On The Air: December 2020


At the end of a five-hour final leg of a cross-country trip from the west coast to Michigan, I was very much ready to
stop and stretch my legs. I was descending from 17,000 over Lake Michigan towards Traverse City. I broke out of clouds at the edge of Wisconsin and could see the other shore. It was idyllic.

As I got closer and was descending for an approach into KTVC through low clouds, Minneapolis Center informed me that I was number two behind a Cessna 152.

Minneapolis Center: “1 Papa Papa, I need you to slow it down as much as practical. You’re a lot faster.”

Me: “Roger that. 1 Papa Papa backing it down. Will 120 work?”

Minneapolis Center: “That’ll probably do it.”

A few minutes go by and Center comes back on, exasperated.

Minneapolis Center: “This guy in front of you is doing me no favors. He’s throwing out the anchor and is down to 90 knots.”

Punchy from the longish flight, I burst out laughing. I tried to regain composure but his comment had tickled something and kept eliciting chuckles. We’re all flying at different speeds. No biggie. But it is a lot for a controller to deal with.

Between laughs I asked for a right 360. This was greeted with a relieved, “Thanks” from Center.

Glen Janssens
Novato, CA

Holding short of Runway 27 at Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, for an hour’s flight to the “Third Thursday” fly-in at Mason City (KMCW), we heard a Cirrus SR-22 cleared for takeoff on 27, cleared direct to Mason City. Neither my airplane partner nor I could see any Cirrus on the taxiway, but we soon saw the airplane climbing out at the far end of the runway. They had obviously been cleared for departure from the Alpha-3 intersection. Our C182 was then cleared for takeoff with a cliimbout on a 290 heading.

Cirrus: “Departure, where is that other airplane heading northwest?”

Departure: “Traffic is four miles behind you, a Skylane at 3000 feet.”

Cirrus: “Okay, we wanted to make sure.”

Departure: “No problem. They’re going to the same place you are.”

Us: “Yeah, we’re going to the same place, but we’ll never catch them.”

Departure: “Well, not with that attitude, you won’t!”

Jim Green
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

A few years back, we were three miles out from landing at our local towered airport, when we had the following exchange with our local tower:

Tower: “Cirrus 12345, go around. Delta 1234, cleared to land.”

We went around and lined up to land. At what seemed the very last minute, the tower called us again:

Tower: “Cirrus 12345, sorry, go around. Jet Blue 1234, cleared to land.”

On the third try, we were relieved to hear from the tower, “Cirrus 12345, cleared to land.”

Me: “Cirrus 12345, cleared to land. I can’t wait to be a big boy someday.”

Ted Brown
Ossining, NY

I was flying into an airport where you are required to cancel IFR and then circle to the active runway to land. I heard this on approach before I got there:

Pilot ABC: “Do you know if you can circle east, or do we have to circle west?”

Approach: “I heard the tower goes both ways.”

Pilot ABC: “Yeah I heard that about those guys, too.”

Approach: “I guess I should have said that differently.”

Pilot ABC: “No worries!”

Joe Kotowski
Chicago, IL

Years ago when it was one of those typical Midwest spring days where the turbulence was ferocious down low, but the headwinds seemingly doubled for every thousand feet of altitude. We were south of Chicago in a Warrior westbound at 4000 feet, talking to South Bend Approach when our passengers started turning green. Reluctantly, I asked for 6000 feet.

After a few minutes at 6000, South Bend asked if the ride was any better at six.

Me: “Well … at least the potholes are further apart.”

As the controller came on frequency to acknowledge my response, I could hear a lot of laughter in the background.

Verne Wiese
Beavercreek, OH


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