When flying from from Osceola, Wisc., to Mattoon, Ill., on our way to Florida, the following conversations took place with Peoria Approach.
Peoria Approach: “Cherokee One One Two Seven X-Ray, descend and maintain 6000 for traffic.”
Me: “From 7000 to 6000, One One Two Seven X-Ray.”
Approach: “Baron Four Four Six Two Seven, climb and maintain 8000 for traffic.”
Baron 44627: “Climb and maintain 8000. Six Two Seven.”
Approach: “Bonanza Seven Seven Seven Kilo Zulu, you have a Cherokee at 6000 12 o’clock and a Baron at 8000 10 o’clock.”
Baron: “It sounds crowded here.”
Approach: “I only have three aircraft this morning and all of you managed to converge at 7000. So I have to move two of you.”
I was on my way home from Orlando, Fla., to Naples, Fla., one evening and heard the following:
Cessna 22314 (male voice): “Miami Center, Cessna Three One Four, I need to land at the airport below me.”
Miami Center (a female controller): “Cessna Two Two Three One Four, are you declaring an emergency?”
Cessna 22314: “No, I need to pee.”
Center (laughing): “You need to land to use the restroom?”
Cessna 22314: “Yes.”
Center (she was giggling and we heard another ATC female voice in the background laughing and saying “He needs to land to use the bathroom.”) “OK. Flight following canceled, squawk 1200. Frequency change approved.”
Cessna 22314: “What is the name of the airport below me?”
Center: “Sebring. Sierra Echo Foxtrot.”
Cessna 22314: “Thank you. What is their frequency?”
I laughed all the way home.
Some pilots just ooze authority and confidence. I was a young flight instructor giving night dual at what is now Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee. My student and I were motoring along enjoying the city lights and the challenge of picking out an airport in an urban landscape. The silence on the frequency was broken by an airline captain’s deep, rich voice:
“Good evening, Milwaukee,” he said, sounding like Chuck Yeager and God all rolled into one. “This is United … um, this is United … uh—oh, what the heck are we tonight, anyway?” Even that last was given with such authority that no one else dared speak up. After a moment, the captain came on again and said, “Milwaukee, this is the great big airplane 25 miles east.”
Approach replied: “Great big airplane, you’re cleared for the visual Runway 19R.”
My home airport, Orange County, is under the Newark transatlantic arrival path. It’s fun to sit in front of the hanger on a sunny afternoon and watch the traffic descend into the NYC area—and, of course, eavesdrop on the handheld:
Speedbird 772 (in a big, British pilot voice): “Speedbird Seven Seven Two Heavy at 7000 over CRANK, with … damn it … Hotel.”
There was an unusual moment of silence, and then, in a much smaller pilot voice:
Speedbird 772: “Oh, did I say that?”
He sounded quite relieved when descending into the next sector.
Sunday mornings are pretty quiet in the Fairbanks area in the winter. Flying in from the bush does not give a lot of opportunity for filing flight plans or talking to anyone, and so I was coming back unannounced from my remote cabin as I do on many weekends.
About 10 miles outside the TRSA, I was squawking 1200 and had tuned in to Fairbanks Approach. I was planning to give a call soon, but before I could key the mike, the radio came to life:
Fairbanks Approach: “N369KG, radar contact. Squawk 0120, left base or straight-in for Runway 2 Right.”
Me (after a pause from the surprise): “Uh … OK … Nine Kilo Golf, 0120, left base for 2 Right. … and, uh, what am I having for breakfast?”
Approach: “Stand by. We’re checking the Ouija board on that.”
I guess I’ve gotten a bit predictable.
David S. Grauman
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