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It was the wee hours of the morning, and the center's frequency had been dead silent for quite a while. Finally, a pilot just had to check. ... Pilot: "Uh, Albuquerque anybody home?" ... Controller: "Nope. We're all at work." -- Art Friedman More

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One clear Christmas night, my wife and I were returning to San Diego after visiting our son in central California. There was little radio traffic, but check-ins with controllers were invariably prefaced with "Merry Christmas." ... So, as we proceeded into Bakersfield's air space, I cheerfully said, "Good evening, Bakersfield. Merry Christmas." ... Bakersfield Tower: "Humbug." ... Me: "Why 'humbug'?" ... Bakersfield Tower: "Have you ever been in Bakersfield?" -- Jerry Hansen More

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We did not have digital radar in the TRACON 25 years ago when I was an air traffic controller. With our analog radar, spring and fall waterfowl migrations of ducks, geese, and cranes always created a cluster of raw radar returns on the scope. It was one of those days when the scope was almost white with more raw radar returns coming from flocks of birds than from transponder-equipped or non-transponder-equipped aircraft returns (of which there were and still are MANY in Alaska!). It is always a long flight to Alaska, and the captain was chatty, with a sense of humor. Delta checks on with the standard information arriving the airport. ... DAL 123: "XXX approach, this is DAL 123 descending out of 8,000 with information Bravo. Direct the VOR." ... Approach (me): "DAL123, XXX approach. Traffic 12 o'clock, five miles opposite direction, altitude unknown. Multiple targets, most likely waterfowl." ... DAL: "Approach, how do you know that? Do they have a transponder?" ... Approach: "DAL 123, no sir, but they are squawking!" -- Dan Brady More

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After a VFR departure from a satellite airport, I called TYS approach. ... Me: "Knoxville, Cheyenne 1234 is off Morristown for a clearance to Nashville." ... Approach: "Squawk 2345." ... Me: "O.K., squawking 2345." ... [A bit of a pause.] ... Approach: "Cheyenne 1234, squawk Oscar November." ... I fixed the problem right away. -- Billy Chandler More

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I was on my way back to Chicago Midway after delivering some freight out east. "It was a dark and stormy night" with scattered thunderstorms and few airplanes. I was with Cleveland approach when this call came through. ... Something Something Yankee: "Cleveland, this is Something Something Yankee. How do you hear?" ... Cleveland: "Loud and clear. How me?" ... Something Something Yankee: "Loud and clear, sir." ... After a bit of time, this communication was repeated. There seemed to be no other traffic in the area, and certainly radio chatter was absent. ... After Something Something Yankee had made his fourth request, this came over the frequency from an unknown transmitter: "Something Something Yankee, too loud and too often." ... There was quiet at that point. -- Linda D. Pendleton More

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Overheard this exchange in Houston Center the week before Halloween 2014: ... Aircraft N1Q: "Houston, N1Q. 390. Good evening." ... Houston Center: "Good evening, N1Q. That sure is a long N-number you got there." ... Aircraft N1Q: "Yes. And it's hard to remember, too." -- Doug Fields More

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Heard on Columbus Approach Control on Sunday, October 19. This approach controller maintained standard phraseology -- twice -- then decided to just try plain English, which worked perfectly! ... Approach: "N1234, Say on-course heading." ... Pilot: "N1234. Stay on course heading." ... Approach: "N1234, SAY on-course heading." ... Pilot: "N1234. Stay on course heading." ... Approach: "N1234, what is your current heading?" ... Pilot: "N1234. Heading: 050." -- Tim Brooks More

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While a young second lieutenant at nav school at Mather Air Force Base in 1983, I was trundling along in a T-37 in the high teens on a training mission. I overheard the following conversation between an Air Force pilot and a controller who was apparently unfamiliar with the Northern California air space and the SR-71s and U-2s that routinely flew from Beale AFB. ... Air Force Pilot: "Oakland Approach, Air Force XX for FL600." ... Oakland Approach: "AF XX, Oakland Approach. If you can reach it, it's yours. Cleared for FL600." ... Air Force Pilot: "Roger that, Oakland Approach. Descending to FL600." ... The pilot and I just looked at each other and laughed! Only in America! -- Chris Fairchild More

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One day at Spangdahlem Air Base (Germany GCA), I was working a couple of F-16s. One was on the go for his last approach. ... Me: "Callsign, reset transponder, squawk XXXX, and ident." ... Pilot: "Roger. XXXX on the flash." ... Me: "Callsign, radar contact." ... [after a moment] Me: "Callsign, your ident feature appears stuck." ... Pilot: "Roger." ... [pause] ... Pilot: "How about now?" ... Me: "Negative. Still flashing." ... Pilot: "O.K. Stand by." ... [still keyed - I can hear loud banging in the background] ... Pilot: "How about now?" ... Me: "That did it. Turn right, heading 050. Vector for ILS, runway 23." ... Who says violence and technology don't work together? -- Robert More

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While flying back to Arkansas from eastern Tennessee, we stopped at McKeller-Sipes Regional Airport (in Jackson, Tennessee) to take advantage of their $4.75-per-gallon low lead. Being a slow day at the field, after clearing the active, the tower told us to stay on tower frequency and gave us taxi instructions to the FBO. ... As we were taxiing in, we saw the line guy waiting on us, still a couple of hundred yards away. We then noticed two large tanks just to our right and called tower to ask if these were self-serve fuel tanks and if it was O.K. to stop there and not go on over to the FBO. ... Tower replied: "Affirmative for self-serve. He'll just drop his head and mope back into the FBO." ... It made our day to hear a little "official" humor. -- Dave Myrick More