Airport Identifier Codes

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Randy Petersen, Oct 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    I was looking up something recently and stumbled upon this great article about the history of airport identifier codes. Things I learned were that early airports with two-letter weather station codes received an X on the end — LA became LAX and Portland's PD became PDX. And I finally found out why Newark is EWR. As it turns out, the Navy took all the N codes (surprised that the Marines didn't take all the M codes and Army didn't take the A codes!) which is why Newark does not start with N. The most intriguing to me is the Knoxville Airport. As it turns out it was built on land donated by the Tyson family in honor of their son who was killed in World War I and so the airport symbol is TYS.

    Want to learn more? Read HERE.
     
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  2. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    Thanks for sharing that -- I've always wondered about how some of those identifier codes came to be!
     
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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    ORD and MCO are my favorite stories.
     
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  4. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    Thanks for posting -- there's a similar history for the call signs for am radio stations (from about the same era), e.g. three digit usually meant clear channel.... my favorite WNFL which is near GRB.

    and I can explain why DTW is used for Detroit because Detroit City uses DET -- and in recent years (decades?) it's was service by Southwest and (short lived) Pro Air.

    DTWBOB
     
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  5. Rejuvenated
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    Rejuvenated Gold Member

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    Don't know how they came up with them, but I start chuckling inside whenever I think of Panborn Field (EAT) and Fresno (FAT).
     
  6. iterfacio12

    iterfacio12 Silver Member

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    Interesting article; I've pondered some of those names for quite a while. Thanks.
     
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  7. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Not sure of EAT. But FAT was Fresno Air Terminal.
     
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  8. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Also interesting how some newer airports inherited codes from older airports like DEN (Stapleton > DIA) and BKK (Don Muang > Suvarnabhumi) Really messes with the FlightMemory!

    What I find the most interesting though is the conversion to 4 letter ICAO codes when you get out into the pacific. In the lower 48 you would just add a K (for example KLAX) but once you get out to Hawaii you add PH and subtract a letter from the end (HNL becomes PHHN). When I was working on getting my private pilots license I flew over in Maui a couple of times. Come check ride time the examiner here in CA was a little thrown off by the PHOG entries in my logbook, like where's that? :confused:

    5 letter way points also are fun. Like SMOGY in LA. Sometimes they are named after local teams (BOSOX) or local words (MAKAI in Hawaii) Other fun ones include NARCO, DRUNK, SEXXY, BEACH, CRAZY.
     
  9. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

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    I am from Chicago and I never knew why it was ORD. Very cool!
     
  10. Stils

    Stils Silver Member

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    LOL I wonder who had the guts to respond to SUX's code change request by saying that they could change it to GAY.
     
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  11. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Part of what I had to do my first week at Classic was memorize all the airport and hotel codes for Hawaii. I remembered Maui's main airport with:

    OGG Like Maui!

    The others were:

    Just a Hill on Maui (for west Maui)

    and HaNa Maui (as that one was easier)
     
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