Editor's Note: A couple of weeks back, we ran a "Short Final" featuring a fictional genericized squawk code ending in 8 — and boy, did we get letters. Our favorite, though, was this "Short Final" follow-up recollection.
Your recent "Short Final" reminded me of a funny story I got to participate in about two and a half years ago:
"Delta 1234, cleared to Yadda via depart heading 320, radar vectors YADDA, then as filed. Maintain 5,000; expect FL260 ten minutes after departure. Departure 123.45; squawk 2108."
"Roger. Cleared to Yadda via heading 320 on departure, radar vectors YADDA, then as filed. Maintain 5,000; expect FL260 ten minutes after departure. Departure 123.45; squawk 2108."
"Delta 1234, readback correct. Call when ready to taxi, with Echo."
I sat and waited. And waited. And waited, figuring at least one of them would figure it out, and then I finally couldn't help myself ... .
"Ground, you sure you want to give him that squawk code?"
"I'm not sure what you're talking about, but his code is fine."
So I waited about another ten seconds to see if either the controller or the pilot would figure it out. Nope.
"O.K., sorry about that. I must have some old equipment in this old bird and not one of them newfangled transponders. The digits in my old transponder only go up to 7."
After about a six-second pause:
XXX GND [laughing] :
"Oh, boy. It's been a long night! DAL1234, how about a squawk of something a little different, like how about maybe 2110?"
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