February 2016


I’m not sure how these waypoints on the WHACK TWO (RNAV) and TWSTD THREE (RNAV) arrivals into Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport reflect on Texas:


Luca F Bencini-Tibo
Weston, FL

I was on descent into a congested metropolitan area when I had this exchange with the center controller.

Center: “N12345, contact Approach on 124.4.”

Me: “124.4 for N12345, thanks.”

Center: “No, N12345, I’m sorry but I got that wrong. You should go to Approach on 128.75.”

Me: “Got it, 128.75 for N12345, have a good day.”

Just as I was about to flip to the new frequency, he came on once more and said, “N12345, really, I will get this right. You should be going to Approach on 132.5. This job would be great if it weren’t for all the darn numbers.”

I was laughing as I repeated and went over to the new frequency. Of course, I admit I was kind of hoping the new controller would tell me it was the wrong frequency and I should go back to the old one. No, this third time was indeed the charm.

Marc Dulude
Bluffton, SC

I was in the Seattle area recently, flying from Paine Field to Friday Harbor. I filed IFR to assure proper handling as I passed through the outer TFR ring for the President’s visit. On hand-off to Seattle approach, I was given my vector, then the frequency was unusually quiet until I heard, “Air Force One, descend and maintain 2200,” followed shortly by “Air Force One, fly heading 140.”

My little Mooney and I sharing the same frequency with Air Force One was pretty special.

Scott Burkhart
Livermore, CA

As in the past, vectors added much time and distance to and from White Plains on a recent visit to the New York metro area. So after an intermediate stop in West Virginia on the way home I did not think anything about a required pause in my climb and a slight deviation from a Clarksburg, WV controller. When he cleared me back on course he seemed a little apologetic.

Instead of the standard acknowledgement I heard myself saying, “Aw, that’s nothing. You should see what they do to me in New York.”

Gabe Buntzman
Bowling Green, KY

Coming home one night from DC to Atlanta we were flying the DIRTY3 arrival for landing on the 8s at Hartsfield. I was following this on ForeFlight and as we neared the terminal environment I had to crack up. Here are the fixes:


Somebody must have been eating bean burritos when they came up with that routing.

Jeff Schlueter
Atlanta, GA

I filed my IFR flight plan on the computer before departure. Visibility was 10 miles, under an overcast at 3400 feet, so I took off visually in my trusty Piper Cherokee Warrior N1234X.

I called up and requested my clearance from Nearby Approach as I left the local area. Nearby Approach issued my clearance, calling me “Lear 1234X.” I corrected them by reading back my CRAFT and saying “Cherokee 1234X” emphatically. After a few minutes, the Warrior climbed through the cloud deck arriving on top to beautiful sunshine and the solid white deck below. Not long after that, I was leaving Nearby Approach’s airspace.

Nearby Approach: “1234X, contact Next City Approach on 120.75.”

Me: “Over to Next City on 120.75. 1234X. G’day.”

Me: “Next City Approach, 1234X. Level 6000.”

Next City: “1234X. Next City altimeter 3003.”

Me: “3003. 1234X.”

A few minutes pass.

Next City: “1234X. Are you a Lear?”

Me: “I wish. Cherokee P28A/G.”

Next City: “OK. That explains it. We wondered why you were so slow.”

Me: “Depends on your perspective, I guess.”

J.W. Bruce
Starkville, Mississippi

We’re running out. Don’t make us use some reruns. Please send us your cleverest (or most embarrassing) moment on the radio—or your favorite fix names or airport names—with a subject of “OTA,” to [email protected]. Be sure to include your full name and location.


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