Short Final

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Flying from Boeing Field in Seattle to the San Juan Islands, I was monitoring the departure frequency when I heard a pilot report that he'd seen an eagle near the inbound course to 12 right at BFI. An unknown pilot asked: "What was he squawking?" -- Ed Griswold (Griz) More

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I just started flying my new-to-me Corby Starlet (only four flying in the U.S.A!), and on my first trip into Santa Rosa, California, STS, a KingAir pilot at the hold line asked the tower: "What is that little plane that just landed?" ... She came back: "I'll have him tell us." ... My response was: "N8I Charlie Charlie -- an Australian-designed wood-fabric with VW power and 18-foot wingspan." ... When it was my turn to take off, the tower operator said: "'Charlie' is short for 'Charles,' and because you are so small, your call sign should be N81 Chuck Chuck." ... That was what she used for my call sign -- and I still use it! -- Lee Beery (a.k.a. Harry Landing) More

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A while back, a controller at RDU International spoke in a robotic Cylon voice, using all official phraseology including "tree" and "fife" for "3" and "5." We though he was trying to show everyone up and be a model of correctness. ... One night, I was practicing instrument approaches with a safety pilot, and that controller called us with a familiar warning: "N1234A, be advised of a similar sounding call sign, N1234B." ... He gave the other aircraft a similar call, then promptly gave me an instruction with the wrong call sign. ... I wasn't completely sure, so I didn't respond. The other aircraft didn't either. ... After a pregnant pause, the controller called me with the correct N-number: "Did I use the wrong call sign?" ... Whereby I responded: "Yes. Yes, sir, you did." ... He broke his robotic cadence into a friendly whine: "Awwwwwwww, I hate it when I do that." ... We felt vindicated! -- Dan K. More

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On approach last week to an Eastern North Carolina airport, we heard a Piper J-3 announce: "Taking off on runway 23." ... Followed shortly afterward by: "Headed toward the coast." ... We then asked: "East or West Coast?" -- Robert Schellenberg More

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Piper Cub 12345: "Bozeman tower, Cub 12345 is with you 10 miles to the west. I would like to transit through your airspace to the west." ... Bozeman Tower: "Cub 345, squawk 0123." ... Piper Cub 12345: "Bozeman Tower, Cub 345 is unable to comply as this is a non-electrical Cub. Those transponders were not invented in 1945." ... Bozeman Tower: "Cub 345, those transponders are all the rage nowadays! Transition approved." -- Bob Sneberger More

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Years ago, like 1960, I was a newly hired DC-3 co-pilot for Continental Air Lines. We could fly either VFR or IFR, depending the weather situation at the time. Needless to say, we went for VFR whenever we could. ... [One day,] the weather wasn't the greatest, but we thought VFR would work. Called ground for taxi clearance, and they came back with: "Continental, are you VFR or IFR?" ... Naturally, we came back with: "VFR." ... We bantered back and forth several times, and the last time they asked us they same question. The captain, in exasperation, said: "We're UFR." ... Ground control came back and said: "You're what?" ... The Captain answered: "Yah. Undecided." -- Lee Meyners More

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En route from TRK to RHV recently in Centurion 7RR, I found myself on the same center frequency as Bonanza -- 5JJ! I was really tempted to tell center, "7 Romeo Romeo would like to connect with 5 Juliet Juliet." But I didn't want to start a feud, so I bit my tongue and said nothing. -- Rick Tavan More

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Overheard this while working in the pattern with a student years ago. ... Along the Connecticut coast, airports ABC and XYZ were often mistaken for each other by pilots. One day a student pilot pilot called in and was told to call a four-mile final for the active runway. When he did report on final, the tower controller did not see him and, trying to determine if he was at the correct airport, asked his position. ... It was one of those days when both the sun and the moon were visible, and the student said: "I am abeam the sun, heading for the moon." -- Joe Walonoski More

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Last Friday morning, I was en route to Sun 'n Fun. The weather at KLAL prevented canceling IFR and joining the Lake Parker VFR arrival. As I (along with several other aircraft) was issued a holding clearance at LAL VOR to wait my turn for the ILS runway 9 approach, I was reminded just how oblivious some pilots are. ... A pilot came on the very busy TPA approach frequency and said, with all seriousness: "N12345 requesting multiple approaches to Lakeland." ... Kudos to the professional controller, who simply responded: "Negative. We have Sun 'n Fun going on today." ... To which the pilot responded: "O.K. How about Winter Haven?" -- Al Rice More

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In the late '70, I was flying up the East Coast in the early morning, in the low stratus along the Atlantic beaches. Our flight, an Allegheny Commuter Twin Otter en route to Atlantic City's Bader Airport, was operating IFR with Atlantic City approach. Essentially, we were on top at 2,000 with high cirrus above. ... Normally, at this time of the morning, there would be no other aircraft operating, so it was a nice distraction to hear a Cessna request assistance from Atlantic City approach regarding the weather ahead, as conditions were deteriorating under the clouds as he proceeded up the coast. Approach asked our flight conditions, and we happily passed along the "smooth ride with tops about 1,000 feet, clear above." ... The Cessna then asked for an IFR to VFR on-top and, after the usual fuel on board, SOBs, instrument qualified, etc., approach asked, "Cessna 12345, you're a Skymaster, correct?" ... The pilot responded, "No, sir -- private pilot." -- Stephan Gnecco More