On The Air: November 2018


One morning on departure from Peoria International Airport:

Peoria Approach: “I bet you didn’t think you were going to get this type of workout when you asked for the clearance into the Class Charlie, did you?”

Cessna: “Peoria approach, student pilot here. I enjoy the workout.”

Peoria Approach: “Roger that.”

Unknown aircraft: “If he’s a student pilot, he’s doing great!”

Robert Schapiro
Tampa, FL

One morning a few years ago I took off out of Farmingdale, New York, for a flight that I often took to Manassas Regional, Virginia, in my Cirrus SR20. The routing is always over JFK, then down V1-16 and south to wherever you may be going.

It was a quiet morning on the radio for the controller who was working the JFK departures. I don’t know why, but he was in a particularly good mood and was chatty with the flight crews departing out of JFK and was signing off with a cheerful “seeeeee yaaaaa” all in his thick NY accent.

During one of the exchanges I heard:

Departure: “JetBlue 1234, you have an extra seat there for me? It’s cold here in New York and I need some warm Florida weather.”

JetBlue 1234: “Yes sir, a comfortable jump seat is waiting for you anytime.”

This was all cheerfully exchanged and you could see and hear the smiles on their faces as the JetBlue flight was handed off to the next controller.

Next it was my turn and the controller cheerfully said to me.

Departure: “Cirrus One Delta Kilo contact McGuire approach on 124.15, seeeeee yaaaaa.”

Me: “McGuire on 124.15 for Cirrus One Delta Kilo, and I have a nice comfy seat in my Cirrus if you ever want low and slow.”

The departure controller chuckled and then said, “Have a great day, Sal.”

In 30 years of flying this was the first time a controller ever used my name.

Salvatore Marinello
Long Island, NY

One Friday I shot the GPS 7 approach into Gwinnett County, Georgia (KLZU). As I was briefing the approach, I wondered how I would pronounce CURAP, the FAF, if I was asked to report it. Thankfully, that situation did not arise since I was cleared for the approach earlier and sent over to Tower shortly thereafter.

Not long after I completed the flight, I realized how to handle this. I will assume that it’s pronounced, “See you rap.”

Hence to report it I’d say (in my best white-boy rap cadence), “I’m at da fix and don’t know what to do. I’ll just continue if that works for you?”

Bill Castlen
Dothan, AL

I was preparing for some instrument and maneuvering practice with my instructor, Andy. Sitting in the apron area in a Cessna 172 with the engine running, I made my initial call to Texarkana Ground as follows:

Me: “Texarkana Ground, Skyhawk 62689, Texarkana Flying Club; ready for departure with information Delta.”

Texarkana Ground (in a completely serious voice): “Would you like to depart from where you are or would you prefer to taxi to a runway?”

I don’t know who laughed harder, Andy or me. Regaining my composure, I assured the controller that I would certainly like to taxi to a runway prior to departure.

David F. Rankin
Magnolia, AR

I was flying with a non-pilot friend who had never been in a small plane. We were listening in on Key West International’s tower frequency. It was early on a Saturday morning and not much was happening.

A regular inbound flight checked in and the pilot and controller obviously knew one another and began talking about their weekend plans.

The pilot told his controller friend he was going fishing and he would be heading out to his favorite spot to catch grouper.

As we listened, the conversation went on for about five minutes discussing the merits of tackle, boats, bait and the usual fishing stuff.

My passenger, who was not a fisherman or used to the locals, thought I had changed frequencies. He turned to me and asked, “Is this the fishing channel?”

He was completely serious.

William Coates
Cocoa, FL

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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