Contradicting information about 'Flight of x' in callsign

I’ve searched and read a lot of posts about the ‘Flight of _’ suffix in a callsign.
The information I found is contradicting.

I know there are a number of aircraft in a group.
I also know there’s one lead aircraft communicating with ATC. The others keep quiet.
The group is considered as one aircraft. They will take off and land together when the lead is cleared.

If this is not right, please correct me.

Some say all aircraft in the group need to have the same callsign. That sounds logical. How else is ATC supposed to know who is in the group and how isn’t.
Others say that isn’t necessary, which to me makes no sense.

In terms of the same callsign I found two different versions for using the suffix:

2nd: [CALLSIGN Flight of 2]
3rd: [CALLSIGN Flight of 3]
4th: [CALLSIGN Flight of 4]


Lead: [CALLSIGN Flight of 4]

Which one is right?
Or are they both wrong?

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I also think the second one is right

No this is wrong.

Correct way.[quote=“Jan_Polet, post:1, topic:28250”]
Some say all aircraft in the group need to have the same callsign

Yes, all have to use the same callsign.



It is confusing, since “Flight of 4” means a group of four aircraft.
“Flight of 2” means two aircraft.
Wouldn’t it make much more sense when the lead has the amount of aircraft as a suffix?
So “Flight of 4” with three others with just the same callsign?

Otherwise it should be “Flight 2 of 4”, “Flight 3 of 4” and “Flight 4 of 4”.

No, that is not the right way.

And yes, that’s th case, and I think there is nothing confusing with that.

It is when another aircraft has “Flight of 3” in the callsign.
Are there 3 or 4 aircraft in the group?
One states it’s a group of 4.
Another states it’s a group of 3.
That IS confusing.

Oh, now I understand what you mean.

Here are different aircraft:

Airbus A319 AAL234 (Lead aircraft)
Airbus A320 AAL234 Flight of 2 (second group aircraft)
Airbus A321 AAL234 Flight of 3 (third group aircraft)

So flight of 3 means three aircraft.

Flight of 18 means 18 aircraft.

Hope this makes sense.


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Basically yes. The first aircraft does not have any flight of x, only the following aircraft.

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No, not really.

Flight of 2 means 2 aircraft in total.
Flight of 3 means 3 aircraft in total.

When it’s a group of 4, it should be 1 of 4 (Lead), 2 of 4, 3 of 4 and 4 of 4.

Yes, that would make sense, though this is not how it is in the simulator.

Since only the lead aircraft communicates with ATC you never should hear “flight of X” on the radio, is that correct?

I hate to be contradictive but every aircraft in the formation should have the same flight of # so if your a group of 4 then you all have flight of 4 in the call sign. If only one person has it that wouldnt make sense to a controller. Each aircraft needs the flight of in their call sign. Check out Tyler’s tower tutorial on flight of flights.

It’s hard see in the video but it’s there both N172HVY and WLA have flight of 2 in their call sign when only N172HVY is communicating.


Do you have a link? I don’t seem to be able to find it!

@Jan_Polet check above I edited it

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Thank you!!

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But they don’t have the same callsign! I thought that was a requirement.

Nope just that they both have flight of 2 so you know they are together

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Got it! Thank you!! :)

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