A few months ago, I was with Atlanta Center when I heard the controller and a pilot doing parachute jumping operations. Once the pilot announced the jumpers were away I heard the Controller come on and say, “Attention all aircraft. Look out for falling people.”
J. P. Engelbrecht
A while ago, I was flying into Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan as a student pilot when I was cleared to land.
Bishop Tower: “Cessna 1234, cleared to land 18.”
Me: “Cessna 1234, cleared to land 18.”
Bishop Tower: “Cessna 1234, contact ground 121.9.”
Me: “Cessna 1234, contact ground 121.9.”
Me: “Ground, Cessna 1234.”
Bishop Ground: “Cessna 1234, say parking.”
Me: “Cessna 1234, parking.”
When Bishop Ground came back on line, you could hear everyone in the tower laughing.
Recently my friends and I were departing for a $200 hamburger from my local airport in my low wing Piper. Partially blocking the entrance to the runway was a high wing Cessna. The only way I could get around him would be to slide my wing under his. Not wanting to do that, I got on the radio and said, “Cessna on the tarmac are you going to be moving soon?”
In about two seconds I realized how awful that sounded and got back on the horn and said, “I’m sorry. That was not the best way to say that.”
He came back with, “Yeah, you were being kind of a dink.”
I don’t know if he was being funny or angry but either way it was a great way to respond.
Battling 25-knot headwinds, northbound into Atlanta’s DeKalb-Peachtree, ATC gave clearance to both my Mooney Ovation and a nearby Bonanza: “Direct WRGNZ, WRGNZ ONE arrival.”
ATC kept me at 6000 feet and descended the Bonanza to 4000 for spacing. I could see the Bonanza’s groundspeed on ADS-B, and even with his descent I was gaining on him.
“Ha!” I thought, “I’ll beat him there.”
Then ATC said, “Mooney 34S, slow 10 knots for spacing behind the Bonanza.” Dang!
A few minutes later the Bonanza said: “Approach, do I get a gold star for battling these 25-knot headwinds?”
ATC said, “No, but you do get a prize for a Bonanza beating a Mooney to WRGNZ.”
I couldn’t let that stand and keyed the mic: “But you made me slow down.”
We all got a good chuckle.
Fernandina Beach, FL
One Sunday morning my home airport was forecast to have low clouds and drizzle until around 10 a.m., when the rain would stop. I got an early start to the airport to do some approaches before the clouds lifted. I check in with my sister on Sunday mornings, so this day I called her on my way to the airport. She knows that when I call early it usually means I’m going flying.
She said, “I would have thought you’d prefer to fly on nice, sunny days, not gloomy rainy mornings.”
I responded with, “Any fool can fly an airplane on a nice, sunny day…” but before I could say anything more she came back with, “Yeah, but it takes a special kind of fool to go flying on a rotten morning like this.”
While it’s common for airports to list “birds in the vicinity,” this alert for Situk Airport in Alaska warns of especially distracted type engaged in perpetuating our national symbol:
• RY SAFETY AREA 75 FT WIDE FULL LENGTH WITH GROUND RISING AND FALLING OVER 12 INCHES. MAINTAIN CNTRLN CONTROL.
• TREES BTN 50 FT -120 FT BORDER AIRSTRIP SAFETY AREA.
• NUMEROUS BALD EAGLES FISH AND MATE ABOVE RY.
Send us your cleverest or most embarrassing moment on the radio—or your favorite fix names or airport names—with a subject of “OTA,” toIFR@BelvoirPubs.com. Be sure to include your full name and location.