Understanding Inflight Communications?

On a recent United flight from San Francisco to San Diego I enjoyed listening to communications between controllers and pilots even though much was unfamiliar.

I heard several references to “Be-Bop” and “Mickey” which seemed to be locations, but not airports. I haven’t been able to track this down using Google.

Does anyone have any idea what these terms mean?


They’re intersections, or locations in the airspace; they have 5 letter names that are usually (possibly always, I’m sure someone else can cite the FAR/AIM reference) pronounceable.


I can’t find one that sounds like Mickey along your route, but it’s probably near Anaheim, CA (Disneyland).

Thanks for the quick response and explaining BeBop. We guessed Mickey might refer to Anaheim as well.

Here’s MCKEY http://airnav.com/airspace/fix/MCKEY

It’s a reporting point along the coast near San Simeon.

BEBOP is a catch point for an oceanic route from SFO to Hawaii.

“Mickey” is probably MCKEY off of the Morro Bay VORTAC near San Luis Obispo, CA.

(A day late and a dollar short as azav8r beat me to the punch)

Thanks again to all for answering my question so promptly and clearly.

Is HINTO near Harrisburg, PA (KMDT) ? I heard that once during decent/approach…


You can find a complete listing of airspace fixes on the FAA website in both

(http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/LID/LIDHME.HTM) and [PDF](http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/at_orders/media/LID.pdf) formats.

Thanks! Last year I was coming in from ORD to MDT and heard the pilot on UA channel 9 talking to the tower, asking them to bring them in on the HINTO since there was some rain coming though.

ETA: Looks like HINTO is the outer marker for the ILS approach on runway 31. Makes complete sense now.


Intersections are kinda interesting the way they are named. You will notice, as with MICKEY that it relates to the area. Some of them along a Victor airway will correspond with the one you have already passed.
The naming thing is also true with Instrument departure procedures, and marker becon identifiers etc. For instance St.Louis has a BLUES and CARDS departure as well as a RIVRS arrival and others I can’t think of off hand.

Check out the ILS 18 @ LEB

There are tons of these, I think they’ve been covered in other threads on FA.

discussions.flightaware.com/viewtopic.php?t=2027 to be exact. :slight_smile:


Well, this article does have the answer to the OP’s question, MICKY is indeed a fix.


Yep… And there are several iterations of “Micky”… There is MCKEY, which the one that was referenced during the OP’s trip to SAN. There is MICKY, which is the final approach fix on the VOR/GPS-A approach to Cambridge, OH. And there is MICKI, which is a high enroute waypoint north of Orlando used to route traffic between two Restricted Areas when they happen to be active at the same time. I personally have been sent across it only once in my Florida adventures.

I just flew on two MD 83 supers and none of the seats had the ports to listen to ATC. Are they slowly getting rid of that luxury? I love to listen to my crew when I fly commercial.

Thanks CFIAllen :smiley:

As far as I know, only United has this feature. If you flew on MD83’s, you didn’t fly United.

Thanks Mr. Dami. I somehow always manage to end up on AA because they’re always going where I am. United used to be where I was always going so that’s why I guess I got spoiled. I have a little ATC radio but I know they won’t let me use it on the plane.


Interesting to see this show up since I live in Cambridge. Slim odds seeing my tiny burg on this forum! I can’t come up with a reason for it to be named that either. By the looks of it, this intersection is within a stone’s throw of my house.