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It seems like a lot of air traffic control towers use callsigns that are much different from the name of the airfield. For example, Lehigh Valley International (ABE) has "Allentown Tower."

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"Allentown Tower" doesn't appear anywhere I can see on the sectional chart. (The control frequencies tab even lists it as "Lehigh Valley Intl.") You might be able to figure it out through other hints, such as the presence of the "Allentown Class C," but that doesn't seem like something that can be relied upon in general.

I doubt pilots are expected to have airport diagrams handy for every airfield in the vicinity just for this.

If, say, I had to divert to an unfamiliar airfield, how would I find the proper callsign for its tower?

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I doubt pilots are expected to have airport diagrams handy for every airfield in the vicinity just for this.

And you're wrong to doubt that.

If, say, I had to divert to an unfamiliar airfield, how would I find the proper callsign for its tower?

From the chart. Same place you'd get the tower frequency...

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  • $\begingroup$ By "chart," do you mean the airport diagram? (As opposed to the sectional chart, which is where I would get the tower frequency.) $\endgroup$ – Maxpm Jul 3 '18 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Maxpm The sectional. It has a magenta box that says, "contact Allentown app" with the correct frequencies. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jul 3 '18 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ @TomMcW Unfortunately, I don't think that's a reliable method, in general. Perhaps a better example would have been the nearby Essex County Airport (CDW), which has "Caldwell Tower." There's nothing on the chart referring to any "Caldwell." $\endgroup$ – Maxpm Jul 3 '18 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Maxpm Hmm. On paper charts it would be on the back. The definitive source would be the chart supplement, but that's pretty impractical in flight. You could tune the freq and listen for it. But I'm sure if you said the airport name it wouldn't be the first time the atc has heard that. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jul 3 '18 at 20:24

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