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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:

XXX GND:
"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."

DAL1234:
"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."

XXX GND:
"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 ... .

Me:
"Ground, you sure you want to give him that squawk code?"

XXX GND:
"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.

Me:
"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?"


Don Desfosse
via e-mail


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