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Last week, while helping a friend move his airplane from El Monte airport to Hawthorne airport, we were on approach into El Monte when I heard the aviation equivalent of "Who's on First":

El Monte Tower:
"Helicopter 11 Alpha, say parking."

Helicopter 11A (heavy foreign accent) :
"Uh, please repeat."

El Monte Tower:
"Helicopter 11 Alpha, say parking."

Helicopter 11A:
"Alpha, Parking."

El Monte Tower (using a slow, deliberate tone) :
"Helicopter One-One-Alpha: Say parking on El Monte Airport."

Helicopter 11A: "Parking on El Monte airport, Helicopter 11 Alpha."

A slight pause in the interchange, and then:

Helicopter 11A: "11 Alpha requesting take-off with left downwind departure."

I landed uneventfully, dropped off my friend at his hangar, and taxied back out for take-off. When I was cleared for take-off and while taxiing onto the runway, I asked:

(Me, to the Tower):
"Do you suppose that guy in the helicopter ever figured out who's on first?"

El Monte Tower (uproarious laughter in the background) :
"I doubt it."

Bill Allen
via e-mail


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