On The Air: January 2015


Air traffic control at the Army’s busiest airfield can be unique at times.

ATC: “Stingray 54, traffic a little bit taller than you out your right door, a Creek, report traffic in sight.”

ATC: “Bandit 45, follow the Chinook out your front door, cleared for takeoff.”

Rune Duke
Fort Rucker, AL

If you flew into O’Hare years ago you may remember the ILS to Runway 14R had a 15 DME fix SEXXY and a FAF KINKY. Can’t make those calls in this day and age.

Bill Wirth
Atlanta, GA

On a particularly busy afternoon at our little airport, I was up on tower frequency. The plane departing IFR obviously stumbling on the radio asked again for the departure frequency to which tower replied in his usual chipper voice, “Now get a crayon and write this on your windshield, contact Jacksonville Center on 118.175. Have a good flight.”

Donald DeGaetano
Gainesville, FL

A while ago in February I was flying from Hot Springs, Arkansas to Grand Forks, North Dakota. The temperature at Hot Springs was a pleasant 50 degrees F, and the cold spell settled over the upper plains made it -30 degrees F at Grand Forks. It was apparently a slower day for ATC and as I checked in with Memphis Center the controller questioned me on why I wanted to fly to such a cold place and how do you stay warm there.

I quickly responded, “It’s so cold there that Al Gore burns rubber tires to stay warm”.

A couple of mic clicks and anonymous chuckles followed.

Greg M. Frokjer
Absarokee, MT

Recently, no one knew Lebron James would return to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers except maybe the FAA. They kept the waypoint light on for him at LEBRN. It’s just East of CLE on V486 over the Cavaliers arena.

Ron Bodman
Cleveland, OH

A few years ago I was flying into my home field in my Columbia 400. Descending I was doing a bit over 210 knots 10 miles out, number two for landing. Ahead of me was a regional jet. As I approached the field I had the following conversation:

Tower: “999TJ, reduce speed for landing traffic.”

Me: “The single-engine piston will gladly slow down for the twin jet”

Tower: (holding back laughter) “Now be nice!”

I threw in my speed brakes and chuckled all the way to the numbers.

Chris Watson
Charleston, SC

While preparing for a visual approach into Montauk, New York on an IFR flight plan, New York approach radioed: “Cardinal 3 Bravo Hotel, I have a phone number for you to call when on the ground. Advise when ready to copy.”

My heart started skipping as I dutifully copied and read it back. Approach then explained, “You can cancel in the air or by calling that number on the ground.”

I responded: “A pilot’s heart starts beating fast when he hears ‘I have a number for you to call.'”

The controller said, “I’m sorry. You’re right. I should know better. I’m a pilot too.”

Joseph Lee Matalon
Eatontown, NJ

One day, we heard the following call from Opa Locka tower to the second of two Cessnas on downwind in the VFR pattern:

“Cessna 123, you’re going to have to keep more spacing than that, sir! This is a game of follow-the-leader, not a game of tag!”

Nathan Souleret,
Miami, FL

While south bound and casually monitoring the center, I picked up the tail end of an amended clearance, “… cleared direct El Paso, until then wander aimlessly and don’t hit anything.”

Stephen Bobko-Hillenaar
Carefree, AZ

Send us your cleverest (or most embarrassing) moment on the radio—or your favorite fix names or airport names—with a subject of “OTA,” to [email protected]. Be sure to include your name and location.


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