On the Air: June 2020


A Tale of Two Airports:

There seems to be a rivalry between San Diego International Airport (KSAN) and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (KDTW) on who is the legitimate owner of Top Gun. TOPGN TWO ARRIVAL at KSAN has dogfights (DOGFTs) among TMCATs. But only two call signs of the protagonists. Goose (GUUSE) and Iceman (ISEMN).

But the winner is KDTW. TPGUN ONE ARRIVAL has many call signs of the protagonists starting, of course, with the “star” Maverick (MAVVV); followed by Viper (VYPRE), Wolfman (WLFMN), and Hollywood (HLIWD). And maybe in the upcoming Top Gun 2 movie, we’ll see the GOHST of Goose (GGUSE) who died in Top Gun 1. Seems that “Charlie” didn’t make the cut.

Luca Bencini-Tibo

Weston, FL

I sometimes fly SIC on a Citation X based in the Dallas area, and on this occasion, it was my first “real” flight after simulator training. We were heading to Las Vegas, cruising at about 39,000 feet and Mach 0.92. I was thinking about the SR71 “ground speed” story often repeated on aviation forums and wishing to tell someone about our speed. Right then, it happened.

LA Center: “Citation 123, say Mach.”

Me (smiling): “Citation 123, Mach 0.92.”

LA Center: “Southwest 456, say Mach.”

SWA 456: “Mach 0.75, SW 456.”

LA Center: “Citation 123, slow to Mach 0.78 or less.”

Me: (accidently over the air): “Damn.”

Paul Sergeant

Allen, TX

We were taxiing our Phenom 300 out for takeoff at our home airport, San Jose International. An Angel Flight Bonanza had just arrived and was taxiing from the active runway to the same FBO we were leaving. The Bonanza, unfamiliar with the field, missed an instruction to hold short at one taxiway, but the ground controller, spotting his lapse, cleared us to turn early and taxi out on the taxiway he had just vacated. We hadn’t yet reached our turn-off when the Bonanza pilot called Ground in a very concerned voice, saying “Ground, there’s a jet coming right at me.”

We turned off a moment later, clearing his way, but I have to imagine he’s also retelling his story about flying into the big international airport in San Jose, and chasing away the bad bizjet.

Daniel Sternbergh

San Jose, CA

While flying over Long Island recently on an Angel Flight Mission around 2:30 p.m. I heard the following:

Cessna 1234: “New York, Cessna 1234 off Linden Municipal. Looking for flight following to Montauk.”

TRACON: “Cessna 1234 Squawk 5678. How does the Sunrise look?”

Cessna 1234: “Currently climbing and can’t see it. Will let you know when we level off.”

A couple of minutes later:

Cessna 1234: “New York, Sunrise looks wide open.”

TRACON: “Great, I get off in a couple of minutes. Should be an easy drive home.”

Since this exchange took place in mid-afternoon, I was baffled by the first reference to “the Sunrise.” Turns out it’s a local reference to an east-west highway that runs through Long Island.

Richard Jacobs

New Bedford, MA

Heard on frequency near Sacramento, California.

“Piper 1234, are you planning to do an approach into Sacramento Executive?”

“Affirmative, Piper 1234.”

After about 30 seconds of silence, the controller keyed up again and asked in a humorous tone, “Do you want me to pick one for you?”

Phil Verghese

Santa Clara, CA

I was flying from Texas to Minnesota on a less-than-smooth day in December. The Kansas City Center controller had a full plate working several busy frequencies, and had finally reached his wits end with constant inquiries about the ride.

Center: “The rides are light chop. It’s going to be that way all winter.”

Chris Wegener

Hiawatha, KS


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