On the Air – February 2022


Years ago before GPS, when we only had two VORs, we were westbound against an extraordinarily strong headwind in a Cherokee, talking to St. Louis Approach. Through breaks in the clouds I could see that the big trucks on the Interstate below were making better time than we were. It was obvious we weren’t going to make our original destination. So we were looking at our charts, and trying to calculate a good location for a fuel stop with our usual one hour reserve. I asked Approach if they had a ground speed on us.

St. Louis Approach responded, “Sure. Do you want it in one digit or two?”

Verne Wiese
Beavercreek, Ohio

On the subject of favorite fixes, when I got my instrument rating of course I spent lots of time planning trips. One such theoretical trip was a return to Bowman Field (KLOU), where my wife and I had enjoyed a trip a couple years ago.

When I pulled up the approaches I nearly fell out of my chair. The RNAV 24 approach was amusing with the IAF and FAF named “NUNYA” and “BNNUS” respectively.

Jim Kleiss
Champaign, Illinois

Years ago when I was flying a twin turboprop for a regional airline, we were headed into LAX. We got sequenced behind a British Airways (“Speedbird”) Boeing 747. This wasn’t too unusual an occurrence because we were typically the smallest airliner in the pack. We had learned—often the hard way—to fly a bit higher and upwind compared to the path of the preceding giants.

Except this day we were unaware that there were some unusual air currents that rendered our efforts meaningless. At about 1000 feet AGL, we got caught in the heavy’s wake. We rolled one way to about a 60-degree bank and then the wake reversed. Coupled with the corrective opposite aileron we already had applied, we ended up rolling back to about wings-vertical in the other direction.

We heard alarm bells we didn’t even know we had, but after the second roll things returned to normal as quickly as they’d gone chaotic. We continued our visual approach and landed normally.

Our flight attendant was well known around the system as having a quick wit and not letting anything rattle her. We could hear her announcements from the flight deck. Unfazed, she began her normal, “Welcome to Los Angeles … Please remain seated…” after-landing announcement. But, at the end she added, “And, for those of you planning to visit Disneyland, you can save your money. You’ve already had your E-Ticket ride and you didn’t even have to wait in line.”

Surprisingly, as the passengers deplaned, none of them seemed upset by the experience. Some even thanked us for the “exciting” ride.

Sal Cruz
Watsonville, California

Heard over Lake Michigan this summer.

TBM 123: “Chicago Center TBM 123 with an unusual request when you have a minute.”

Chicago Center: “TBM 123 go ahead.”

TBM 123: “There is a SkyWest Aircraft on the frequency, just behind me, also en route to Grand Rapids, and I am the very proud father of the new First Officer on board. Would you mind if I said hi?”

Chicago Center: “TBM 123 the frequency is yours.”

TBM 123: “Hi sweetheart, fly safe.”

Chicago Center: “Way to go dad.”

Many hurrahs and other comments followed.

James Michaels, Waukesha, Wisconsin

Recently when flying from Kassel, Germany, to Salzburg in Austria at FL150 in a Mooney M20K, I received the following transmission:

“OE-XXX, turn 10 degrees to the right for military airspace. There will be missiles.”

This would have been particularly remarkable had it been for the German Bundeswehr, because their equipment is often grounded.

Nonetheless, I made the turn to avoid a U.S. Army training area, but I was unable to spot any fireworks.

Stefan Wörthmüller
Tirol, Austria


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here