May 2016


New York TRACON never fails to amuse with their quick comebacks. I was flying out of JFK one day and heard the following:

NY TRACON: “Citation 62X, contact NY center on 128.3.”

Citation 62X: “Switching 126.3. Good day.”

NY TRACON: “128.3 is better.”

Rick Sanders
San Francisco, CA

I was on an IFR flight plan while flying from Martin State to Winchester, Virginia. The clouds along the way were hit and miss. Potomac Approach was calling out potential traffic conflicts. I’d normally respond with, “N12345, looking.”

However, as I entered one cloud, Approach said, “N12345, traffic 11 o’clock, one mile, 3000 southbound.”

Feeling especially clever I said, “I’m in the soup, so it’s all Sergeant Schultz up here.”

Approach responded, “uh…Sergeant Schultz?”

I said, “You know, like on Hogan’s Heroes. ‘I see nutink!'”

…and I heard nothing for a while after that.

Tom McMullen
Lutherville, MD

I was flying VFR between Santa Barbara and Santa Monica at 3500 feet when the following exchange took place.

Magu Approach: “5JK, caution for a flight of geese reported westbound at 4500.”

Me: “5JK. How do the geese know to fly at a proper VFR altitude for their direction of flight?”

Magu Approach: “They go to flight school.”

Ed Mashman
Hawthorne, CA

Best radio call I ever got to make:

I was a student pilot in the USAF, on my T-38 cross country. Our final leg was a short hop from ABQ to home at Reese AFB (Lubbock, TX). Of course, all surplus gas would be consumed with approach and landing practice.

Departing ABQ, the TRACON asked for an expedited climb to something like FL220 and to “report passing every 2000 feet.”

With the blessing of my instructor, I had the true privilege of lighting both afterburners, pitching up, keying the mic and saying, “Reese 69 passing 12,000, 14,000, 16,000, FL180, FL200, leveling FL220,” then releasing the mic.

Climb rate in full afterburner exceeded 6000 fpm which was the mechanical limit of our VSI.

Jim McIrvin
Warrenton, VA

The announcement from the Southwest Airlines pilot was southern, sincere, and apologetic: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Captain XXXX from the flight deck. We are about 20 minutes out from landing and we want to apologize for the delays and frustration ya’ll’ve encountered today. This wasn’t Southwest Airlines best day and for that we apologize but some of these things we just can’t control.

“Anyway we’ve done the best we can to make up for all the lost time but we can’t make up all the inconvenience. All we can do is thank you and ask you to join us again soon on another flight, and we will look forward to showing you our more normal top service the next time you’re with us.”

Obviously, it was the best he could do at the time and he sounded very sincere. The only problem was that he was on approach frequency coming into Houston. After a few seconds another unnamed pilot (suspect another Southwest Airlines pilot) responded, “Well that was really touching.”

Not shaken at all, the apologetic Southwest Airlines pilot cheerfully responded, “Would you like to hear it again?”

No takers. I loved every minute of it, but chuckled thinking of the telling and retelling of that story around the Southwest Airlines pilots’ lounge.

Edd Hendee
Houston, TX

I was flying down the coast to Florida recently, talking to Jacksonville Approach. JAX was trying to keep a couple of VFR aircraft out of a nearby MOA. A couple of times I overheard JAX tell the other aircraft, “Fly direct to DUNKN. That’s like Dunkin Doughnuts, without the i .”

Richard R Boyd
Seaford, DE

We’re still running out. Don’t make us resort to 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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