Coming back from Oshkosh, we air-filed an IFR flight plan to easily get across Canada en route to the Northeastern U.S. It was a simple direct and we expected to get a bunch of airways when we picked up the actual clearance over Michigan. We were pleasantly surprised to get, “Cleared as filed.” But it didn’t last more than five minutes:
Saginaw Approach: “Seven Two Zero Echo Charlie, I have a routing amendment for you when you’re ready to copy.”
Us (all three in the airplane rolling our eyes): “Seven Two Zero Echo Charlie is ready to copy.”
Approach: “Seven Two Zero Echo Charlie, amend routing to read direct Peck, then as filed.”
Us (pleasantly surprised again): “OK. Direct Peck, then as filed. Zero Echo Charlie.”
Wiseass in the backseat: “Hey, they could have given us a bushel of changes, but instead we got a peck!”
We thought about asking him to step outside after that.
During a handoff in New York airspace while southeast-bound, I tuned in to the middle of this exchange between a pilot requesting Flight Following and a rather busy controller:
Cessna 720: “And, uh, sir, can you tell me if my flight plan was activated?”
New York Approach: “Cessna Seven Two Zero, squawk 4567. And you want me to tell you if you VFR flight plan was activated?”
Cessna 720: “Yes sir, I filed to Norwood.”
Approach (weary): “I’m using equipment from the 1980s. The answer is no.”
After handling other traffic, the controller volunteered to make a telephone call and got the answer.
Bowling Green, Ky.
I overheard this while approaching Fort Worth Alliance. It was from a Diamond DA40 taxiing back for departure after a full-stop landing on the longer Runway 16L:
Diamond 8CS (instructor): “Alliance Tower, on this next takeoff I’ll be simulating an engine failure for my student, and we’d like to just land straight ahead.”
Alliance Tower: “Eight Charlie Sierra, roger. Understand you will not be departing the runway environment?”
Diamond 8CS (instructor): “Well, if he does it correctly, we won’t be!”
Fort Worth, Texas
I fly a Skylane in and out of Boston Logan on weekly Angel Flights. Tower always wants me to keep the speed up on final. On a recent arrival, I was lined up about five miles out for a visual for Runway 4L with the heavy metal landing Runway 4R.
Boston Tower: “Skylane Two Two One, traffic is a Delta Embraer, three o’clock landing parallel runway. Call him in sight.”
Me: “We have traffic.”
Tower: “Skylane Two Two One, what is your best speed on final?”
I looked at my airspeed indicator—and being in smooth air—responded: “140, and I’ll beat the Embraer in.”
Tower (laughing): “Roger.”
Embraer: “You’re on.”
The Delta jet landed a little before me but with 4L being closer to the gates (and the GA terminal), I turned left on to the taxiway—in front of the Embraer. As I arrived at the gate area, I gave a friendly wave to the jet following me in.
I was cruising at 7000 feet near Pittsburgh, returning from Cleveland, Ohio, to my home base of Leesburg, Va., when I heard this exchange. It was a hot and sticky day in the East, with temperatures well above 80 degrees below 3000 feet:
Cessna (lots of background noise and slightly difficult to hear): “Pittsburgh Approach, Cessna Seven Three Four One Zero is at 2500 feet, just off from Rock Airport. We’d like to do a radio and transponder check.”
Pittsburgh Approach: “Go ahead.”
Approach: “Cessna Four One Oh, would you like Flight Following?”
Cessna: “No sir. Just wanted to verify the transponder and our radio. Is our radio readable?”
Approach: “Yes, but you have a lot of background noise.”
Cessna: “I guess that’s ’cause I have the window open.”
Approach (muffled laughter): “Radar service terminated. Squawk 1200. Good day.”