I’ve read several times about some Cirrus owners’ frustration with the controllers asking about their aircraft type. (I can’t wait until April of 2002 when I can explain to them what MY Cirrus is!)
Anyway, I have the same problem now.
I’m half owner of a 1969 Siai-Marchetti S.205-22/R. A Siai-what? Well, only 49 of them were ever registered in the US and they aren’t in the Controller’s Handbook either (and are unlikely ever to be).
So I get the same queries as Cirrus owners do. The reason they’re asking, though, in not idle curiosity or to annoy us. They need to know our performance characteristics such as speed, rate-of-climb, etc., so they can handle us appropriately. Also, unless there’s a known type in the system they can’t automatically hand us off to the next controller.
So what I say is this:
“It’s a Siai-Marchetti S.205, but it’s not in your handbook. You can just think of it as a Piper Arrow.” (The Arrow is very similar in size and performance. I don’t know WHAT you’d say was like a Cirrus!)
That usually satisfies them, though follow-on controllers often call me “Arrow 2830W” instead of “Siai-Marchetti 2830W.”
Hope this helps.