On The Air: November 2019


While I was flying en route from Greenville Spartan International Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport last Thanksgiving morning, I overheard the following:

Washington Center: “Brickyard 6135, contact Potomac Approach on 119.85.”

Brickyard 6135: “Switching Potomac on 119.85, Brickyard 6135. Gobble gobble gobble!”

Robert “Bootcamp” Schapiro
Tampa, FL

Returning home from San Diego with my son in the copilot seat after a soccer tournament and college showcase, the following exchange took place flying along the Salinas Valley:

Oakland Center: “N333AM, traffic 11 o’clock, 17,000 feet, will remain above you. It is an F-15 that will cross in front of you.”

Me: “Center, N333AM, I’ll try to catch a view.”

Me (as the F15 does, indeed, scream by 1,500 feet above): “Contact. Beautiful.”

Oakland Center: “That’s the look of freedom.”

Ken Hahn
Palo Alto, CA

We were returning from a trip to Milwaukee Timmerman after visiting the EAA Air Venture and were on VFR flight following from Chicago Approach on a busy frequency when we overheard this exchange:

Chicago Approach: “N1234 are you a flight of three?”

N1234: “Say again?”

Chicago Approach: “N1234, are you a flight of three?”

N1234: (After a pause) “Uh… no.”

Chicago Approach: “I asked because there are two other aircraft right behind you at your altitude and your route of flight.”

N1234: “That’s terrible!”

E. Joel Wesp
Columbus, OH

My son and daughter-in-law had just married. I set in motion a plan to surprise them during their flight back home.

I got the frequency for Newark inbound flights at 16,000 feet from Albany Approach. I then contacted Boston Center for permission to contact United 139 for a personal message. Then it went like this:

Me: “United 139, this is Liberty 1234, about 3 miles directly below. My son and daughter-in-law were married two days ago; they’re on board, and I’m hoping you can surprise them with some good wishes?”

UAL 139: “That’s wonderful. We’ll join you in congratulating them, and their parents too!”

Whereupon the flight crew presented the newlyweds with their best wishes, and a bottle of Champagne.

Thank you to Albany Approach, Boston Center and the crew of UAL 139 for helping make the newlyweds’ return to the U.S. a memorable occasion!

Daniel Spitzer
Piermont, NY

In upstate South Carolina, Michelin has a number of plants that manufacture tires and one recently completed a 40-year anniversary. Maybe the FAA wanted to honor such presence in the local economy with the MCHLN TWO ARRIVAL, serving several airports including the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. There you can find PROVN MCHLN TYRES. I’m sure that the 130-year-old Bib or Bibendum AKA the Michelin Man, is happy for this aerial advertising.

Luca Bencini-Tibo
Weston, FL

I was heading to Palm Springs from San Diego on an IFR flight plan. I heard another pilot call in for an IFR clearance and it went something like this:

Transport 1234: “SoCal Approach we’d like an IFR clearance into San Diego.”

SoCal: “How many souls are on board?”

Transport 1234: “We have two pilots but also 3 legs, 2 arms and 2 kidneys. We are on a medical transport mission moving body parts.”

When it was my turn to check in I said, “N155DJ level niner-thousand. For the record we just have two whole people on board.”

I’ve never hear a controller bellow out a laugh like he did.

Marty Goodman
San Diego, CA

These are new, but we’ll have reruns next time. Don’t want reruns? 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 [email protected]. Be sure to include your full name and location.


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