On the Air August 2016


Take a look at the Lakeland, FL (KLAL—Lakeland Linder Regional) RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9 approach.

To get to Lakeland, you must first find a BOMRR (hopefully on the ground) if arriving from the south or a GUUNR (hopefully without live ammo) if arriving from the north. Then go to ARSHW, then FLYEN to find Sun n Fun (SUNFN). Or backwards: SUNFN is a FLYEN ARSHW.

Luca F Bencini-Tibo
Weston, FL

At my airline we have ACARS, a datalink with the ground that we use to get various flight-related information. We also get text versions of weather and ATIS. The ATIS text is the same thing that the controllers program into the automated, synthesized-voice “Drunken Dutchman” recording that you also hear on VHF. Since the automated voice seems to struggle with the pronunciation of certain words and acronyms, the controllers have gotten adept at programming the text so the voice is more legible over the air. At Seattle then, the audible “RNAV GPS” becomes “RNAV JEEPY ES” on the ACARS printout.

Rick Sanders
San Francisco, CA

This happened back when Austin Bergstrom had only recently become the commercial airport. It was new to me and apparently to the controller as well.

I was taxiing out when Ground, not realizing that my view was blocked by a maintenance hangar (a fact that he later acknowledged), issued the following:

Austin Ground: “Bonanza 1234, Austin Ground, follow the MD 80 to 17 Left.”

Me: “Um, I don’t see the MD 80…”

Austin Ground: “It’s that big, shiny thing.”

Bill Harbin
Floydada, TX

Several years ago I was flying a CAP mission to the North Carolina coast to survey evacuation routes for the State Police in advance of Hurricane Irene that was 12 hours away. The Center frequency was very quiet. At one point I queried:

Me: “Washington Center, CAP3209.”

Center: “Washington Center, go ahead.”

Me: “Haven’t heard anything in a while, wanted to make sure you’re still out there.”

Center: “We’re here. Today most aircraft seem to be heading away from the hurricane…”

James Shepard
Palm Coast, FL

The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum at Reading, PA sponsors a WWII commemorative extravaganza each June, featuring a large assortment of vintage warbirds.

I decided to fly in the day prior to the official start, hoping to catch the arrival of some of the aircraft. Approaching KRDG, Tower asked me to keep my speed up for arriving aircraft. Given the speed of my two-seater relative to the warbirds, I volunteered to circle to the northwest while they collected the inbounds. From a few miles out I enjoyed the sight of a B17 turning base to final. and I asked:

Me: “29 Bravo requests the overhead.”

Tower: “29 Bravo, approved as requested.”

Tower: “Liberty, you can turn inbound now.”

Then, the best radio call I have ever received:

Tower: “29 Bravo, cleared to land. Liberty, cleared to land, number two behind the Superfortress.”

Daniel Spitzer
Piermont, NY

I was flying back from Sun Valley, Idaho to Concord, California with my 15-year old daughter in our 1978 Cessna 340A. I expected IMC and some icing with substantial headwinds at cruise for the normally three-hour trip.

The winds aloft were 70 knots on the nose at FL180, which was just above the cloud layer. I requested lower to avoid the headwinds knowing that I would encounter ice. When I picked up a moderate amount of ice I would request higher to let the ice sublimate off. This went on for over an hour.

Finally, Center said, “The whole sky is yours; no one else is out there. You can fly any altitude you desire until further notice. Stay above cumulogranite.”

Daughter slept.

Scot Bergren
Concord, CA

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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