On The Air: August 2013


It’s not uncommon for an airline pilot to mistakenly make a PA announcement on the radio. When that happens, other pilots waste no time mocking the error. After an airliner’s lengthy passenger announcement over guard:
“Well done!”
“Hey, wait, what’s for dinner!?”
“Honey Badger don’t care!”

Rune Duke
Fort Rucker, Alabama

I was flying an F-16C from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada to Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico at FL310 and about 0.95 mach. It was a little choppy that day but the F-16 has the wing loading of a manhole cover, so it wasn’t too bad. However, the airliners weren’t having such a good ride.

We normally talk to ATC on UHF and use VHF to talk interflight on another radio. I was only getting half the conversation as Center was simulcasting on UHF and VHF, but the airliners were continuing to ask Center if they knew where there was smooth air. The controller was getting a little frustrated with all the requests but was maintaining his cool. He then replied to a call for smooth air by responding, “Let me ask this F-16 at 310 how his ride is.”

Sensing his frustration I replied, “Hold on, let me check with the passengers.”

Remember, it’s a single-seat jet. After a few seconds I came back with, “Albuquerque, the passengers aren’t complaining so I’m thinking the ride is OK.”
Center relayed to the airliner, “Southwest ABC, the F-16 says his passengers aren’t complaining so I guess it’s smooth at 310 if you want to try that.”
I think everyone on frequency got the hint. It got quiet.

Fred Clinton, Lt. Col USAF (ret)
Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada

Vero Beach, Florida being a primary area for international flight training has its fair share of language challenges, and sometimes the mistakes are comical. One spring day we heard the following exchange:
Cherokee 9229K: “Vero Beach Tower, Cherokee 9229K over the Outlet Mall, inbound. Landing, with Charlie.”
Tower: “Cherokee 9229K, Vero Beach Tower, say position only.”
Cherokee 9229K: “Cherokee 9229K, position only.”
The controller did not say a word, the pilot would not have understood anyways.

Gerd Pfeifle
Vero Beach, Florida

I have a friend in the local tower/TRACON. I always recognize his voice; he of course knows my tail number.
I filed for a trip from Colorado Springs to San Antonio with an initial southerly heading. Taking off to the north on our north/south runway, I was handed off to departure. I recognized the voice of the controller but was startled and then amused to hear him say, “Bonanza 123 turn left heading 260 for controller amusement.”
Seconds later I was sent to the more appropriate heading for San Antonio.

Stephen D. Ducoff
Colorado Springs, Colorado

I recently participated in a Young Eagles Rally in Nashua, New Hampshire, hosted by Infinity Aviation. I had just returned from a flight and called for my taxi clearance. That clearance was: “Two Echo X-ray, cross Alpha to the ramp, taxi to Infinity and beyond!”
Not a peep out of my young passengers, though.

Farrell Woods
Hudson, New Hampshire

Flying over northeast Florida one night, a pilot was requesting help navigating either through or around the Palatka MOAs. It was a fairly quiet evening, so the controller explained to the pilot that given enough notice by the pilot requesting to transit the MOA, he could have the Navy stand down from making bombing runs for enough time to allow the aircraft to transit the area.
After this lengthy description and acknowledgement from the pilot I heard this exchange.
Trinidad XYZ: “Jax Approach, Trinidad XYZ.”
Jacksonville Center: “Trinidad XYZ, Jacksonville Approach.”
Trinidad XYZ: “Yeah, Jax, I was wondering, if you have that much control over the U.S. Navy, could you give me a hand with the IRS?”

McGregor Scott
Orlando, Florida


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