On The Air: July 2018


I took off from Islesboro (an island off the coast of Maine) in a C-150. I was going south down the coast that took me through the Portland ATC area. I then realized that I was going to fly over Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro. This diner was made famous by Maine comedians Bert and I, and again later by Tim Samples.

I called Portland Approach and advised them I would be flying through the Portland area and was over “Moody’s Diner.” The immediate response with a chuckle was, “Radar Contact. We all know exactly where you are. Come on through at 3000 feet.”

Jack Ham
Bradenton, FL

I was on the departure out of Livermore, CA when this exchange occurred:

Me: “Livermore tower, Skylane 1234, there are a couple of buzzards circling here at 1000 feet on the departure.”

Unknown voice: “Was that my Ex?”

Livermore tower: “Come on, guys.”

Chris Lumsdaine
Lompoc, CA

While on approach to Runway 9 in Nassau, Bahamas the lady controller cleared Aztec 827 EC to land ahead of us. My wife keyed her mike and asked the controller to keep talking because my wife loved her accent. The lady controller responded, “No, it is you who has the beautiful accent.”

I thought, “What a tourist-savvy professional controller.”

Herbert G. Gautreaux

Marathon, FL

After I heard a GA pilot expressing concern about getting into icing conditions, I responded to air traffic control:

Me: “PIREP for the 172 concerned about icing, the freezing level over Santa Cruz summit is 5000 feet.”

NorCal Approach: “What was the OAT?”

Me: “Well, uh, that would be zero degrees Celsius.”

Bennet Taber

San Francisco, CA

I recently heard this at Detroit Metropolitan Airport:

Tower: “Airliner 123, left turn to heading 185. Cleared for takeoff 21R.”

Pilot: “Right turn 185, cleared for takeoff 21R.”

Tower: “That’s aleftturn, 185.”

Pilot: “Leftturn 185… that would’ve been a really long right turn.”

Tower (completely deadpan): “It’s been done.”

Chris Iriarte
Detroit, MI

I heard the following somewhere over Kentucky:

Approach: “Cirrus 123, contact Center on 124.125.”

Cirrus: “Cirrus 123 uhhh, switching to 124.2.”

Approach: “Cirrus 123 the frequency is 124.125, twenty-four, twelve, five.”

Cirrus: “Uhhh, was that 122.12?”

Approach: “No, 124-decimal-125.”

Cirrus: “Roger, ahh 124.25”

Approach: “Cirrus, the frequency is One. Two. Four. Point. One. Two. Fife.”

Anonymous: “Just pop the chute.”

Nathan Souleret
Miami, FL

Years ago when Meigs was still open in Chicago I was about to taxi and called up to ask for my IFR clearance with near zero/zero conditions. Being under a mental overload, I messed up my tail number twice. The tower calmly said, “Don’t worry. We will read it off your plane as you pass the tower.”

Walter Kahn
Rumson, NJ

I still don’t know if my radios were set up wrong or I just hit the wrong button. While climbing out of Lincoln, Nebraska the following took place:

Lincoln Tower: “N8180D, contact departure 124.0.”

Me: “Lincoln Departure, 8180D climbing thru 1800.”

Lincoln Tower: “8180D, you’re still with Tower, Departure 124.0.”

ME: “Sorry.”

I punched the button and said, “Lincoln Departure, 8180D climbing thru 2200.”

Lincoln Tower (same patient voice): “80D, you’re still with Tower. Remember, one button turns me on, you must punch another button to flip me off!”

John Ferguson
Kimball, NE

The well is dry. Next month, reruns. Or, 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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