I now fly a 1947 35 Bonanza that my father owned for many years. My mother didn’t like to fly in small planes so when they traveled, my father flew the Bonanza and my mother would fly commercially. They arrived at this expensive but satisfactory arrangement after many years of disagreeing about how they should travel while on vacation.
One of my favorite family stories happened when my parents were both enroute to Florida. My father recognized the flight number for my mother’s airline flight on the VHF radio. With no objection from ATC, he talked air-to-air to the airliner and asked if they would let one of their passengers know that he was running a few minutes late.
Shortly after, to my mother’s great surprise, a flight attendant handed her a hand written note from the captain—”Your husband called and said he is running a few minutes late.” In the days before cell phones, this was way cool.
Turtle migration is a well-known phenomenon in Florida and it occurs in multiples or “nests” of turtles. The following exchange took place going into Orlando Executive, Florida. Our Mooney was second to land. The Citation ahead of us reported to Orlando Tower the following:
Citation Five Six X-ray: “We’ll be landing long for turtles crossing at the numbers on Seven.”
Orlando Tower: “Roger, Citation Five Six X-ray. Understand landing long for crossing traffic. Mooney One Two Three Alpha Bravo be aware of traffic crossing on Seven at the numbers, a ‘pack’ of turtles; suggest landing long.”
Mooney One Two Three Alpha Bravo: “Orlando Exec Tower, Traffic in sight, we will be landing long.”
Our 2 1/2 year old grandson was in the back seat of my Cessna 172 as my daughter and I made the short, familiar flight from Fort Worth to Austin. Sitting in his car seat with an adult-sized headset on so he could hear and be heard, his little hands were holding the headset in place much of the time. As usual, I was on flight following, and there was a good amount of chatter on the radio.
About half way to Austin I guess he’d had enough. Suddenly, we heard from the back seat a very earnest, “STOP TALKING TO ME, MAN!” It took us a while to recover from laughter.
I was flying from Medford, Oregon to Eugene, Oregon. I overheard one of the kindest ways of saying “don’t do it” from a Seattle Center controller. I could only hear Seattle’s side of the conversation, which made it quite interesting.
Seattle: “Affirmative Three Three Victor. Goose North is hot.”
There was a long pause as presumably Three Three Victor responded.
Seattle (kindly): “You’re VFR. I can’t stop you. But it might not be a good idea to be in there with high speed military aircraft doing maneuvers.”
The conversation stopped there— hopefully ending well. I got a chuckle out of it, piecing together what must have been the other side of the call.
Flying into Oshkosh for AirVenture, just before the airport was to close for the night, the FISKE controllers were a bit more relaxed with the lighter traffic. The Bonanza ahead of us had an inquiry of the controller on the ground.
Bonanza One Two Three Four Five: “So, I’ve been coming to Oshkosh for many years, and have yet to find you guys on the ground. Exactly where are y’all located?”
FISKE Approach (accompanied by audible chuckles in the background): “Actually, we operate out of the Oshkosh Hilton.”
Parsippany, New Jersey
Holding short of Runway 16L at Reno, Nevada, my passenger and I watched a Mooney approaching to land.
As he reached short final and the landing gear had not deployed by the time they were almost at the threshold, I keyed the mic and simply said, “landing gear?”
The gear lowered almost immediately and the pilot said “that was helpful.”