On The Air: April 2019


Recently during the government shutdown, Atlanta Center had a hard time communicating with a Citation who seemed to be out of range. They asked me to call up the Citation and tell him that he needed to go to another frequency. We reached the Citation and relayed the message. We reported this back to the Center controller who was grateful for the help. I replied, “Happy to help. We’ll send you a bill.”

Without missing a beat, the controller came back and said, “Can’t send us a bill. Government is shut down.”

J. P. Engelbrecht
Evansville, IN

My pilot wife and I stopped by the FBO at Providenciales airport (MBPV), Turks & Caicos Islands for a fuel stop in our Diamond DA42 twin. While on the ramp we noticed a private jet with the tail number M-SEXY (M is the aircraft country code for the UK’s Isle of Man, often used as a tax haven).

After takeoff we were handed off from the Providenciales tower to Miami Center for our three-hour IFR flight back to Florida. Shortly thereafter we heard on the radio “Miami, I’m sexy, climbing to flight level 340.”

Sure enough, it was the jet we had just seen on the ramp. Imagine saying that tail number every time you talk to ATC!

Dave Passmore
Great Falls, VA

I was piloting N7304Y, a Miller Twin Comanche (a veritable “hot rod”) from San Antonio’s Stinson Airport to Houston Hobby Airport early in the morning. Houston Center passed me to Approach and then to the final controller for Hobby.

Approach: “Say your indicated airspeed.”

04Y: “Indicating 140 knots on the dial.”

Approach: “Maintain 140.”

04Y: “Will do. Be advised I’ll have to slow to gear speed prior to final.”

Approach: “Direct Carlo—maintain 3,000.”

04Y: “Will do. Will slow to gear speed prior to Carlo.”

There was no response to this. I was slowing down and had passed Carlo when Approach called me again.

Approach: “04Y say indicated.”

04Y: “120 slowing to 110.”

Approach: “I told you to maintain 140.”

04Y: “Junior, there’s only one PIC on this airplane and it’s not you!”

The remainder of the approach and landing went as expected. However, when it was time to return, I spent a protracted amount of time “in the penalty box” awaiting my takeoff clearance. Whereupon, I used enough energy to qualify for a noise abatement takeoff—nearing my altitude limit of 1,500 feet prior to the end of runway.

Patrick Andrews
Neosho, MO

Once when I was departing from New York’s Steward International and heading back home to Newport, Arkansas I had this exchange with clearance delivery:

Me: “Steward Clearance delivery, Baron N17850 would like to pick up IFR clearance to Newport Arkansas.”

Steward Clearance: “Baron N17850 I have a full route clearance when you are ready to copy.”

Now most of my flying is in the mid-west where the clearance is always “cleared as filed direct” so it’s only when I visit the east coast that I have to deal with full route clearances.

Me: “Baron 17850 ready to copy.”

Steward Clearance proceeds to give me a full route clearance that sounded like a 100 fixes, VORs and most of the Victor airways. I did the very best I could to scribble them down.

Me: “OK we are going to have to do this again, and I am going to have to ask you to slow down a little, I’m from Arkansas and I’m afraid I just don’t think that fast.”

Steward Clearance proceeded to very patiently work though the list making sure I had the complete route.

Me: “Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate your patience with me today.”

Steward Clearance: “No problem I’m not going anywhere anyway.”

Ken Copeland
Rosie, AR

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here