On The Air: October 2019


The ride over was smooth and generally clear on a recent flight, but there were intermittent clouds and bumps at 7000:

Piper 28D: “Allentown Approach, Piper Two Eight Delta, request.”

Allentown Approach: “Go ahead.”

Piper 28D: “We are about to enter a cloud layer at 7000. Is 5000 available? I’ve got my 90-year-old dad with me and I’d like him to have a smooth ride.”

Approach: “Both of you can godown to 5000.”

Gabe Buntzman
Bowling Green, KY

Overheard just after landing at Austin,


Cessna 0DS: “Austin Tower, Cessna Five Seven Zero Delta Sierra, ready for departure.”

No response for a short time.

Tower: “Was that American Twelve Sixty-one calling?”

Cessna 0DS: “I wish. No, it was Cessna Five Seven Zero Delta Sierra.”

Unidentified: “Be careful what you wish for.”

Scott McCartney
Dallas, TX

It was 1980. Hughes Airwest had been purchased by Republic Airlines, but many of the bright-yellow Airwest DC-9s were still filling the skies. One morning at Los Angeles, TWA 438 was lined up on the 25R taxiway directly behind one of those long, yellow Nines.

Los Angeles Ground: “TWA Four Three Eight, say your position.”

TWA 438: “TWA Four Three Eight, number 2 behind the banana republic.”

John Baum
Pleasanton, CA

While flying IFR in VMC from Redding, to Mariposa, my wife and I overheard several exchanges between NorCal Approach and a Baron who kept omitting his call sign:

NorCal Approach: “Baron Two Five Seven Seven Two, you know, it would be nice if you would use your call sign with your transmissions so I can tell who I’m talking to.”

Baron 25772: “OK.”

Brent Dalrymple
Corvallis, OR

On a summer evening in Truckee / Tahoe, I heard an inbound Skylane making calls as I was in the run-up area.

Skylane: “Skylane Two Seven Eight Papa Delta, slightly high for a downwind entry, right traffic, 19.”

Me: “Cirrus Seven Three One Papa Papa, taking off on 19 for a right-downwind departure. We’ll be looking for the inbound Skylane.”

Skylane: “Skylane Eight Papa Delta has the Cirrus in sight.”

Me: “I see you too. Cirrus One Papa Papa on right downwind for 19, departing over the scales to the north.”

Skylane: “My next plane is a Cirrus SR22 Turbo.”

Me: “That’s an incredible plane. This one’s just a 22, but I still love it.”

A moment passed and then the Skylane was on short final.

Skylane: “My wife just told me that my next plane is not an SR22 Turbo.”

Me (laughing): “You never know …”

Skylane: “No. I know.”

Glen Janssens
Sausalito, CA

In 2006, Addison, Texas, the new tower structure was up, but without windows

and a few walls. I was taxiing out to the runway and overheard this exchange:

Addison Tower: “Lear Eight Tango Fox, turn right at Golf and taxi to parking.”

Lear 8TF: “Right at Golf. Our Tower is going to look like your new one.”

Tower: “Really? Where’s that?”

Lear 8TF: “Daytona Beach.”

Tower: “Are you also getting a new tower?”

Lear 8TF: “No, we are getting a hurricane; that’s why we’re here.”

Bob Orth
Garland, TX

Almost home to Lancaster, NY, after a long (for me) flight from Charlottesville, VA, I wanted to find out if anyone was on the ground at Lancaster:

Me: “Lancaster Unicorn … Lancaster Unicorn”—I actually said it wrong twice—”Lancaster Unicom! Piper One Seven Two Mike Echo …”

Sadly, no one got to enjoy this with me. But don’t bother looking for unicorns at Lancaster. I already checked.

Nate Richards
Charlottesville, VA

We’re out—don’t have enough for a full issue. Here are some 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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