On The Air: April 2020


On a recent trip from Illinois to Arkansas, we overheard the following

Razorback Approach: “Cessna Two Three Tango, Razorback Approach. Have you changed your destination from Houston, Texas?”

Cessna 23T: “Razorback Approach, Cessna Two Three Tango. That’s a negative. Destination is still Houston.”

Approach (chuckling): “Well Cessna Two Three Tango, on your current heading you are not going to even hit the state of Texas.”

Cessna 23T: “Approach, Cessna Two Three Tango … we are experiencing … Nav problems.”

Approach: “Cessna Two Three Tango, we assumed that, too … turn right heading 179 direct Houston.”

Stephen Kunce
Murphysboro, IL

Flying to Long Island’s Republic Airport (KFRG) one dark night, heavy rain appeared out of what appeared to be a clear sky.

To break up the boredom on what had been a very quiet frequency for quite some time, I said, “Hey, where did all this rain come from?”

An unknown voice forced into an unnaturally deep tone came back from some other aircraft: “From God, son, from God!”

Don Berman
Reno, NV

Heard on ground frequency at Oakland- Pontiac, Michigan, airport.

Oakland Ground: “Ground vehicle 1, we’ve had a report of a hawk and a fox fighting at the approach end to 9R. Please investigate.”

Ground One (minutes later): “Oakland Ground, this is Ground Vehicle One. The fight is over. The hawk won.”

Ground (in his best movie announcer voice): “Yes! Once again, a demonstration of the clear superiority of air power.”

Jim Preston
Lexington, VA

On a bumpy day near New York City, we heard the following exchange:

Diamond 8DS: “New York Approach, Diamond Eight Delta Sierra. I’m getting continuous moderate turbulence at 5000. Request 6000. It looks like I’ll be on top at six.”

New York Approach: “Diamond Eight Delta Sierra. Unable 6000. Maintain 5000.”

Diamond 8DS: “Maintain 5000, Eight Delta Sierra.”

A few minutes later:

New York Approach: “Diamond Eight Delta Sierra. Change to my frequency 133.75.”

Diamond 8DS: “New York Approach: Diamond Eight Delta Sierra. Unable to change frequencies right now. I can’t keep my hand on the radio knob in this turbulence.”

New York Approach: “Diamond Eight Delta Sierra. Climb and maintain 6000.”

Diamond 8DS: “Climb and maintain 6000. Change to 133.75. Eight Delta Sierra.”

Oliver Aetna
Wickford, RI

I was flying from Salt Lake City to Fargo one evening. As we approached the Dakotas, it got rather quiet on Minneapolis Center.

Predictably, after about 10 minutes of silence, somebody checked to make sure things were all well.

Unknown aircraft: “Minneapolis Center. Still there?”

Without a pause the controller responded: “Engineering to Bridge. Aye, Captain. Tricorder readings indicate carbon-based units still infest the planet.”

Sal Cruz
Watsonville, CA

One of the joys of flying in the New York City metro area is listening to the controllers. In addition to being the best in the business, they deliver some good wisecracks, always with that unmistakable accent. We had just landed
at Islip (KISP):

Islip Tower: “Comair 234, take a left at the next intersection and taxi to the gate.”

My first officer read back the instructions. Then, just to make sure Tower didn’t want us to switch to the ground frequency, he asked, “Stay with you?”

Tower (without missing a beat): “Sure, but you’ll have to sleep on the couch.”

Rick Sanders
Brooklyn, NY

Don’t want any more reruns? 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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