retired race horse (which had been at stud for nearly 20 years) in Pennsylvania during an emergency landing of the SH-2F Seasprite Helicopter (during a NATOPS check flight). The worst thing? The horses name was Red Rebel.

My wife, as a joke, proceeded to create / established the "Equine Euthanasia Association" with business cards and everything. There were three of us - charter members (as it were). The check pilot (me), the pilot being evaluated, and the air crewman. They even heard about it at the Pentagon and years later, whenever I called the Pentagon, I was referred to as Horse Killer.

 (added: 9 Aug 2023)
USN F/A-18 pilot Vincent Aiello. Callsign came from last name.

Also see: Famed Naval Aviator Aiello tells the story of one of the final U.S. Air Strikes of the 20th Century

 (added: 26 Jul 2023)
Navy ECMO with last name Fluck. LT Rob "Custer" Fluck
Pretty Boy
 (added: 3 Aug 2023)
The jet was smoking (tail pipe fire on shutdown) and the pilot in training was sitting in the cockpit going through the emergency procedures while simultaneously combing his hair in the mirror..The commander of the fire brigade arrived at the jet and asked who is the Pretty Boy in the cockpit?
 (added: 4 Sep 2023)
Not real creative. My elementary school mates already beat them to the punch. Last Name "Ivey" - still sounds pretty cool as a call sign and back to the rules of call signs, complain and "it will get worse."
 (added: 29 Aug 2023)
Please One Thing At a Time Only. He could not multi task at all!
 (added: 31 Aug 2023)
My grandfather told me about this one from one of his buddies in Vietnam. he was called "sponge" as in "bullet sponge" cause it seemed every time they left whatever FOB or airbase they were at they would take fire and he would get either the most close calls or the most actual hits but they were never bad enough to be sent back to the US... until he got shot 6 times and was sent back to the states. My grandfather and his old platoon never were able to find him once back in the states and gave up in the late 70s.
 (added: 10 Oct 2018)
Got lost on a training mission
 (added: 23 Aug 2023)
The handle accorded to an F/A-18 pilot with the last name of Cannon. He was an exceptional aviator, now retired.
 (added: 23 Aug 2023)
One new major came into the squadron after a ground tour and tried to give himself the callsign of ‘Steamer’. He said that people called him that because he would get so angry that steam would come out of his ears. A Captain in the squadron said “Hey, my dog dropped a big old steamer in the back yard this morning”.
 (added: 28 Jun 2023)
Most carrier aircrew carry “Piddle Packs” - a heavy-duty long ziplock bag with a sponge or powder at the bottom. Our flight suits zip down from the top or up from the bottom, so we can get to our naughty bits in flight (without unstrapping from the ejection seat), and relieve ourselves in the bag. The liquid hits the powder, it forms a gel, and after the flight (at least in the S-3 Viking) the NFO will leave his piddle pack in the pilot’s nav bag on his way out of the jet, with much cursing to follow. One day this S-3 Viking pilot lands after a routine flight at sea in the middle of a deployment. As he gets out, everyone is really excited to see him. The flight deck chief gives him a high-five and slap on the arm. The plane captain shakes his hand vigorously as he welcomes him back aboard. The pilot starts making his way across the flight deck, baffled at the warm reception. He’s seen all these folks every day for months, and just saw them a couple hours before. Now random strangers are waving and shaking his hand - yellow shirts from the Deck Department, purple-shirt fuel dudes, and even a couple of Hornet pilots snap him a quick salute as they pass by. He heads below deck shaking his head, where the hearty greetings continue. Finally, he arrives in the cramped space of the PR shop, where he starts taking off layers of flight gear - helmet, survival vest, parachute harness, and . . . uh oh . . . It appears he had used the piddle pack in flight, got distracted by something, and forgot to . . . how shall I say this . . . “Raise his landing gear”. His junk had been hanging out in the wind for all to see, from the time he left the jet to now. His call sign became DOOFUS, which stands for “D!ck Out On Flightdeck, Unusually Small”.
 (added: 1 May 2023)
King of the brown nosers. Nose Operating Generally Under Nut Sack.
 (added: 16 Apr 2023)
Fell backwards down a flight of stairs, drunk, whilst wearing a dress.
 (added: 1 May 2023)
I flew with this NFO in a reserve Hornet squadron. On his second flight out of NAS Lemoore he transmitted "check out that rainbow" over the guard frequency inadvertently. Apparently in response to a circular rainbow from a recent rain squall.
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