After cancelling IFR but still on my way into Providence, R.I.:
Providence Approach: “Skylane One Four One Whiskey Bravo, follow the MD80 to Runway 5.”
Me: “Follow MD80 to five, One Four One Whiskey Bravo.”
Approach (after a couple minutes went by): Skylane One Four One Whiskey Bravo, are you following the MD80?”
Me: “Affirmative, following the MD80. The squirrels are running as fast as they can.”
MD80: “Providence, do you want us to slow down to let him catch up? American Two Six Three.”
Approach: “American Two Six Three, negative, maintain speed. Skylane One Four One Whiskey Bravo, your squirrels need an exercise program.”
It had been a long, difficult, couple days of flying and we were looking forward to making it to Spokane, Wash., for our overnight stop and some well-earned adult refreshment. BREWW is a fix not too far from Redmond, Ore., that
ATC frequently uses for a direct-to target for flights arriving Spokane from the
south, as we were:
Seattle Center: “Skywest Nineteen Ninety-nine, turn left, heading 340 for traffic. Expect BREWW.”
Us: “Left, heading 340. And ya know, we’re definitely expecting BREWW. Maybe a couple!”
There is very little room in the cockpit of my experimental aircraft:
Los Angeles Center: “VariEze Two Seven Golf Mike, L.A. Center.”
Me: “L.A. Center, VariEze Two Seven Golf Mike, go ahead.”
Center: ” Two Seven Golf Mike, you appear to have been squawking ident for the past 30 miles. Can you check your transponder?”
Me: “Roger, it looks like my knee was caught on the ident button, sorry about that, Two Seven Golf Mike.”
Center: “Two Seven Golf Mike, say again?”
I work in an avionics shop at Hartford-Brainard. An older fellow flew in to get an autopilot problem fixed on his Saratoga. About a half hour into the visit, he says to me, “What’s the Unicom frequency here? Nobody answered me when I called a few times.” I told him he should be using the Tower frequency. “There’s no Tower here,” he told me.
“Uh, yes there is. It’s Class D airspace,” I said.
“No it’s not!” the guy barked back. He walked back in with a New York sectional and pointed to Bradley International, which is just a few miles up the river and is the airline hub for Hartford. “See, it’s uncontrolled,” he said.
I explained that not only is he pointing to the wrong airport, that airport is Class C, and he needed to talk to both Tower and Approach.
He got nervous and asked me to call the Tower for him. I raised the ground controller on the radio and said there was a guy needing to phone. “What for?” he asks. I explained that it was the Saratoga that landed without a clearance. His response: “I don’t know anything about that and neither do you!” He gave me a phone number, though.
The Saratoga owner called and I overheard the controller say, “You did great! We gave you light signals and you did fine. Welcome to Hartford.”
I just shook my head.
I fly with a call sign of “Elite Shares,” which shows up on the controllers’ radar as “SHZ.” It’s a mouthful, so I’m used to repeating it a couple of times. I checked in with Charlotte Approach and had the following conversation:
Me: “Charlotte Approach, Elite Shares Five, 5000.”
Charlotte Approach (female controller): “Checking in, say again the call sign?”
Me: “Elite Shares 5. Sierra Hotel Zulu Five.”
Approach: “Sierra Hotel Zulu Five, Charlotte altimeter 30.24. And is that ‘Leech Air’ as in the bloodsucker?”
Me: “No. It’s Elite Shares. ‘Elite’ as in ‘really good.’ I may be a guy, but I’m not a bloodsucking parasite.”
Approach (laughing and with laughter in the background): “Thank you.”
Unidentified: “That’s the best exchange I’ve heard all week!”
Keith J. Ruskin