On The Air: January 2022


Heard while transitioning NorCal Approach airspace near Sacramento:

Cessna 12345: (Broken, garbled transmission)

NorCal: “I believe that was Cessna 12345; you’re coming in unreadable. Do you have another radio you can try?”


Cessna 12345: “NorCal approach, how do you read Cessna 12345 now?”

NorCal: “Loud and clear now, your other radio was just static.”

Cessna 12345: “Thanks for that. Yeah, we tossed that radio out the window already.”

William Cole, Petaluma, California

One morning at KAPA (used to be Arapahoe County Airport, now Centennial Airport in south metro Denver, Colorado) I decided to get current in my Super Decathlon. It was a rare morning with no wind and no other aircraft in the pattern of one of the nation’s busier GA airports. After a few close-in patterns, I had the brilliant idea to perform “Figure-8” touch-and-goes. I would take off, kick out 45 degrees, bring the plane back around, do a T&G on the reverse runway, take off, turn out 45 degrees and repeat the process, never getting more than 300 feet AGL and doing a landing/takeoff every 30-45 seconds. Tower gave permission for these “fun” maneuvers.

After a few of these, the controller was getting confused as to which runway he was clearing me for. He finally said, “18 Echo, you are cleared for continuous operations Runway 17 Right, 35 Left until advised.”

“Roger that,” was my reply.

For 25 minutes I had the airspace and runway to myself as I never got higher than 300 feet and did a touch and go every 45 seconds. It all ended when Tower came on, “18 Echo, you’ll have to remain in a standard pattern as we have an IFR inbound.”

“That’s okay, Tower,” I said. “I’ll make it a full-stop as I feel I’m pretty current by now.”

“It sure looked good from here,” Tower replied. “Cleared full stop, Runway 35 Left.”

Drew Chitiea, Centennial, Colorado

I was crossing the Sierras on my way to Las Vegas at 15,000 feet in my DA40 NG, which has a maximum operating altitude of 16,400 feet when Oakland Center came on and told me to climb to 17,000 feet. I responded “unable.”

After a significant pause, the controller came back and said, “I don’t know what to tell you.”

I’m pretty sure that’s not in pilot-controller glossary. A couple minutes later he handed me off to the next controller who gave me a five-degree turn and 16,000 feet.

Russ Irwin, Healdsburg, California

On the ILS 17 into KMHT (Manchester, New Hampshire, where the state flower is the purple lilac), the fixes include PURBL, LYLAC, BLSSM, and BLUUM.

Ahhh, thoughts of spring!

Ed Fischer, Rockport, Massachusetts

I have a Cirrus SR20—early vintage but it’s a great airplane. I base it at KSUA, Witham Field Airport, Stuart, Florida. KOBE, Okeechobee, is a quick hop west with self-serve gas and a great little restaurant. One day I flew over for lunch and fuel and on my return I was monitoring Stuart tower. The radio was quiet for a couple of minutes which was odd, so I kept verifying that I was listening to the correct frequency.

Then I heard the local flight school call at 10 miles west for landing. The tower gave him a straight-in for Runway 12. As I was still far enough from the airport, I turned slightly north to line up better with final and keep the Cessna off to my right. At 10 miles from the airport, I called:

987CD: “Stuart Tower, Cirrus 987CD is 10 out with Whiskey.”

Stuart Tower: “Cirrus 987CD Stuart Tower. Fill it with high-test.”

987CD:” Say again, please, 987CD.”

Stuart Tower: “Keep your speed up and I can get you in before the Cessna.”

987CD: “Keeping my speed up, straight in to Runway 12, 987CD.”

After landing:

Stuart Tower: “Cirrus 987CD thanks for your help, turn right when able, contact Ground.”

987CD: “No, thank you. I was expecting just the opposite.”

Stuart Tower: “We like to keep you guessing.”

Gregory Hoffman, Hobe Sound, Florida


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