On The Air: December 2013


It was the Christmas season. I was departing Palo Alto airport in the San Francisco Bay Area, with Class Bravo airspace above me. I contacted Departure while in a climb and was asked what my cruising altitude would be.

I told him and he responded, “Cleared through Class Bravo at…”, then stopped short and admonished me since I was already in Bravo airspace. I apologized and he responded, “Okay, this time!”

Just then an unidentified pilot came on the frequency and said “That’s the Christmas spirit!”

Bill Vierra
Folsom, California

Flying back home from New York at 16,000 feet I was getting close to my destination.
Me: “Cleveland Center, Malibu Three Whiskey Bravo requesting lower.”
Cleveland Center: “How low do you want go?”
Me: “All the way to the ground. I’m landing Downing Airport.”
Center: “Oh. I see that now.”

Ron Davis
Lenexa, Kansas

While leaving Manassas Regional Airport on a stormy August afternoon I had to weave around several storms back and forth across a cold front. I told Potomac TRACON that I would need to deviate left and right to avoid the storms.

Controller: “Do your crazy Ivans as you need and let me know when you are back on course.”

(Crazy Ivans from the movie, Hunt for Red October.)

Charlie Schobel
Atlanta, Georgia

We heard this exchange with Colorado Springs Approach one day:
Cessna One Two Three Alpha Bravo: “Springs Approach, Cessna Three Alpha Bravo. Do you need us to stay on this heading?”
Springs Approach: “Cessna Three Alpha Bravo negative. What heading would you like?”
Cessna One Two Three Alpha Bravo: “..uh, I don’t know..”
Springs Approach: “Cessna Three Alpha Bravo roger..”
A few moments later:
Cessna One Two Three Alpha Bravo: “Springs Approach, Cessna Three Alpha Bravo would like a heading of 040 degrees.”
Springs Approach: “Cessna Three Alpha Bravo, fly heading 040.”
Cessna One Two Three Alpha Bravo: “Cessna Three Alpha Bravo, 040.”

Eric Larson
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Overheard headed southeast through the busy Atlanta arrival sector:
Airliner: “Atlanta Center, Delta One Two Three Four Five, descending through flight level 190 to cross DIRTY at 14,000. What speed do you need at DIRTY?”
Atlanta Center: “Anything above stall speed works for me. Push those levers up.”

John Zimmerman
Cincinnati, Ohio

The co-owner of our flying club, ex-USAF, recalled this from 1960 when he was stationed in the United Kingdom. At the time altitude changes were commonly used for air traffic separation. A Royal Air Force aircraft was ahead, on the same frequency as my friend, and the pilot was growing increasingly frustrated with multiple altitude changes.

Aircraft: “London Center, RAF One Two Three, you’re making me feel like the knickers on a prostitute—up-down,-up-down, up-down.”

Douglas Boyd
Sugar Land, Texas

ness trip, I was visiting the tower at Palm Beach International.
Her flight popped up on the BRITE radar screen.
Excitedly, I told the controller, “Hey, my wife’s on that flight!”
He looked at me and deadpanned, “How much do you like her?”
Me: “Why?”
He: “I can divert them to Miami if you want.”
Me: “Naw, then I‘d have to drive all the way down there. How about an indefinite hold in turbulence?”
My wife has yet to forgive me. At least I met her on time!

Fred Simonds
Juno Beach, Florida


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