A friend and I were flying into Boeing Field. It was Sunday and more-or-less VMC with layers of clouds at various altitudes. It was the usual distracting approach into Boeing Field, with a 737 and a Dash-8 overhead going into Seattle
International Airport, someone towing a banner over the stadium immediately off to the left, somebody in the pattern that I couldn’t see, and so on. With the rather limited bandwidth I had left I was trying to get a glimpse of the new Dreamliner parked to one side. I was multitasking pretty seriously when the constant barrage from the radio caught my attention.
Boeing Tower: “4UD, cleared to land 13 right, number two following a Cessna on left base.”
Me: “Cleared to land on 13 right, number two, looking for that traffic.”
Boeing Tower: “Are you a Mom?”
My brain went: “MOM? MOM? What’s a MOM? Military something? Military Operations Manager? Medical something? Some sort of strange Boeing Field Land and Hold Short designation?” Finally I said, “MOM? Mike? Oscar? Mike?”
Boeing Tower: “Yes, a Mom. It’s Mother’s Day. I wanted to wish you a happy Mother’s Day!”
At this point I got it (with some background unidentified chuckles here and there on the radio) and delightedly thanked the controller.
Minneapolis has the TWOLF arrival (after the Timberwolves basketball team) and the WILDD (after the Minnesota Wild hockey team). The WILDD also includes the ZMBNI (Zamboni) and BEERI intersections.
Albert Lea, Minn.
On a slow afternoon, I had the following exchange with Los Angeles Center.
Center: “Bonanza 2047B, squawk 2047.”
Me: “Bonanza 2047B. Confirm squawk code 2047?”
Center: “Bonanza 2047B, verified squawk 2047.”
Me, since it was my birthday: “If this is a birthday present, thanks!”
Center: “Happy birthday, Bonanza 2047B.”
Then a Los Angeles arrival airliner chimed in to wish me a happy birthday as well.
Blaine County Airport is known for warbirds flying in the area on a regular basis. I was in my Mooney Acclaim on a two mile final and saw a warbird inching up to the hold short line on Runway 18. I noticed the aircraft cross the hold-short line. The tower controller also noticed the aircraft crossing the hold-short line, told me to go around. He then told the warbird pilot of his error. I then heard the tower controller chewing out the warbird pilot who said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t see the hold short line because the nose of the aircraft is in the way.”
Immediately, everyone on frequency keyed in with something to say about pilots who admit errors, then apologize as if a full confession exonerates them.
Chippewa Falls, Wis.
The RNAV (GPS) RWY 24 approach at Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky has some interesting fix names:
TOADU (IAF), NUNYA (IF) and BNNUS (FAF).
Translation: Told you, none of your business
Years ago there was an intersection named GAASS, located over the Alleghenies in Western Maryland. In the 1980s radar coverage wasn’t very good out there, so position reports were often required. It was always good for a laugh to listen into the frequency and hear something like “Bonanza 1234, Washington Center. Report passing GAASS”, or “Washington Center, Bonanza 1234A just passed GAASS.” A couple of times I actually thought I heard a controller chuckling in the background.
Flying home from Little Rock, Ark. to Clarksburg, W.Va., the airliners were constantly asking for ride reports. One controller, tired of the same question, replied, “I have no good rides today. In fact it was bumpy on my drive to work.”