Short Final

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And now for a slight departure from our usual "Short Final" hijinks:

Many years ago, I heard a radio exchange that, for me, illustrated the great resources and the responsibilities we have as pilots. Climbing into the VFR corridor of the New York TCA, I heard this on the frequency:

American 123:
"Boston Center, American 123."

Boston Center:
"American 123, Boston."

American 123:
"Company has informed us they have a report of a possible bomb on board."

Boston Center:
"Roger, American 123. What are your intentions?"

American 123:
"We'd like to return to Boston."

Boston Center:
"Roger, cleared to Boston."

And that was it! No routing, no questions, no altitudes. Later, they were given the winds and asked which runway they would prefer. I can only assume there was a great deal of activity on other frequencies to clear the sky for the jet.

My point is we don't often dwell on the responsibilities of command when we take off with our families and friends or of the great resources of the ATC which are available if we need them. All it takes is a few words, and, for some period of time, the world will revolve entirely around us. Being ready and able to play our part if the time comes is as important as any other flying skill, and for many of us, why we feel so good to call ourselves pilots.


Roger Rowell
via e-mail


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