On The Air: April 2012


Years ago I was flying my RV-4 in the narrow VFR slot between the old Washington ADIZ and the expanded Camp David TFR when I lost my GPS. Without a VOR receiver, I contacted Washington Center. The Call went as follows:
Me: “Washington Center, Experimental One Four Foxtrot Tango.”
Washington Center: “Experimental One Four Foxtrot Tango, go ahead.”
Me: “I’ve lost all navaids over Frederick and I’m concerned that I will violate airspace and cause a little excitement. Please give me vectors to keep me out of trouble.”
Center: “Experimental One Four Foxtrot Tango, no worries. Everyone is targeting you.”

Bruce MacInnes
Sebring, Fla.

Upon checking into a Kansas City Center sector, I caught the following conversation already in progress:
Kansas City Center: “Uh Three Forty-five, what type of cargo are you carrying?”
345: “We’re carrying a college men’s basketball team.”
Center: “Ah, roger. I was just wondering about your callsign.”
345: “We don’t like it better than anyone else.”
Center: “Do they wear sparkly pink uniforms?”
345: “Don’t go there Center.”
Center (with forced seriousness): “Roger … Twinkles Three Forty-five, fly heading 230. Descend and maintain 4000.”

Doc Copley
via email

It’s always good to hear the guys who fly every day screw something up. Luckily for these guys, things at Burlington were pretty low-key that day:
Challenger 265DD: “Burlington Clearance, Challenger Two Sixty-five Delta Delta. Like to get our clearance to Newark.”
Burlington Clearance: “Ah, Challenger Five Delta Delta, didn’t I give you your clearance to Newark?”
Challenger 265DD: “Well, my first officer is nodding a vigorous, ‘Yes.’ Sorry about that. But I assure you that, other than this, our cockpit resource management is second to none!”

Chet Ludlow
Burlington, Vt.

On a quiet Sunday-afternoon trip across Michigan, I had just checked in with Grand Rapids Approach and heard the following exchange:
Jet pilot: “Grand Rapids, good afternoon, Citation Two Seven Six Five Bravo, descending FL230 for FL190, requesting direct WALIE, wait … Lear Two Seven Six Five Bravo, descending FL230 for FL190, requesting direct WALIE. Sorry about that. Flying way too many planes.”
Same jet pilot (after a minute of dead air): “Approach, Lear Two Seven Six Five Bravo … did you copy my last request?”
Approach (after another pause): “Lear Two Seven Six Five Bravo, yes sir. But I’m still hung up on the ‘too many planes’ part. I’m trying to figure out how to feel sorry for you.”

Bob Rose
Cleveland, Ohio

This happened at Guntersville, Ala., over 30 years ago, but my husband just told me about it for the first time.
My husband was renting an airplane, and the CFI mentioned he’d been in another aircraft with a student who had landed on the grass beside the runway, instead of on the runway, resulting in some aircraft damage, though no serious injuries. The CFI did, however, pull the hamstring and calf muscles on his right leg. The CFI was a big guy, about six-foot-three, and built like a football player.
My husband then asked, “Well, if you were in the plane, how could you let him land completely off the runway? Why didn’t you intervene?”
The CFI replied (imagine an extreme small-town Alabama southern drawl): “Well, see, you’re not understanding the whole picture here. We were in a Cessna 150, and I’m just a bit large for those; it’s a tight squeeze. So I had the seat all the way back, and the back all the way reclined, and was kinda relaxing. I really couldn’t see much over the glareshield, so I didn’t realize he wasn’t lined up with the runway until I looked over on my side and noticed we were a bit closer to the lake than we oughta be. It was right at that moment that he touched down. I had to sit up real fast, problem was my right leg was stretched out of the right window, and I pulled the muscles in my hamstring and calf when I was trying to pull my leg in.”

Crista Worthy
Boise, Idaho


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