On The Air: March 2018


In Valdez, Alaska for the annual fly-in and STOL competition, a Lake amphibian (not known for its STOL capability), in town for the fly-in, departed early to beat the weather just before the last round of the competition. Heard on the temporary tower frequency as the competition continued and the Lake departed:

Lake: “Tower, Lake 123 is clear to the west, thanks for the help.”

Tower: “Lake 123, roger, be advised, the last combined distance was 30 feet 8 inches.”

Lake: “Amazing! I’ll practice up for next year, but not sure I can beat that…”

Tower: “Well whatever you do, I’m sure you’ll win your class!”

Jim Freeman
Mobile, AL

The Boston area has some interesting fixes. MINNT and REVER are historical, while BOSOX and CELTS are self-explanatory. Quite what YANKS is doing in Wisconsin is beyond me! YANKI is even further away in Nebraska.

John W. Ward
Brewster, MA

I was flying near Salinas, California when the Goodyear blimp was passing over the airport. Tower advised an inbound aircraft of the blimp in the area.

Tower: “Beech 1234 be advised there’s a blimp at your two o’clock, three thousand feet.”

Beech 1234: “Is that from the top or from the bottom?”

Doug Anderson
Salinas, CA

I was flying IFR in VMC between St. Petersburg and Orlando Executive. Central Florida TRACON (Orlando Approach) was vectoring non-commercial traffic over the top of Orlando International for an eventual turn to the north or continuation to the east. In my case, after passing over Orlando International, I would get a descending north turn followed by a northwest vector to intercept final approach for Runway 25 at Orlando Executive.

In front of my Cirrus SR22T was a slower Cessna C172 continuing east and then northeast to Daytona Beach.

Approach was vectoring the C172 away from my expected north turn. All was going well. The Cessna pilot’s young sounding voice and careful response to vectors suggested he was a student or at least a low-time pilot. He was doing a fine job interacting in a fast paced environment.

East of Orlando International, the Cessna pilot was given a northeast heading. This new heading would take him over top the Stanton Energy Center, a coal-burning relic east of Orlando whose twin cooling towers closely resemble any nuclear facility. It was then the Cessna pilot responded in a scratchy and seemingly doubtful voice that he was not sure he could continue as the track would take him very close to “nuclear smoke.”

Orlando approach was back on frequency after a few seconds delay, presumably caught off guard and warranting a high degree of professional self-control. The controller advised the Cessna pilot, he would be fine passing over the power plant, however he could turn ten degrees right to keep the power plant on his left if he preferred. The new heading was exuberantly accepted.

The response from ATC was so well played our nervous Cessna colleague was likely oblivious to the controllers well-kept opinion of this unusual radio exchange.

Jim Stroh
Safety Harbor, FL

As soon as Hurricane Irma had moved inland north of Florida, there was a lot of traffic heading east back into the Florida panhandle from the Gulf Coast, you could see the line of traffic on ADS-B stretching for miles. ATC called each aircraft in sequence:

ATC: “Cessna 123, you get a re-route. Advise ready to copy.”

ATC: “Bonanza 456, you get a re-route!” (This was said in an Oprah voice.)

ATC: “Piper 789, and you get a re-route!” (Continued in Oprah voice.)

Piper 345: “Uh, well, okay. I was hoping for a new car.”

Tom Leffingwell
Fort Lauderdale, FL

On the final approach to Poplar Grove, Illinois, you first reach CURVI, followed by LYNDA. Nice motivation to land safely, I guess.

Markus Rex
Lexington, MA

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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