On the Air: March 2022


The weather was good in Houston, but traffic was heavy. My traffic display was a solid mass of aircraft that was so dense even on smaller scales that most targets were indistinguishable from one another.

I’d just checked on with TRACON and overheard a controller giving vector and restriction after vector and restriction to one bizjet in particular. Finally, I guess the bizjet had run the gauntlet and the controller turned him loose:

TRACON: “Bizjet 45E, sorry for the convoluted routing. Cleared direct DAFIX.”

Bizjet 45E: “Direct DAFIX. Thanks for keeping us out of all that traffic.”

TRACON: “I appreciate your help. Next time you’re in town, I owe you a beverage.”

Sal Cruz
Watsonville, California

One sunny afternoon in late Fall, several flight school Skyhawks and a Piper Seminole trainer were making the most of the beautiful VFR day by practicing maneuvers in the “Northeast Practice Area.” All these aircraft were self-reporting their position and intentions on 122.75 MHz. Heard on frequency:

Seminole (Student): “Northeast Practice, Seminole 123 over Carnation, 3500, partial-panel single-engine operations, Northeast.”

Seminole (CFI): “What should I fail?”

Unknown #1: “The Airspeed Indicator.”

Unknown #2: “The Attitude Indicator.”

Unknown #3: “The Left Engine!”

Unknown #4: “The Wing!”

I don’t think I’d want to be that student that afternoon!

Joelle Erickson
Seattle, Washington

One of my favorite things in flying, aside from telling ATC that I was on the landline when I miss a radio call, is funny or interesting fixes.

There was an Atlanta Center controller with the last name Jones who apparently thought highly of himself. The other controllers called him Cupcake Jones, after a children’s book character. If you fly into Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (KCLT) on the JONZE2 arrival, consider it an honor that you’re flying in the footsteps of the BESTT CNTLR EVRRR KUPPP CAAKE JONZE.

Once you’ve had your fill of Charlotte, North Carolina, the Queen City, hop over to Delkalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK) to get a sample of southern delicacies on the SWTEE2 (sweet tea) arrival. Try some delicious YAMSS while we drop the LPTON teabags in the water. We’re cooking OKRAA and kneading the BIZKT dough. Now that the SWTEE is done, we’ll throw the LACCE (Lacy) cornbread in the oven for dinner.

After dinner is done, hit either of the IAFs—MAASH or DSTIL—on the RNAV Rwy 3 into Bardstown, Kentucky, (KBRY) and have a good snort from a MAKRZ MAARK BARRL.

Sounds like a good way to end a busy day to me.

Elliott Cox
Clover, South Carolina

A VFR Saturday morning this past December was a good time to exercise my Mooney 201. I decided to visit York, Pennsylvania, (KTHV) since it was close to my home base and I never had the pleasure of visiting there before. About 10 miles out I made my first call.

Me: “York, Mooney 10 miles to the northeast, inbound for landing. Request airport advisory.”

Unicom: “Airport is still here where it’s always been.”

Unknown Pilot (giggling): “Hey, you really got him good.”

He was obviously a local, who was in the pattern.

After a few moments I heard:

Lady Pilot: “They’re using Runway 35.”

Me: “Thank you, ma’am.”

Tom Stackhouse

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Some of the TERPSters probably just turn to a random fix generator in a computer, while some of them seem to work hard to have some fun. For fun and creativity, my absolute favorite sequence of fix names in the entire national airspace system is on the RNAV 33 approach into Louisville, Kentucky, (KLOU): “IFALN,” “ANDYE,” “CAANT,” “GDUPP.”

Jim Kleiss
Champaign, Illinois

The low OTA warning is still on. Don’t want repeats? Please 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 full name and location.


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