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WAD3

RW Question? Lifeguard?

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I heard a "Lifeguard" call sign tonight on my ATC just a while ago, and remember TWA 800 was a "Lifeguard" as well. What does a Lifeguard callsign mean?Also, on one of the ABQ ARTCCs there was a plane (commercial airliner I believe) telling the controller "...we have them on TCAS, but absolutely no lights coming from the area." Then "That's right, only on TCAS, but they aren't lit up at all". What's this all about? Military? Drug trafficking? I wanted to hear more, but that's all that was said, and I can't hear the ABQ controllers from here.I'm in Phoenix, Arizona.

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"Lifeguard" is used to indicate a medically urgent situation. It's commonly used by hospital helicopters transporting critically injured patients, fixed wing aircraft transporting ill patients to a distant location, aircraft transporting organs for transplant, etc.Not sure about the reference to TWA 800. A scheduled airline flight would never be referred to with a "lifeguard" callsign, execept, possibly, if a passenger became critically ill and the flight had to divert and land immediately.

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I believe that TWA 800 was a "life-guard" flight (transporting organs as I recall), and that this status had given it some priority in it's release at JFK at departure time. I agree though that the words "life-guard" would not have been included in it's callsign, although maybe it's transponder code and/or ATC header may have been coded to give it priority.Bruce.

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In my years of listening to ATC at MIA, I have heard quite a few commercial flights arriving/departing with "Lifeguard" added to the callsign. Of course, there are more small aircraft designated "Lifeguard", but it certainly isn't unheard of on commercial airline flights.

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According to my friend who fly's for University Medevac from Hanneman Hospital in Philadelphia Life Guard does not apply until they have a patient on board. Other wise it's Medevac 1 or what ever number ship it is.

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