On the Air May 2023


My wife and I went out to a morning FAA safety seminar on Long Island. One gentleman in the audience said, “For flying, I love foreplay.”

My wife looked at me and asked, “Is he talking about the mile-high club?”

I said, “No, Dear. I think he means ForeFlight.”

By then the laughter had subsided. He did mean ForeFlight.

Brian Gately
Brooklyn, New York

On one of my first IFR flights, my filed route ended JFK-COL-KBLM but Clearance told me to drop the Colts Neck VOR (COL) and go direct KBLM after JFK. Later, passing over JFK, I made my turn direct to KBLM as cleared. This was my last waypoint, so as I made this final turn towards KBLM, I proudly noted to myself that I hadn’t made any mistakes and had sounded like a seasoned instrument pilot for the whole flight. At this exact moment the extremely busy controller, seeing which direction I was heading said with a hint of annoyance: “N225VT feel free to turn towards Colts Neck VOR whenever you’re ready.” 

I realized he must have gotten the original route, not the cleared route. I did not want to take up too much air time with my reply so I simply said: “Approach, they took that out,” thinking they would know what I meant…

Approach having no idea what I meant said with an even bigger hint of annoyance: “Yeah. They decommissioned the VOR but you can still use a GPS to get there. Now how about you make that turn?” 

It wasn’t worth taking up valuable air time to explain so I just complied and figured I’d learn to live with the bruised ego of my perfect flight having a glitch! 

Michael Rose
Wall, New Jersey

As a new pilot I was nervous about ATC communications … until I heard this exchange. Now I know they are human after all.

As background, in the New York Terminal Area there’s a commonly used VRP, namely the Tappan Zee Bridge. A few years ago the New York Governor decided to name it instead after his father, Mario Cuomo. Nobody likes the new name, except perhaps Mario himself. This was the exchange I heard one day:

New York Approach: “123XY welcome back. What are your intentions now?”

123XY: “We’re going to go to the Cuomo bridge and then we want to head back south through the corridor.”

New York Approach: “Okay I’m only going to clear you back into the Bravo if you call it the Tappan Zee and not the Cuomo bridge.”

Long pause …

123XY: “Can you repeat that please?”

New York Approach: “Just disregard. I was trying to make a joke.”

Airline heading to La Guardia: “Cleared visual approach 22 … we got your joke!”

Another airline: “Descend 3000 … I liked your joke.”

David Brigstocke
White Plains, New York

Technically this isn’t “On the Air” but is something we pilots will likely appreciate. Having a long trip and having reserved a nondescript rental car well in advance, all the rental agency could give me at the time was a turbocharged Mustang. Someone on the design team of the Mustang must have been a pilot—the speedometer was labeled “GROUND SPEED”!

Stanley Stewart
Sacramento, California


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here