Battlestar Libra: Pilot Callsigns

Pilot callsigns are monikers used in the heat of battle to quickly and accurately identify the target of a wireless transmission. Therefore they should be short - typically only one or two syllables.

As a writer selecting a callsign for a character, most of us want to pick something "cool". In reality, though, many callsigns have less-than-complimentary origins. In the Battlestar Libra story, Tim McCue's callsign - "Stick" - arose from being called a "stick in the mud" by another pilot. It also carries additional meanings: a cue is a "pool stick", and pilots guide their fighters using a flight stick.

Callsigns are often drawn from the pilot's name or personal characteristics. Marine pilot Gregory Boyington, who commanded VMF-214 (the "Black Sheep Squadron") during World War II became known as "Pappy" because he was roughly a decade older than the Marines who served under him. USAAF pilot Robert Lee Scott, Jr., who served in the American Volunteer Group (the "Flying Tigers") during WWII was known as "Scotty".

When you're creating a callsign, make it fit your character. Let it reflect her name, or his personality - use it as a tool to further develop an identity. You can justify almost anything - if your character's name is Bob Smith but you want his callsign to be "Bunny", make up a funny background story about why his fellow pilots call him that.

The ultimate test of a callsign, though, is to put it into the following dialog:

Stay sharp, ________, we've got Raiders inbound at three o'clock!

If it doesn't roll smoothly off your tongue when you say it aloud, choose something else.

Wikinote: Pilots should be listed within this wiki with the format {{first name} last name} {callsign} to facilitate searching for pilots by name.

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Page last modified on October 29, 2017, at 04:08 PM