On The Air: December 2010


I was flying from Burlington, Vt., to Louisville, Ky., and my first stop (for fuel) was Bradford Regional airport, in northwest Pennsylvania. Our route took us right over Syracuse, N.Y.:

Me: “Good afternoon, Syracuse Approach. Skyhawk One Six Nine, level 8000.”

Syracuse Approach: “Cessna One Six Nine, Syracuse Approach. Good afternoon. Syracuse altimeter 29.96.”

A few minutes later:

Approach: “Cessna One Six Nine, Syracuse Approach. Are you really going to Bradford?”

Me: “Cessna One Six Nine, affirmative.”

Now I’m wondering what’s wrong with Bradford. Did I not know something about it? Is the airport closed? Am I about to do something really dumb? So I ponder this for a few minutes and then call him back:

Me: “Syracuse Approach, Skyhawk One Six Nine. Is there something wrong with Bradford?”

Approach: “Skyhawk One Six Nine, negative. I was just wondering why anyone would go to Bradford.”

Me: “Fuel. Skyhawk One Six Nine.”

Approach: “Roger that. My cousin is from Bradford. He has one tooth!”

David Tanzer
Warren, Vt.

We were on the way home to Rocky Mount Regional in eastern North Carolina in my Baron. An approaching hurricane had pushed us 150 miles out of the way to get around the worst weather. We still spent several hours dodging cells and getting beat around. My copilot was handling the radios. Although he was an accomplished pilot, he was not that familiar with the area. Washington Center gave us a call and this is what he heard:

Washington Center: “Baron Six Four Lima Lima, would you like to see more weather?”

My copilot gave me a puzzled look and said, “This guy must be crazy.” Before I could figure out what he was talking about, he called back:

Baron 64LL: “Washington Center, Baron Six Four Lima Lima. No thank you, we have seen all the weather we can stand.”

My friend was a bit abashed when I explained that Center had actually asked, “Would you like the Seymore weather?”—as in the latest report from Seymore Johnson AFB.

Bill Rowe
Rocky Mount, N.C.

Overheard with Albany Approach:

United 2235: “Boston Center, United Two Two Three Five, level 15,000.”

Albany Approach: “United Two Two Three Five, you’re still on Approach. Call Boston Center on 132.65. They’re nice there, too.”

Rick McCraw
Hinesburg, Vt.

Near the end of my Private Pilot training, back when South Lake Tahoe was a towered airport, my instructor planned to have dinner there before we returned to San Jose:

Us: “Lake Tahoe Tower, Cessna Two Victor Juliet, is the restaurant open?”

South Lake Tower: “I don’t know about the restaurant, but the bar is open.”

John Nogatch
Boulder Creek, Calif.

While listening to ATC as a passenger on a commercial flight from Orlando to Dulles, I heard the following after we were cleared for takeoff:

Orlando Tower: “American Six Four Three, follow United Three Eight Two, taxi into posi—that is, line up and wait.”

American 643: “Line up and wait, American Six Four Three. I liked the old way better, too.”

In quick succession, one different voice after the other keyed in:

“I think we’re losing our identity.”

“Roger that.”

“I think so, too.”

“Amen, brother.”

Scott Ackland
Walkersville, Md.

I was en route from Caldwell, N.J., to Nantucket with a student. We were with N.Y. Approach and VFR with flight following at 5500 feet and looking for higher:

Student: “New York, Piper Nine Sierra Romeo. Request climb to 7500.”

N.Y. Approach: “Niner Sierra Romeo, it’ll cost you extra.”

I let my student sweat with that one for a bit, unsure how to respond. Then I smiled and keyed in:

Me: “Check’s in the mail. We’re climbing to 7500, Niner Sierra Romeo.”

Jim Dramis
Hawthorne, N.J.

On the Air depends on you! Send your overheard ziggers to [email protected].


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