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.
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!
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.”
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”!