On The Air: October 2017


On Columbus Day last year.

Me: “Happy Columbus Day, Clearance, November fourteen ninety two sailor.”

ATC: “Say again call sign.”

Me: “This is fourteen ninety two sailor.”

ATC: “1294 what?”

Me: “Skylane, November one four niner two sierra.”

The initial contact with Tower was about the same. So much for, “in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

This year I just didn’t fly on Columbus Day.

On the plus side, our ATC guys are really good, and I guess they were keeping their minds on their jobs instead of on history lessons.

John Burr
Salem, VA

This wasn’t “on the air” but via e-mail.

As the Editor of the Idaho Aviation Association’s The Flyline, Managing Editor of Pilot Getaways magazine, and AOPA Destinations travel writer, I get a lot of questions.

This one takes the cake though:

“Do I have to be night current to fly with a passenger during the eclipse?”

Crista Worthy
Boise, ID

I was flying over Lake Erie en route to Burke Lakefront, on a summer Sunday afternoon, when the controller from Cleveland Center advised, “Cessna 1234RA, be on the lookout for any Walleye activity. Report any sightings and location.”

I responded “Wilco.”

When he gave me the handoff to Cleveland Approach I responded, “Negative contact on those walleye.”

To which the controller said, “They’ve been hiding from me as well…”

Ric Blamer
Chagrin Falls, OH

Heard while talking to Memphis Center over Northeast Arkansas right before the eclipse:

Memphis Center: “It’s a zoo out there. There are airplanes I never even knew existed. They’re coming out of the woodwork.”

Aircraft: “It’s going to be even worse when the eclipse is over. It’ll be like rats leaving a sinking ship.”

There were several other exchanges like the one above, most of them ending with something like, “You’re entering an area saturated with targets. Radar service terminated. Squawk 1200.”

Bryan DeVault
The Woodlands, TX

There are two airports here in Sherman, Texas within 5 miles or so of each other—the small municipal Sherman Municipal Airport where I park, and the large North Texas Regional Airport. North Texas Regional has a large flight school with mainly foreign clientele, who occasionally come and do circuits out at our field.

Flying back one night doing a practice RNAV approach, my buddy/safety pilot and I heard the following on the radio:

“North Texas Tower, Cessna XXXXX … crap!”

After the student was finished at Sherman Municipal, he departed for North Texas Regional but apparently forgot to change frequencies, and remembered halfway through his transmission.

I think he figured it out and switched, because that was the last we heard from him.

Adam Yavner
Sherman, TX

This August, just before the solar eclipse passed through the U.S., pilots from all over Utah flocked to southern Idaho into the zone of totality. The tower at Ogden Airport was busy, with a single controller handling tower and ground frequencies. As I taxied to the departure runway, several pilots called for clearances.

Ground: “Several aircraft calling at once; please be patient ‘cuz everyone and his dog are going north this morning.”

I taxied to the runway completed my runup, and called the tower.

Me: “Ogden Tower, Bellanca 9516E ready at Runway 21.”

Tower: “Bellanca 16E, Ogden Tower. Cleared for takeoff. Runway 21.”

Me: “Cleared for takeoff Runway 21, and the dog is on board. Bellanca 16E.”

Tower: “Ha!”

Chuck Wight
Ogden UT

We’re still perilously close to the bottom. Don’t want reruns? 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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