On the Air: April 2017


One Saturday morning, I was flying a Piper Lance to Cuyahoga County airport in the Cleveland area to attend the Cleveland National Airshow, which was being held at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront airport. There was very little radio traffic on Cleveland Approach and so I decided to have some fun.

Me: “Approach, this is 7639 Foxtrot. I’m in no real hurry and have a lot of extra fuel. So, if the guys at the airshow want me to make a low pass, I’m available.”

Approach (multiple voices laughing in the background): “39 Foxtrot, we have your request.”

About 30 seconds later, came this:

Approach: “39 Foxtrot, amend your call sign for the balance of this flight. You are now Blue Angel 7.”

John Moore
Vero Beach, FL

A very close friend of mine told me about a flight he took from Pittsburgh to points south. My friend, a native Nu Yawkuh, was having trouble with a controller’s strong southern drawl.

Friend: “Say again?”

Memphis Approach Control: [serious drawl]

Friend: “I’m sorry, please say yet again.”

Memphis Approach Control: [same thing]

Friend: “Memphis Approach Control, you got anyone down there who speaks ‘Merican?'”

Memphis Approach Control: “Whooooooooeeee, we got us a Yankee boy up there!”

Joe Horton
Birmingham, AL

I fly out of a small, private, non-towered airport north of San Antonio, called Bulverde. The airport does not have instrument approaches, nor does it report weather. Recently, I was with San Antonio Approach when the following exchange occurred:

Me: “I’d like to descend and return to Bulverde now.”

San Antonio Approach: “Descend at pilot’s discretion, advise when you have the weather at Bulverde.”

Me: “That’d be a neat trick.”

San Antonio Approach: “I thought it might have an ASOS or something.”

Me: “Nope. ‘fraid not.”

San Antonio Approach: “Oh, well. San Antonio winds 210 at 13, altimeter 29.75.”

Kevin L. Mitchell
San Antonio, TX

I was serving as safety pilot while my buddy, who recently passed away, was PIC under the hood. One of my duties was entering frequencies, and on this occasion I’d inadvertently screwed this up. When we figured out what happened my friend shook his head and muttered, “It’s the blind leading the foggled.”

I thought it was a splendid summary of our relationship. I miss him.

Howard Congdon
Lock Haven, PA

Our company flies Cessna Caravans with scheduled passengers into Chicago O’Hare. Heard this one morning on the way in.

Chicago Center: “Envoy 5634, be aware similar sounding call sign Envoy 5364 on frequency.”

Chicago Center: “Envoy 5364, be aware similar sounding call sign Envoy 5634 on frequency.”

Envoy 5364: “What could possibly go wrong…?

This was followed by the upcoming handoff to Chicago Approach with the warnings of similar call signs and the Envoy response: “Yeah, we have been causing trouble all morning.”

Bruce Belling
Waukee, IA

I was doing my IFR training in the summer of 2008 in Seattle. While flying in the vicinity of Tacoma Narrows, late one night, I heard this exchange between a transiting Cessna and Seattle Approach:

Cessna (sounding a bit tired and spacey): “Seattle Approach, Cessna 123AB, just checking in, we’re still with you.”

Seattle Approach: “Cessna 123AB, Seattle Approach, we’ve got you. Things are pretty light tonight, so let us know if we can help you with anything.”

Cessna: “Uhh…we could use a cold drink.”

Seattle Approach: “Sorry, but they don’t let us out of this room too often.”

Jeremy Katz
Seattle, WA

Please 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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