My wife and I flew in our Cessna Cardinal from our home base at Dutchess County Airport to Wallkill, NY for dinner. After dinner, we took off VFR without talking to Departure, since New York is always so busy. We did a practice ILS to Runway 3 at Montgomery/Orange County, an airport not far south, and then started the few miles back home, skirting around the Class D at Stewart International.
About eight miles northwest of Stewart I decided to call New York Approach and request a practice approach into Dutchess County. The controller answered right away with a squawk code and confirmed our location. I told him what we wanted and he gave us a heading to intercept the localizer.
Then he said, “How many approaches would you like? You know, you’re the only airplane in the whole sky.”
This was just about sunset, 18:30 or so local time. “Oh, just one approach will be fine, but thanks.”
When we were established on the localizer he said, “You don’t need any practice. You’re right on.”
We landed and put the plane away. Over a couple of beers we joked about such a friendly controller, such empty skies, and why were we so worried about any congestion. We were the only plane on the frequency the whole time we were in contact with New York Approach.
Here are some interesting fixes in the Boston area (enroute, approach, STARs and SIDs):
SSOXS, BRUWN, CELTK, BOSOX, FENWY, ORRR (Bobby Orr), BUCYK (Johnny Bucyk), BLZZR, REVER, OOSHN, and let’s not forget what’s for dinner: LBSTA.
Luca F Bencini-Tibo
I was enroute to Fort St. Johns, BC from Fort Nelson, BC at about 10,000 feet on a perfectly calm blue-sky day. The Center controller we had been hearing on that frequency said, “Couldn’t make out that last deviation request, but all deviations are approved for everyone.”
Although Portland, Maine’s airport is known as the “International Jetport,” local radio transmissions on a summer weekend still sound small-town friendly. One sunny Saturday morning, I heard this exchange:
Cessna 234: “Portland Approach, Cessna 234, we’re going to head over to do a couple of circles over my house.”
Approach: “John, I’ve known you a long time, but I don’t know exactly where your house is. You’re going have to give me a bit more information.”
A while back, I was returning to North Carolina from a trip to Minnesota, and overheard the following:
Bonanza: “Center, Bonanza 1234 request change of destination from Lewisburg, West Virginia to Laurinburg, North Carolina.”
Center: “Bonanza 1234, standby and what is the reason for the change?”
Bonanza: “Apparently my wife is no longer hungry and she doesn’t have to…” The transmission went dead and a second later, “Uh, there’s no reason to stop and we just want to get home.”
Center (chuckling): “N1234, approved as requested, have a nice flight.”
Bonanza: “Yeah, thanks.”
Years ago while flying my 172 home from New Orleans, I decided to stop in Meridian, Mississippi. The tower had cleared me for a straight-in approach on Runway 1. While I was in my descent, the tower called me:
Tower: “Cessna 90 Hotel, you have a Cessna Citation descending behind you and gaining on you, could you accelerate your descent?”
Me: “No problem.”
Tower (Later): “Cessna 90 Hotel, the Citation is still gaining on you, could you make it a little faster?”
Me: “I’m pedaling as fast as I can!”
Tower: (Laughing) “Citation 345, did you hear that?”
Citation: (Laughing) “Yeah, we heard it. We’ll make some ‘S’ turns.”
Tower: “Cessna 90 Hotel, cleared to land.”
The well has run dry and we’re scraping the bottom. You don’t want us to have to resort to reruns, do you? Help us out. 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 IFR@BelvoirPubs.com. Be sure to include your name and location.