What's a golfsierra?

In short, this website is named golfsierra because golf sierra is aviation radiospeak for my initials, which are (as can probably be guessed) G S. To explain:

This comes from a tradition among RV people and a aviation standard used by (among other folks) the FAA. The tradition among RVers (and in many other kitplane circles) is to make the last two letters of the airplane's registration your initials. If your name was (for example) Richard VanGrunsven, then you would likely choose a registration number that ended in "RV" - perhaps N137RV, or something. My initials are GS, so when I register the RV I am building it will likely be something like N717GS.

However, no one ever says "Seven One Seven Gee Ess" over the radio because numbers frequently sound like other numbers. Over a radio, G is difficult to distinguish from D, especially if the radio is scratchy and you're talking fast.

This is why pilots use what's commonly called the "radio alphabet" - or, officially, the "International Telecommunication Union Recommended Phonetics." With a name like that it's probably immediately obvious why everyone has shortened it the radio alphabet.

If you're trying to get involved with aviation and you're worried about having to memorize all this, don't worry about it. It seems daunting at first but you'll just gradually pick it up from hanging around aviation people, listening to other airplanes call in, typing it out on websites, etc.

In any case, for your personal edification and enjoyment, here is the complete radio alphabet:

(And just for your reference, here's the landings.com guide on how to say all the letters correctly.)

A - alpha B - bravo C - charlie D - delta E - echo
F - foxtrot G - golf H - hotel I - india J - juliett
K - kilo L - lima M - mike N - november O - oscar
P - papa Q - quebec R - romeo S - sierra T - tango
U - uniform V - victor W - whiskey X - xray Y - yankee
Z - zulu


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